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  #26  
Old 05-25-2008, 09:12 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

I don't know why you remove and reattach parts to work on them. Perhaps its a habit from working with fired clay.
I always model and work the entire figure at once, laying it fully out in clay over the armature and working it along as a whole at relatively the same degree of finish at each part.

One thing that helps me is to make a small , rough maquette of the piece first to figure out the pose and proportions, then from there to figure out the armature. So my armatures tend to be self-supporting, following the pose, anchored through the legs if there is not a central solid mass, rather than the traditional pipe from behind supporting the dangling armature in front of it.
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  #27  
Old 05-25-2008, 09:30 AM
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Re: One of my pieces

Yes, you are right, I detached extremities when I did firing. I feel I have a better angle to work, if I can have it separate and, on a head or hands, be able to turn it around in my hands or on the paper wad pipe I do the head on.

You must mold yours while it is still wet. Otherwise wouldn't an internal armature break as it dried? When I was firing my pieces, I used a combination of pipes and elbows and a flange. I cut off the top of the head and hollowed it and removed the series of pipes as I hollowed. Do you remove your internal armature of keep your work wet?

Tell me a little about how you keep yours wet and how long you might be able to keep working on one piece. I feel I have to hurry.

I have drawn these two little girls a million times through the years and always knew I would sculpt them sometime. I didn't do any small marquette but maybe I should.

Do you have any favorite texturing tools to remove tool marks? Thanks, Scout
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  #28  
Old 05-25-2008, 09:53 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

Ah ha! I forgot that you are using water clay. I use " Le beau touche" by Chavant, and oil-based clay that I found among the options most closely feels and works like water clay.

It costs a bunch more than your clay, but no more wetting and covering...you can rework it after leaving it out in your studio for ten years, or strip it down and use it for the next peice without having to re-condition it.
No more clay dust, shrinking cracks, mold, and no more rushing about like a mad-hatter trying to work it before it hardens...it's great!
I have been using this so long that I tend to forget that about water-based clay, even thought I was aware of your firing some pieces.


My favorite tools for removing tool marks are my fingers!

When fingers are too large for some areas, I use the cone-shaped end of those double-ended neoprene tipped thingamabobs, or the delicate touch of the thin-wired triangle of the basic wooden-handled clay sculpting tool.
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  #29  
Old 05-25-2008, 10:01 AM
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Re: One of my pieces

Tell me more about Chavant clay. It never shrinks? Does it slump? Can I use it for large pieces? I build up the water based as it firms up. Will it hold up to extended arms and body weight. How many pounds was your biggest piece? Sounds very interesting. You don't mind never having an original?

Do you do your own molding and casting? What rubber and resin do you use? Scout
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  #30  
Old 05-25-2008, 11:45 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

Careful, if we're playing 20 questions you may use yours up too fast!

You can find lotsa info on Chavant by using our search function. However...in as much as I have been doing all of my sculpture in chavant, and many other figurative sculptors here either use it or something similar, you can guess that it out-performs water-based clay in most of the areas you asked about.
Extended arms, etc. are supported by the strength of the armature. The clay stays where you put it. My largest piece using it so far was the 9 1/2 foot tall Saint Paul statue, and you can see the process here:

http://www.glennterryart.com/Sculpt/MakingStPaul.htm

The armature in this case instead of my usual wood, metal, construction debris, and stucco lathe approach was carved styrofoam, which reduced the weight but caused other difficulties including effecting my health. Over the carved styrofoam was laid the clay, averaging about 1/2 " thick. The remains of this are still in my studio, along with the 1/2 size version which is in much better shape because my usual armature type held the clay intact instead of having the plaster molds pull it apart upon demolding.

So, in that sense, I still have the originals, they just aren't in a permanent medium. I have works 10 years old in this clay, uncovered, non shrinking, that are waiting for me to apply a few finishing touches when I have the time, perhaps in another 10 years.

I consider my bronze cast to be "my original", and the clay is "that which brung me there".

As much as possible I use the old dinosaur approach of making direct plaster molds rather than rubber molds, as my work is mostly one of a kind commissioned originals rather than multiple runs. When neccessary I make rubber molds using either 2-1 ratio polytek or smooth-on products. At first I had been using an expensive blue silicone, 10-1 ratio product whose name escapes me. It was a pain in butt in comparison.
I do 95% of my own molds. The other 5% are if a client needs multiples and it is worth the extra cost to have a person who does molds all the time for a living create a better one.

Resin as in resin casts? I don't do them. I like the real thing...bronze.
Or plaster if it needs to be done on the cheap. Resin is toxic, and Glenn doesn't like toxic.

I should point out that chevant makes other oil-based clays that are firmer than " Le Beau Touche", such as their NSP clay. I use these if I am working real small, or in other instances where the circumstances warrant.

Try it...it's liberating!
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  #31  
Old 05-25-2008, 12:43 PM
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HappySculpting HappySculpting is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

Hi Scout

What a cutie! Ditto the comments above about all those extra details making her so special.

With the boy, since you don't have the wide dress base for stability, you can just leave the lower portion of the legs a wide blob of clay and work out those legs last. Then the legs will be more into the leather hard clay and can be carved to form.

If you're thinking of firing, can cut her at the waist and fire her in halves. Make registration holes and protrusions in order to put her back together.

Look forward to all your new large works... !!!! And yes, we all are a bit manic I think!

~Tamara

P.S. Here's a link to show how Heidi uses a tomato cage with large black(black to prevent mold growth)bag for covering her earth clay sculpts to keep them hydrated:
http://portrait-sculpture.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=376
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  #32  
Old 05-25-2008, 02:01 PM
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Re: One of my pieces

I hear you Glenn. I'll slow down with the assault. I'm sure I'll try the oil clay but I need to stick with this for a time. Also I am not much of an engineer. You spend a lot of time on the armature but I can't build that way. I may have to learn how though if I get much bigger than maybe adult size.

I like your thoughts on the original being the bronze and the clay just having served to get you there.

Hi Tamara, been a little while since we talked. I got off on Watercolor and only just started doing the bigger sculptures that I dreamed about. I do hope to be able to keep these wet enough to mold and then hollow them to be fired. I'll make register marks at the waist next time. If I get these far enough to hollow out, I am going to detach at the neck. Partly because one is already starting to crack there. I learned a lot about attaching too many things from one part of the body to another. Like the pig tail to the shoulder.

Good way to build up the figure, with roughed out legs. Do you sculpt everything right on the figure or do you cut parts off to work on them?

I read Heidi's thread. Very good advice. Thanks. Scout
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  #33  
Old 05-26-2008, 10:49 AM
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HappySculpting HappySculpting is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout View Post
Do you sculpt everything right on the figure or do you cut parts off to work on them?
Scout
Yes, it's been awhile. So nice to connect back up. :-)

I first sculpt all the parts of the body as complete figure- this makes sure the parts are in proportion. I cut off hands, feet, and head to work them out from all angles by having them detached. I've had hands nearly dry and was able easily to reattach to the sculpture. You likely do this but here's the routine: Rough up both areas to attach with hatchmarks and moisten thoroughly. Make up a bit of slip and slop that on both pieces and join firmly.

Hard part is when the piece attaches to 2 different areas of the sculpt such as your pig tail. (I probably would have sculpted the pig tail on the sculpt itself- not detached.) Important to solidly join each attach point so that when it shrinks it won't make a stress crack at the joint. The goal is to have the entire sculpt shrink together at the same pace and as one unit.



~Tamara
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  #34  
Old 05-26-2008, 01:28 PM
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Re: One of my pieces

Thanks Tamara. The first one (with the pig tails) I was lost on the building part and couldn't juggle what I needed to do at the right time. Some of her extremities are not well attached. So in drying, they are letting go and may fall off. So I am trying to keep her wet until Steve gets here to mold her.

The second one (with the hat), is constructed much more securely. Should I let her dry? She is solid from the waist up but hollow with a maze of clay supports woven through in her skirt.

Talk to me about how to dry one. Should it ever be completely uncovered for long? I have a damp flannel sheet and plastic over it. There are a lot of small details that will dry very quickly. Like the basket handle. How do I protect them? Scout
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  #35  
Old 05-26-2008, 03:03 PM
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Re: One of my pieces

Hi Scout,

If you want Steve to mold the second sculpture, then it's best to keep it plump and full of water. Earth clay sculpts look best, in my opinion, when full of water. If you allow to dry, then everything will be smaller and more brittle. Also, graininess occurs (grog exposed from shrinkage) which the mold can pick up.

If you want to fire the second one- is it too thick? If it has a lot of grog, maybe you could go as thick as 3"??? That would be pushing the limits and it might blow. The clay supports on the inside will be fine provided you don't have airpockets that can also expode in firiing.

It's best to allow the sculpt to dry as slowly as possible. So.. drape the bag over her loosely during the day. Then at night close up the bag completely. During the night, all the moisture will equalize. Even if you removed the bag completely for a few hours in the day, the thin areas would dry out the quickest, but at night, when sealed up, the moisture will flow right back in those dried out areas- equalization will have occured.

Look for stress cracks as she's drying- these will get bigger as it's drying. Sometimes I carve these cracks completely out and fill with leather hard clay and pack it in and join good (do have to use moisture to join) to stop the crack. I often use a patch a tatch type product that is formulated for repairs on greenware.

I haven't seen the second sculpt... Hope to see it soon,

~Tamara
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  #36  
Old 05-26-2008, 07:38 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: One of my pieces

All these are very good advice Tamara. I can't say it better.

I agree clay models do not have to be dry for molding. So keep it wrapped up and keep it wet. The big problem with drying is unequal shrinkage which causes cracking.
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  #37  
Old 05-27-2008, 05:55 AM
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Re: One of my pieces

Thanks Tamara and EQ. I was thinking they didn't look as good dry as they did plump and wet.

I was having trouble with mold and smell while keeping them wet. Steve told me to add a little bleach to my spray bottle. It helps. I hope there are no ill effects from it.

I'm starting the little boy with two cats next. I'm concerned with the free standing balance of this one. Should I just rely on a pipe support into the ground for displaying or should he stand on his own? I'm thinkin' he will not stand alone. I don't think I will be able to take the exterior armature out of him like I did with the girls. He will be weak at the ankles. Any advice? Scout

Last edited by Scout : 05-27-2008 at 06:14 AM.
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  #38  
Old 05-27-2008, 06:13 AM
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Re: One of my pieces

Landseer, I sure could use some advice on the mold making. SteveM is coming to teach me how to mold and cast it. Scout
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