Tag Archives | dapple grey

Hopefully "Worth the Wait"!

I’ve had this gal finished for a little while now, but I needed to get a second set of pictures of her. I always get the angle wrong when I am trying to shoot photos of this mold, probably because model horses almost always need to be shot from a slightly upward angle. “Worth the Wait” is the exception in that she ends up looking off-balance unless she is shot slightly downward.

It was interesting to revisit this particular mold at this point in my career. I was reminded that the last “Worth the Wait” done in my own studio was actually the first horse I ever glazed here at home. (I had done several before while visiting Joan at the Pour Horse factory.) I didn’t own a kiln, so the horse was sent to one of those infamous ceramic stores that charge you by the inch to fire things in their kilns. You know – the kind of stores populated by a bunch of older women and a handful of cats.

Not only did I not own a kiln, I hadn’t actually applied the final glaze to my own pieces before. At Pour Horse I was invariably doing the detailing up until the last minute, so Joan had always applied the gloss and then shipped the finished piece to me. It would be the first of many skills that Joan would teach me over the phone. (Thank goodness for unlimited calling plans!)

Looking back, I can only marvel at my own insanity. I had promised the horse for a NAMHSA auction, even though I didn’t actually have the facilities to make the horse, or the precise knowledge of how to finish her. And ceramic production being what it was, I wouldn’t even know if I did it all right until the end. Yet I handed her over to the nice women at Creative Crafts and left for a family vacation. I would return the day before the event and then drive on to the show that day to deliver her. The whole vacation I worried that someone’s ceramic Christmas tree might end up permanently welded to my horse’s barrel. Or that she might end up in some forgotten corner of the shop (there seemed to be lot of those). Or get knocked over by a cat. Now I realize that the real risk was that I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was doing, but then I was blissfully ignorant about that part.

I had pretty much forgotten all that, at least until I began working on this one. It was a good reminder that sometimes the best thing is to take a few crazy chances and do something you aren’t quite sure you know how to do.

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My friend Karen had an interesting blog post today showing the sizes of same sculpture cast in resin, earthenware and bone china. Each of those materials has a different shrinkage, from next to nothing (resins) to quite dramatic (bone china).

What I found interesting was the level of shrinkage in her earthenware casting. It’s quite a bit smaller than the original. My own experience has been that the size reduction on earthenware varies, but the range hasn’t been quite that great.

Here are some pictures of a bisque Finn next to the resin original (with the mold lines drawn on). This represents the high end of the shrinkage I have gotten.

It would be interesting to compare slip recipes to see what makes the difference. In the past I’ve used shrink ratios to create smaller versions of an original. The only problem was that it took a lot of intermediate steps (an expensive rubber molds) to reach a significant change in size. I also found that you could get a “Xerox Effect”; slight changes in proportion early in the process could get compounded with each subsequent shrink, until the piece was visibly “off” in some way.

That’s one reason why I have limited my shrinking experiments to medallions. Their mass is pretty evenly distributed, whereas full body horses have more variation (not to mention both solid and hollow areas). I feared I would get a lot more distortion. I wonder, though, if a clay with the kind of shrinkage Karen saw with her Optime might not alleviate that problem, since there aren’t as many shrinks involved.

Hmmm… things to ponder while I paint! (I am telling myself NO experiments until I see a lot of colored horses on my workbench.) Oh, and I guess this post is also a sneak peek, since the Finn illustrating the shrinkage is for the lottery. I am hoping to get a color a bit like this Collier I did a few years ago, though greys often go in surprising directions before they are finished.

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