I completed this one (entitled "Free Range") a couple of days ago. It's a simple assemblage--featuring a collaged background and mono-print of a feather--in a plain, 10" x 5" x 3" wooden box. It also includes a resin bird skull and some wooden piano parts.
I completed this little (in a 6.5 x 4.5 x 2.5" wooden box) assemblage about a week ago. It's called FEEDING TIME, and it features found objects, a vintage photo, a resin bird skull, a vintage bird illustration, and a baby image from an old book.
Some old wheels, a rosette from a door or window frame, a neck from a desk lamp, part of a small kitchen strainer, and a resin starling skull = a new assemblage. I'm calling it (tongue-in-cheek) "Progress."
I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I have a small show this September, so I've been pushing hard to get a body-of-work together. My goal is to have at least a dozen pieces ready to go by then. Today, my 33rd day of freedom since school dismissed for the summer, I finished my tenth piece. I believe I'll easily reach my goal--and then some.
Below are a few shots of the piece I finished today. It's called "Flight Plan." It's a fairly simple piece (although it took me much longer than it should have to complete) featuring three portals. The top portal includes a resin reproduction of a starling's skull; the middle portal is an image of a (surprise!) starling; and the bottom portal includes a wooden egg that I painted to look like a starling's egg. The piece also includes a 1950s Nebraska flight map.
Here's my first attempt at casting the faux starling skull. I used a 2-part resin product, and other than missing the tip of the beak (probably a bubble trapped in the bottom of the mold), it was a success. Although the picture doesn't do it justice, I'm liking the way the mold picked up a lot of the skull's details.
Here it is, over 18 hours since I poured the silicone mold. It set-up nicely, so this morning I pulled the bird's skull out and--voila!--molding success! I guess, though, I can't officially call it a success until I've made my first casting of Tweety's head. Here's a few pics of today's process...
1. Peeling away the clay rope, which held the plastic cup to the plexiglass base.
2. Popping the cup off the plex.
3. I pulled out the dome of clay that held the skull in place within the cup. You can see the bottom of the skull (there's a piece of stick--which I glued into the skull to serve as a "handle"--poking up) in the middle of the silicone.
4. I cut the cup and pulled out the cup-shaped silicone mold.
5. After a bit of wiggling--via the "handle"--the skull back and forth to free the eye sockets from the silicone, it emerged from the mold. Whoo-hoo!
Whew, what a busy day in the "studio"! However, I've said it before and I'll say it again: ART-busy is the best kind of busy! Here's what I've been doing.
First, I finished a little (5.5 X 6.5 X 2.5") assemblage, using the manipulated vintage photo I posted last night. I still haven't come up with a name yet, but here are some pics of the as-of-yet untitled piece:
After finishing the above assemblage, I completed a couple more steps in my quest to make a mold of a bird's skull. As you'll recall from a previous post, for step 1 I filled in all the cracks and crevices in the skull. A few days ago I did step 2 (a minor step, so I didn't post any pics at that time), which was to sand any modeling paste that didn't meet my standards and seal the entire skull.
Today, though, was step 3, where the rubber met the road--or, actually, where the rubber met the skull.
First, I stuck a small mound of modeling clay on a piece of plexiglass; it's the gray stuff inside the red cup to the left. After that I push the skull into the clay slightly; the back of skull into the clay, with the beak pointing upward. Next, I placed a plastic, 9-ounce cup (bottom of the cup cut off) over/around the clay mound. After that, to ensure that the cup stays in place and no rubber leaks under it, I mushed a rope of modeling clay (the brown stuff) around the cup and to the plexiglass. This, friends, is the simple "mold box."
The next step is mixing and pouring the molding material, which as you can see in the pic to the right, comes in two parts: the liquid silicone and a catalyst. Surprisingly I was able to pull this step off without a lot of mess--nearly a miracle for me.
The last step today was to simply pour the mixture into the mold and over the bird's skull. The pic to the left shows today's finished product. Now it has to set-up, which according to the instructions, takes about 18 hours. So check back tomorrow for the big reveal--I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well...
A week ago I posted a picture of a little bird's skull I had acquired. (By the way, an update: thanks to Rebecca Christoffel at Iowa State University, the skull has been identified as a starling's skull.) My plan is to make a mold of the skull so that I can make many castings of it to use in future art projects. Since I've never made a mold of something like this before, this is definitely experimental in nature. That said, I've decided to document the process here on my blog.
So here it goes, step 1. For my first step I figured (again, I've never done this before, so this is a big 'ol fat experiment) I would fill all of the skull's nooks and crannies. The way I understand mold-making it's better not to have too many cavities for the molding material to get hung-up in; a good mold will release fairly easily from its subject. Therefore, I've filled all of the holes and deep recesses (and, believe me, there are quite a few--even on this tiny critter) with modeling paste. I used the pastry syringe to inject the modeling paste into the extra-tight spaces, and I used my skinny palette knife to smooth out and shape some of the paste.
There you go, step 1 is complete. Check back periodically on my progress.
The (sometimes mad) ramblings of a mixed media artist.