Ideas to use paper pulp as an additive to clay in hand-building ceramic sculptures or functional items.
What is Paperclay? A clay body to which paper pulp is added.
Why use Paperclay?
1. Very strong when leather-hard to dry
This means you can build shapes that you just can’t structurally manage with regular clay
extensions that wouldn’t hold weight in regular clay
2. Less cracking
Still cracks under some conditions, but not as much
Stress cracks during drying lessened significantly
Imbed stuff into clay, stuff that fires out or doesn’t fire out, like straw, grass, fired clay pieces, metal.
3. Build wet on dry
More flexibility in working methods
Expanded shape library
4. Lighter-weight after fired
An advantage for larger sculptures (testing showed 12-15% lighter after fired)
Saves on firing costs and effort
Unfired dry paper-clay absorbs glaze without breaking piece.
6. Build faster, more freely, and more spontaneously.
Many artists report expanded vision and creativity.
7. Break the rules and still have success
Joining methods less critical
Break off pieces after dry and re-attach somewhere else
Mend pieces after dry or bisque, even fired to temperature
Thick and thin don’t crack
Force-dry to facilitate building faster and bigger
8. More porous after firing
Can file, carve, drill or saw more easily
Post-firing surfacing of all kinds can work better
Absorbs glazes well, even if bisqued to higher temperature
9. New methods and techniques
Fired or unfired
Combinations of materials not possible with regular clay, fired or unfired
Different ways of working, use like wood, castable sculpture material, many other ideas possible.
More easily transport to kiln in remote location, stronger
More easily transport large, fired pieces (lighter)
Subsequent posts cover techniques for working with paperclay, hyow to make paper clay and references.
Here is a pdf of the entire handout.