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.
The expandable mold rubber is still expanding, now about 6-3/8″ from 4-3/4″ and still going. Hopefully it will level and even out soon once it’s fully saturated all the way to it’s center. I figured it’s 160% expansion
The little expanding rubber lion looks like he has expanded about as much as it’s going to, some distortion evident on the sides but fairly easy to fix along with a few defects, so I’ making a quick and dirty plaster mold of it to press clay into and I’ll use that clay pressing as a model to work on, square up, refine and get a mold off that while it’s still moist and hasn’t shrunk.
I was able to pull the clay pressing out after only an hour, I set it aside under plastic wrap to work on to-morrow and square him up too. I want to get that done quickly so it doesn’t shrink any and I can get a rubber mold off it while the clay is still full sized and moist since the final mold of it will be used to press clay in and when thay dries and shrinks and is fired I want to end up with about 6″x6″ and right now this model is 6-3/4″ x about 6-3/4″
The first pressing of the 294 keystone is out of the mold now and covered with plastic wrap so I can mess with cleaning her up to-morrow. It took almost 50# of clay.
I decided this stunning keystone- a cast I made of the original 1895 one I had years ago, is small enough it can be done in pressed terracotta too, but I have to make a new mold of her first, as the old rubber mold I have which was made with a brand of silicone rubber I stopped buying a decade ago when it started tearing real easily is pretty well on it’s last leg, one more cast out of that and I’m sure by now just removing the rubber from the cast will just tear into pieces.
So I need a new mold, and then I’ll need to make a soft rubber cast and a plaster backer section. So it will take a a few steps to do it, but it’s such a well done face it really needs to be put out there again.
She came from over the window by the blue arrow in the 2nd photo, there were only 2 of them, the other one had been cracked and the face was gone.
Well shoot, no point thinking about it, I went ahead and just ordered the $205 worth of mold rubber I need to make the new mold so I can do it next weekend, I have the molding plaster on hand too.
I’ll still need to get the cheaper rubber to cast one positive with in the new mold so I can make the plaster mold off that, at least that cheaper rubber is about $80 less.