|Prototype mould ready|
The final stages in developing the prototype.
I always work frantically to get the general form and shape resolved, to a point where I am satisfied with the visual end result, beyond chaos if you like (take control and in control). I am generally impatient until the form and shape reaches the stage that I know I am on the right track and achieving the envisaged end result.
The next stage is time consuming and demands full concentration to ensure the forms and shapes are symmetrical and then only can the smoothing process begin. Never be impatient to the point that you compromise, this leads to reshaping and frustration. This next stage involves refining the forms and shapes using plaster carving tools to achieve the desired effect. I also make use of scrapping tools as indicated below.
This part of the process is very tedious, but I take delight in refining the forms and defining every detail. It is very rewarding – each step is moving closer to the drawings and the completion of the final prototype.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the first product released from the mould. The reward is just magic. Drawing, modeling and casting the mould is a very time consuming process, but slip casting and releasing the product from the mould makes it all worthwhile. Every hour a new product makes it appearance without any effort. No pain no gain.
|Carving the base.|
Before defining the detail, it is best to resolve the base, especially for slip casting and when working within the framework of an ornament. This is normally a scale matter, such as a centerpiece that can easily be moved around, picked up and handled (see the bottom). Slip casting makes the piece light and can easily be turned upside down and be inspected. This is not the case with a freestanding press-moulded ceramic sculptures or larger scaled pieces that are permanently displayed on a base in a given space and or place.
Know the manufacturing process when developing the prototype.
Prototypes for slip casting or press-moulding.
It can be very satisfying to see the final product take shape and see the two-dimensional image transform into a three dimensional object, complete with a refined base. This is particularly necessary when slip casting the final piece.
Every detail will be captured in the slip cast process and it is therefore necessary that the prototype be as close to the final drawing as is possible. There is no chance of reworking the form and or shape of the cast product. Press-moulding is the complete opposite and the prototype therefore requires far less refinement in terms of the forms and shapes. Detail is often lost in press-moulding and therefore best applied afterwards, to the sculpture directly. It provides far greater flexibility in terms of adding and altering the forms and shapes.
Develop prototype at eye level and on a turning table
It is very necessary to have the prototype at eye level and being able to swivel/rotate the prototype while working on the forms and shapes, especially when the piece incorporates stylization and symmetry. It is even more important when defining the detail in symmetrical prototypes – especially the head of the decoy-duck (the eyes and cheeks etc). It is taxing enough to get the desired effect, but repeating it on both sides is even more demanding. Especially when viewing the piece from all angles.
|Heat the two sides to join the prototype|
|legs side view|