Monday, 11 February 2013

33rd ENTRY - Farewell Teddington

In December Christmas came.  January was taken with packing your lives away, leaving Teddington, and moving to the Porziano studio.
Another move.

You experimented further with Castilene, and then with plaster, to make Ex-Votos for 2012, and charms for 2013, as well as a piece for a small exhibition in Assisi.

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Felice 2013, Castilene and acrylic paint, 24th Dec., 2012.
Italian Ex-Voto with head of Isolde
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Fragments from an Unattended Lesson, plaster, January, 2013
(sold to a private collector during the Assisi exhibition on the 5th of June, 2013)
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Final productive days in Teddington flat.

32nd ENTRY - The importance of Eyelids

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The importance of Eyelids

Friday, 7th December, 2012

Whilst reworking Anna's previously begun skeleton, you decided it would be important to have a head mould with the eyeballs incorporated. This way the silicone cast would have clean eyelids.
How to do this, in your situation, has had you puzzled for days.

You started attempting to achieve decent casts in Castilene, and found this nearly impossible. The wax would cool too quickly when hitting the mould, and the eyes just wouldn't stay in place.

The fact that the mould is made from Platsil Gel 10, a very soft silicone (which you chose so as not to damage the soft wax original after making the mould, and to be able to then subsequently make a rigid mould from it as well), meant that you could not put pressure on the balls in place whilst casting the wax heads, without causing distorion.

You tried casting a solid Castilene face without the balls. Carving out the holes from behind was terribly tricky, and things get very delicate.

You then thought about a different solution to hold the eyes in place whilst casting wax. You tried a resin cast of the head with beads in place, and carving part of the face away to leave space for the wax to fill. Failing with this you tried carving away the entire face, leaving only the beads.  Again the softness of the rubber mould made things impossible.

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Castilene sketch for resin mask head.
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masked off fore EasyFlow 120 pour
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15th December, 2012

It must be said, once again, that those with years of experience will be watching you like a young animal in slow motion attempting to stand on your thin little legs for the first time, like a giraffe, who on day one falls from that high womb, and moments later is already struggling to stand. Only your struggle is slowed down to 800,556.33 frames per second.

Clearly you had to go through all those steps, all those blind attempts, to then return, as it often happens, to the first and most obvious method. Brushing the wax in thinly and carving out carefully. But just make sure the wax starts out hot enough. A hotter substance will cool slightly slower than a less hot substance. And extending the wax out onto the flange will also make a startling difference with the shrinkage problem.

Or is it better to have a lower heat for lower shrinkage?

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Looking for solutions around the shrinkage problem.
left: Castilene. Centre: Chavant (hard). Right: Y2Klay.

The oil clays seem to shrink minimally. However, they are far more brittle and softer than the Castilene
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Left hand cast had been bulked by brushing in hot wax. Note the extensive shrinkage.

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Modell Plaster from Tiranti


You have been romantically inclined towards a marriage with Fimo Air Light and Polymorph, for building the skeletal structure of the figures.  But this has shown itself to be flawed, and you have tried and tried, and put much hope and belief into it, resulting in little success.

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So what to do? Use EasyFlow, as you did for the clavicle?  Epoxy putty? Polyurithane putty like what Hanano uses? Nothing at all, and rig the puppets if needed?

But your instinct keeps telling you to persevere with the Polymorph and Fimo Air, even though it seems to be getting you nowhere.

13 December, 2012

The real underlying issue here is the same issue that has influenced so many of the decisions made during this project: you are working from home, so you give priority to any material that is non-toxic.

After spending many hours struggling to get Polymorph to hold a desired shape, you moved to DualWood. Then, wishing to avoid the fumes, you tried with Castilene.

Yesterday you bought a tub of plaster from Tiranti. You have been considering this but not committing to it. Now you have the option to make a wax shaped skeleton, and a "quick" mould in plaster, from which to cast in Easyflow, or press Fimo Air, or whatever.  You worked with the wax last night (up 18.5 hours yesterday), and went to bed wondering about going back to trying the polymorph and Fimo one last time. Amazing. Who knows what you will do next.