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  #1  
Old 02-17-2012, 10:16 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988)

In a very round-about way I found this interesting sculptor after watching of all things -a vintage film about the "new" (1968) Victoria railway in the UK.
As I was watching them detailed the new BlackHorse street station that was under construction, and they showed a model of the station, then a horse profile sculpture plaque on the facade by the entrance.
Next it cut to showing the sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988) modelling the original horse, and went on to detail that to some degree.

As the film progressed, it cut back to the horse twice more briefly, so I went to google street view, I found the station and the horse are still there.
Next I did a little googling and found a web site on his work, he did a lot of interesting work, mostly figural, and the horse was quite different from his other work.

I learned he developed a brain tumor, lost an eye and passed away just as he finished his last work- a bronze.

I found it interesting that he made the original horse from clay (I assumed plasticene at first due to size and shrinkage) then made a mold of it I htink, and cast it in plaster, and then the final was cast in fiberglass, not exactly my choice of a quality material... even aluminum would have been better I think.

I'm thinking he cast the plaster for at least one reason- to texture it as he is shown here with a textured hammer lightly working it over, though this could be water clay too- hard to tell from the video exactly.


Another view shows him chipping away what appears to be the plaster mold to reveal the black fiberglass cast;



So he didn't make a rubber mold it seems, but instead had used a plaster mold to cast the polyester into and then chipped the plaster away, a bit odd to do this this way, maybe it was due to costs for mold rubber or something.
Maybe more definitive answers will come later.


Quote:
Horse 184cm high x 216cm wide
The work was commissioned by the London Transport Board for the new Victoria Line underground. It was first modelled in clay, then plaster and finally cast in glass reinforced polyester.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:44 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988)

I'm thinking that it's clay that he's banging on there...(those look like clay tools in his left hand.) Unless there were some serious undercuts in the model, laying it down, building a clay dam around it, and covering it with plaster would be an easy and economical way to make the mould. Turn it over, pull out the clay and pour on the plastic. Rubber would have been a cleaner way to go and maybe he was wishing he had used it... as he dug out those bits of plaster sticking to the cast.
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:50 AM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
I'm thinking that it's clay that he's banging on there...(those look like clay tools in his left hand.) Unless there were some serious undercuts in the model, laying it down, building a clay dam around it, and covering it with plaster would be an easy and economical way to make the mould. Turn it over, pull out the clay and pour on the plastic. Rubber would have been a cleaner way to go and maybe he was wishing he had used it... as he dug out those bits of plaster sticking to the cast.
Yeah it's probably water clay, though the sheer size of it and then having to be fairly thin he either worked fast or kept it real damp because water clay models in that size would shrink several inches when drying and the shrinking starts pretty fast around the edges first.

The original description is wrong then, it says

Quote:
Horse 184cm high x 216cm wide
The work was commissioned by the London Transport Board for the new Victoria Line underground. It was first modelled in clay, then plaster and finally cast in glass reinforced polyester.
Then what they MEANT to say was it was modelled in clay, then a plaster mold made of it, then it was cast in polyester, and it was that incorrect description that I found confusing as to just what he did.

I'll BET he wished he used rubber while chipping all that plaster out, though I suppose certain chemicals or acids would disolve the plaster they might also have disolved or damaged the polyester in some way too.

I think polyester was still pretty new back then, wonder how brittle it is now after 44 years of exposure and sun.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:20 AM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988)

The trick with water-clay is to keep it damp and that can be done easily by misting, covering it with damp cloth etc. Sculptors that I've known that work only with water-clay swear by it.... the best plastiline clays can only approximate it in its ability to hold fine detail. In Spain the Falleros (sculptors) who make the huge sculptures in Valencia that are burned to the ground each year during The Fallas take pride in the quality of their spanish clay...they dig it themselves right out of the ground, use it for their models and cast them in paper-mache for the festival...
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:41 AM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: sculptor Dave Mcfall (1919-1988)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mack View Post
The trick with water-clay is to keep it damp and that can be done easily by misting, covering it with damp cloth etc. Sculptors that I've known that work only with water-clay swear by it.... the best plastiline clays can only approximate it in its ability to hold fine detail..
Water clay is all I work with, but even wrapped in plastic and misted it starts getting pretty firm fast and begins shrinking. It's not something you want to let sit around over a long period of time. Even kept in the original sealed plastic bags it has a shelf life since the plastic still allows moisture to escape.
I don't like plasticene, neither the smell or the sticky residue it leaves on your hands, or the surface texture, but it has it's use on small models or those with small/thin projections or sections that would dry out rapidly in water clay.
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