ceramic, handmade, Images, Projects, Typography

Boiler Plates

I’ve had a load of old boiler plates knocking around for years, courtesy of my father-in-law (who has known to have kept a stick in the corner of his garage for up to 20 years -‘just in case!’) and the most interesting of them are fastened to a scruffy bit of wall in my garden. In July, I decided to make some moulds from a few of them, with a view to making some book covers or something. I did all the usual  processes to make the moulds – most of which I have already covered here. Here are the four original metal plates:

boiler 1a

boiler 2a

boiler 3a

boiler 4a

As I wasn’t sure what to do with any casts made from the moulds, I decided to have a little experiment. Using the last of a batch of terracotta cast – a sort of plaster and iron powder mix – I cast one of each. When they were set, I gave them a quick scrub to bring up the surface, and soaked them in water overnight to set the rusting process off. The results can be found on my Flickr site showing how they looked soon after creation.

The experiment began when I took them home. I did absolutely nothing to them. Just put them outside in the garden and left them to the elements. Of course, the British summer being what it is, they continued to rust and deteriorate. Beautiful colours and textures began to bloom, and the material took on another form:

boiler b

boiler u

boiler q

boiler s

This last one became very fragile and contained a lot of iron – it must have been the last one cast and got all the sedimentary gunk out of the pot. After a couple of weeks outside, it begun to curl as the iron rusted and expanded. Eventually it shattered, but still make for interesting viewing as it reveals how the iron powder settles to the bottom in the mould and forms a thick crust:


Mmm. Nice. Anyway here are some more photographs – click on them to see larger versions. Enjoy!

boiler y

boiler t

boiler p

boiler o

boiler n

This one has some of the paint that was on the original, that was transferred to the mould.

boiler a

boiler  r

boiler m

boiler d


6 thoughts on “Boiler Plates

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