Between sporadic viral social content and entire YouTube channels, the hydraulic press is certainly having a moment. While most of that content is focused on the fascinating destruction of everything from cell phones to mountain bike suspension forks, a new Kickstarter project aims to take an entirely new angle: creating unique tableware from clay scraps.
SPLATWARE, by Liverpool-based ceramic manufacturer Granby Workshop, is a series of plates and cups made by squishing colored clays in a 60-ton hydraulic press — AKA “RAMBO”.
“SPLATWARE began by researching and tracking down RAMBO, our 60 ton RAM Press,” explains the workshop. “It is no spring chicken – we bought it from a ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent, where, in a past life, it was producing fine bone china sweet and biscuit trays. Weighing in at 5000kgs, it’s a beast, so much so that it broke the floor of the factory that it was removed from.”
To create the unique pieces, the designers start by creating their own stoneware clays with varying amounts of ceramic pigments. Separate pieces of clay from each pigment are placed together in a custom mold and compressed at 60 tons by the hydraulic press. This process both mixes and bonds the different clays together while forcing out excess moisture.
Once molded, each piece is stamped, de-molded, dried, trimmed and cleaned before getting fired in a kiln at 1000 degrees. Finally, each piece is sanded, glazed, and re-fired at 1250 degrees to reach full hardness.
The workshop has already raised nearly $80,000 on Kickstarter with six days left to go—cups start at $29 and plates at $42.