I've spent the last few months taking a slip-casting course at Greenwich House Pottery with Hiroe Hanazono here in New York. I had never done any kind of mold-making or slip-casting before, so immediately after the first class, I felt like I had gained access to a whole new world of possibilities.
However, I quickly realized a couple of things:
1) Larger plaster molds can get real heavy real fast, and I'm a real wimp.
2) Dusk masks/respirator are a must, because of the dry plaster dust, but I hate them with a passion.
3) Even though technically, the slip-casting process allows you to make multiple copies of the same form, it's not a given that they will all come out the same. It takes a lot of patience to finish each piece to perfection.
It's been interesting figuring out how to use the slip-casting process to my advantage, to make pieces that come from the same mold, yet are still unique and retain a handmade spirit. My process eventually became taking my slip-cast forms and breaking the rims of each piece to create a rugged, jagged horizon. Then, I take a sponge and gently smooth those jagged edges into rounded, undulating slopes. Thus, while the pieces might share the same basic form, each individual piece has to goes through a transformative process in my hands to emerge completely unique.