Work in Progress
Keep water warm, not hot or the clay will melt.
Monster Clay - Medium


Wax Brite is an excellent way to smooth the tool marks out of the clay.  Make sure not to use too much or it can dissolve the clay and leave it sticky.  Let it dry completely before making a mold from the form.




Creating a Mold:  

I use Sharpie to draw a line around the form, then cut aluminum flashing into an appropriate size and form a wall around the line.  Use duct tape or packing tape to secure the flashing to itself.  The flashing can be formed to create a precise shape in order to maximize the silicone.  I attach the wall to the plate with hot glue.  You can also use a cup or container to create the mold, or clay slabs to build the walls.  I test the flashing with water before pouring the silicone to make sure there are no leaks.


Use an X-acto knife to cut the mold into two sections.  This requires careful measuring and can be tricky.  You can also make the mold in two parts, but that can also be difficult with small forms. 

I press clay into the hollows of the mold and let it firm up.  I then remove the halves and put them together with typical hand building techniques.  Make sure to press the deeper sections of the mold first with smaller pieces of clay, then add a larger piece of clay over the top.  The clay will merge with pressure and you can clean up the form after de-molding.  I always hollow out my forms as much as possible to keep them light.  The pieces will shrink with firing.


Porcelain can be pressed into the molds in many ways, and undercuts are not an issue.  The same form can be used and manipulated to produce different results.  The legs of the rabbits below were repositioned after casting to make each one unique.  I use this method to alter faces and reposition the fingers of hands to create different handgestures.


Current Research:

Working on a series of porcelain figures with metal shape wear.  I'm attempting to expand on the facial expressions and hand gestures.  These brooches also feature hinged chastity belts. 

Always good to insert a little humor at a time when things seem dark...



For updates and other research images, please visit me on Instagram at mindyherrin.




Unresolved:

Playing Human. Porcelain, mixed media, encaustic, bronze, copper, silver, patina, plastic cups.


Creating a Micro-sculpture:


  • Use Monster Clay for detailed forms 
  • A crock pot full of water works well to soften clay in order to chop the block into usable pieces
  • Tools: Needle, small loop, stylus, clay pusher
  • Use Wax Brite and a brush to refine surfaces
  • Use silicone such as Oomoo25 to create a mold (1 or 2 parts)
  • Press clay (Laguna 500 porcelain) into molds, allow to firm up, then remove and hollow out or attach halves together
  • I make micro-loop tools out of acupuncture needles and a pin-vise
  • All porcelain forms are hollowed out with the loop tools
Tools


Order silicon directly from Smooth-On.  Other suppliers with free shipping carry old products and the shelf life is poor.  It will become unusable in a few months, not a year.



To make a mold some areas of the form must be filled in.  I used water based clay on this piece.  You can also use oil based clay, but make sure it is softer than the form.  Kids craft clay is good for this purpose.  Forms can be placed on the side to make the seam run along the middle.


Place the clay on top of a piece of silicone to suspend the form in the mold.  Small pieces can move or float when the silicone is poured, so for those I take two sewing pins and glue them to the bottom of the plate.  I push the clay down on top of the pins to make it hover in space.  The clay can be adjusted on the pins and it will secure the form.  Measure the precise middle of the form with a ruler.  I draw a line in thin Sharpie to mark the middle of the piece.



The bubbles in this silicone formed because the product is old.  It still worked and the area of the form is clean.  This type of silicone can tear easily, so be careful when cutting.

 

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