Over the weekend I went to Caeser’s Camp army grounds to collect natural forms, and take research photos. The range of patterns and types of tree and plants that I found were very different to the variety that I had found at Wheelsby Woods. This was really useful because it gave a a much greater variety to refer to when designing and sculpting my work.
I have decided that I defiantly want to make some body appliance pieces for the final make-up design, and to sculpt the pieces for the shoulder and collar bone areas, which are quite shaped and individual for each person. I will need to work off a lifecast so that I know it will fit exactly. However because I don’t need any extreme details, just the overall shape I don’t need to use alginate in the lifecasting process which will save me some time. I am also going to fibreglass straight into the plaster bandage cast to save me a lot of time, cutting out the entire moulding process. I will have to be a lot neater and very quick with both the lifecasting and the fibreglassing stages because the plaster bandage shell will start to distort and weaken as soon as it is removed from the model, and the whole process will have to be done in the same day. It also means that I will only have one chance and that if something in the fibreglassing stage goes wrong I wont have a plaster positive of the cast to fall back onto, I would have to start the whole process again from scratch.
During the lifecast I had to take extra care to barrier and Vaseline my models skin to make sure that it did not catch in the hairs and pull them out as the plaster bandage was removed. Once the cast was removed from my model it started to distort really quickly and even though I only left it for 5 minutes while I helped clean my model it had already shifted and I found it quite hard to get it back into the correct shape when I lashed it back together. Once I did have the two halves together I found that I had quite a big seam line and wanted to fill this in now as much as possible because that would be easier than filing down the fibreglass later.
Once it was lashed together and all of the major blemishes were corrected I was ready to start fibreglassing. I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible because the fibreglass layers would help give strength to the cast and support itself. I was working on the skull cap and the body cast, fibreglassing at the same time to try and save time. This meant that I had to work very quickly. I found that the skullcap gel coat layer cured a lot quicker so I worked on that first and the cast second. Because of this I only managed to get a few layers of fibreglass on the cast before I had to leave it overnight. This was fine because it was enough to give the cast strength and I didn’t need the cast as urgently as I needed the skull cup.
I applied the next few layers and the tissue layers the next day and found this very easy because it was a nice shape and I had a lot more time now that I didn’t have to worry about the skull cap as well. When the fibreglass was dry I removed the plaster bandage shell and the fibreglass cast has come out really well. It has captured all of the shape that I needed and although the skin has a sightly odd texture because of the plaster bandage this doesn’t matter for what I am using it for.
After getting some advice from my tutors and a few others I decided that I need to start the sculpt again on a cast of my model wearing the skullcap. Ideally I would have liked to make another 2 part silicone and fibreglass mould to get a cast of my model wearing the cap, but I don’t have enough time. So I have decided that I will simply make another skullcap and place that onto the cast that I am sculpting onto get the right shape and size. This will still cost me a few days in making the new cast and starting the sculpt again from new but it will be considerably quicker than making a whole new mould for it. Unfortunately I didn’t release the cast with anything before I stated sculpting so there is no chance that the sculpt work I have done so far will float off. This means I will have to start the entire process again from scratch. Next time I will release the cast before I start sculpting just in case a problem occurs and I have to remove it, at least then there will be a chance that the sculpt can be saved.
Because I had already made a skull cap and the cast that I made it from was free, I could use the markings from the last one to make sure that the shape was exactly right. The only thing that I would have to judge myself would be the thickness. I know how many layers of fibreglass the original is so I can make that exactly, but the original is also covered on both sides in chamois leather which I am not going to do to the second one. To compensate for this I am going to add an extra couple of layers in fibreglass and if it is still not thick enough once it is set than I can also bulk it out with Chavant.
Once I started to remove the Chavant from the sculpt I realized that I wouldn’t need to remove all of it, just the areas around the skull cap. I removed the clay and placed the skull cap on the cast and started to block out the shape of the sculpt again using the remains of the original as guidelines.
I have started making a few design maquettes for the horns of the piece to give me some ideas as to what I hope the final piece will look like as well as experiment with different styles by using plaster bandage which is very quick, cheap, and easy. I have so far designed one that is a reasonably accurate representation of what I expect the finished horns to look like and one that is a more creative style made to look as if the Faun is literally growing like a tree.
I’ve now started working on the horns because these are one of the things that I want to get done first. This is because I will need to have finished them before I can see exactly what they will look like, and where they will sit on the skull cap in relation to the make-up.
I started by making an armature frame out of metal wire and chicken wire. This gave me a support frame of the right general shape to start building up the clay on. The clay that I first started working with was slightly different to the one that I was used to and was a lot softer. I tried for a while to work with it and build the general shape with but it was too soft and I found that it didn’t hold its shape very well and once you started to use a lot it would shift underneath and give. I then managed to find a block of the clay that I was used to and removed all of the soft clay and started again with the normal, I found it a lot easier and worked a lot quicker after I had switched the clays over.
Once I had the right shape blocked out and was happy that it was accurate to the originals that I was basing the design on I started to work on the texture and some detailing. The main thing that influences the overall look, feel, and texture of the horn is the big ridges that run all the way along it. I spent a lot of time making sure that I was happy with the shape and size of each individual ridge and also that they were not all the same, but at the same time had a general uniformity to them, so that it didn’t look messy or too random. This meant that it was a very lengthy and repetitive process but I think that the overall result was defiantly worth it.
Once I had covered the entire horn in ridges I had a much better idea of how the final horn might look and gave me a lot more to work with for developing the design further. Next I want to give the horn a more natural and earthy feel because at the moment it is very similar to the original and quite realistic. I want to make the end of the horn look as though it is a splitting branch and have lots of little shoots growing from the horn.