PROCESSES – ORIGINAL ARTWORK AND RESIN
All of my original artwork is made of wax or of a wax/clay mixture. I rarely use armatures for the small pieces – only resorting to them for the larger horses. I always try to work on the horse or dog as a whole piece, never concentrating on any one part until I am happy with the overall feel of the new original sculpture. Usually to make 90% of the horse will take approximately 10% of the total time taken, and the last finishing details that you think will be quickly finished end up taking 90% of the overall time spent.
I use all types of influences to inspire me, such as as painting, photography and film, but the real live horse is always my favourite.
Once the wax original is completed, then I will make a silicone rubber mould with which to reproduce the resin.
RESIN CASTING – DETAILS
Once I am happy with the new wax sculpture then l have to prepare it to make a mould. This includes adding extra wax tubes which will allow air to escape from the main body and details of the mould once the resin is poured into the silicone rubber mould. A fibre glass outer case is used to support the silicone rubber which is poured into this case, and around the original sculpture which is inside the glass fibre outer case.
The rubber will need to become set over 2-3 days, and once it has fully firmed up the outer fibre glass case can be removed. The next stage is the really tricky part, as the rubber has to be cut with a scalpel to allow the original horse to be released. lt is important to cut cleanly and accurately as these cuts will be the part lines left on every horse produced from this mould. lf you make a mistake now, it will be revealed on every future casting that you produce : (
Once the mould has been opened and the original sculpture has been removed, the mould can be cleaned up and is now ready to take castings from. A good silicone mould should make at least 75 castings, but can make many more. Although this will be dependant on the resin that you are using. ln the past l have used mainly polyester resin which doesn’t damage the mould very much, however, l have recently started to use polyurethene resin, which is much harder on the moulds.
The horses can be made now, and depending on which resin is to be used it will have been prepared to the manufacturers specification. Polyester resin will be degassed and poured into the waiting mould. This will then go into a vacuum chamber to have the air bubbles released from the main body of the mould. After 3-4 hours the resin horse can be released from his rubbery chamber, and he is now ready to be fettled and prepared for painting. Polurethene resin is carefully mixed and then poured staight into the mould, and placed inside a pressure pot for the duration of the curing process…………time dependant on which grade or resin you are using.
All the Animal Artistry horses are produced here on site. I make and cut all of my own moulds, but then pass the casting on to either Charles, my partner, or Sam my son. After the fettling and pin hole repairing (if necessary) they will have an undercoat of gesso. Now they are ready to paint, and they are passed onto Joanna the air brush artist who will transform them with coats of acrylic paint.
The final process is a coat of varnish and the glossing of the eyes, which I will do myself. As well as making a complete range of fully finished animals in resin it is preferable to have a resin copy to make the mould necessary for the china processes. So from resins we will move onto china……………..