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Potato Head
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1223
Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject: Potato Head Reply with quote

I've been busy sculpting away lately on small figures, and needed a break. I absolutely love Japanese culture and have made sculptures in the past of geisha and sumo wrestlers - but never anything life size.

The urge came over me last night to make one, so I started on this life size bust in Wed clay for molding/casting. It doesn't really qualify as a portrait, however, since it is totally imaginary.
Anyway, the "potatoes" are just to take up space in the hair volume, and to keep the head lighter. Inside the head is a carved up styrofoam wig form I've been wanting to try out.

This little sketch is as close as you will see me come to painting (I can hear you laughing). After I roughed in a head shape and gesture, I snapped a photo and brought it into photoshop to think about how to detail it.

I decided I am going to do a first for me and offer a colored series (they are starting to grow on me) - either with patina, or colored enamel, depending on the medium I end up casting it in. Geisha are so colorful, seems like a logical thing to do.

The dangling hair decorations will be made with sheet metal and wire and be colored along with the rest of it. I'm sure I will decide on different colors by the time I'm done, but this was just one idea.

I know she doesn't look very Japanese yet, but it's a start.




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Jami



Joined: 24 Mar 2006
Posts: 52
Location: South Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heidi she's beautiful - I love the coy way she's looking to the side. And I think she looks very Japanese already - my best friend is half Japanese and the planes of your geisha's eyes and nose are very similar to hers.

Were you inspired by Memoirs of a Geisha or do you just love the culture in general?

Jami
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jami, thanks for your comments.
I havenít seen that movie yet, but plan to rent it soon.

I donít know Ė Iíve always just loved Japanese people and their culture: architecture, clothing, gardens, food, art, etc. Apparently my mother did too since I grew up in a house that was decorated almost entirely with Japanese furniture, art, etc.
I have been eating with chop-sticks my entire life, and sukiyaki and fresh sashimi are still my favorite foods.

I remember one day when in the 3rd grade, a Japanese classmate had her mother come to school for show and tell. She brought with her a very ornate kimono and showed us the process of putting it on (quite an ordeal). I remember thinking that was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
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Bob Clyatt



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 16
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Heidi -
I love the work! These 'gotta make it tonight' fits seize me sometimes, too. But I don;'t think one has ever produced something as beautiful as your geisha. And the idea of taking it to photoshop to work out details is a new one for me. thx for this idea.

ps: the tilt of her head and the planes around her eyes are just great.
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Heidi Maiers
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bob!,
Yeah, Photoshop is great. I don't do much drawing at all for a sculpture other than an initial concept doodled on a sticky note. It's easier to create/hide layers in photoshop so you can try a bunch of different ideas on the photo you bring in.
Here she is with the hair blocked in. I found some cool glass ornaments that I may use on the final piece instead of trying to make something out of metal.


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Last edited by Heidi Maiers on Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 954
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Heidi,

She has a very beautiful heart shaped face and the posture of her looking to the side is so pleasing. Those little hair ornaments look really nice too. Can't believe how well your potato idea turned out. Smile Cool idea. And the foam wig form must've been a time savor and afordable too. She's going to end up a beauty and where are you going to put all these beauties in your home? If you need a place to put her I'll help you out! ha ha Smile

I'm also using WED clay on my new work in progress and oh how I like how it doesn't dry out like standard clay does. Some areas that I want to firm up I leave out all day. I've used polyester fiber cut up and added that to the clay in areas that are thin, like wrists and fingers. It acts kinda like rebar in cement. It holds everything together giving strength and can be fired and will burn out. So far no mold problems either! Of course, it's only been a couple of weeks since I started.

Look forward to more in progress shots,

~Tamara
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Heidi Maiers
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tamara,
Are you planning on firing the wed clay? I haven't tried doing that, but hear conflicting stories as to whether it can be fired or not. I've put the polyfiber in my rubber, but never in my clay. Anxious to see what you've been working on.
I'm just going to mold this and make a sample out of forton and take orders for bronze or forton. I sold a couple of old pieces I had sitting around, so that freed up a couple of pedestals for me.
Oh, in case you are wondering, those "potatoes" aren't really potatoes - they just looked like them and made me laugh. They are just balls of paper wrapped in aluminum foil.
Yes, the wig form saved a lot of time building out the clay and it's good and solid.
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Tamara



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
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Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Heidi,

My intention is to have my current sculpt that is in Wed clay, go to bronze. That is, if I like it enough to want duplicates. In the back of my mind, I think that if something goes haywire and it doesn't have a good feel to it and look like my sketch, then maybe I'll fire it and see what happens. Shocked

Adding the polyfiber is a lot like adding paper to the clay. The difference is that paper will decompose whereas this won't. Also, I was thinking that maybe paper could cause some mold problems.

So far all those little fuzzies aren't being a problem because they've been pushed under the surface. Now if I do a lot of carving in those areas, it remains to be seen if it'll be a nuisance. I'm pretty sure it's going to be okay and I sure do feel like I have some teeth put back in the clay and don't have to worry about the wrist breaking off when it gets a little to wet.

Back on to your piece. Silly me, I thought you picked out different size potatoes to match the various sizes that you wanted. But that'd be heavy so I can see how paper would be the best.

Do you plan to use the hot patinas on the Forton MG copies like you did on the ceramic piece? I wonder if the heat would be a problem with it.

~Tamara
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Bob Clyatt



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 16
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Heidi, she's come a long way in a few days! Really beautiful. I love the way the hair leaves the face -- that transition -- and the great masses of hair. I think you've got a gift for hair, judging from this and some of your other pieces -- the more volume and complexity the better. It reminds me of some of those guys in the 1700s and 1800s -- Houdon and the like. Big billowy coils and curls spilling all over the shoulders. You'd like that, I think!
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Heidi Maiers
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tamara, that does sound rather like paper clay. I haven't tried using that either - just seems like the paper would be a nuisance and not carve well.
Yeah, real potatoes would be a bit heavy and defeat the purpose of filling the void with something lite.
The forton copies will probably be painted with enamel. Mask off each section and spray. Then, I may go over the whole thing with a light stipple of some neutral color if the enamel brings out the imperfections. No hot patina. I'll do that on the bronze copies, or I may make some pressed clay copies and fire them, and I can do a hot patina on those.

Bob - Ah, Houdin - there's some nice work! He did do some great hair. That's an area I definitely need to improve on. I like the concept of sculpting big hair with interesting forms, but it never turns out like I envision it. Both hair and drapery are tough for me to pull off convincingly. Geisha hair is fun to do because it is so controlled and "sculpted" already.
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Roger Andrews



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 116
Location: UK, Wales

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Heidi,

As I said 'elsewhere' Cool this is a beautiful piece but I wouldn't expect less. I was wondering about forton, I've heard it mentioned a few times but haven't tried it can you point me to an information site please. Also when you start paintiing the Geisha will you be sharing the process? I will look forward to seeing it progress.

Thanks
roger
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Heidi Maiers
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Location: Near Portland OR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Roger,
I think the forton copy will just be an experiment as well as a test for my mold. If I like how it finishes, I may offer both forton and bronze. If not, then just bronze.
Here is a site I know of that talks about how to use forton:

http://www.artmolds.com/gateway/technique/forton_1.htm

And this is where I buy it locally in Tempe:

http://www.ball-consulting-ltd.com/fortonmg.asp

I like the stuff a lot. It's 1000 times stronger than plaster, and can be cast very thin. Great for wall hangings. Also tends to bubble less than plaster and is just as easy to do any repair if needed, when the piece comes out of the mold. You can put metalic powders in the first coat for "bonded bronze" castings, but it doesn't look as good as real metal. It is my favorite material for making mother molds.
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another update on this gal. Since I decided to color it, I am going to get carried away and add these colored accessories to her hair after I cast and paint it. I am going to color the kimono a dark red wine with gold accents. Maybe a bit much, but they do wear a lot of florals, fans, butterflies, pins, etc in that big doo.
I should find the real thing at some store in Japan and order them, but I looked them up and they are about $200 for a set. Maybe I will just do that for any bronze orders I cast since they will be expensive enough to justify the cost of adding authentic accessories.



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Last edited by Heidi Maiers on Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So maybe she'll look something like so.


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Heidi Maiers
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Heidi Maiers
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here I am molding this thing.
I sprayed the wet wed clay with Krylon Crystal clear, let that dry for about 10 minutes, then sprayed with mold release.
Used a simple plasteline shim running from the top of the head down the back for a one-piece mold. Also, put shims around the bottom - it will be an open mold so I can easily get my hand in there and press in the forton.
The mothermold will be made in 3 sections - made out of forton and I'll use wing nuts to bolt the sections together.
Anyway, here is 1)sprayed 2)shimmed 3) rubber application started




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