Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early Morning Thoughts...

It is good to have Ryan home. I worry a lot when he is gone. My back is aching. My cat got in a fight last night. I really need to practice yoga each day. If I can get myself out of bed like I did this morning it’s not a problem. There is plenty of time to write and yoga. My kitchen floor is covered in sugar. Ryan made cookies last night and apparently spilled something everywhere. I’ll have to mop today. Not a big deal. Why is Mia waking right now? I should have a good 30 minutes!

I have felt uninspired to go into the studio this week. I had another failure with my molds. I’m tired of failing with this project. I tried the slip casting the other day. It spilled everywhere. I don’t know how to use the ties for mold making. I used bungee cords, which, after a couple of tries were ok. It still spilled all over. What a mess. My shirt looks like someone shit on it. I really should wear my apron all the time. The slip doesn't wash out well. I will try again. I learned that 15-20 minutes is not long enough for the slip to sit in the mold. I’ll give it maybe 35 minutes the next time. 20 minutes was just too thin. Then I let the shell sit for 45 minutes. The thing came apart with the mold. And then wouldn’t come out clean. At 2 hours it was too hard. And tore. Why am I torturing myself with this project? I can go back to mosaics and work away. No major problems to overcome. I’ve gotten that figured out pretty well. But these molds! They aren’t even coming apart for me. The 1st one is ok. The 2nd and 3rd are stuck together. I’m bringing them to class next week and have David break them open for me. If they break, they break. But I don’t want to break them. He can do it. Ugh. When will I succeed with this or end my aggravation? I think the heart of the matter is that I don’t want to learn it. I want to know it. Learning brings ups and downs. Success and failure. I don’t want that. I just want to know the answers and move on! Sounds familiar to when I was in high school Geometry... thanks Ray and Joel!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Plaster Progress

I feel I am finally making progress with my plaster work. Whew! I thought it would never come. I have learned how not to mix plaster, and finally, how to do it correctly. First make sure your plaster is not old and ruined like mine was! I am also using pottery plaster for my projects, which is necessary for clay work. You have to start with a small amount of water and slowly add the plaster to it until the plaster does not sink. Then mix gently for a few minutes. It will thicken on its own in about 15 minutes. I found it quite frustrating that the bag of plaster did not come with instructions printed on it. Hello? I had to call some douche bag from the plaster company and listen to him jabbering on for 15 minutes before getting the information I needed to start my plaster mixing. I have no patience... I know this.

I can now see why so many people have declined to teach me this casting technique. It's tricky! And involved. Thankfully, I have my superstar mentor now and I am getting the help I need.

I start out finding the largest surface on the pepper without undercuts. Then I have to block it off with clay and stabilize it on a table. It is good to put dimples into the clay block, so that the plaster will fit into it - like a key. Once the piece is ready to go, soap up any plaster that will be touching plaster, and put alcohol on the clay piece and also into the plaster mix. Paint a thin layer over the piece to get it started nicely. Continue slowly adding thin layers of plaster. Once the plaster begins to harden you can plop it on with your hands. You want to be finished before it heats up. Let it heat for about 10 minutes or so, and you can begin to peel off the clay blocking and shape the plaster with some tools if needed.

My peppers are full of undercuts and funny shapes, so I have to do this for several sections... about 4 or 5. Next I have to pour the molds and see how the casting turned out.