So I've been expressing an interest in china pieces for a while now. Let's face it. It's hard not to be sucked in by that glossy clinky goodness! Of course, one of our local residents here in CO is Karen Gerhardt, fantastic china painter/sculptor extraordinaire. :D Karen just got back from England where she spent a lot of time over at Alchemy learning about glazing and molding and all things earthenware related. She was gracious enough to host a "China Day" for Sheila Anderson Bishop and I!
Karen showed us her shelving, which holds all of her sculpture's plaster molds. Unlike resin molds, which are made from silicone rubber and are extremely flexible, bisque molds are made of plaster. The plaster of course is completely rigid, so there's so many more pieces that need to be made in order to wrap around the curves of the horse.
There are a couple ways to make the mold - one you can try to mold the whole horse as one big mold by creating a puzzle of mold pieces that fit together. I believe Stormwatch's mold was done this way and boasted of a count of 19 mold pieces!! Most resin molds consist of only two to three pieces, just to give you a better scope of things.
The second way is the more traditional way of doing it. You actually cut the body apart and mold the separate limbs, which once cast will be "glued" together before firing. Bronze is done this way too. I have to admit that when you read about this, this technique sounds scary as hell! But after our little clinic with Karen, it was completely un-frightening.
So, Karen is a master clinician! Sheila and I get there to find Karen has laid out everything for us to begin. Our project for today would be a Mini Boreas. Now, this guy will end up being close to LB/Pebbles size after firing, but fresh out of the mold he's closer to classic size.
Here's Karen with her lined up Boreas parts (one horse on one side of the table, a second mold for the same horse on the other side) along with Sheila:
The biggest block there is the body mold. Then there was the mold for the head, four legs, and two ears.