Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hip Sockets Nº 1




Inside the hip sockets, I add a small ball of wax, then press the cue ball into the socket to seat it in the socket. Then I lightly twist the cue ball back and forth to create the socket.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Using Reference Points Nº 2




I decided to add wax to the right side of the front of the lower torso, rather than subtract wax from the left side. So first I placed the cue ball in the socket, then added small balls of wax to build-up to where it's needed.






Then I remove the cue ball, and use the calipers again to check the measurements. Then I use the paring knife to trim the excess off.



This isn't something that is done just once. As I model the lower torso, I may need to check this again and again, and make needed adjustments. As one part is changed, it may affect another part.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Using Reference Points Nº 1




Please excuse the rash of posts as I catch up here.

To use a reference point, I place one point of my calipers on the reference point and the other point where I want to check.

Recently, I changed the size of the balls in the joints, from a 2.00 inch diameter wooden ball to a 2.25 inch diameter cue ball. It required that I cut a lot of the lower away in order to get the new cue ball to fit.






I still need to do one of two things, according to my measurement, using the reference point. Either I need to add some wax to the right side of the torso ,or take some away from the left side of the torso.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reference Points




I use little reference points to measure from, with calipers. In the lower torso, I embedded a small wooden dowel in the top center. I twirled a drill bit in the center of the dowel, to make a depression for one point of the calipers to rest in. I use that as my reference point for checking to see if things on both sides are the same. I find it very helpful. I have circled the reference point in red.






On the head, I used a sharp dental tool to make a hole in the chin for one point of the calipers to rest in. From that point, I can check eyes, ears, and other points to see if they are the same on both sides of the head.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Button And The Foot




Today I distracted Carving Wax Test Doll with a large button while I worked on her left foot.






It still needs more work, but this is a big improvement. I used my paring knife to trim around her toenails.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today's Wax Works




Since I have the upper torso close to where I want it for making the waste molds for casting carving wax, I started to do some work on the lower torso today. For one thing, the belly button was way off center, so I fixed that. Otherwise, I did some general overall smoothing with my paring knife.






I also picked up Carving Wax Test Doll and did some work on her upper torso.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Working With Wax




Aalish, my 60cm BJD being modeled in brown microcrystalline wax, has 16 parts, if you count the skull cap as an individual doll part. She has 14 points of articulation, since she has a two-part torso. All her parts are on a tray, right next to where I work. Carving Wax Test Doll sits on top of the book shelf in front of my computer, keeping an eye on me. Everything I need to model in wax is within reach, and I have no excuse whatsoever for not working on Aalish, or Carving Wax Test Doll when I am sitting here.

The computer is my reference tool, and I also use it for researching anatomy, and inspirational pictures, whatever. It is also a big distraction, and a way to procrastinate doing anything at all. I usually get more work done when I do not turn on the computer at all. The computer is, fortunately, or unfortunately, a part of my work space and studio.

In the beginning, my BJD was quickly built-up over the cardboard armatures. I considered it, rapid-prototyping at the time. I quickly got a very good idea of how big the doll was going to be, and how the parts were going to fit together, and so forth.

Now that the basic forms have been established, I have been slowly modeling the details. It is much easier to model forms with the brown wax than it is to model them with the carving wax. So what I have been learning by working with Carving Wax Test Doll is how far along I need to model Aalish, in brown wax, before I can make the waste molds to cast her in carving wax.

The way I work on Aalish with the brown wax is that I have thin coils of brown wax in a small pile beside my work table. I pinch off pieces of brown wax and add them to the doll parts where needed, to build-up the forms where I want them. Since the brown wax is firmer than oil-clay, I do not smear the brown wax onto the doll part. I pinch a piece of wax off a thin wax coil, and I press it firmly into place. This is how I build-up the forms. The forms look like a lot of little pieces of wax pressed into place.

Once I can see that the form is close to where I want it to be, then I take a tool, and I scrape wax away from the form, until it has a nice profile from several points of view. Then I repeat the process, over and over, until the doll part starts looking like I want it to look. When I am modeling the wax, I may start the profile of the form by pressing a coil of wax into place. Then I can add pieces of wax to each side of the coil until it is close to the profile.

The wax coil softens in the warmth of my hand, and becomes very easy to model with. Sometimes, especially now, that it is Summertime, the doll part will get soft from the warmth in my hands, from holding it. It is easy to get it cool, simply by running some cool water over the doll part. When cool, the wax is very firm.

It is very difficult to show how I work because when I stop to take photos, then I lose my train of thought. Maybe modeling wax is a right-brain activity, and taking photos is a left-brain activity? I know that I must hold a doll part in my hand for several minutes, turning it in all directions before I know what I want to do with it. I think that the holding and turning of the doll part is my way of getting into the right-brain mode? This is why my photos are usually of the before and after genre of documentation.

Working with carving wax is much different than modeling with brown wax. The brown wax is relatively soft, and is easy to model directly onto the doll part using my fingers. With the carving wax, it is a drip-drip-drip method of adding wax, then scraping it with my knife, or using a heated metal wax working tool to shape the wax. I am beginning to think that carving wax is not for everyone. Carving wax demands a lot of patience, and working with it requires a lot of time. The more I work with the carving wax, the more I understand how far I need to take the brown wax sculpt. It is very important for me to get the forms built-up in brown wax because building-up forms in carving wax is much more difficult to do. However, I mustn't spend too much time smoothing the brown wax because I can take the carving wax to a much higher finish. This is what I am trying to learn at this time.

Finally, I must always keep in mind that my final doll is going to be molded in plaster and cast in doll composition slip. At this time, I am thinking that I must keep all of my modeling simple.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Wax Tools




I like to use my jeweler's alcohol lamp and thin steel wax tools to work on carving wax. The thin tools do not take long to heat up, and they cool quickly. I keep them clean by wiping them on newsprint from time to time when they are warm.

First, I use a permanent marker to draw the shape of the tool I want to make, on the banding strap. Then I use a bench grinder to grind the metal to the line. I refine the shape with a file, then sand it smooth. The more I work with carving wax doll parts, the easier it is for me to know what shapes I need.

From left to right: alcohol lamp and matches, three steel banding strap tools ground sanded, and filed to shape, and an old hacksaw blade, ground, sanded, and filed to shape.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Upper Torso Smoothed




Today I worked on smoothing the upper torso. I think it is almost ready to make a waste mold of it, and cast a carving upper torso.
















Friday, July 22, 2011

Work In Progress BJD






My process:

1. Drawings
2. Cardboard armatures made using the working drawing
3. Modeling doll parts in brown microcrystalline sculpture wax over the armature
4. Waste molds (hot-pour moulage)
5. Cast carving wax in waste molds
6. Design ball joints and test string carving wax doll parts
7. Refine carving wax doll parts
8. Slip casting molds (plaster)
9. Cast doll composition slip in plaster molds
10. Clean cast compo doll parts (remove seam lines, etc)
11. Bake cast compo doll parts in kitchen oven
12. Paint cast compo doll parts
13. Assemble the BJD
14. Make wig
15. Make clothing
16. Make shoes and accessories
17. Photograph and display finished BJD

I'm still at step three.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tummy Work




I worked on the lower torso of Carving Wax Test Doll today. I scraped wax off, and added wax with my alcohol lamp and the metal wax working tool that I made from a piece of steel strap. I lowered the belly button a little bit. Also, I filled in some areas on her backside and did some scraping to smooth those areas.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Art Materials Arrived




Wow, I was not expecting this package until next week, but when I opened the front door this afternoon, a package of art materials was sitting on the porch. Last week I ordered five pounds of moulage and four pounds of sulfur-free oil-clay.






This is a close-up of the instructions of how to use the moulage. Just click the image to see a larger version. I ordered more moulage because I will be using it to make the waste molds for casting carving wax for Aalish, my work-in-progress ball jointed doll. The word that is smudged in the last sentence is Posmoulage, a type of wax that can be cast into a moulage mold.






This is the Prima Plastilina sulfur-free oil clay. I am happy to see that it is a different color than the Roma Plastilina I already have, which contains sulfur. Sulfur and silicone rubber do not play well together, so I ordered the Prima Plastilina just in case I want to make silicone rubber molds around anything I may model with it.



Both the moulage, and the oil-clay are reusable art materials. They should serve me a very long time.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Carving Wax Test Doll Gets Out




Today I worked on Carving Wax Test Doll's upper torso. Mainly, I used the paring knife to smooth some places by scraping, and used the shavings from smoothing, to burnish carving wax into slight depressions. I use the edge of the knife to burnish the carving wax. This burnishing does not require the alcohol lamp. It seems that pressure alone is enough.

Later today, Carving Wax Test Doll got out of the studio to sit on the couch in the screened-in porch. She was played with by my Best Friend.






I know she is just a Test Doll, but seeing my Best Friend play with her, moving her around, posing her in different positions, made me feel good. Carving Wax Test Doll is my Zen master.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Materials




I use two types of materials in my studio; those that can be reused, and those that must be replinished from time to time. I prefer to buy and use reusable materials whenever I can. In the long run, these types of materials are the most economical.




Plaster

I ran out of plaster not too long ago, so I finally had to break down and buy a new bag. I use plaster for mold making. I rarely use it for making models or patterns, even though I know how. When I make traditional sculpture, making a plaster original is all about making a plaster model of the original clay sculpture. For doll making, carving wax is the material I am now using to make a hard model or pattern. The plaster I buy is called #1 Moulding Plaster and it is sold in 100 pound bags at the local Builder's Supply. While plaster molds may be used more than once, the plaster they are made of cannot be used again. This is why I am transitioning over to seaweed moulage to make rough shell molds, for casting carving wax. I still need plaster to make the final slip casting molds.




Shellac

Shellac is a wonderful sealer. I use it to seal coddles, and anything else that needs a fast drying sealer. The shellac I buy was called Orange Shellac, but these days goes by the name of Amber Shellac. The amber color is useful for seeing where you have already coated whatever you are trying to seal. Shellac is brushed on. I clean the brushes with Denatured Alcohol.




Denatured Alcohol

I use denatured alcohol to clean my shellac brushes, and for fuel in my jeweler's alcohol lamp. No, this alcohol is not for drinking. Even so, it seems to go fast, and it is rather expensive.




Hot-Pour Seaweed Moulage

I bought a couple of pounds of moulage a couple of decades ago, and am still using and reusing it. Since I discovered that I can use it to make molds for casting carving wax, I recently ordered 5 pounds more of it. The fact that it can be reused over and over again makes it a very economical mold material in the long run. It does not stick to anything, not even itself, so no release agent is needed when making a piece mold. It is especially useful for casting plaster and wax models.




Oil Clay

I have some Roma Plastilina oil-clay in my studio. I bought it a couple of decades ago. At that time, I did not know about the sulfur additive. Roma Plastilina contains sulfur. It turns out that sulfur reacts with some silicone rubbers, so I cannot use the Roma Plastilina oil-clay I have, to make clay build-ups for silicone rubber molds. I can still use this oil-clay, but not with silicone rubber. As a result, I recently ordered 4 pounds more of a sulfur-free oil-clay. The sulfur-free oil-clay I ordered is called Prima Plastilina. All oil-clays are reusable, so in the long run, they are very economical. I will have to keep these two oil-clays separate.




Other than the above mentioned materials, I also have various waxes in my studio. I have Brown Microcrystalline Wax (Victory Brown), Paraffin, Posmoulage, Beeswax, and Candle Wax. I also have water clays, including earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. All of the waxes are reusable, and so are the water clays, until they are fired in a kiln. I recently made some carving wax, for making the refined models for the ball jointed doll I am making. The refined carving wax models will be used to make plaster slip casting molds for casting doll composition slip to make the finished BJD.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Knees Nº 3




These are the two brown wax knee joint balls I cast yesterday, trimmed up and in the lower legs.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Knees Nº 2




Edited to add: In this post I am making a hot-pour moulage mold in order to cast a wax ball to use for a ball-jointed doll. I made a coddle from four pieces of cereal box cardboard, cut about 5cm high. The corners of the cereal box are already folded. I used masking tape to fasten the four pieces together around the oil clay build-up.






I forgot to take pictures of the moulage being melted and poured, but there are other posts which show that being done. Here are the two halves of the moulage piece mold with the first carving wax ball poured. I used the cereal box cardboard coddle as a band to fasten the two halves of the mold together for pouring. I just lucked out for this mold. The coddle worked perfectly, fastened around the mold with a pair of hemostats. When the wax thickens enough, I pour the excess back into the wax pot, and then I take the mold to the studio sink to take the casting out of the mold.






I fill the hollow casting with cold water to help it cool down, and I run water over the mold when I am slowly opening it. Then I put the casting in a cup of cool water while I dab excess water from the two halves of the mold, using some toilet paper. After the excess water is dabbed out, I replace the cardboard band around the mold, clamp it together, and take the mold back to pouring area, next to the wax pot.






After pulling six castings from this mold I had to stop because I ran out of time. So much to do, so little time. I do have a life, and there are other people in my life, and I enjoy spending some time with them. So here are the six castings I pulled from the mold I made today. I made four carving wax balls, and two brown wax balls.





Finally, I cut the moulage mold into pieces and put the pieces in a container with a lid, so they won't dry out. The moulage is reusable, so I can make more molds with the same material. In the long run, being able to use and reuse my materials is very economical.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Knees Nº 1




I've been meaning to make a mold and cast some wax balls for knee joints. Today I got started on it. First, I measured the diameter of the plastic knob I'm going to use. I think I found it at a yard sale. I used some wooden calipers to get the diameter, then I set it against a measuring tape to get 32mm.






I divide 32 in half to get 16mm, and measure that onto some oil clay. Then I used my paring knife to cut the oil clay into 16mm blocks.






I put the 16mm blocks of oil clay around the plastic knob. Then I added oil clay to fill in the spaces between the blocks. Finally, I added a spare.






This is what my oil clay build-up looks like from the bottom.






This is a side view.






Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.