However I still want to try and make time to keep practising and improving my sculptural techniques. For a while I've quite fancied a hand torch, something that can go to really fine pin-point flame to tweak and work on details. Of course I couldn't quite justify the expense, it's not just the torch but all the new pipes and connectors too, plus I couldn't decide which one would be best for me. After chatting about hand torches during the course, and then seeing a cool photo of an American artist standing before a three foot sculpture he was assembling with a hand torch, I looked a little harder and came up with a Smiths Mini Torch at a bargain price.
|New Little Torch|
|Work in Progress, glass leaves being added using a plaster former|
These are some 'work in progress' pictures, of a Green Woman mask that I've been making using the little torch to assemble the leaves which I made using my Lynx torch.
|Top view of the mask removed from the former, with a leaf beside it|
|Off the former, this needs to be annealed before I carry on. One of the 'blank' leaves loose beside it|
|Little torch with it's tiny flame next to my Lynx running a fairy small flame|
Before starting on this I've been wondering how to put the leaves together to make a good 3D shape. I figured a former would be the way to go, but I certainly couldn't afford a custom graphite shape in this size. Bellow is a quick run down on how I put this together, using plaster and mod-roc (basically bandages impregnated with plaster-of-paris, which many model shops stock for making hills and mountains on train sets etc.) For the mould I used the packaging from a paint your own mask kit from my local 99p shop! I was going to use the mask, but the plastic blister pack it came in was ideal as I didn't have to plug up the eyes and mouth cut outs, and it was waterproof!
|Mask mould, I left the mask underneath to add some support and strength to the mould|
Bellow is a quick run down of how I made the plaster blank, for anyone who wants to try something similar. Do use the torch on this at your own risk though, this is an experimental technique, and the plaster and modroc WILL get burnt as you work!
|First layer, I used plaster and quartz (equal parts) which is a formula usually used for making kiln casting moulds. I hoped it would provide better heat tolerance for the 'working area' of the cast|
|Mod-roc, cut into strips and rough squares. Just pass this through a tray of water to moisten and then slap it on!|
|After adding some more plaster I started building up the sides with modroc and re-enforcing the main part of the cast with the modroc|
|Add more plaster before the last has set in the hope it all sticks together well!|
|Alternating now with layers of plaster and modroc, this adds both lightness and some structural strength|
|It's really easy to smooth out the modroc with a fingertip, be careful not to get it too damp though|
|Top up to the top, and smooth over so it will lie flat when de-moulded. It's a working cast and this bit isn't going to be seen so no need to make too much of a fuss of neatness.|
|Broken chin! I made the quartz/plaster layer a bit too thin, and then didn't push the modroc down enough so had a void under the chin which then flaked off. You learn by mistakes!|
|The finished cast. Now leave to dry, I left this near (but not on) my kiln for about two weeks to make sure it was fully dried.|