Waterfall fountains in the garden.
Waterfall fountains in the garden.

Waterfall Fountains

The Waterfall fountain was designed with interchangeable parts that could be used to produce three fountains of varying heights.

Consistency

When producing a multi sectional sculpture, such as Roberts fountains, each tier needs to be consistent in shape, color and texture. Projects like these make casting both a logical and practical choice. The primary advantage of casting was that it enabled Robert to interchange parts. Casting made every piece that came out of a mold an exact duplicate of the original. Fountains were originally thrown on the wheel. Prior to casting these fountains, Robert threw each piece and altered the form to produce every fountain. In the early 1980's he was throwing 15 to 20 tons of clay a year. In addition to the fountains, Robert designed and made a variety of clocks and lamps using this technique. He also designed and made an aquarium using molds.
ProductionFt-Molds
Three piece molds for making the upper tiers of the waterfall fountain.
Robert using a nozzle similar to those in a gas station, for controlling the flow of slip. Slip is left in the molds 5 to 14 hours to build the required thickness.

Studio Transformation

The entire pottery studio was redesigned to accommodate the molds, slip tanks, diaphragm pump and tubing needed to move the slip from the tanks into the mold and later to suck the excess slip out of the molds and back into the slip tanks.

Diaphram Pump used to move the slip

Compressed air operates the pump, which pushes liquid clay (slip) into molds, the pump then reverses to draw the liquid clay back into the storage tanks, also known as "blungers."
Diaphragm pump
Taking cast basins from mold
The mold is turned upside down to release the clay casting. A board strapped to the top of the mold catches the fountain basin.
Removing cast basin.
The molds are too heavy to pick up, so a bracket was incorporated into the plaster. This allows it to be lifted with a hoist.
Cutting exit hole for cord.
Robert cutting a hole for the fountain pump cord to exit the basin.
Taking apart a mold after casting
This three piece mold incorporates both "Drain Cast" and "Core Cast" elements. The piece above is the base tier of the Waterfall fountain
Robert removing the largest section of the Waterfall, from its three piece mold.
Robert removing the largest section of the Waterfall, from its three piece mold.
Stack of Molds
Stack of molds used to produce fountains.
Robert is self taught in the process of slip casting, which he pursued when a back injury prevented him from throwing for several years. The advantage of slip casting is the ability to make exact reproductions of a particular form.