Been mucking with graphite, graphite dust and graphite wash on Strathmore plate 500 series. This is a trip back to the beginning to sort things for myself. Thankfully, i don’t draw like thirty years ago so I am having a fair amount of great fun with this. Outcome as follows…
The Gold Bug by E.A. Poe
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Mausonian Museum Announcement Alert! The Fetal Deep One museum specimen was debuted at Necon 36 this passed weekend to great acclaim! This specimen was collected in November 1931 by a French naturalist in the mangrove swamps of Chira Isle off the western coats of Costa Rica. The specimen entered the museums catalogs several weeks later and is now permanently housed at the Cultural Mythology Wing of the Mausonian Museum.
Only three specimen replicas have been created of this rare find. The first has been housed in bell jar display and is available here at my Etsy store. This specimen replica measures approx 5” high by 4” wide x 1.5” deep. It is created with resin, painted with acrylics and sealed. Gill structures are fragile and running your fingers through them is not advised.
This is the end product of a series of blog posts detailing the casting procedures for this beastie back towards the end of last year. Yep, it takes awhile to get things together.
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Bit of painting of pack members current and past. They are oil, 8×10.
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Yep, it was last September, maybe August….memory ain’t what it used to be. Anyway, here are some pictures I ran across while cleaning out somewhat extensive picture files. NecronomiCon was great fun. I got to participate on a panel with some cool intellectual folks and managed to get a piece into the art show. Below is that piece. It is called Cthulhu Africanus, made of cold cast iron, nails, wire, and some acrylic. This is the first one I produced and the only one that has the gold paint scheme.
On the way to the show we spotted this plate in a parking lot….very cool, indeed.
Plenty of things to do, no doubt! Here is Dark Adventure Theatre doing a rendition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth with audience participation….croak…crOAK…CROAK…
A couple of pics of the cool fabric art and the well attended opening night of the art show at the Providence Art Club.
An unexpected joy at the Biltmore Hotel…
A grand con, well done and looking forward to the next!
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So last time, we left with everything setup to do the second side.
The second side of the limb molds and the main mold were poured. The main mold being two separate pours with the second pour having a thickener added to the silicone. These were left overnight to cure.
The main mold was then prepped with a retaining wall for the second side of the mother mold. Real important here: generous vaseline on the mother mold surface (pale yellow area) that can be seen buried in the clay. If you don’t, when the two parts meet and cure, they will become one. Your silicone mold and model will be trapped inside. And that is the way they will be forever unless plied with some tool of destruction.
The mother mold material applied and then the resulting mother mold shell out of the clay matrix.
So, now all is done. Here are the molds, open and ready for casting. I did not grease the silicone surfaces so i had a bit struggle to separate them as it had setup overnight. I usually pull these apart after three or four hours without difficulty. The longer the two surfaces stay in contact, the stronger the bond between the silicone halves becomes. When anyone tells me that silicone won’t stick to itself, I just grin and nod. In truth, I should grease just as a matter of good work protocols.
Initial test castings.
For my needs, the castings are quite successful. From here, the work flow becomes cleanup, adding parts, finish work, painting and mounting. The main figure will serve as a base to which more fins, gills etc. will be added by hand to each individual sculpture. These parts will be created with apoxie sculpt as i go along. Given material costs and time frames, some things are just easier to create by hand than to cast. The limbs will be glued into their appropriate holes and blended to the body. I am now roughly one third complete with this project.
If you have any questions regarding this process, feel free to contact me.
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By the next day the molds have cured. The main mold of the body needs one more step before we can begin work on the other side. We need to get this sides half of the mother mold shell on. The clay retaining wall for the silicone has been removed and the silicone trimmed to provide a clean edge. Another retaining wall is built a bit further out from the silicone. This one is for the mother mold. This will be a jacket to support the silicone mold.
The mother mold material applied to the main body mold. The material for the mother mold acts like cake frosting and sets up quickly.
A few hours later, i pried the clay platform up from the board and flipped it over. You can see the rapid build of the platform with chunks of clay from this side. The other side of the model is revealed.
And voila! One half is done. You can see the model couched in the silicone which in turn sits in the mother mold.
The process now begins again. A clay retaining wall for the silicone is put up.
The little clay boxes that contained the arms and legs were broken down and the walls reused to quickly build up new boxes to be able to do the second silicone pour. You can see the little buttons on the surface. These were the dimples from the first part. The sprues, those little conical towers, are buried in the silicone matrix. These are examples of block molds. When i use these, a couple of rubber bands will be all i use to hold the halves together.
The pouring of the silicone for the second sides is a two step process. The first silicone layer is put down thin to avoid bubbles and to make sure all the surface detail is captured. After the silicone becomes tacky, in about an hour, a second batch is poured into the small molds. The larger model model has a thickened silicone applied so that a shape can be generated instead of having the liquid just run down to the lowest areas leaving all the high points without enough coverage. This all needs to sit overnight again.
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So last time, I told you about a tight seam line. Here is a magnified picture of a small area along the spine. The cleaner this line is, the smaller the seam will be which translates to less cleanup after. Attention to detail during the mold making stages is savings in work later.
These are the limbs with sprues attached in little small boxes of clay. The sprues are those little conical towers. A sprue is the part of the mold where the material is going to be poured into and continue on towards the actual mold surfaces. They are molded into the model so it will be one piece. There will be a piece of plastic after casting which represents the sprue itself but that gets cut off the casting and tossed.
I changed my mind on the type of mold i wanted so i had to rework the walls on the body mold. The walls are now lower and closer to the model. These walls will act as overflow stops for the silicone rubber. At first, i wanted a block mold, meaning a big chunk of rubber with enough mass to hold its shape without distortion of the inner mold surfaces. Instead, i decided to do a thinner mold and use another outer stiff mold to support the thinner inner one. This outer mold is called a mother mold.
This the first half of the body of the model before the silicone. I am showing two views because top down can be confusing without some idea of depth.
This is the first layer of the silicone. Initially, it is put on very thin. I use a brush to be sure i get into every nook and cranny. The layer is kept thin which helps the bubbles to dissipate. As long as the important surfaces are well covered, i have no problem filling the outlaying areas by pouring the silicone rubber into the mold. This is done by holding the cup a bit above and allowing the rubber to be poured in such a way that a thin ribbon forms. This ribbon will not carry bubbles. This is poured into one corner and allowed to proceed on its own along the paths available. Those bubbles at the top area are where i dumped the a bit of silicone to show what happens when not following a good technique. Where they are means nothing but if they were against a surface of the model that would be bad. I dissipated them with a brush afterwards.
When the silicone is sticky but not leaving itself on the fingertip of the glove, a second layer is poured. This is generally somewhere around 45 minutes to an hour. This time a thickener is added to the silicone which makes it act like cake frosting instead of a liquid. Simply spread with tongue depressor and serve in twenty minutes…..The small green piece of clay is a test of another type of clay to see if it is amenable to silicone.
The small parts (limbs) were done with an initial thin layer of silicone followed by a simple pour of more silicone about an hour later.
This is all now going to sit overnight and let the chemical reactions proceed. Next time, we will see things from a slightly different angle.
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I have been posting some pictures on Facebook of what i am doing regarding some mold making for a new sculpture I am calling a fetal deep one. As a few of y’all are watching, i thought perhaps a bit more commentary than my usual two word titles might be nice. You will see a scalpel handle in some of these pictures. The handle is 6.5 inches so you have a sense of scale.
I created the fetal deep one with a mix of Sculpey and Super Sculpey, a 1:2 proportion. Sculpey is a polymer clay that gets hard if cooked in an oven. This piece has been in my dedicated toaster oven 17 times due to a lot to the fact that I handled this piece instead creating it on a standing armature.
This first picture is of the near completed piece with the arms, legs, and gills separate. I will be casting those separately. It is just easier. The fin at the base of the tail needs some clean up still.
This picture shows the right arm and legs in place, visualizing how it will look. The gills are based on the unusual British moor frog tadpoles.
This is the piece being roughed in with clay. First, i level the object up on a couple of pieces clay and then begin using chunks around it to build a platform that will allow approximately half of it or so to show. From there it is close in work to bring the clay to the edge of the object at as much of a right angle as possible. This area has to be as clean and tight as possible as this where the seam is going to be. You can see the final tail fin shape has changed substantially. This is because I changed my mind on how it was going to be displayed. This allowed the fin to unfurl.
This is finished half. The box is about two inches deep. The sprue is where the resin will be poured to make a casting. The dimples are for making alignment ‘ locks’. This ensures exact matching of the two pieces of the rubber mold as best is humanely possible. I have decided to change the type of mold I am making. It will mean some adjustments to the work I have done. I will explain that. Next post, I will show you some close up pictures and the next step.
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Like so many museums, the Mausonian museum has more inventory in its basements, attics, and storage facilities than could ever be displayed properly. A fair amount is only cataloged as box numbers with annotations of date of receipt and country of origin.
Earlier this spring, the museum security patrol surprised an intruder in the basement storage area. A number of large crates had been opened but the thief fled empty handed. The broken crates were all from a shipment from Nairobi dated 1893. Shattered pots, masks and ancient weapons lay scattered across the floor. The items were collected, assessed, cataloged and put back into storage. Of the many invaluable artifacts and cultural fetishes, one item stood out from the rest.
It was a statue depicting Cthulhu. The overwhelming stylization of various African cultures fixed its origin and created a mystery to the presence of this Polynesian demigod on the African continent. Obviously, a connection between cultures, unknown and unexplored. Initial assessment of the item describes a deity artifact, approximately seven inches high, four inches deep, and nearly 12 pounds in weight. Created from a lump of raw iron and wire, it is riven by twenty two old nails. Age of the figure has not been determined though the nails are common construction items from the late eighteenth century. I found the piece to be a truly brutish vision and repellent to the touch.
It has been restored and now is on display in the Cultural Mythology wing of the Mausonian.
A one to one scale reproduction has been made of this unusual artifact and is available here or at this Etsy link.
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