Taking a Plaster Mold

As a continuation from my previous blog post “Making an Armature”, this post is going to be about taking a mold of the torso sculpted on that armature. Below (Fig 1) is a picture of the clay body.

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(Fig 1)

The first step in this process was to map out how the sculpture is going to be parted, a sketch can be seen in fig 2.

18618327_10153962743567609_1893934102_o                                                                            (Fig 2)

It was decided that the sculpture would be separated in six parts, eliminating as many undercuts as possible. Each area was separated using small metal pieces, which acted as a support when the plaster was poured, as can be seen in fig 3. Three layers of plaster should be applied to each section, prior to the third layer a wire structure was inserted for durability.

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                                                                         (Fig 3)

After all the body was plastered, the demolding process took place two – three hours after. Once this was done, the mold was cleaned with a sponge and water to get rid of any residue, see fig 4 & 5. The mold then needs to be reassembled and the air pockets and seam lines should be smoothed out using clay, see fig 6.

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(Fig 4)18641586_10153962596572609_1356020544_o

(Fig 5)

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(Fig 6)

The mold was tied together using metal wire. The lower back will be attached at a later stage so as to apply the materials manually. This whole process took around 10 hours in general and another blog will follow showing the final result.

Making an Armature

There are many ways of making an armature, the method I chose was to carve it out of Styrofoam. The piece I was working on was a torso of approximately 70cm/ 30cm. The first step in this process was to map out the size and form of the torso on a large piece of paper, as can be seen in Fig 1.

18618144_10153962596652609_1625689327_o                                                                           (Fig 1)

The next step was to trace the outline onto the piece of Styrofoam so as to have a reference when carving, see Fig 2. Since the drawing was done to show the exact size of the torso, the Styrofoam armature should be around one or two inches smaller, so as to leave space for a plaster layer and clay, see Fig 3. 18641234_10153962596687609_1473020160_o

                                                                         (Fig 2)

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(Fig 3)

The next step was to embed a pole through the body and secure it to a base. The base should be quite thick so as to reduce movement while sculpting and remain sturdy. there should also be some form of plate just beneath the Styrofoam body so it does not slip down. This is something that I forgot to do myself and resulted in the metal rod piercing through my sculpture body at a later stage. After this was complete, i proceeded to cut up sac the material in squares, enough to cover the whole body. These material squares were then doused in plaster and neatly pasted all over your styrofoam body and left to dry. This can be seen in fig 4.

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(Fig 4)

The last step was to apply three coats of varnish to the structure so as to prevent the clay from drying out prematurely. The end result can be seen in fig 4, ready for clay application!

Red Or Blue Pill?

This was a project that was conduced in 2015 for the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA). The work was based on the red or blue pill concept from “The Matrix”. “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

The reason I chose to tackle this concept is because working in such a company opens the doors to the world of technology and information, where one is knowledgeable about how anything console based works. Therefore they chose to be there, “taking the red pill” and indulging in all there is to know about the subject.

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The materials used to make this mural was grogged clay and the size is 1.5 meters by 60cm.

 

Reference:

Matrix Wiki. ND, Red pill. [online] Available at: <http://matrix.wikia.com/wiki/Redpill&gt; [Accessed 20 April 2015].

Concept Drawings

The focus of my dissertation is, if the facial features of a sculpture can evoke an uncanny feeling in the viewer. Therefore I created a concept drawing of what my sculpture will more or less look like when it is produced and placed in its proper setting. I want people to feel slightly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, possibly quite scared when viewing my sculpture, which will be 80cm.

sketch 1

The sculpture will be placed on a chair facing a mirror, in a room which will be 2m/2m/2m. The viewer will have to walk into the room from behind the sculpture therefore seeing both the sculpture and themselves in the mirror, automatically interacting with it. There is also enough space for the viewer to walk around the work.

sketch-1.jpg

The material that it will be made out of is Dragon Skin FX pro and Soma Foma foam. This will give the piece a fleshy and tactile look which will hopefully create feelings of uncertainty and discomfort. I want to also incorporate hand poked hair so as to enhance the realistic effect in the work.

Experiment

After creating the small maquette of a doll i decided to take a mold of the face using Dragon Skin FX pro along with a plaster backing.

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After this I decided to pour clear resin and dye it with some pigments. This did not work as planned because the pigments did not dissolve and remained in clumps. These clumps sank to the bottom and created holes in the resin after it cured. the result actually came quite gruesome looking!

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Still hopeful, I poured a second batch of resin, this time without any pigments and it worked!

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I absolutely love the transparent effect of the resin, it worked so well. It still needs to be buffed to get that glass look, but other than that, I am super happy with it.

Teaser

For my dissertation I am focusing on the uncanny and how it applies to sculpture, if it even can. Therefore I have been looking into the creation of ball joint dolls, and how to manipulate them in such a way so that the viewer will experience feelings of discomfort or even fear. The main focus of the sculpture for my dissertation will be the face, which will be most expressive area. This image shows my maquette made out of white clay in its early stages, pre firing. This maquette will later be recreated life size for greater impact.

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Since I usually sculpt objects on a larger scale, sculpting an object on a small scale can be very tedious, more than I expected. Regardless of this, it was a highly enjoyable process and will definitely be at it again shortly!

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Dystopia Concept

Process

I have always been fascinated by alternative ideas of worlds, this includes various life forms and terrains. So I decided to create my own dystopian world with direct reference to the immorality of the world we live in. This includes dominance, indoctrination, religion and power in all forms. I created 20 gnomes in different gestural positions and a large flower with a face, made out of clay, followed by a drawing of a large monstrous creature, all representing different concepts. A few concept drawings can be seen below.

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The big creature portrayed in my drawing below evokes the undiluted power found in just a handful of individuals around the world.This is done using pencil and ink.

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The flower seen below is characterized by a face, which symbolizes the ambitions, aspirations, and desires of the gnomes, who represent the general public. This flower, despite its aesthetic appeal, acts as a parasite on the ground it grows on; damage to the environment is ultimately inevitable if one chooses to strive in life or in one’s career.

flower

Hannah Work One(1)

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The fat man asserts his power by consuming the flowers produced by the gnomes, either forcefully or with their consent. This is representative of how we allow these high-powered people or beliefs, to obliterate our dreams, by means of passivity and depletion of self-esteem.

Hannah Work Two(2)(1)

I would love to continue working on this concept, but time is an issue at the moment. I will definitely continue to build on this concept in the future.

Sculpture

Attempting to create an uncanny effect

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When I sculpt, time stops and its just me the clay. During this process all I can think about is the clay residue on my hands and the image that I want to achieve.
The portrait sculpture itself is not meant to be a perfect, realistic depiction of a person, but instead quite the opposite. The eyes are not symmetrical and are quite small, the nose is very large in comparison its long face and it possesses no ears. This sculpture is gender-less.

This sculpture is still in its  early stages, the next step will be to fire and glaze it.

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