The top plastic box is a waterproof file box (it has a gasket in the lid and clamps down tight), the bottom is an old steel-clad cooler with an air-tight seal.
The waterproof or air-tight qualities are essential.
What we have inside currently is a "Tueday" mule, a commissioned piece, resting comfortably on a piece of convoluted foam. The convoluted foam cradles the fragile leather-hard greenware casting.
The dark gray foam beneath the light colored convoluted foam acts as a riser. Beneath that, a plastic gird elevates the greenware away from the damp, water-soaked plaster of paris. The sponges add an extra bit of moisture to the sealed environment.
The casting is kept away from the moisture sources to help the casting maintain an even amount of moisture throughout the piece. If the foam was in direct contact with the damp plaster the moisture would eventually wick up through the foam to be in direct contact with the clay, and thus we'd have a really wet spot.
As a ceramic casting dries, it shrinks. Uneven moisture content equals uneven shrinkage, setting you up for potential cracking -- and disaster.
At this stage I want to maintain a specific amount of pliability in the casting because there are still stages of cleaning and refinement to be done while the casting is leather-hard or partially dried out. Even after I'm finished adding in all sorts of detail to the leather-hard casting it will stay in the damp box to control the rate of drying. The moisture content of the box will gradually be reduced by removing the wet sponges and opening the box for short amounts of time to let in an exchange of dryer air for the humid.
The larger the ceramic, I find, the greater the risk of cracking without a controlled drying rate (especially in my arid climate) -- that's one of the reasons why it takes so long for me to complete larger pieces, like this "Tuesday", the drafters "Punjabi" and "Poudre" or the largest piece to date, "Enviado".
Until next time ~ Lynn