West Side (Miller) Highway model finished

After I finished adjusting and gluing on the wood grille pieces onto my dry clay model I hit the whole thing with primer so I can see how it looks without the distraction of variances in color.

I’m thinking casts of this will look best in a flat or satin battleship grey like the original 1920s elevated highway this depicts was, maybe some aging/rust streaks on the grey would be even better.
I wish I had used less course clay as I had problems getting finer detailing without runing into “courseness” but it is what it is, and if I had gotten perfectly smooth fine details and lines it would look too “new” which wouldn’t have been accurate. The model depicts the scene as it was in the 1970s after decades buildup of paint, and corrosion, peeling paint etc.
This course red clay has no tendency to warp or crack as should be obvious by this panel’s size and big variations in thickness from about 1-1/4″ in the background to about 3″ on the bottom quarter, other clays I’ve used before that were smoother really warped badly, so there’s trade-offs on every clay that way.

I say this is “finished” but actually I still have to fill in all of the little slots in those slotted brass screws as they are supposed to be smooth convex shaped rivet heads.

 

27″ x 16-3/4″

 

Pressed cherub 295 firing

I decided to see what would fit in the kiln and as long as these were ready to go, I turned it on. I was able to fit one of the cherubs and the little square lion on the bottom, and one cherub on the upper shelf. the one on the shelf is for a client- it had to be trimmed down an inch on the back to reduce the depth to fit in the client’s 3-1/2″ deep cavity left by removing bricks in the wall. The one on the bottom is the first one and I typically keep the first ones, so it’s full depth, same with lion which is also #1. The client’s 2nd cherub still feels moist inside so it’s not ready yet.
So now these are in for 12 hours of 190º drying before the firing.

Sept 25
I cracked open the kiln lid to look real quick, it’s still 340º but the client’s cherub came out perfect!

285 grotesque model

I got busy with someone, but I managed to get this mostly set up for to-morrow to finish and then make the plaster mold for it.

3 insert pieces for the face done, and one more section left to go.

Sept 16

I finally got around to pressing the first piece in a new mold finished a week ago, after a little cleaning up of surface defects he looks pretty good!

Commodore Hotel copper cornice mask

I set up my clay model for the mold and the mold rubber along with the plaster and clay I ordered have arrived so I’m all set to do this mold and the plaster mold for the cherub, and set up the grotesque 285 to do it’s plaster mold too. Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have this new design actually available, and 2 new molds for pressing clay into.

Cast #1 and 2 are out, now to let #2 dry out so it can be finished for the client. It took 5 gallons to fill the mold.

Sept 15
The client’s cast is finished now in the green copper finish.

West Side Highway model almost finished

I had to do a little artistic license modification on account of a couple of “layers” in the wings design not quite being far enough out from the backing, so I wound up extending one of the flat ring “gears” up a little further than the original design had.
I also need to overlay another thin run of alternated wing design over the large one as it has that on the original and on what would be a bird’s tail feathers which were represented next to the vertical gears the ribbon winds around. A lot of fine detail yet to finish, some will have to be omitted because it’s just TOO fine and small to do in this smaller scale and with this pretty course clay.
I think I’ll go back to the smoother raku clay for models in the future, it seemed to work a lot better for this.

295 cherub model

I started the setup for the cherub to get the original 4″ depth back again.

The new rubber positive has been laid on 4″ thick foam board and the clay built up aound the perimeter. I have it roughed out for now, to-morrow I’ll finish texturing and cleaning up the clay part and I can start pouring the 4 side sections to start with then. There’s virtually no undercuts on the design at all, so the face/front can be done in one large plaster mold section, 5 sections total.

Sept 7

One more section to pour left to go on this- the large “base” that can be done in one piece since there are no undercuts to deal with, and the 4 side sections will all sit on top of the “base” section when I get that done later tonight.

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Sept 8
The mold is done, now to dry it out

 

West Side Highway model Con’t

Some more progress for today, there’s a lot of fine detail as well as some interesting textures on the original highway section in the 1970s photo I’m using that is very faint and hard to see that might not translate real well into a reduced scale model of it like this For now I roughed out some of the details in the helmet and below it, and the ribbon below that which winds around the two gears. I had to really study the old photo to figure out what some of the lines were that I could make out and then I realized the lines were a continuation of the ribbon around one gear and up and down and over to the other gear, then the lines made sense.
The ribbon also gets some alternating texture.

And more progress today Sept 3rd

90 Ridge lion 247

I now have the plaster piece-mold finished for this.
it’s going to be pretty delicate so it will need a lot of gentle care when using it because of all the fine detail, but now I’ll have it to press clay into.

I used up some almost way too soft clay I had left in a bag that was either re-wetted down or some clay scooped out of the back of another sculpture.
I turned the mold over to remove the sections and the bottom section which forms the nose slipped a little and mashed the nose over some, so I’ll have to neater the nose up when I go over the rest of the surface later when the clay is firmer and clean up the details.

90 Ridge lion 247 continued

After a little straightening up I cast a plaster block the thickness I wanted to get the depth I want for the lion block. The plaster provides a firm solid surface for the clay, is easy to cast square, and since plaster stays damp a long time after it’s cast, it won’t shrink or bother the clay while I work on it. After applying a layer of clay around all four sides I used a metal carpenters’ square as a scraper to get reasonably 90 degree to the face and back- sides.
Doing this also allows for having the clay texture on all the sides with no seam where plaster or other material would meet the clay and have a different texture.
So now he will sit in plastic a little while until I get to refining and cleaning him up a bit as the clay gets a little firmer.
Once that’s done I will be making the silicone mold of the still very moist clay model by next weekend.
This rubber is not terribly expensive as silicone rubber goes, but it is a >platinum< cured compound which should offer a clue on the cost.
It runs about $200 for what they call a “one gallon kit”.

Aug 12

The mold is done and the first cast made and finished for some photos. It took 6 quarts to fill the mold which means when I go to make the mold for clay pressing it will take that much rubber to fill this to make a positive I can take the plaster piece mold off of, might be able to do it with less if I push something in the open back to occupy space to raise the liquid rubber level up to the top.
The photo is of the first cast and with one of my finishes on it. They will make nice bookends too.

Aug 17

The rubber lion is out now, next to the earlier cast, soon it will get a plaster mold taken off it.

Westside Highway model

A small bit of progress on this model today, mostly on shaping the far “gear” andthe left lower “wing” I only spent a few minutes on it as I had been working on the little lion block and 3 casts for clients that need to be finished this week to ship them out.

Lion block expanding con’t

I’ll let the little mold dry and see about pressing some clay in it. Meanwhile a pic of the original next to the final expanded rubber version- quite a dramatic size increase from 4-3/4″ to about 6-3/4″
The process wasn’t quite as exact or perfect as the rubber distributor implies, it probably works best on thin plaque shapes.
I had placed it in the bottom of a full 5 gallon pail the last few days hoping the extra water pressure would help force more water into the rubber matrix which is how the expansion takes place- and help straighten the sides but it didn’t seem to expand any further.