As I have been pondering the molds for the Taboo family, I have come to the realization that I am going to have to confront a technical problem that I have been avoiding.
All molds have problems. Whatever solution you come up with, there is always something that could be done better, if you had the job to do over. In the case of my last mold, the problems centered around stabilizing Al-Hadiye’s very slender legs. It’s a problem I expect to encounter again with the new guys, so I’m looking at the issue once more.
This is the master mold for Al-Hadiye. It is composed of two plaster supports (in white, on the top and bottom), rubber versions of each mold piece, and a rubber version of the original. If you look closely you can just see the outline of Al-Hadiye’s neck and barrel inside the amber rubber.
This rubber master is used to make the working plaster molds. One by one, the rubber mold pieces are removed and a plaster piece is poured in its place. In the end you have a plaster mold surrounding the rubber original. Then the mold is taken apart, the rubber horse is removed, and the mold is reassembled.
Here is that same rubber Al-Hadiye in the picture above. (He looks bubbly, but those are beneath the surface – otherwise the master would not be usable.)
As you can see, he’s got floppy legs. These caused all sorts of problems when I was making the mold for him. They wanted to shift around as each plaster piece was poured, making it hard to get a good, clean mold. I tried various ways of temporarily fixing the legs in place, but none seemed like the answer. I considered moving up to a harder rubber product, and I may still try that, but I am not sure any rubber is going to be significantly stiffer in such a thin area. (And Imp’s legs are thinner still!) I’ve even considered taking the front legs off so the molds for them have fewer pieces. It’s tempting to do that now with Al, if only to get the chance to work on a true assemble-it-later mold with a familiar piece, before I give it a try with the new guys.
What’s funny is that I still remember some years ago, when I first realized how these molds were made. I had been working for a year or so on simple medallion molds when I had that “aha!” moment where it was clear to me how multi-part molds were made. Knowing it seemed so monumental at the time. I’m glad that I didn’t have a clue then how little I really knew!