Monday, 15 July 2013

Green Man Mask continued

I've taken the annealed mask out of the kiln and started work on adding more leaves and details. So far I've learnt;

Getting quite far along, still needs a few more hours yet
1) I need to think more about my work flow.
     I didn't really expect this first attempt to go so well, and jumped around the sculpture a little too much. This has left some areas under more stress as some leaves pull on others, and when I start heating sometimes this stress has caused parts further away to snap. There was quite a lot of re-joining and tweaking as I went back over areas, even just as I finished one of the first leaves came away that'll need re attaching.
    This time I went a little slower, as I added each new leaf I took time to make sure it was well joined, then while it was still hot (and the new join a little flexible still) joined it anywhere else it was touching the main structure to ensure it has at least two firm hold points, then re-heated the first joins just to make sure. I think 'just to make sure' should be the motto for doing this sort of work!

2) Nice work for hot weather.
      I do really need to get more pendants and big marbles made for the next Expo (yes I know it's months away, but foolishly I did book both London and Birmingham which are only separated by a few weeks). It's not too bad until the afternoon when the sun swings around, and the kiln starts getting hotter. This makes a nice change, and as I only need one wheezy old oxycon and the extractor hood on it makes for quite a quite and chilled out working.

3) Tricky to light, ok once lit
      Talking of old oxycons, it can be a bit tricky to get the mini torch to light and stay lit to start with. It might be because it takes quite a while to get all the air out of the oxygen and propane lines, once it has though it seems (mostly) ok so long as I don't have to turn it back off and on again! This is where a stand would be really helpful, if it allowed it to stay lit when needing both hands free.

4) Tidy that workbench
      Actually, I can't really see that happening, I even get around not needing to tidy it when working 104 glass by putting a board over the top of the debris! A separate little work area, with really, really good light would be ideal though, maybe that's a little higher too.

5) More plaster, less filler
      This poor face cast is starting to look like a bit of a burns victim, or something sort of Evil living-dead-doll from an Asian Horror film! The modroc is charring when the surface gets knocked or flakes off, so a thicker plaster/quartz layer might be better. Maybe also use chicken wire for strengthening instead. I mostly used modroc originally because I happened to have a big unused bag, and it makes quite light casts.
Charred and battered cast

6) Stay calm! Make good support underwear and it can be fixed!
      Hard to do when you heat up one area and another goes 'crack,' but that really probably comes down to the initial problems with not making some of the first joins as well as I should have or putting others under too much stress. Having to go back and re attach them has probably made the whole sculpture stronger and better made though. Next time I'll have to think more carefully about the best way of putting down those first leaves that become the scaffold for the rest of the sculpture.

7) Make more leaves
     This uses a huge amount of leaves, which is ok as I wanted to define the shape just in leaves anyway, but I never seem to make enough. When I've looked at Green Man pictures and original church stone sculptures they make most of the face with very few leaves. Sometimes it's one per face area (i.e. one of each cheek, one for the nose) and then stretch them out to make the shape. I wanted these green faces to be more like you might see them, when in a glimpse out of the corner of your eye the overall shape of the branches and leaves in the trees suggest a face, but then when you look it's gone. Or is that just me?

All in all this has been an interesting project, although it's not finished the next questions are 'do I make another in coloured glass,' and 'do I leave clear or sandblast it to a frosted finish?' And if I did frost it, it then leaves another decision, to then leave it as it is or paint it which leaves a nice matt finish? Mind you, as I don't have an airbrush/sandblaster yet it's probably not really a relevant set of questions!

In other news I might only be at Greenwich this Sunday (or not at all, I'm not sure if I can make it yet) so I am hoping to get some more marbles listed into my Etsy shop this week. As usual I'll give a heads up on Facebook to let you know when I start getting them listed.

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