Friday, July 10, 2009

Keeping Cool

Ah, summertime. Nice sunny, warm and long days. I enjoy the longer day bit- it makes me feel like I have more time to accomplish things. But the warm bit- not always conducive to sculpting! The clay I use is about 75% Victory Brown wax- a sculpting wax that can get pretty darn soft in heat. So what is one to do when sculpting in a SoCal summer*? Utilize the coolest appliance in the house- the freezer! Yep, the freezer can take my sticky, gummy mess of a piece, and turn it rock-hard for carving, in very little time. I then have about 30 minutes of good working time before it starts getting too soft to handle. Above we have the rather cryogenic head of my new mini mare. A nice little Christmas tin keeps her safe in the ice box. She's coming along, bit by bit- and thanks to the freezer, I'm beginning to carve in those details that really help bring her to life.

Why do I work in a wax/clay combo? Why don't I use epoxy, you ask? For those of you who do ceramics, you will know that I need a softer original for molding against plaster. Unlike the rubber molds used in resin production, plaster molds that are used in ceramics are pretty darn rigid. There's no give after the plaster sets, so in order to be able to remove the original sculpt, you need an original that is softer than the mold. There are ways around this, but as I am primarily a ceramist, it is easier for me to go the direct route. Plus, there's always the option of casting & firing a bisque to be the "original" if I decide to do a resin run. It works out very nicely. And that's all I've got to say today... :)

*We've actually had a rather mild summer so far. July where I live is usually filled with 100+ degree days, but that hasn't happened yet. I'm rather thankful!