This ceramic project began as a search for a new kind of architectural site model. Most of my site models are either made out of matboard or CNC milled foam. I needed an accurate site model for a mountain in Northern Italy, but I also wanted it to be better looking than spackled foam, so I embarked on the insane journey of making a realistic ceramic mountain.

Mountain 1:

I first made an accurate digital model in Rhino of the mountain using topographical maps, then CNC milled a scale model out of foam. I first tried to make the ceramic mountain using the foam model as a press mold. The first mountain was four feet wide and promptly exploded in the kiln (see devastating image).

Mountain 1.5 

I milled another foam mountain and tried the press mold process again, but using a custom-mixed, shrink free clay and interior clay support struts. This mountain also explodes.

Mountain 2.0

I got smarter and milled the inverse of the mountain out of foam, creating an inverse mold, and developed a new interior structural support system. This mountain didn't explode! I made a number of iterations with various glazes, including a chrome oxide wash.