Casting and Moulding Sculpture Course

On a rainy morning I’m travelling on the top deck of a number 4 bus to Waterloo.

Rain goes splosh splash upon the glass – on the upper deck of the bus

The bus takes me across Waterloo Bridge to drop me at a stop that is but a short walk from the Morley College where I am booked on a course to learn how to mould-make and cast from my ceramic Sculpture.

Day One

I enter the workshop dripping wet from the pouring rain and am welcomed by the tutor into the four day Casting and Mould Making Course.

The tutor is sculptor Robert Worley—Learn from Worley at Morley! Hey! I’ve just thought of that! How’s that for a slogan Mr Worley?

After introductions, we are given our first task to create an object in clay to cast into a single (one part) mould.

I couldn’t think of what to make!—and we had barely enough time to do it in! Anyway, I managed a very roughly made cat! Then decided to turn it into a snow leopard by changing the shape of the ears and tail (I love the beautiful thick bushy tail of the snow leopard).

My apologies to this good looking species for this coarsely hewn interpretation but my excuse is I only had minutes and my memory to form it!

Okay! I agree it’s not the best snow leopard sculpture in the world—but the object of the exercise is to learn how to make a cast from it. Isn’t that so?

To keep the clay secure on the base two protruding nails (unseen as the snow leopard is now sitting on them) have been tacked into the board.

Next step was to build a wall of clay to surround it.

Snow leopard in its tower

I had placed the snow leopard a bit close to the edge of the board…but, it’s fine!

Tutor sculptor Robert Morley with students

I was fortunate to be in good company on the course with a group of talented artists and craftspeople—and sharing a workbench with Blue Peter Peter Duncan.

Peter Duncan

Here he is with ‘one he made earlier’!—and not a scrap of sticky-back plastic in sight! (Er, sorry Mr Duncan but couldn’t resist!)

I am also sharing the workbench with Australian architectural conservator Darren McClean.

Darren knows a bit about the use of Copper Oxide in Sculpture so I’ve taken notes of some of his brilliant tips!

The next thing to do was wrap some masking tape round the clay wall to prevent it from collapse and place it beside the hot melt pot.

Hot melt silicone being poured into a masking taped clay wall surrounding a clay figure (this one is not mine)

Hot Melt has to be set to a controlled temperature. This was done for me so now I have no idea what the temperature needs to be—but I’m sure it tells you on the tin!

Hot melt silicone can be reused by melting a used mould down again, reconstituting it for re-use (economical advantage) as opposed to the cold silicone which cannot be re-used. I personally don’t expect to use this hot melt method at home as the cold silicone technique is more home friendly by not requiring the ‘specified very hot pot’ and temperature accuracy demanded by the hot melt stuff.
Anyway, I poured the hot silicone over my snow leopard. Then left it to cure until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, back at my bench I have a small ceramic sculpture (titled LET ME OUT!) that I have brought along to cast.

Let Me Out!

Let Me Out! is a figure wanting to get out of a Perspex box – a ceramic made with pink grogged stoneware clay (as yet, remains unglazed). This first study was produced in a fairly rough texture. I want to develop this project and produce better versions in bronze and glass (one of the reasons I have taken this course).

To Make A Two-Part Mould

My Let Me Out! figure needs a two part mould. The first thing to do is set it on a slab of clay and then fill (in this case) the back half of the figure to a half way level.

Surround the back of the figure with clay to the midway making it as level as possible – filling the back of the figure’s hands in this case is fairly tricky!

This is as far as I got on the first day of the course. The ‘Let Me Out!’ figure is well and truly trapped in clay!

I covered the work in plastic to keep it moist until tomorrow.

Day Two of the Casting and Mould Making Course

Day Two of the Casting and Mould Making Course will be my next blog showing how I complete the two-part mould-making—and see how ‘Let Me Out!’ two-part silicone mould progresses! We shall also see how the snow leopard mould turns out, and then what to do with it!

If you don’t want to miss Day Two why not follow me? You will then know as soon as I upload it! Wow! I know! It’s unmissable isn’t it?

Cheerio for now

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