Kala Stein, Emerging Artist 2011

Promenade (8 units), 44 in. (1.1 m) in length, slip cast with variable mold system, fired to cone 4, 2010.

My work is largely void of added decoration, therefore it is important that the forms I source from are iconic so they might be traced to a specific point in time, culture, or style. I reference archetypal ceramic forms chosen for their formal strengths and cultural significance. I abstract the sourced forms through sequences of drawing in silhouette, paper cutting, and digital rendering before I make the form in clay.


Slip casting with plaster molds, traditionally an industrial production and design process, is a way to make large editions of the same object. Typically, plaster molds utilize keys to register mold parts so the separate parts lock together the same way each time, resulting in the production of many identical objects.


Triple Promenade (2 units), 12 in. (30 cm) in height, slip cast with variable mold system, fired to cone 4, 2011.

I use molds in my studio with different intentions. I incorporate variables into my systems to create autonomous objects, not duplicates. My mold making process begins with a drawn paper silhouette used as a template to cut clay slabs. From the slabs of clay I cast “slices” of plaster, one on each side of the clay. The multiple slices are stacked and arranged, clamped or strapped between two end blocks and a bottom slab of plaster.


The void is then filled with slip. In my variable mold systems, the parts of plaster do not lock together, therefore the mold is rebuilt every time it is used. As I rebuild the mold, I compose the look of the end object by the number and type of mold parts used, how they are aligned, spaced, etc. Each resulting piece is distinctly different each time I cast, challenging notions of process, production, and autonomy.



The 2011 Emerging Artists are featured in Ceramics Monthly magazine’s May 2011 issue.
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