Tag Archives | mold design

Moving on to Elsie

The master mold for Oliver is done. The rubber original had not yet been poured when this picture was taken, but it is now curing in the mold. It will take a day before I know if the casting is good, but since he is at a stopping point I decided it was time to tackle his mother.

The first step for Elsie was going to be removing her tail. I am still on the fence about whether or not I’ll need to lop off her head (more on that in a future post), but there is no way that tail can stay where it is. If an undercut is an area on the original that overhangs and obscures another area, then her tail is the mother of all undercuts! As can be seen in the picture above, the entire tail loops back around and sits in front of the rest of the tail.

And to make her even more interesting, there is another undercut area behind the fringed edge near the dock on this side. She has lovely tailbone detailing under there, so it needs to be preserved. The logical thing to do is cut the tail off where it meets the body. I have already drawn the cut line in the top picture.

I hate cutting, and hate cutting resin most of all. It’s really hard to get a clean cut, even with a jeweler’s saw (which will be necessary to avoid cutting the other part of her tail along with the rest). In this case, however, cutting the resin is the lesser of two evils because cutting the rubber master would mean I’d have to find a way to get the tail to fill properly with rubber. If there is something I dislike more than sawing on resin, it’s fiddling around with complicated rubber pours!

So tonight I’ll do a little tail docking. Once that’s done, I have to start making some decisions about how I think the rest of her will work.

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A small bit of flooding

No, not the weather kind – though Charlotte has had a bit of that recently. Flooding is the process of filling undercuts on an original so a simpler mold can be made. I mentioned flooding in my previous post about preparing the Meows and Minis cat medallion. It has been on my mind as I’ve worked with Oliver and Elsie.

The biggest lesson I learned from molding Vixen was that I needed to reevaluate my use of flooding. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that flooding was an “easy out” not well suited for highly detailed sculptures. It seemed like a cheat. I also hated the idea of altering an artist’s vision for their piece. Flooded areas have to recreated in each casting, so that leaves the door open for mistakes.

What I found with Vixen was that flooding sometimes ensures that the finished casting is actually closer to the original. That’s because it’s easier to take flashing off from a piece of greenware than it is to build back an area that has been scraped away. On pieces that have minor undercuts, intentionally adding flashing so the mold pulls freely is sometimes the smartest answer. Otherwise the mold will skim off the undercut (if you are lucky), or the entire casting will tear apart. It only took reconstructing a dozen or so Vixen withers to bring that lesson home for me!

Most of the flooding I did on Oliver involved minor flashing on the mane and ears. The one area with a more drastic treatment was his tail. The overall tail shape was pretty simple to mold, but the individual strands formed long “fingers” that lined up one behind the other. By filling them I could ensure that the mold pulled freely without breaking the tail. This would also protect the “points” of his tail while I cleaned the rest of the casting. (The flooding in between the strands will be removed last.)

I used the hardest type of green Chavant clay for my flooding because I wanted something sturdy enough that I could leave it on the original as a reference. The picture here was taken after the original was removed from the completed master mold, so obviously the filled areas are pretty bombproof. Although it isn’t visible in the picture, I also added a distinctive texture to the flooded spots to give me a visual cue about what needed to be removed. My hope is that this will result in a less “fiddly” mold – and ultimately more shiny Olivers!

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