Case Study:
Louise Cook – Go & See Report: Naked Craft Workshops

This May, ceramicist Louise Cook of Shoreline Stoneware (who runs her practice from North Uist) was assisted with Go and See funding to attend ceramic workshops at An Lanntair as part of the Naked Craft programme of events.

Louise Cook – Go & See Report – May 2017
Naked Craft at An Lanntair – Plaster Mould-making and Ceramic & Print 

Describing himself as a nomadic ceramicist, Glasgow based artist Kevin Morris  ran two fabulous workshops in Stornoway, covering plaster mould-making, followed on day two by, the opportunity to explore different types of printing techniques onto clay.

Its about 15 years since I made my last plaster moulds, and for me, this course was an excellent refresher.  The day started with making simple textured tile moulds with various found materials and casting them in plaster.  There was a lovely range of materials being used around the table to create texture and design on the clay, including old pewter horse toys, leaves, military buttons and loads of beach gathered material.

First half of bottle cast

Once cast, the original clay tile was removed and the plaster edges all cleaned. The moulds would take about a week to dry out thoroughly, but could be used right away for producing a small series of press-mould tiles. Kevin also gave a wee demonstration on slip-casting from some moulds to produce a plate and small vessel.

Finished plaster mould and bottle

With some excellent tips from Kevin, I started making a two piece mould of a MacKinlay’s whiskey bottle, found in a collapsed rabbit hole on our croft in North Uist. I have to admit to being slightly unsure of leaving it encased in plaster overnight, but all was well. The big reveal, once both sides had been cast, was a bit tense as I struggled slightly to free one half, but thankfully it was pretty-much on the mid line and the bottle was released from the plaster mould. Phew! Once the mould has had a chance to dry out completely, I will be able to begin to slip-cast from it.

Day two was all about exploring different techniques for transferring images onto clay. It started by using commercial ceramic decals to up-cycle ceramic objects. Enhancing an old teacup and saucer with bumble-bees and ladybirds was a fun introduction to the technique. Then using photocopied images to print onto clay, cut paper stencils, oxides and mono-printing, were all explored.

Kevin was an excellent tutor who took the time to help students with their particular projects. It was a fabulous couple of days having a refresher on plasterwork techniques and having the chance to explore some new printing techniques onto clay.

Louise Cook, May 2017