The big head is going through the casting process, those familiar with this blog, will no doubt appreciate the nuances and technical developments, those new to this blog, will marvel at the shear wonder of it all ……..
To recap the head we are casting, is the biggest I’ve ever made, and Tom here is applying the first patches of pink rubber.
I’m making it because I’m in the final throes of securing a commission for a 25 ft high figure! (ridiculous prospect) and I need to see if it’s possible, so not only am I enjoying working on this scale, it’s also providing me with invaluable information, helping me work out the price of such a giant…..I’ve priced the figure according to a prediction, which is that this head will weigh 150kg’s, if it doesn’t I’ve under quoted and am in deep dooda’s..selling the house type dooda’s!!
Rubber is painted on.. looks like a Glenn Brown painting ….
I walk past these everyday, an inspiration for this big figure, that and Elephant heads..
Plaster cases in place with a squared up top, so when its turned upside down to pour wax into, it won’t fall over.. don’t worry it all makes sense in the end, pictures are far better than words..
These moulds are the oddest things.. in fact the whole process is one big oddity.
So we de-moulded, which basically means ‘took the clay head out of the mould’ and re assembled it so it was hollow, we threw the clay away as it was finished with, and proceeded to pour hot wax into the mould, swill it around a bit and pour it out again, leaving a wax skin, we then filled it with grog and plaster and opened it up, and here it is, the wax head, looking mighty fine, chairs there for scale..
Craig then proceeded to spend the next three days covering it in plaster and grog, (the grog makes the plaster fireable) as this is all going in a big kiln…which is hot.
The chains are wrapped around the ‘Investment’ in order to add strength, later on, when the bronze pours into this mould the pressure is immense..
The finished investment weighs over a tonne! here it is being lifted onto the kiln trolley..
It was in the kiln for seven days at 500 degree’s with loads of other moulds, we were worried that the scale of this mould and the time it would take to cook it, would mean the other small moulds would over cook and crack, but amazingly they didn’t.. a logic I don’t quite get, but am not going to question..
We have to wrap the moulds in plaster and scrim to secure and strengthen them against the pressure of the bronze., here’s Craig cutting skrim…
This is son number one ‘Sim’, both sons will have to do their ‘time’ in the foundry before being released into the wild..
Moulds are lined up for pouring.
Finally the mould is ready for pouring an anxious moment, a lot of time material and effort . It was 250 Kg lighter when it came out of the kiln, all the water cooked out of the plaster, any residue would spell explosion on the ceiling of the foundry.
It poured well, only a little splash.
Here it is after being cleaned up amazing result, a thing of wonder I’m sure you’ll agree…
The lines surrounding it are the ‘Risers’ these allow the air to get out as the metal pours in..bit like plumbing really.
The detail was fantastic, down to good cooking and getting the pouring temperature of the bronze right, this was poured at 1040 degrees celsius..
It weighed in at 120kg, which was within my estimate..House is safe for the time being, phewww!
Head number 2 awaits the same destiny in my fire station studio…
Another commission coming in provides me with a wonderful opportunity to work with a Georgian interior, a ‘Wyatt’ interior to be precise, sitting in an opulant country house set in a beautiful Capability Brown landscape.
Here is the room, it’s the entrance hall to a house called Heveningham Hall..
And there’s Ed up to no good…
I say that, in fact he’s doing an important job, allowing me to get the sense of scale for the figures to go in the six niches .
Steady on Ed.. food for thought!
The rubber shot.. plaster niche being moulded, to house the wax maquettes, to show the client..
The first plaster niche..
The set with the first generation of waxes, the first of many..
Moved to the Fire station kitchen ..
The maquettes met with approval, or an agreement to proceed and let them develop…
Now we have to make a full size niche, which will allow me to offer up the full sized clay figures, to see how they look and indeed if they fit, it’s a very shallow niche, this is so the light can play off it, so a visitor to the studio told me today..
Tom has made a series of polystyrene profiles and glued them together, here he is sanding them down, preparing to apply a plaster coating.
Scrim is draped over the niche waiting to receive the plaster.
Finished, amazing job, I wonder if they’d accept this proposal, would be fun wouldn’t it?
(Note the steel trolley at the bottom , which fits into a slot at the bottom of the niche, I will build the figures on these trolley’s and slide them into position from time to time.)
Couldn’t resist trying sculptures out for size..
We moved it to the Fire station, which is where the modelling will take place. I see here how the light does indeed play off the arch in a most satisfying way, making all sculptures look beautiful, those Greeks, and Neo Classico’s knew their stuff.
I thought I’d see how the large plaster head (see last blog) would fare out in the industrial park, It’s far from finished, but was an interesting excercise. I’m used to the marshes at Butley, very lovely making it easy to produce beautiful photographs.
I have to say I loved the results, I read ‘Edgelands’ last year all about these sort of places, celebrating the liminal space between town and country.. I’ve been thinking about the idea of using the estate as a back drop ever since, even a location for an exhibition. Dealing with the scale and noise was the first challenge, but now I’ve ventured out amidst fork lifts, skips, fires and 40 tonne lorries I’m intrigued to explore more..
I’m preparing for a small show at Messum’s Wiltshire, of Maquettes and working models, I will be showing the niche figures in bronze and a few new ones, here’s the shot for the invite taken by Nick Illot, a great photographer, and there follows a reel of images taken by him between shooting for me..
I’m delivering a talk at the Barn in Tisbury (Messum’s Wiltshire) on the morning of Saturday the 13th of May, if your’e in the area drop in.
This is called ‘Groundtruther’
My mate Bill Jackson took these of a couple of small maquettes , the nearer one is called ‘Feel the Heat’
Bill also took these of a proposal for a Norman settlement in Kent. I got this ‘public’ commission (first I’ve applied for in 16 years) I asked if I could create a Norman soldier returning from War, I’m quite excited about developing the psychology of this guy. I’ve tried to de militarize him, his helmet hangs behind him on his shield. The work is delayed at the moment because its got to go through the ‘Historical accuracy departments rigorous tests!!!’ Its called ‘The Homecoming’.
I’m also setting up work at the Alde Valley Festival, this week. Run by Jason Gaythorne Hardy, this celebration of Farming, food and Art has become a fixture in the local cultural calendar, its at White House Farm, Gt Glemham, and goes on until late may. Here are a few of the sculptures i’ll be exhibiting.
Well that’s it folks, a long one this month thankyou for sticking with it!!… goodby from me and goodbye from these guys, the fine students of West Suffolk College who visited both studios earlier in the month.
Keep scrolling for earlier posts, and visit http://www.laurenceedwardssculpture.com for more work..