I have been busy this week, so I barely touched the model but I managed to get a little time on it today.
I finally got caught up with other client’s orders, crates and more so I did a little bit of work on this today at least, rough laying out the design as this begins.
As I completed my form for the shape yesterday, today I started work on laying out the model by pressing the clay into the form and rough sketching landmarks on the surface.
The Mulcaster building was once located at 1156-1162 (incorrectly designated as 1297 according to one source) Third Avenue, NYC (demolished ca 1965) on it’s facade was this spandrel panel, probably more than one:
Dates: ca. 1885
Dimensions: 25″ x 28″ x 7 1/2″
Located in the Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Frost.
Description: Pressed, fired red terracotta rectangular plaque with head of youth, a butterfly-boy or girl sipping nectar from blossoms through a straw.
I decided to make my version of this 19″ high, 22″ wide which is the same proportion but a little smaller and this begins with the box form for the shape:
I made the first cast this morning from the new mold, the mold was not terribly difficult to work with but it’s very large and since the plaster shell of it is fresh it still has about 5 to 6 gallons of free water in it that has to evaporate out, meanwhile the extra weight of the water adds about 50 pounds of excess dead-weight.
I still need to cast a master to store away for future use in replacing the mold, and one for a client’s order today as well.
It took 4 gallons of water in two 5 gallon buckets mixed with the cast-stone to make enough slurry to fill the mold.
Those full 5 gallon buckets are heavy as hell to lift with the wire handle they come with, it’s about 68# each when full and I filled 2 up for the cast of the other gargoyle Nr 170 that I did yesterday not remembering exactly how much it would take. I had mixed up 2 full buckets as my notes from the last time I cast one of those indicated it took 4 gallons of water and I couldn’t remember if that was to completely fill the mold up with some left over, exactly the amount needed, or if was short, so I used 4-1/2 gallons of water to be on the safe side and those buckets wound up taking 50# and then some of the cast-stone. I wound up with almost half a bucket full left over, fortunately I was able to use part of it elsewhere on the spur of the moment.
The first cast in the Old Limestone Grey finish.
The mold was removed from the clay model last night, it was difficult to pull the rubber off since it was pretty thick/stiff in places it needed to be and a lot of undercuts and keyhole areas, the original unfired clay model mostly surviced the mold making process, only the curled tail broke off but it was a fairly clean break and it can be repaired so that eventually- I hope- when I buy a larger kiln I can try firing it.
Nr 170 did not survive the mold making process but that’s ok, I have a plaster master from it and the mold.
The models were all made from Georgie’s “Three finger jack” clay which is a cone 8-10 high fire clay, this model if I ever get to firing it will have to be slowly pre-heated around 200 degrees F for quite a while, and then very slowly fired probably over a couple of days time and then slowly cooled down under a powered-on slow schedule rather than having the kiln shut completely off at final temperature.
Now I will be working on building the supporting shell for the mold today.
I just finished all of the required sections and at the moment I’m waiting for the last/bottom section to harden fully before taking the mold apart.
I decided to do the plaster shell in the modelling studio instead of the basement because with the rubber and the board the model is around 120# and that’s a bit much to try and manhandle through three doorways and then down a narrow flight of stairs.
The first picture was taken around noon, the last one around 7 PM so it’s easy to see how making ashell like this takes about a day.
I started the mold for this this morning, so the progress on that is happening, the rubber portion should be finished late tonight.
Now the rubber portion of the mold is completed, having used up 3 gallons of the compound. I ordered 4 gallons knowing that like the first one it would take more than the single 2 gallon kit, they run $200 each so this one model used up $300 worth but I have enough left over now to replace 1 or possibly 2 small corbel molds that needed replacements for a long time.
The next step is building the complex plaster support shell for this, I figure about $100 worth of materials there to complete the mold plus my time, so it’s easy to see how this size model takes around $400 in materials alone just to make the molds for, it’s easy to see why I no longer just make molds automatically of new models untill there’s a firm purchase for the cast. In this case the model was finished in 2007, had I made the mold back then it would have sat around unused for the last 6-1/2 years before even selling the first cast.
The rubber portion has an unknown shelf-life purportedly being many years, but even without being used at all the rubber eventually will chemically break down, weaken and have to be replaced at some point.