After a few more hours of tweaking bubbles out of Peter, I carried him across the room to put him in his box- as we were heading to the foundry so he could be cast in bronze. I’m not quite sure what happened: I repositioned my grip and suddenly his torso sheared away at his hips, I managed to save the torso/head but the legs hit the floor and shattered into a zillion pieces. It hadn’t been a great wax to start from, and I’d put 20 hours of chasing to get it up to snuff.
I set what was left down and tried to squeeze my own head as it wanted to shatter and explode as well. I swept up the wax bits and put them in the melting pot.
I went in the house and stomped around for a bit, then put the mold back into the truck and drove all the way down to the foundry in Alpine and dropped it off for them to pour a new wax.
Why not just use the second wax Peter that I had picked up on Monday? You know, the one that probably had tighter seams and would be a cleaner pull. Well, I didn’t notice til I went to work on it just how messed up it was. The most serious issue was that it had a double figure, as one layer of wax had chilled and another layer had slipped underneath it. The first layer had warped up into the inside of the back creating a one inch gap between the two figures. I tried to salvage it, but it was really too far off. That and the base was broken, and continued to shatter as I tried to fix it. (images 3 & 4)
I got back home around 2pm, packed up the dog and the skis and drove up to Park City for a X-country sanity check. The fog that rolled into the valley last night and will blanket the valley in smog through the weekend peeled away up in the canyon. There were just a few people out on the track, so Cmonster and I had a nice zippy time in the warm sun & fast snow. After a few miles my sanity began to return, and the shadows became blue and long and cold and we jumped back down into the smog.
The broken figure & the bad wax will eventually become part of the vivisected forms that have been percolating in my subconscious. Maybe I’ll just go back to the simple pleasures of painting for a bit- painters have no idea…
Meanwhile, E has completed this crazy purple ornament. After completing a micro-needlpoint of sparrows & butterflies. These projects reqire tiny little hands, insomnia, and a cat…
Peter’s arms are attached, shown in the first image- but the wax has air bubbles throughout, so I’ll likely use his twin who is still at the foundry- we’ll see.
The other male figure is 1/4 life size, so half the size of Peter. I still have to add in the wooden staff he was posing with- probably from his L hand to the ground, then leave the space across his body blank, and continue it upward from his R hand.
The female figure needed a base. To make the base I created a plaster cast of a rectangular pan- this plaster is then soaked in water, removed from the water and let stand for five minutes, then I pour in hot wax. This creates a thin sheet of wax that I use to create the circular base.
The photos reveal spots at her shoulder where her arm reattachment needs tweaking.
Finished enough for a blog update…
It has been nearly 10 years since I cast any of my own work. Back then I was getting my MFA at the U of Utah, and actually cast my own work using the traditional (non ceramic-shell) casting method of massive invesments loaded into a kiln and burned out for nearly a week, then hoisted by crane into a sandpit, firing up the foundry and melting bronze and pouring it down the hole. I created 22 figures in one semester for about the cost of sending one figure through an idustrial arts foundry.
Now I leave the casting bit for an industrial art foundry, as I don’t have any other means- it is rediculously expensive at more than a 10:1 ratio of expense just for rough-casting to casting it myself. Though I do all the other aspects; molding the original, wax chasing (I had the foundry pour the waxes this time), welding & chasing the cast bronze, and patina, then basing. If the foundry was doing all of that as well the cost would rise exponentially and prohibitively.
Pictured is my little wax chasing setup and Peter sans his arms, then his arms fresh from the mold followed by his arms after wax chase (now I just have to affix the arms to the body). Then there is a table with five figures (2 Elizabeths and 3 small men holding poles), plus there is one more wax of Peter on its way. Of these I will cast one Peter and one Elizabeth, possibly one Man w Pole. The redundant figures are for vivisection, addition of planar elements, and other experiments. I’ll have to get pretty excited about the results to pony up the cost of casting them, so if anything ever reaches that stage you’ll know I am invested in it.