Artist Q&A: Brett Kern Talks Dinosaurs and Slip Casting

Inspired by 1980's popular films, like Jurassic Park, Brett Kern makes inflatable dinosaurs out of clay

brett kern

Slip casting is a great way to minimize the preciousness of your forms because it’s quick, easy, and a great way to make multiples. While filming our latest edition of Sights & Ceramics, we had the chance to visit ceramic artist, Brett Kern who slip casts many of his forms. In this week’s Artist Q&A, Brett discusses the slip casting process, the evolution of his inflatable ceramic dinosaurs, and the permanence of ceramics. To see this, and all videos from Sights & Ceramics: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, subscribe to CLAYflicks! – Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.


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Slip Casting Tips

1. To achieve even thickness between multiple casts, it is a good idea to time the first casting and use this as a guideline.

2. To prevent leaks when pouring the casting slip, secure the parts firmly together with strong bands cut from rubber inner tubes.

3. It is important to know your slip casting clay’s specific gravity. To determine specific gravity, which is a comparison of the weight of 100 ml of water (which is 100 g and therefore has a specific gravity of 1) with the weight of 100 ml of whatever liquid or slip you are working with. First tare (zero out) the weight of a graduated measuring container on a scale then fill it with 100 ml of slip and see how much it weighs in grams. Once you know the weight, you divide it by the weight of an equivalent volume of water (100g). This works out, in essence, to moving the decimal point in your weight measurement to the left by two places to get the specific gravity. Example: 183 g = 1.83 specific gravity.

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