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″
All three pieces came out of the kiln just perfect
Two cherubs given an aged finish for a NYC client, the yellowish hue is from reflections from the wood floor and the lights fooling hte camera, they don’t have any yellow on them.
The first pressed terracotta of this lion came out of the kiln perfect, it wound up the same size as the originals it’s based on that came from a tenement at 90 Ridge St NYC 6″ square.
These would make very nice bookends.
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.
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.
The mold is done, now to dry it out
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
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.
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”.
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.
The rubber lion is out now, next to the earlier cast, soon it will get a plaster mold taken off it.