You might be interested in slip casting, but unsure how to go about getting your studio ready to start such a task.
If that’s the case, I am going to share with you how I set up my studio for slip casting. It really isn’t as complicated or expensive as you might think, all it takes is a little creativity to transform your space and create your own tools and equipment, which I know you already have!
SPACE for casting: Molds take up more room than sitting down and throwing at the wheel. You will need some table space to set your molds on while they cast. If you don’t have a table, not to fret, you can improvise - floor space works fine, too! Or use a portable folding table. They come in many lengths to fit what works for you and can be removed when not needed.
PAILS for slip: Your slip will likely come in boxes or in a bag inside a pail. Having some good pails on hand will be extremely helpful for you. I prefer a 3.5 gallon sized pail as it isn’t as heavy to lift when filled with slip compared to a 5 gallon sized pail.
Make sure when buying pails that you buy easy on and off lids. You will be opening and closing these pails frequently and this will make for far less frustrations! Having a pail with a handle makes it much easier to hold and pour from when full and heavy also.
(A good source for easy on and off lids: Uline)
DRILL for mixing slip: Get yourself a drill and a mixing attachment if you don’t already have one. This is a very useful tool for the studio that you will use countless times. You will need this to mix up your slip before casting. It can also be used to speed mix your glazes and save some arm strength. You can buy a drill and mixing attachment at your local hardware store.
DRAINAGE set up: After you have slip cast your piece, you will need to pour out and empty your mold. You could just hold the mold and wait for the slip to drain...but that’s just a waste of time! Some potters buy special tables that the molds rest on to drain, but in my opinion, they are unnecessary and very pricey when you’re just getting started!
I went to my local hardware store and got some simple plastic storage containers and wire racks. I placed the rack over the container so the slip drips through the rack and lands in the container. This set up cost me less than $40 and has worked well for me for years and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon!
RACKS/SHELVES for drying molds: After your molds have been cast and removed, they need to dry before casting again. If you aren’t using your casting table anymore they can sit there and dry until the next time you cast. But if you have more molds than the table will hold, it is better to have a shelf to allow your molds to dry on, so you can continue to use your table to cast on or work on.
Don’t be afraid to get creative! Setting up for your studio for slip casting doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. You don’t need all the fancy equipment advertised in ceramics stores or on websites. It definitely isn’t necessary.
Now it is more manageable than spending a bunch of money on equipment you aren't sure you will fully use.
Now it is easier to set up space in your studio to accommodate a little slip casting.