This Blog is dedicated to the discussion of Paper Clay as a ceramic art medium. We will discuss studio pottery and other topics of interest to studio clay artists.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Show at John Michael Kohler Arts Center

John Michael Kohler Arts Center
The clay sculptures of Jerry Bennett (PA) and Bean Finneran (CA) defy expectations within both historical and contemporary contexts. Their evocative sculptures challenge the very nature of clay as art, specifically how this relatively fragile material can be used to structure seemingly improbable forms. While Bennett manipulates clay into open and airy gridded “vessels,” Finneran stacks hundreds or even thousands of slender clay strands in configurations reminiscent of large forms in tidal marshes.
To create filaments of clay that are particularly malleable yet strong enough to build three-dimensional structures, Jerry Bennett plays with the composition of the clay body—using a mixture of clay, paper pulp, and water known as “porcelainous paper clay.” He plays with the dynamic between positive and negative space, creating vessel forms which appear simultaneously full and empty.

Source of cotton fibers for clay

The source I use for cotton fibers (2nd cut cotton linter) is The cost is $2.95 lb. + shipping. The cotton comes in large sheets which I cut up and add to the water I use for the clay.
In reading about cotton and the manufacture of cotton seed oil I have found that cotton fibers do not have the same type of coating on the outside as fibers from wood. Wood fibers are used to make paper. Wood fibers have a stiff, water resistant coating which helps the tree draw water from the ground. This stiffens the fibers and makes paper tough and strong. Cotton fibers are part of the seed generation of the cotton plant and do not have this tough outside layer. Because of this difference I can add more cotton to the clay and greater benefit from it. I use cotton clay to make a lattice type of work which is hard to move to the kiln for firing. Cotton makes the clay very hard in the raw state. Moving my work is much easer with the increased amount of cotton fibers that I add. I know this is strange, try it!