The Making of a Hand-Cast Porcelain Plate

The Making of a Hand-Cast Porcelain Plate

Sarah Rainwater
Feb 22, 2010

We've long admired the work of ceramicist Asya Palatova, whose luminous Providence loft we toured back in the fall. Here's a peek behind-the-scenes at her creative process as she designs a new line of porcelain plates for her studio, gleena.

Asya first posted these images of the plates in-progress on her blog, my mama's table, which is also a wonderful resource for ceramics and design enthusiasts. There's nothing like seeing how much time and ingenuity go into a making single object to make us REALLY appreciate how wonderful handmade pieces are (and to inspire our own sometimes-sluggish DIY creative juices to start flowing).

Here is Asya's description of her process:

IMAGE 2: First step is to pour a block of plaster, and carve it to the shape I want. I use stainless steel sheeting due to its bend-ability. It works well to create round shapes.

IMAGE 3: After the original is carved, I make a set of casting molds, or negatives of the original shape. Before I can start pouring in the porcelain, the molds have to dry, which takes a few weeks.

IMAGE 4: When the porcelain is poured, the sides are always a mess and need cleaning. I don't mind this step as it gives me the opportunity to create a variety of edges, making each plate unique.

IMAGE 5: The cast porcelain takes a few days to dry out before it can be fired for the first time.

IMAGE 6: The swirl is painted on during the "green" stage, when the plate is dry, but not yet fired. The color appears dull at this phase, but that will change in the firings: a bisque followed by a high-fire glaze.

IMAGE 7: In the glaze firing, the porcelain turns white, and the swirls brighten to their true color. I'm happy the way this particular clear glaze retains the color's juiciness and makes it look like watercolor. The final plates are approximately 7" in diameter.

The plates are available on for $22.50 each.

For more behind-the-scenes in Asya's studio, visit her blog, my mama's table.

Asya's Luminous Loft
Esty Find: Porcelain Tableware by Asya Palatova

(Images: Asya Palatova)

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