Thursday, August 5, 2010

Base Faces

I've been wanting to play around with some faces, but I haven't made a plaster mold of my full-sized WIP BJD head yet, and I'm reluctant to mess with it until I do. I like to have a mold of my work at different stages of development.

I found the two plaster molds of base faces on a shelf in my studio. They were from a previous project, and since they are close to the size of my BJD, I decided to cast some base faces in wax, and press mold a couple of faces in plastiline. These base faces are 3.125 inches long by 2 inches wide, and the BJD face is 3.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide. That is close enough!

I soaked the molds in water until they were saturated. In the meanwhile, I melted some wax in my wax pot. When the molds were wet, I used a sponge to remove excess water, then poured the melted wax into the molds. When the wax walls were a good thickness, I poured the excess from the mold to the wax pot, and put the wax castings and plaster molds back in the water to cool. Then I easily removed the castings from the molds, and repeated the process.

Since wax and oil don't mix with water, I was able to press plastiline oil clay into the molds.

If you use plaster molds as press molds for water clay, make sure the molds are dry, not wet.

It is faster to make a base face by making a ball of clay for each face you want to make for practice. Press your fingers into the ball midway for the eyes, add a small lump of clay for the nose, and another for the mouth, and voila! There will probably be small variations between the faces, but they are for practice and exploring ideas anyway.

A plaster mold is used to repeat the exact same base face each time, without variations. If you don't need to start from exactly the same point each time, just make several base faces by hand.

No matter how you do it, the important thing is to have several base faces to play with.

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