The Shell Room - Day 1

The gating system is now going to need to be able to support the artwork as it goes through the shell process.  The cross cup, round cup and bar have a threaded fixture that allows us to put a handle on so that the artwork will not need to be touched.  We will put anywhere from seven to 14 coats of ceramic shell on the art work.  Each coat requires at least one hour of drying time before the next coat can be applied.  Madd Castings uses Ransom & Randolph products exclusively for all shell materials. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd coats all use the same ceramic slurry.  Ransom & Randolph makes another product that we use at Madd Castings called a Re-dip Indicator.  This product changes color when it is totally dry so our staff can always make sure that the art dries thoroughly between coats of slurry. Slurry is a mixture of silica that has been ground as finely as flour and binding agents. This wet mixture must be constantly mixed 24 hours a day.  The first coat will be applied by dipping the artwork into the slurry which is called prime coat.  The excess will be brushed off with any air bubbles so we can get all of the artist’s texture.  Before the slurry is allowed to dry at all it will be submerged into zircon sand which is an extremely fine sand then left to dry.   Once the piece has dried it will be dipped in a binder solution to wet the zircon.  Then it will go in to the prime coat slurry which will drain and then be submerged into silica sand that is a more course silicate sand and left to dry. The third coat is identical to the second coat. That is how the art goes through the first day in the shell room.