Sep 24, 2010

Kells Bird, (small update)

Just a small update on the Kells bird. I'm still left with the eye, toenails, and cleanup. I've decided I'll do a press-mold of this for Sculpey, & detail any pulls from the mold separately. I might just have a few uses for these, I think.

Sep 23, 2010

Testing Flock & Sculpey (part 2)

So, after a day's testing of this flocking idea I was left with a small amount of the original flock/clay mixture, a reasonably ugly test head and an idea to make something of it all. Since I'd worked 'up' in lightness of material during the original test, I decided to see if I could bring the original base colour out with a final layer. What resulted is my little version of The Plague. The hood is just slapped into place for this shot, but I thought the darker material in it did reasonably well to frame the flock-tested face.In the end, the only coloured clay used is in this cloak. I'm not feeling too bad at all on a first try.

Testing Flock & Sculpey

Anyone having to put up with me on Twitter recently has had to hear me drone on about using flocking (coloured felt fiber) in Super Sculpey work. I thought I owed an explanation of the idea, and this is it.

I've been keeping an eye on a few very good artists who recently have been using the coloured flock in OOAK pieces. The results are incredible in my opinion. Super Sculpey is a slightly transluscent material which, with added flock, can add a beautiful depth and texture to the work. For excellent examples of this technique in full effect visit Matt Levin's blog. I wasn't sure where the idea began, but just learned that this probably started in a class with creature designer/effects artist, Jordu Schell. I've been staring at the pieces I find posted in sculpting forums, thinking of what the process might be and developing a few guesses & ideas of my own. What I wanted to try, being maybe a touch different from the pictures I've seen.

I wondered if I could use the flock for even greater depth in one-off sculpts myself, so I picked up some red & blue flock and a few blocks of Super Sculpey. The thought here is that to a degree, faces can have a slightly blue hue to deeper areas (such as eyes, etc.), and a red hue to the fleshier areas. rather than create a consistent mix of flock & clay, I hoped to work in layers & use the clay's natural translusence to my benefit.

While baking a basic skull form in Sculpey firm (the harder, grey stuff), I mixed regular Sculpey with a fair amount of blue flock & a bit of red. I want the red to carry through as later layers will have greater red to blue proportions. I'm thinking of this somewhat like a topographical map. in my first test here, I'm working three to four layers on the basic skull. More than enough heavily flocked material is made & after applying a very simple layer of flesh on the skull I send it to the oven. The remaining material is remixed with plain Sculpey to lighten the blue tint, while a touch of red is added. This is used to build the next layer & blend to the last. After another bake, I repeat the entire process with lighter, more red-tinted mixes. layers are so thin that the blend carries well it seems. Once more, the process is repeated with a mix that is now not much more than flock-reddened Sculpey.

The third stage pictured here is applied only to the right side (in picture) to show comparison. The sculpt itself is 1/6 scale & intentionally exaggerated for effect and speed of the test.

Things I'm thinking during this test are; using regular Sculpey for the skull-base to lighten the effect as well as less flock in the initial mix, using combos like green/yellow & brown/red for aliens, demons, etc. I've enjoyed the education this is giving me & expect to be at this some more very soon. as I do, I'll post worthwhile results here. Feel free to comment.

Sep 19, 2010

A change of pace

Thanks to Twitter putting me onto the brilliant work of Jake Powning, I had a bit of a fire lit under my arse, so to speak. I haven't touched any Celtic Knotwork for years. Due to several issues with my last work in that area, (a 4' x 2' x 6" slab of limestone that lived in my kitchen for a year), I left it aside to learn new things. I forgot how relaxing & meditative it can be when you're not breaking toes en route to the bathroom at night.

I spent some time last night to see if I still have a hand for knotwork, and this is where it stands so far. This is a bird from the Book of Kells. (3" x 3", Chavant).

Chavant is a ridiculous material to use for this, but was at hand when I got all excited about the idea. I'll do some more here & transfer to wax for the finish. This might become part of a box when done. If all goes well, I plan to work straight from wax in smaller scale on future pieces for cloak-pins, etc. As always, feel free to comment & criticize.