Try New Things
Updated: Jun 29
It gets more difficult to try new things the more entrenched I am with what I know. Expanding my skills and learning something new is painful. I've made plenty of molds over the years, press molds, and two-part molds where a basic shape was needed that could then be altered. I have avoided making multi-part slip molds because it's much more technical, precision is required and I'm lazy.
Precision thinking is not how I work. Normally, I'll start out with an idea, make the first form with clay, and then respond and adapt. With mold making, the object and its undercuts dictate the form and if one is not precise, then the object will stay embedded in the mold. This process uses a different part of my brain and the cognitive pain reaches beyond my threshold.
When I was young and just starting out in clay, everything was new, so everything was an adventure and exciting. Now, after several years of artistic development, I can always "fall back" on what I'm good at when I run into failures and difficulties. I'm forcing myself to stay with new processes and embrace uncertainty again. The only way to grow is to accept the discomfort and mystery of not knowing and fill the empty space with experience.
Since I started this post, I have been successful and making a 4 part mold, and it feels really good. I have some fine-tuning to go, but I now enjoy more confidence with the material and a wider skillset. New skills bring new ideas and possibilities.
Top 3 things I learned
Use smooth clay to seal seams. The groggy clay doesn't lay into the seam as well. The smooth creates a nice finish that doesn't require as much cleanup.
Sharpen/sand the end of a paintbrush(about the same as the tip of a pencil) to run along each of the seams to remove excess clay. It makes a nice clean seal.
Once the coddle boards are set up around your object, go to the plaster bucket and sprinkle the dry plaster into the water. While it's soaking up the water, return to the object and apply the mold release. While the mold release is soaking into the object, mix the plaster by hand, careful not to fold in too many bubbles, and remove all the clumps. If you apply the mold release right before you pour the plaster, there will be bubbles on the surface of your object and it will make a rough surface.
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