columbia

Artifact from the Riviera/Riverside theaters in NYC, removed in 1976

She was based on the old symbol for America “Columbia” pictured below, which was the female symbol before the Statue of Liberty. Though bearing a similar resemblance to one another, Columbia is much older.

Panels D8, 8 and 10

A client ordered a D8 panel in the red terracotta, and before I crate it for shipping I thought i would snap a picture of it.

Another client ordered one as well, and she also purchased D9 and D10 which have been finished but not molded as they were pending a firm order before doing that step.

Next week I should be starting work on the molds for D9 and D10, for reference they are pictured below and they will be in production in a couple or three weeks or so.

Art Deco D10 finished

I’m going to consider this model as finished (other than some overall cleaning up) and to-morrow if I feel better from the nasty cold I have I’ll strip the wood form off the sides and finish straightening and cleaning up the sides, top and bottom.

With this model out of the way I’ll be working on scaling the size for the next model from this Commodore Hotel copper cornice design.

The cornice is far too big to use the design in the same size, remember- this cornice was installed on the 30th floor of the hotel- red arrow.

Here’s a side view, the tape measure can’t be read in the photo, but the cornice projects out form the wall 18″

I will determine a practical reduction size for the model this week and update the blog with what I decide, but it will be started at least this week.

D10 Art Deco “Enlightenment” progress

I haven’t done much on this model in the last couple of weeks since I’ve been busy elsewhere on other things, but today I did some work on this and will continue working on it this afternoon.

I spent some time this morning refining the hand a bit, the face, and general overall cleaning up of surfaces, and re-drawing the incised lines to clarify and clean them up a bit.

The arm is accentualised and becomes a feature which draws the eye in first, it shows strength and power- both themes which were very popular in the 1930’s and you’ll see this in much of the architectural figural sculptures of that era. Some noted ones would be found on Rockefeller Center in NYC.

The lower left corner hints at buildings in a city, while not being defined or detailed in any way, the block and slab shapes easily convey to the viewer the impression of a city. One could refine and detail these crude shapes making them more realistic, but then it would not fit the overall well, and this feature would then tend to draw the viewer’s eye towards that lower corner. Doing that would convey a different initial imporession moving away from “power, strength” and going off into a different direction entirely.

What would that first impression be if this was done?

The overall view with the sun, clouds, and light rays all being very obvious features in the design, all handily bring out the “enlightenment” theme, but these features along with the arm which also follows the same diagonal lines as the sun’s rays also bring forth “strength, power.”

More “cleanup” will happen as the clay becomes firmer.

The top right corner I will be working on next.

Overall it’s turning out well.

More progress

Now that I’m mostly caught up on making and shipping casts people ordered the past 2-3 weeks, I am finally able to get back to working on this model again.

I didn’t do much at all the last couple of weeks as I had other things to get done, and even covered in plastic and spritzed periodically, it’s gotten a bit firmer than I wanted, but as long as I finish it this weekend and not let it go much longer- I can hollow the back out and let it rapidly dry out.

It is called “Endurance” 17″ x 28,” modelled after an original ca. 1928 design by Rene P. Chambellain

It’s not as “flat” a design as it appears to be in the straight-on view, here it is from the side;

I have 5 concrete casts I need to stain for a client and crate then ship them this week, so I’m not sure if I will start the 3rd panel in this series next weekend or the following week, I’d rather not set up the form and clay and then have it sitting for 2 weeks before I get to it.

D9 progress

The second panel in this series is roughed out and a work in progress.

This one is called “Endurance” and depicts the figure exerting pressure Atlas-like in an upwards movement, the effort of which is reinforced by the cracking, jagged and distorted lines surrounding him.

Original low relief design (one of eight) ca. 1928 by Rene P. Chambellain for the two lobbies of the landmark Art Deco Chanin building in NYC.

Model- Feb 2012, by Randall, 17″ x 22″ water clay.

First cast

I have begin casting this panel now, this one is for a client who plans an Art Deco bedroom.

The panel was cast today and will take a few days to dry out, then it will get the bright gold finish which I think will look best.

The color of the panel as shown is with special base tint added to the casting material so that the color is completely through the entire panel.

Using a base color like this under the gold (or another color under one of my other finishes) serves two purposes, one is it tends to deepen the final finish color, the other is, should the unforseen accident occur someday of a chip on a corner, or scratch, with the substrait color being close to the finishes’ color, the damage won’t stand out like a sore thumb as it otherwise could.

D 8 mold started

Now I found some time to start the mold for this panel, hopefully I will finish it tomorrow, but I did get a late start on the first application of silicone mold rubber, and it takes about 6 applications total, each an hour or so apart to build up sufficient thickness. Then it cures in about 6 hours, or in this case, over night before the plaster supporting shell can be made.

Here’s the origial clay model laid flat on a board with the first “detail coat” carefully applied, very thinly over the whole surface to eliminate as much air bubbles as possible when it’s brushed on.

Subsequent applications have a thickener added so it’s more of a mayonaise consistancy and will stay put on vertical surfaces as well as build up thickness rapidly.

Without the thickener the material is more like honey, wanting to flow in a slow and sticky way to seek a level like water does.

The final measurements of the panel is about 17″ x 21, meaning the original clay as it was has shrunk about one inch in width and about 1-3/4 inches in length.

All clay shrinks as it dries, and this is about 6% shrinkage, so in order to gain a specific size that has to be allowed for in the original design.

This also shows how damaged or missing terra cotta components on buildings being restored cannot simply be replaced by making a mold off an existing or undamaged element to make replacements- the final casts would wind up about 6% smaller.

The alternative then is concrete “replacements” cheap fiberglass, or having a sculptor sculpt a replacement model about 12% larger if using water clay for the model due to the double shrinking, about 6% if using an oil based clay or other material such as carved and shaped plaster.

Art Deco D8

I’m pleased to report that this recently completed model now has a “sponsor”, and a mold will be made in about a week for this so the client will be able to receive his cast.

Also, the semi-discontinued lion 3886 may also come back again shortly.

It was never a big seller, so when the mold tore I never replaced it and decided to just shelve replacing it till some later date, because each mold costs an average of $300 for the materials, and most of a day labor to build. For me to spend that money and time on a mold it needs to be for a design that sells, or has at least a couple of interested parties with firm orders at hand. Otherwise the mold just sits around taking up space, and they do have a shelf life for the rubber part of them too.

With a previous client perhaps wanting 3 more now, the mold would be good to replace at this point to cast those.

Next Art Deco model

Now that the other model is hollowed out and taken off my easel and laid flat on strips of styrofoam to dry out, I’ll be doing this model next, same size as the first.

I like the slight curving effect, as it reinforces the figure’s exerting pressure upward which is causing movement as evidenced by the vertical lines bending outward, and the horizontal upper section being bent upwards. This one will be #D-9