Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Slips

I thought I would share another project that is going on at the farm right now. The kitchen is being renovated and as part of that project, Ed and Kate are slip casting custom tiles for a backsplash. Slip casting is an interesting process. It takes advantage of the viscosity and adherence of a liquid clay mixture. Liquid slip is poured into a mold so that it coats all sides, and then the excess is poured out.

The molds they've made are in two parts and are cast from a special hydrophilic plaster that absorbs the moisture from the clay. Below you can see the mold, with the hole for pouring the slip.


The originals were milled from a high-density model foam on the CNC machine. The motion of the tool bit is what creates the corrugations on the surface. One thing Ed said was that if they turned up the speed of the bit, it produced a wobble that was quite human in its imperfection. It's an interesting concept to consider- the fact that the actions of the machine are registered as an aesthetic, but then that these mechanical actions are programmed to have a human-like effect. It's almost contradictory. What is more valued, the hand-made imperfection or the robotic precision? Either way, the tiles are quite beautiful.



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