Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Enlarging the clay maquette

A few weeks ago I sculpted a small maquette (clay sketch) that was inspired by my daughter. She's never, I mean never, without a book. She reads constantly and often absently fiddles with her necklace while absorbed. The sketch was originally titled "The Pageturner".

I have have decided to rename the piece "A Good Read" instead and do a similar piece featuring a boy and used "The Pageturner" for that one instead. I'm looking forward to that one, but for now I have decided to enlarge this one.

While I plan to cast the maquette as a small bronze edition and perhaps in resin later on, I also wanted to work larger for a change. I could make my own armature, like I did for the maquette, but I have been wanting to try the Truform armature, so I picked one up at Sculpture Depot and got started on working at 1/2 life size.
The Truform armature is very lightweight and the hard foam has good 'tooth' to grab the clay. I warmed the Jmac in my elcheapo hotbox and started working. Here you can see the original maquette and the first stages of laying on the clay. I'll post photos throughout the process to show the progress.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to make a cheap hot box

Oil based clay comes in differing degrees of firmness. If you live in Colorado have your studio located in the basement, you'll find that even extremely soft clay will be very hard when cold. You could warm the clay in the microwave, as I've done in in the past, but inevitably you will end up getting burned when you squeeze a block of microwaved clay that seems firm on the outside but is a pool of molten lava on the inside. Enter the hot box.

There are a lot of different ways to make a hot box to warm your oil based clay. Tuck Langland has a very nice one that he makes from an old fridge. But you can also go very low tech, as I did here. I simply went to the dollar store and purchased a styrofoam cooler for $1. I also got 3 aluminum disposable pans for $1.

 I turned the cooler on its side and traced around the dome of a cheap shop light. Next I cut out the circle I traced using a sharp knife - being sure to cut 1/2" INSIDE the circle. I placed a 40watt bulb in the lamp and place it on top of the cooler. Since the circle that I cut out is a bit smaller than the lap - I sits just on top of the cooler.

Finally I took some cold, hard chunks of jmac classic clay and tossed them into one of the pans and slid it into the cooler and closed the door (which is really the top of the cooler). Within 10-15 minutes I have warmed clay.

This isn't perfect - it's kind of small and the center chunks of clay get melted while the outer chunks warm less - but for $2 and a lamp I already had, it sure beat sore hands from trying to use cold, hard clay or burned hands from lava-melted clay.

Yes - I know that the old, hot lightbulbs may be be a thing of the past and hard to find soon - but I imagine that I can get creative and find another heat source in the future - for now, this is great for smaller budgets, smaller space and smaller amount of working clay fast.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lori Kiplinger Pandy Sculpture

Lori Kiplinger PandyLori-5AscensionAscensionAscension - Lori Kiplinger PandyAscension  - Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Ascension - Lori Kiplinger PandyDaughter Portrait - Lori Kiplinger Pandypatina1heather1contempate3patina5
Waiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger Pandylori-sierra-1j3
Beach Diva - Lori Kiplinger PandyBeach Diva - Lori Kiplinger PandyBeach Diva - Lori Kiplinger Pandyclaire7Castle2Ball1

Collection of sculpture by Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Here is "Waiting on the #9" in bronze. She stands 17.5" tall x 6.5" wide x 9" deep and has a shaped mahogany wood base.

You can look back at previous posts to see this sculpt develop. I really had to re-sculpt most of her after she was broken in shipping and in the process, I tried different hairstyles on her. Her first hair was a short, sassy 'do but when I came closer to making the mold for bronze, I opted to give her longer hair with flow and movement to echo the flow and movement of her little dress - caught in the draft of the passing transportation.

The inspiration for this piece was from watching all the lovely European women waiting for trains to go about their day. I love trains and we take an occasional train ride her in the states, but in Europe, especially Switzerland, the train is an everyday fixture of daily life and therefore, the people are calm and cavalier about their travels.

I projected my wishes into this piece a bit - hopefully the next time I'm in Switzerland or Italy, I'll be better versed at rail travel so I can exude such casual confidence. As it was,  I had a nervous look as I squinted at platform numbers and realized in dismay that the train I was supposed to be riding was pulling away without me from a different platform. The closest I come to 'being' this woman is the cute little 'date purse' that I gave her. My tiny favorite purse doesn't hold all my usual everyday stuff, therefore it's relegated to those fun nights out with my husband. And while we may not take a train into Old Town Fort Collins, I do enjoy draping that sassy little bag from one finger while we wait for an outside table at one of our cafe's.....and pretending that I look as adorable as my sculpture ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sold - Harriet Tubman in bronze

This weekend was the Loveland sculpture Invitational held in Loveland, Colorado. While quite hot on Friday and Saturday, it was a comfortable on Sunday.

I had a very good response to my sculptures and was especially glad that I paid the rush fees to get my bust of Harriet Tubman finished in time for the show, as she seemed to be a favorite not only of mine, but of the people that viewed her at the show.

I have named the bronze of Harriet  #1 of 9 edition- "Fierce", as she was indeed fierce, brave and very smart. She's been carefully packed and is en route to the collector in Kansas City, Mo.

A new order for the #2 of 9 of "Fierce" will be going in next week.

Now that the show is over, I'm going to take a few days off for some much needed family time before starting back up in the studio on Monday, Aug 20th.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Revising works in progress - portraits in clay for bronze

I refined the maquette of "The Pageturner". A lot of the work was done listening to the Wendy Woo concert at the CSU Lagoon Concert Series, where I sculpted at the show.

Surprisingly, this clay is also Chavant LeBeau Touche. This clay, however is light in color, which I much prefer to two reasons:
1) It's easier to see the shapes and shadows of forms
2) It doesn't stain everything

This clay was less sticky and responded much better than the terra cotta colored clay that I used for "Waiting on the #9". That leaves me to believe that the clay is quite nice, actually, and I simply must have had a bad batch for that earlier sculpt. This is still a bit soft, but had a much more lovely feel to it. This isn't an exact portrait of my daughter, but rather an impression of her: forever lost in her books and absently playing with her earrings or necklace and simply lovely in her quiet repose.

As you can see, it is quite small, but I rather like her as a tiny piece and may cast her as is and then enlarge to 1/2 life size later.

I also did some more work on the portrait of my daughter in water-based clay. After hollowing out too soon and suffering the consequences, I've got her nearly completed. The clay has firmed up nicely and I will put the finishing touches on her tonight and let dry before firing. This piece is life-sized, using CT3 clay.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hollowing the clay bust

Good things come to those that wait. While I know this, sometimes I still rush things. Wanting to get the heavy, wet clay out of the portrait and to speed drying in hopes of firing this bust for the Loveland Sculpture Invitational, I proceeded to hollow out the sculpt before it was firm and dry enough. Result? The clay couldn't keep its shape and distorted, warped and cracked/broke in places.

I knew I could fix things, but I certainly made it more difficult for myself and conversely it will take longer to finish than if I had waited another day or two for drying. Note to self- learn patience.

First I took the wire that I had taped to support pole prior to adding clay and pulled it up and through the sculpture behind the ears. Next I pried the back of the head off and laid it on a pillow wrapped in plastic. The I hollowed out both sides of the head, preserving the interior clay of later use.
I did some damage to the face, which is easy to do when the clay is too soft. I also found that there was heavy distortion when I reassembled the clay that required additional work to correct.

The sculpt has been repaired and nearing completion - will post new photos soon.

Metal chasing Harriet Tubman and Waiting on #9

Busy week preparing for the Loveland Sculpture Invitational next week. There were some glitches in getting the two Ascensions ready - but I finally picked them up from Art Castings yesterday and they're beautiful. The bronzes for Harriet Tubman- Triumph and Waiting on the #9 were completed by Madd Castings and Bob Page did a fabulous job chasing them both quickly. Thanks, too, to Tessa Derbin for some great customer service in moldmaking and wax pouring. Both those pieces are now at patina specialist Dale Cisek's and should be completed on Monday and ready to go back to the Base Shop for the final basing.