Sunday 14 May 2017

49th Entry - Becoming

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Sunday 8 January 2017

48th Entry - A Comparison

Twelve Years between Rilke of Solo Duets, and Rousseau of The Unattended Lessons.

Rilke's underpainted latex skin is now so yellowed and brittle that it risks cracking into pieces.  His eyes will no longer move, as if encrusted with 12 years of sleep.
Rousseau's fresh, unpainted silicone skin is pale and lacking in definition.  But it is interesting to see the comparison, even if unfair to both figures.

47th Entry -Three figures

Costume mannequins, unpainted, without hair, and with first prototype eyes from the London period.

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Monday 24 October 2016

46th ENTRY - Something intentional

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Friday 29 July 2016

45th Entry - A Costume Mannequin

With the completion of each new mould, a costume mannequin is produced.  This is the first posable version of Rousseau, and though it is unpainted and hairless, and with blank beads for eyes, it is a step closer towards life.

The cast was made with the original black steel balls fitted to the mould.
These were removed gently, and replaced with white plastic threaded balls.
The eyelids had no bleed over the ball - a perfect cast.

Costume Mannequin. Wire armature with makeshift ball joints
in shoulders. Urethane legs with removable feet. Tinted PlatSil Gel 25 skin

Threaded steel ball, rod and cone (for body piercing)
positioned before pouring the silicone matrix.

First cast from the finished mould. A resin master.
The black steel eyeballs fitted to the mould, behind.

Front of the finished matrix mould,
with a view of the window in the shell for
accessing the cone and rods to unscrew the eyes
before demoulding.
Mould shell: urethane. Mould matrix: platinum silicone.

Monday 22 February 2016

43rd Entry - Final Mould Test

After avoiding the idea of casting silicone from a silicone mould for so many months, all evidence pointed back towards it as the final solution.  In the end it came down to comfort, partly.  I feel relatively comfortable working with silicone, in the comfort of my studio, instead of the highly toxic and extremely fast setting (low work time) urethane, for which the cold darkroom was reconverted as a mould-making workshop.  Silicone makes me happier, and it makes my cat happier, who sleeps in the main part of the room where I would be forced to work the fuming urethane.
The outer rigid part of the mould remains urethane, but the silicone allows for a slow, warm, non-toxic pour. And the newly discovered Platsil Gel 25 offers the options of slowing down work time, and hardening the cured rubber up to shore A 40, which is excellent.  Furthermore, it is much lower in viscosity.

A partial sculpture created for this mould test

yellowed by shellac to seal the clay

The sculpture was held together merely with a soft sticky wax.  When the mould was opened the head stayed with the eye pins, and the body chose the back part of the mould.  Both parts were removed and the clay was cleaned out, meaning that the figure changed position slightly for the next stage.

Shellac was only used in the third part after frustration with the acrylic spray which seemed to never dry.  Everything seemed to take longer to dry than the clay itself.

bleeders and pour spout.

Joseph Feltus' eye mechanism.

Plastic Gel 25 with 50% deadener cast over wire and supersculpey armature.  No overflow, nearly invisible seams on the head, where the mould was most carefully worked for this test.

Nearly invisible seams

Materials used.  Mould was released with hand soap diluted with alcohol before casting.

Friday 31 July 2015

42nd Entry - Moulds and other things in life

The things you strive to do well, you do not do enough.
Moulds are no exception.  Each time you approach this task, you believe to be generous with the time you give yourself, and confident of a greater knowledge than you had previously.  Or rather, you seem to expect to have some sort of second nature for such things.

What did not help with the time was that you were able to brake one of the most precious things of these years of work, and the precise thing this new mould was required for, in preparation for beginning.

What did not help with time is that you forgot many things you had learned, because you expect the many weeks between the activity of mould making not to allow for forgetfulness.

Pushing ahead, the same white modelling wax used for the original sculptures
was used to resculpt the lost lids.

Rousseau, Isolde, and Anna, ready for a new silicone mould

These things don't get any easier.
Hopefully, however, they do get a little better

Mould Life's Transil 40, tinted,
poured from high up to try and minimise air bubbles.
250g used for this side. 24 hour curing time for each side of the mould.

The delicate eyelids did not survive the moulding.
Isolde's face oddly detached from her head
in the place where it had been cast separately
for easier access to the back of the eyes when,
the plaster piece was carved for empty sockets.

some small air bubbles, and some larger ones in the ears,
but all in all a successful mould for its purpose.

The case line of this mould was designed to leave the ears on the back side.
This allows for better access to the eyes, from the back, when
brushing casting material into the small valleys of the eyelids,
and allows for gravity to assist in filling the ears with casting material.

Unscrewing the steel ball from the back of the face before removing
clay casts from the mould proved to be very difficult with normal tweezers.
They would not grip properly to the ball, so a pair of philatelic tweezers were
modified with polymorph and tape.
Many attempts for a successful cast were made, but
in twisting the steel ball off its threaded pin,
the detail that was trying to be saved was altered.
The solution was to cut into the back of the mould to allow
for access to the pins from the other side, leaving the balls untouched
within the casts.

Eyelids were properly cast only when the assistance of a heat gun was
used. The molten clay was brushed in, and then reheated and made to flow
inside the mould with the heat gun.  This forced the clay to reach the desired and
difficult areas of the mould,
but it also created bubbles.

Positioning the head to the body.
These pictures were taken between July 29th, and August 7th, 2015.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

41st Entry - Mr. Bernard progress

A very different physique for a change.
This is nearly there.  Anatomy for beneath clothing.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

40th Entry - A New Face

The fourth and last character, only a notion, until now.
Mr. Bernard, becoming.

July 23rd, 2015

July 27th, 2015

39th Entry - A Return

After another long pause, this time in China, work has recommenced.

Interesting how the atmosphere can so greatly affect your work flow.  In April you worked with Castilene, and the room was so cold, your hands so cold, that you were forced to switch to the slightly softer and stickier Degas plastilene.  Still, work was impossible without going for brisk walks or runs to try and warm your own body temperature so that your hands could work the clay.
In July, that same material was so soft that you had to ignore the reason for working with a hard clay to begin with.
By late July the temperature has started switching back and forth, quite ridiculously.

Between April and July you tried to simply sculpt new eyelids over the steel balls.  You thought you could do this simply and quickly, but found that your hands were wandering into other areas and you were changing the entire structure of the face.  To add the steel ball into the face, a hole is made, and the original eye lost forever. Creating a new eye in the place of the original is impossible, and hence, a differently positioned eye will lead to repositioning of the mouth, the brow, the jaw, and wherever else your eye may fall.
You felt you might as well improve the face, but found you were only losing what you'd had, and on the week of your birthday you decided to stop.  This all was senseless.  You needed to find a way to get a mould out of the plaster versions from March of 2013.  By now, these had long been the characters.  They had traveled with you in a small tin box to Canada, and again a year later to China. The technicality of getting a hard mould from a hard object, or a soft mould that would not impede the silicone from curing, had dissuaded you from contemplating this in the past.  And hence these many weeks, over the years, of battling with materials and your own inability to repeat your own creation.

The strange slipping away, and regrasping, and slipping further away of a face

In late June, after two weeks of traveling in Portugal, what had always seemed instinctively right, became necessary and a reality.  You childhood bedroom became your studio.
The move took two weeks.

Late May, still cold.