How it's made
The Mudroom is where all of our basic making takes place. Equipped with a large forty gallon slip tank, an ever growing collection of plaster molds, and a big electric kiln. This is where all the clay magic happens!
To get started, we pour liquid clay (slip) into plaster molds to make a casting that can be removed after drying overnight. Using all sorts of sculpting tools we clean up each item as it comes out of the mold, we alter and attach items to make what we please. It then is left to dry completely before it gets another round of cleaning and detailing.
Once everything passes inspection, it's ready for a first trip to the kiln where 1950° transforms this humble mud into ceramic.
It takes about 24 hours to run the kiln and let it (and all it's contents) cool down.
Next, we paint & glaze. Underglaze is great for fine details, it's kind of like painting with liquid chalk; and has be to coated with glaze to seal it. Some items just get glaze, which often looks nothing like the color intended until after it's fired in the kiln. There is a lot of variation to glaze so colors may have a different appearance.... Also, sometimes we make our own color concoctions.
After a few coats of glaze, it's back to the kiln. Each item is carefully stilted and spaced so that nothing touches because melted glaze is like glue. We then fire the kiln up to cone 06 (1850°).
Where do Your Molds Come from?
Some of our molds are commercial, some are vintage, but more and more are made exclusively by us! We sculpt a design in clay, frame it up and pour plaster. It sounds easy enough, but like slip casting it's a long complicated process with plenty of opportunity to screw it up before completing a project. It takes weeks to accomplish, and because plaster takes 2-3 weeks to dry, waiting to see if your attempt was successful can be excruciating.
And then, if we really like it, we will make a rubber mother mold so we can make several molds and cast multiples of the same item. Some Mountain Mudworks originals: Moai, frogs, astronaut, mushrooms, crystals...
We love to create unique and meaningful items. We can accommodate most custom color requests, but changing the sculpt is much trickier, it may or may not be possible for us to accomplish your concept. Let's chat about what you have in mind.