Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Details

As mentioned previously, I ordered two books from Borders' Marketplace online, which is their used book site. I had gone into my local Borders (I should be BANNED from that place lol) to see what they had in the way of instructional books on making molds and castings from sculptures. I was highly disappointed in their artists section. The majority of what they had was coffee table books - in which I had a LOT of fun flipping through - but not quite what I wanted. 

So, off to one of their computers to look at what they offer online. Yes, I could have done this at home, but I was already there, and why not. 

So, after about 20 minutes of searching, I found exactly what I was looking for. 

Book 1. 

The Art of Resin Jewelry (DVD Edition): Layering, Casting, and Mixed Media Techniques for Creating Vintage to Contemporary Designs

A top-selling favorite returns--now with a DVD featuring Sherri Haab!

* The Art of Resin Jewelry has sold 14,000 copies
* Value-added DVD includes three all-new projects plus a special bonus gallery of jewelry
* How-tos for combining resin with polymer clay for mixed media and moldmaking

The best-selling book on resin jewelry returns--now with an exciting bonus DVD featuring author Sherri Haab! The Art of Resin Jewelry still features the same great step-by-step directions for creating beautiful necklaces, pins, bangles, bracelets, earrings, and rings with affordable, approachable resin. Instructions show how to add colorants and other materials, how to cast three-dimensional forms, and how to combine resin with polymer clay for entirely new effects. And now this classic title comes packaged with an exclusive DVD, ready to light up screens across the country with three all-new projects plus a special gallery of inspiring jewelry designs. Now it’s even easier for crafters at every level to create stunning resin jewelry--by watching an expert demonstrate her own signature techniques.

Yay! I get both the book AND the instructional DVD for under $10.00! Whether the book is used or not doesn't matter to me one smidgen. 

This book hopefully will teach me the 'bread and butter' of what I want to learn to do. Cast in resin using rubber or silicone molding. 

What will I be casting? 

A little bit of everything, I think. With the ultimate goal being sculpture - I also see a need for smaller, easier, faster, and production friendly items that can be sold in bulk cheaply. (Read into that, things that bring in money, hopefully.)

Things like beads. Buttons. Kids things. You get the drift. Things that can be easily customized, painted, and included in other projects such as jewelry making, scrapbooking, steampunk, mixed media artists, etc. There are local farmers markets, craft fairs, school functions, etsy, ebay, and lots of other areas to market and sell at. 

The flip side is by casting the small stuff, It will teach me how to cast the BIG stuff. Having haunted some of the model horse boards, it seems that there are just a very FEW people that cast in bulk for sculptors. Thats a possible career path. The demand is certainly there for someone who wants to simply cast for a living for other people that sculpt. Its definitely something to think about. And its not just the model horse people. Theres several other areas of the sculpting world that one could tap into.

One would certainly have to really know what they are doing before taking on someone else's hard work. 

Book 2.

Mold Making, Casting and Patina

An excellent beginner's book for those who want to make molds, and/or casts in plaster and rubber, but have no prior experience. Format designed to make the text easy to read with step-by-step instruction on all phases of the mold making, casting and patina process. First edition publication with 116 pages of instruction and over 200 photos and line drawings of specific methods and procedures for any mold making and casting project clearly showing everything needed to make exacting casts of original pieces of sculpture. The text also includes guidance in the repair of casts, as well as mounting for display, and the art of patina or coloring. Includes appendices on mixing procedures for plaster, troubleshooting, general information on gypsum products, enlarging, bronze casting. Charts on proportional requirements of materials, weights and measures, and a glossary of terms are also provided. Recommended for the novice sculptor, mold maker and caster.

More of the same - just a bit of an older book that deals with larger sculptures. Some of it won't apply to what I want to do, but the first half of it will/does.

Then, at Half Price Books yesterday, I found this! 

Polymer Clay Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration

Twenty different crafting methods—countless breathtaking beads, all made from easy to work with polymer clay! The varied techniques in this comprehensive skill-building book—many of which have never before been published—range from hand-formed tubes, spheres, wedges, teardrops, and baguettes to traditional mokume gane with fantastic layered effects. Add mica clay to create iridescent “ghost image” beads. Construct veneered pillow beads. Carve beads, press-mold them, or even use a cookie-cutter to get an array of fabulous shapes. Turn and form the bead on an extremely affordable craft lathe. Close-up photos show every step in the process, as well as the completed beads; some also appear as part of a finished piece of jewelry for inspiration. 

This one has some awesome polymer clay techniques that I've never seen before. It also covers the use of using RTF Silicone Rubber to make texture molds, bead molds, and cavity molds. Really neat stuff! 

So I guess after spending hours looking at how to videos, reading blogs written by some well known mold casters in the model horse industry, and a few other things, I need to start casting stuff! 

Well, as soon as I can order the supplies, of course. 

I have some perfect things that will work as test guinea pigs, including one of my daughters Breyer Stablemate sized horses, a Lippy that somewhere broke half a leg off. That should be a great teacher on  how to cast small pieces, undercuts, and delicate legs. 

I am looking forward to this summer like I haven't looked forward to a summer in a long time!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Books Books Books!

I love Borders Used Book marketplace. Just LOVE it. 

I have taken the first steps into the direction where I finally, after years of artistic searching, have decided I need to head. 

That direction is a weird combination of model horse customizing paired with OOAK human sculpture paired with jewlery/bead making paired with mold making and resin casting. 

*Whew!* What a mouthful... 

The books I bought I'll post later on, after I can find images for them. I'm excited - hopefully they should be here in less than 2 weeks. 

Its the first baby steps, but at least I feel as if I'm doing *something*!

Another WIP, Centauress

This is another project I started at or around the same time I started the green dragon. It too, is currently wrapped up in saran wrap, and stored carefully away.

I will warn you, the pictures do contain some semblance of human nudity, so if you are offended, don't read.

I am a member of a message board ( devoted to artists that work in clay, but create OOAK. OOAK is an industry term for One-Of-A-Kind. I started this for a contest they were holding on the board, but due to the lack of space to work, ability to work without 5 pairs of smaller hands that just HAD to work in the clay at the same time, and the constant distractions of 5 kids all trying to see what you are doing at the same time - not the most conductive situation to getting stuff done.

Ad to that situation the necessity to sculpting female body parts - with pre-tween aged boys around - not the *best* thing to have going on in front of them.

So, again, just like Mr. Green Dragon below, Miss. Centaur got put away too.

The inspiration from this piece was a contest on ooakguild, something to do with taking a character out of a story and turning it into 3-D. I've always just loved the original Fantasia, (Disney), and being a wings and horse nut, the centaur scene has always been my hands down favorite song from the movie. I decided to take one of the adult females and see if I couldn't make her 3-D.

I didn't get pictures of her armature, in progress (except for these) or any of the steps. I wasn't ever planning on putting her up here on the blog, but since I'm bored and looking for things to keep this blog alive, here she is. 

She's my first time sculpting in straight Super Sculpey III, and I'm not so sure I enjoy it. The clay gets super tacky when warm, and after a lot of handling, that tackiness gets really annoying. 

I like the flesh color of the clay though, which is why I kept using it. 

The dragon I baked the head in its own step to keep it from being destroyed while working on the body. Her though... She is still in unbaked form. This may or may not prove to be a major mistake when I go to bake her if I ever finish her. 

For those that aren't familiar with the way Polymer clay works, its a plastic based clay that is pliable, easily kept for long periods of time in its original state, doesn't harden on its own, and when ready to 'cure', can be fired in a regular oven. Temps to cure the clay vary between 250 and 275, so this clay is a very good choice for people like myself who a) can't afford a real kiln; b) don't sculpt full time/as their bread and butter; c) have a lot of smaller projects such as beads, kids projects, and just overall messing around. The clay comes in hundreds of colors, and can be mixed to any color you can possibly think of under the rainbow. Its also very cost effective, with a one pound rectangle of the Super Sculpey III above costing between $10 and $15, depending on retailer. 

Her armature was easy to figure out, but a pain to reinforce. She's got a triple twisted wire spine, with the same twisted wire for the legs and torso. Over that wire she has wrapped aluminum foil to bulk out the shape of the horse and human body. Then over the foil is masking tape. If you look closely at her tail, you can see its not white clay, but rather tape.  

I had planned on her tail being in mid-swish, not touching her body at all. That will need another skeleton of smaller wires that will eventually be stuck into and glued into that foil taped mass of tail bone. 

Her legs might end up being a major problem. First off, I can see now, after months of not laying eyes on her, that they are a touch too long. This might be good because I'll need more wire coming down to help anchor her to a base, plus support for hooves. The upraised front leg needs a major bone adjustment, and its too far out to the side. 

I also see now her back is WAY too long. That will need to be fixed too.

Keep in mind though, she's wrapped up in plastic wrap, and has been laying on her side since November 09 - and its now May 10. I'm pretty sure some major damage has been done by now, and when I get ready to take her out, I'll have to do some damage control. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Just updating because I can. No space to work, so nothings gotten done.

Have been reasearching a LOT lately into the model horse world, customs, resins, mold casting and making, and have gotten pretty psyched about going in that direction.

The dragon I started this blog with is currently wrapped in saran wrap, in a ceramic protection dish, up on a high shelf in my closet.

At this particular living location (Nope, won't call it home) I have No space, No room, and absolutely No privacy to get anything done. The dragon was started on the kitchen table last summer, and I had 5 kids constantly involved, wanting to play with MY professional clay. After a few days of trying to keep an eye on them and attempt to get work done, I got fed up and put it all away, and it hasn't come back out since.

My plans are still the same, just put on the back burner for a while. I have a very specific place I want to go artistically, and I'm going to use this semi-permanent down time to start gathering up materials and tools I will need. The financial strain won't be as great if I spread things out, I think. I picked up a like new dremmel from craigslist last summer for under $20, with the full accessories pack. Its somewhere around here, need to go find it.

Also collecting how to videos, searching out instructional manuals (One is $95 + shipping!), and the like.

This summer I WILL have a studio, I'm being promised by the long time male other half. He owns three of the above mentioned 5 kids. Will have to discuss studio access rules with him when the time comes.

Till then, this blog might turn into a few other directions, we'll see how that goes!

Until then, check out the other blog I write daily, which has a much better start than this one did!

Its a daily blog featuring horses up for sale on craigslist... and some of the dummest ones I can find.

Happy spring!