I have the model finished, except for the final cleanup, straightening and sharpening edges etc.

There really isn’t a way to have the letters go under and over each other like this without “bending” to do it, or else make the letters extremely deep or “stepped” rather than bending, but they are already about 1/2″ high.

I had initially thought it might work but raising one letter much higher to make it flatter and then to go over another lower letter next to it without “bending” down to do it doesn’t work, so as it dries and firms up a bit more this weekend I’ll be tidying up the surfaces and edges and getting them smoother in the bending curves as well.

It was an interesting conversion from 2D to 3D and presents some interesting problems in 3D form you don’t have in the 2D form.


I thought I would make a model after this very ornamental monogram pictured below:

The antique original pictured above came from the old James McCreary Dept store on 23rd Street, 6th Avenue, NYC, I removed it from the lower portion of one of the metal elevator doors when the building was being demolished around 1974. I had added the frame and painted detailing around then.

The poor photo from 1982 doesn’t show it well, but it’s a very entwined, ornamental 3D design that would translate nicely in clay I think.

I will make the design about 15″ square.

The original sign is low relief but interesting intertwining of the letters, so I thought a much deeper relief would lend itself to some interesting treatment with various relief heighs, shadows and cutouts. I think a textured background, smooth letters will do best, haven’t decided on the texture yet, maybe a ball peened, or wood notched tool marks.

I decided to go with full size, making the monogram end up about 15-16″ square on an 18″ background which will shrink a little. I used course red clay as I have two boxes of it I need to get rid of before it’s too stiff to use.

Setting up the model with the lettering outlines inscribed on the clay for reference:

I will probably make the letters quite raised, 3/4″ or even more.

The monogram is: J M Mc Co. which was the James McCreary Co. department store dating back to the 1880s.

Art Deco D9 ready

I have the first cast on hand now of this panel, this one is reserved for a client, the red is the base color in the casting material and this is drying out before I can apply the finish to it:

D10 is next, and the mold for that will be finished next week.


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.