Drape Mould for Polygon Plate
       (Top Mould only)

Drape Moulding:
Today moulds are generally made of plaster, but the traditional materials were wood and bisque-fired clay. (Plaster has two disadvantages, in that if flakes of plaster get into clay, they can blow up when fired, leaving a hole, or worse, a shattered pot, so be careful and clean up well when using plaster mould, and it is more breakable than clay or wood)*. Drape moulding achieved special prominence in the diverting, idiosyncratic Oribe-ware food vessels of the early seventeenth century, and the irregular shapes made possible with drape moulding process continue to be much admired in Japan.

Steps: (using hexagon mould as demonstration)

The surface of mould is powdered with corn starch filled piece of cloth to keep the slab from sticking onto it. Then roll a slab of clay into uniform thickness over a piece of cloth and powder with corn starch. Carefully lift the cloth and place it over the mould. 

 

Gently press down the slab with hands. Then use a wooden paddles or small rolling pin to close the gaps between the slab and the mould. 

 

Remove the cloth and use the yumi to trim off the excess clay from the mould.  From the leftover slab piece, put it over the foot template and use the yumi to cut both side of the edges to the same angle as the foot template. 

 

Use a ruler to mark the clay to equal width which will become the height of the foot. Then, cut the clay into equal pieces with the yumi. Lay them down on the mould and put marks on the slab. 

 

Use the comb to score the feet and the form where they will go, applying slip and attach the feet to the form by pressing them. Let the form dry for 30 to 50 minutes (depending on the humidity).  Then, place a piece of cardboard over the form against the feet.

 

Hold the handle with one hand and press the cardboard with other hand. Turn the form and mould over, put the form on the table and lift up the mould. The form should be separated from the mould freely. Clean up the rim with knife and then finished with a moistened chamois.

Using two of more stained clay to create mosaic:

Roll out two or more pieces of stained clay slab and lay them on top of one another. Then roll them into coils and make them into a square or triangular shape. Use the yumi to cut them into equal length pieces. Lay them down on a piece of cloth and slightly press them together with fingers. Cover the surface of mould with a piece of cloth. Lift up the slab by holding the cloth and put it over the mould. Press the slab down gently. Then use a wooden paddle to paddle them evenly. 

 

Remove the cloth and check if all the slab pieces are stick together. Use fingers to press them together if there is still gaps between pieces. Put the cloth on and roll it gently with a small rolling pin. 

 

Remove the top cloth and use the yumi to trim off the excess clay from the mould. Make the foot same way as above. Let it dry for 30 to 50 minutes. Turn it over and remove the cloth. Clean up the rim with knife and then finished with a moistened chamois.

Create different shapes:

You can use a piece of steel such as a cookie cutter to cut the form before remove from the mould to create different shapes.

 

Use objects to create a lot of patterns:

There are a lot of objects that you can put on the mould to create a lot of patterns. Example: plastic table lace; lace curtains; wall paper; leaves; ropes; buttons; keys; foam etc...  Cut out the pattern you like with a paper cutter. 

 

Attach them on the mould with non-water soluble glue, since water in clay slab may dissolve the glue and remove the object. Use a lot of dry clay so the form will be easily separated from the mould. 

 

Materials from :
Inside Japanese Ceramics by Richard L. Wilson 1995
The World of Japanese Ceramics by Herbert H. Sanders
The Craft of the Potter by Michael Casson 1977
Shoji Hamada, A Potter's Way and Work by Susan Peterson

 

Back to tools page