Saturday, March 23, 2013

08 Joint Design Nº 136

I took the 70mm I.D. matte board rings and tried them out on top of the legs. Hmmm... not a great fit, yet. In this photo I am looking down on the legs which are standing upright on the feet. Click on any image to enlarge it.

I set my wooden pottery calipers on my working drawing, from the bottom of the feet to the top of the hip joint ball, then compared that measurement to the legs with the balls on them. Hmmm... they appear to be too short.

I am welding the carving wax I cut off the legs together. My idea is to cut them in half and add some length to the upper legs. OMG... I love my carving wax so much. It makes doing these kinds of modifications so easy..

I will also need to work on the inside diameter. These matte board rings have been very helpful. I am beginning to see why Martha Armstrong-Hand suggested using rings when designing the joints.

Even though this section of the process is labeled 08 Joint Design, it is really a combination of 07 Carving Wax and 08 Joint Design. I continue to work with the carving wax as described in 07 Carving Wax as I am designing the joints. There is not a cut and dried division between the two. In 07 Carving Wax, the recipe for carving wax, as well as some tools used to work with carving wax, and some methods for actually working with it are mentioned.

The actual working with carving wax involves designing the joints, test-stringing the doll, then refining the carving wax to the desired final finish. Once refined, the carving wax doll parts are used as the patterns for making the final BJD production molds, which may be made of plaster of Paris for slip casting, or silicone rubber for polyurethane resin casting.

I am subscribed to several BJD-making forums, and I see many work-in-progress BJDs being made with a variety of materials. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages that I see with many of the popular use-once modeling materials, such as air-dry stone clay (LaDoll, Premier, DAS, etc.), polymer clay (Super Sculpey, FIMO, Cernit, etc.), epoxy clay (Apoxie, etc.), is that they are very expensive to purchase and use over the duration of an artist's studio lifetime. Also, from what I have seen, these modeling materials have a fairly steep learning curve for beginning figure modelers.

Martha Armstrong-Hand recommended oil-clay for beginners because it is easy to model, does not dry out, does not harden, and is reusable. Furthermore, an oil-clay that is sulfur-free may be used for making the clay build-up for mold-making. While one of the advantages of the above mentioned use-once modeling materials is that a One-Of-A-Kind BJD may be made without needing to make molds; one of the disadvantages of using oil-clay as the original modeling material is that molds must be made in order to translate the oil-clay into carving wax.

Oil-clay is too soft to test-string, or refine to a high surface finish, so it must be translated into carving wax. Personally, I do not see this as much of a disadvantage because I already have some experience with the Craft Skill of mold making.

An artist or crafts-person makes molds for several reasons, including; making a record of a work-in-progress, translating one material into another, or reproducing a figure multiple times. With Martha's Method, all three of these reasons are used for making molds.

In the end, having to make molds of a figure is a disadvantage because a new Craft Skill must be learned (if not already known), and an extra step must be made, to translate the soft oil-clay figure into a carving wax figure that may be test-strung and highly refined for use as a pattern for the final production molds. However, because oil-clay and carving wax are reusable, it is economically and ecologically worth it to me to use them, even though the extra step must be made, and the extra Craft Skill must be learned.

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