Sunday, January 15, 2012

Continuing the Mold work on Don's Tree of life and making the model for the heron sculpture

Daphne is on hold while the molds for Don's sculpture are finished. But it's good to take a break. Working too long on a piece makes it difficult to accurately judge what needs work and it's easy to make a mistake.

Back to Don's mold work on the Tree of life sculpture. After the mother molds have dried, they are opened using a flat chisel.

The rubber mold inside which must then be cut open.

The two sides of the rubber mold are opened and an exacto knife is used to cut through the first 2 layers of mold material. Don does a more thorough job of explaining the process on his blog

The shim acts a guide as I cut around the mold, separating the 2 halves.

The 2 sections of the mold. Next for Don's job is the mother mold for the tree itself.

Next, for me, is making a model for the heron I will be doing for Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY.

For the model I first print a sketch of the heron at a 4 to 1 scale to the final sculpture. As the sculpture will be 24 inches tall, that makes this sketch 6 inches from just below the feet (leaving room for a shallow base) to top of head. I am using hard Castiline which is a wonderful material. It works like wax and so hard I won't need to make an armature. I use pink foam for the body of the heron so it will be lighter - the legs are very thin and I don't want the sculpture to slump.

I heat the castilene with a heat gun and apply it to the foam body and make a neck. The castilene has a high melt temperature -160 degrees so you have to be careful when handling it not to burn yourself. It will get shiny when it gets warm, but do a touch test to make sure it's not too hot - it can burn you. Heat lamps will also work to heat the castilene, but they can also get the clay very hot, so be careful.

I then make the legs. The thinner the castilene is, the easier it is to keep it workable just from the heat of your hands. When the castilene is warm (not hot) it is fairly sticky so it's easy to attach legs to the body. Additional pieces of warm castilene are then applied where legs connect to firm up the attachment.

I make a small base for the heron and stand it up.

I form the plants that will stand behind the heron, using the sketch as a guide. In the final sculpture the plants act as structural support for the heron as the legs are fairly thin and fragile.

The model for the heron. The body of the heron is a little too horizontal, but that is easily fixed, I'll just heat it and make it more upright.

My niece, Beth just had her 15th birthday - she is on the left, her brother Danny is lighting the candles while his girlfriend, Olivia, watches.

Ice on the windshield.

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