PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF,

I’M A MAN OF CLAY AND GLAZE

PUSHED MUD AROUND FOR SEVENTY YEARS

OR TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DAYS.

Robin Hopper is a man of many parts, mostly worn out, rusty or dysfunctional, due to a lifetime of excesses! He started working with clay at the age of three and is still doing it over 70 years later. His lengthy, peripatetic career as a mudpusher has included side trips into working as a Professional Actor, Stage Designer, Property Maker, Stage Manager, Stage Carpenter, Grocer, Greengrocer, Jazz Musician, Teapot, Wine and Beer-Bottle, Trumpet, Trombone and Bugle Player, European Travel Guide, Founder of Several Clay/Art/Craft Organizations, Alchemist, Geologist, Primatologist, Linguist, Ornithologist, Botanist, Ceramic Historian, Educator, Author, Garden Designer, Lecturer on Japanese Garden Design, Laborer and Star of Stage, Screen and Potter’s Wheel!

Friday, November 23, 2012

EXTRA BLOG POSTING




CLARIFICATIONS ON WORKING WITH

 PC SUBSTRATES


"CALENDULA" - GLAZE PAINTING BY ROBIN HOPPER
TERRA SIGILLATA GROUND AND CHROME RED GLAZE TRAILING
PC Substrates are a new expansion in the range of surfaces for drawing, painting and printmaking on. They are particularly useful for creative ceramic artists with graphic skills as well as innovative painters, draftsmen and printmakers.  They follow in the line of paper, canvas, linen, parchment, vellum and ivory, as a flat, usually white, surface. Mineral pigments, conte, underglazes and glazes are used to develop the images. When suitably fired in a kiln, they are rendered permanent and waterproof. Their potential is practically unlimited. 
 Try them and see!



DISSECTED DECAL BY MORGAN SADDINGTON
FIRED IN OXIDATION AT CONE 018


Hi readers, wherever you are! 



This is an extra posting to clarify a number of questions regarding the availability and use of CERAMIC SUBSTRATES that have come up over the last few months. With product name changes, there has been a great deal of confusion about the material I personally work with. I wish to clarify the questions. First of all, I do NOT use any material with the trade name of "Porcelain Canvas Substrates". 


STARRY, STARRY NIGHT - ROBIN HOPPER
CONE 9 GAS REDUCTION FIRED

There are a few images of my own and other artists to show what I am talking about. If you want to see more, please check out my Blog postings for March 19, 21, 23, 26, 28 + 30, 2012. I wrote an article titled “Working With Ceramic Substrates” for Ceramics Monthly Magazine, that was published in February 2011. It told the story of my experience in finding this incredible, more or less unknown, high-tech material and working with it as fireable surface for doing glaze paintings and drawings on. As an artist trained in painting, drawing and printmaking, as well as ceramics, I have looked for something like this material for about 50 years, but it was just not developed yet. When I found it a few years ago as a completely unrelated  product for the space and computer industries, it opened up all manner of possibilities for graphic/ceramic interaction. There was great interest in the article with many follow-up questions. Unfortunately, I wasn’t informed about the questions and they were often unanswered, or, if answered, it was often done incorrectly, by people who,  most likely, had never experienced using the material. This blog aims to answer those questions and clarify the situation.


RANDY BRODNAX - UNTITLED - FIRST EVER RAKU-FIRED SUBSTRATE
IMAGERY ACHIEVED WITH FERRIC CHLORIDE AND RAKU GLAZE

PC Substrates are the ONLY substrates that I use for glaze paintings and ceramic drawings. They are manufactured in the USA and exclusively available from: 

www.CeramicArtCart.com   

 as PC Substrates and from selected Supply Stores under the name Blank(s). This product has undergone rigorous mandatory ASTM D4236 SAFETY TESTING for Schools and General use. It is the only advanced ceramic substrate guaranteed non-reactive. The fact that these products have been through the stringent US Federal toxicology testing ensures that they are safe for handling and multiple studio firings is really important. PC Substrates are tested as safe for school-aged children, with no chronic health warnings required. From the hundreds of substrates that are manufactured for various purposes, only ONE type of substrate has been approved for art usage, and that is PC Substrates, also sold as Blank(s). The test is mandatory per the Federal guidelines for art materials sold in the US for any application. PC Substrates are the only ones that have been tested and approved.




RIMAS VISGIRDA - UNTITLED
DECALS AND CHINA PAINTS FIRED AT CONE 018 IN OXIDATION 


Some of the other advanced ceramic substrates that are manufactured for various industrial applications are not suitable as an art material either because of the color, the high cost of production, the low quantity of fallout (SECONDS) available, the small manufactured size, or that it wouldn't pass the handling or re-firing safety testing.




GORDON HUTCHENS - FIRST EVER
CRYSTALLINE GLAZE TEST ON PC SUBSTRATE



JAMIE KOZLOWSKI - BACKLIT CRYSTALLINE GLAZE 





There are some lookalike products with a similar name often stating “As used by Robin Hopper and shown in his DVD “INSPIRATION AND INTERPRETATION”. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE ADVERTISING AND WAS DONE WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE OR PERMISSION. 

In order to be available for sale, these lookalike materials should have the mandatory testing certification. None of them have. Technically, their vendors have been breaking the law in selling illegally. The lookalike materials have not been tested and have been creating many problems for users. They are likely made in China and use inferior raw materials for manufacture. The sheets that I use are the only ones that are tested as non-reactive, compliant and safe! They seriously affect color and glaze development in a negative way. With tested products you know what you are working with. Untested could be just about anything with no quality control.
ROBIN HOPPER - CLEMATIS - GLAZE PAINTING
MULTIPLE GLAZES AND BLACK PIGMENT BRUSHWORK,

REDUCTION FIRED AT CONE 9
PCS is a super-thin, super-fine, porcelain-like sheet that has been pre-fired to well above cone 12. It is non-porous and has no shrinkage. It can be re-fired multiple times, at different temperatures, as appropriate for the artwork being done. For doing drawings, mineral containing ceramic tools like AMACO underglaze pencils and pastels and the red-brown forms of Conte crayons may be drawn directly on the sheet and fired to cones 6 - 9 in any type of firing and kiln. Black, white and colored Conte crayons are made with graphite, carbon or synthetic colorants and will burn away in the firing. So stay away from them. I also use black and colored underglaze pens from Axner/Laguna Ceramic Supply. If you wish to do preparatory drawings with ordinary graphite pencils, the prep drawings will also burn away in firing, so there is no need to remove them before firing.

ROBIN HOPPER - RED BRIDGE - ELECTRIC FIRED
 WITH UNDERGLAZE PENS AND UNDERGLAZE PENCIL

Water-based glaze paintings are best done on a heated substrate. The easiest way that I have found is to place the sheet on top of a kitchen warming tray to evaporate the water content. Sheets may be repainted and re-fired many times to achieve desired results. Multiple firings at different temperatures allow the layering to develop amazingly complex results. When I was doing initial testing, I fired many sheets up to 20 times with no apparent deterioration or fatigue in the material. 



  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
  •  PC Substrate  AND KERAFLEX?

PCS has already been fired to vitrification. It is translucent and can therefore be backlit. It may be cut or drilled with laser or waterjet. KERAFLEX, manufactured in Germany, is also sold by www.ceramicartcart.com  is unfired as purchased and thus malleable and moldable. It can be cut with a pair of scissors or knives. It is then fired within its recommended temperature range. It doesn’t work for the type of work I want to do, but there are many artists around the world who are using it in amazing ways.



  • PC Substrate can generally be fired and cooled very quickly for most applications with the exception of Crystalline-type glazes which that need slow, often staggered cooling for optimum crystal development. Crystalline glazes are fired flat, eliminating flow problems.

ANGELA MENZIES - ENCAUSTIC PAINTING
ON PC SUBSTRATES

Retail packages of trademarked Blank(s) are now available from Ceramic Art Supply Stores, Art Supply stores and Ceramic Art Cart. They contain custom laser cut sheets of the highest quality material available. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses.




Fallout material (with the occasional tiny flaw, that do not impact the material for art usage) is available on a first-in -first-served basis from the Ceramic Art Cart online store ONLY under the name of PC Substrates in generic packaging. They are also available in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. Information on availability is given on the Website. 

This covers some of the most asked questions. If you have more, please post a comment and I will answer there. I believe that I have researched this material for ART use more than anyone else in the world, so if you want answers, get them from the Horse’s Mouth and buy your sheets from:




    The Website is full of information and includes gallery images of both PCS and Keraflex.  My CM article is also downloadable from there and answers many more questions. The online store also carries a very interesting range of glazes from Germany named BOTZ.  My LATEST educational DVD, "INSPIRATION AND INTERPRETATION" is also available for purchase from this source. It is about surface decoration processes that I use. Approximately half is devoted to working with substrates in both cold and warm methods. As yet, this is the only video that shows the process in action. SKUTT KILNS built me an excellent, computer-controlled, special small test kiln for my research. That model is now part of their general line and called "Glazetech". It is perfect for the job in hand and holds several substrates at the same time, making for very economical firings.



BLANK 4.5"X4.5"  SQUARE LASER CUT PC SUBSTRATE
TILES, ALL READY FOR YOUR ARTWORK!



TRY IT AND SEE! 
 IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK

IF YOU KNOW OF OTHER PEOPLE IN NEED OF THIS INFORMATION, PLEASE PASS IT ON.

BRUSHSTUFF #3 BLOG POSTING WILL BE COMING
 IN ABOUT TWO WEEKS IN MID-DECEMBER. 

SEE YOU  AGAIN THEN!



2 comments:

  1. Hi Robin;

    What a great posting! Thank you for taking the time, gathering the information, and writing all of this for us. An encyclopedia of information. Thank you. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANKS CYNDI.
      THERE HAVE BEEN HUNDREDS OF READERS OF THIS PARTICULAR POSTING OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS. I RECEIVED ONE RESPONSE SO FAR. DOUBLE THANKS TO YOU! I FIND IT VERY FRUSTRATING THAT THERE IS ALMOST NO DIALOG. I WILL LIKELY QUIT AND TAKE UP KNITTING AFTER THE NEXT ONE! R.

      Delete