In ceramics, wooden drape molds are a great alternative to the commonly-used plaster molds. The advantage of using wooden molds over plaster is that wood is less likely to chip and flake off into the clay. Even in the rare event that these molds do chip off into the clay that forms around them, wood would burn out easily in firing, whereas plaster could cause cracks and possibly ruin your piece. Because these molds are so fool-proof, they are increasingly popular for use in the classroom.
The steps involved in using drape molds to create ceramic wares is similar to that of other slump or hump mold practices. With wooden molds, the surface of the wood should be first powdered with cornstarch to prevent the clay slab from sticking onto it. A slab of uniformly thick clay can then be rolled onto a piece of cloth and powdered with cornstarch. The cloth with clay is placed over the drape mold (cloth side exposed), and the slab is gently pressed down against the mold with hands. Once the slab is evenly pressed against the drape mold, the cloth can be removed and the edges of the clay can be trimmed off using a yumi wire tool or a knife. Additional components, such as a foot along the bottom of a plate or bowl, can then be added to the piece. Let the clay dry on the mold for about an hour or until it is dry enough to handle without deformation. Once it is dried place a plate or a piece of cardboard onto the clay. Next invert the mold to release the clay form and voila!
Drape molds are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Explore the many options that these molds afford you in your handbuilding work!