Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Foundry, round V (and hopefully not last)

Our final project for foundry was a "mythology piece."  I pored over many potential subjects, including Greek gods and heroes in Mycenaean armor, and a wendigo.  In the end I went with a field I find surprisingly underrepresented - American mythology - and a figure even less well-known therein, John the Conqueror.

 The wax.  The statue (not including added base) measures 8-3/8 inches tall.

Quite a lot went wrong here and there.  I made his shins a little too short, giving the impression of him being all torso, and initially positioned his belt down too low; I had to shave it off and sculpt a new one higher up.  Also, his belt buckle is pointing the wrong way (i.e., toward the tip of the belt).

To make the statue stand on its own, I wax-welded his feet to a small pedestal.  When cast, considerable shrink holes opened up at the arches of his feet, the insides of the thighs and on top of the head where the main gate was.  Lab technician Ray TIG welded all the gaps closed.

Finishing this statue after it was cast sent me to the emergency room.  A flake of bronze bounced behind my face shield as I was grinding off the sprues and stuck in my eye.  Luckily this type of injury heals easily, but in this manner I lost the whole day and failed to finish the statue satisfactorily by the end of the semester.

Since the main gate attached to the top of his head, I made his coif smooth and textured it with many tiny grinds from a Dremel cutting wheel after getting rid of the stumps.  Admittedly, these grinds do give the impression of a straight-haired crew cut rather than the desired curly effect.

The statue is finished with liver of sulfur on the skin and hair, bismuth sulfate and titanium dioxide on the shirt and ferric nitrate on the pedestal.  Unfortunately, the titanium dioxide doesn't stick well.  I rubbed most of it off, then waxed; the remaining powder quickly mixed in with the wax and ran onto other areas of the statue.  I will have to remove it and redo it at a later date.

I handmade his broken chain from some heavy-gauge steel wire I had lying around the house.  It's a simple butted construction, and lies loose in his curled hand (I would bend the fingers to grip it, but not until after getting the statue's finish right).  I'm pretty sure this method actually turned out better than making a wax chain cast in place would've been.

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