Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marcel Marceau dies

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy mime. But we all must pass sooner or later and people will make jokes to deal with the loss.

  • A moment of silence please for Marcel Marceau.
  • May the wind be at his feet from now on.
  • He has been practicing being in a coffin for many years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Part 3: Sculpting

Haven't had any time for actual carving, but I was able to obtain some pictures from a nice guy on the web who has one of the mugs that is my inspiration. He provided me with 8 shots of the mug, rotated 1/8 turn each with the camera on a tripod. So I have a perfect starting point. For now I have put grids on the 4 that I think are most critical. But I will print out all 8 for reference when I start the real work.

Also I still want to get the Moai mug on Ebay. I think I still have the bid. More practice to come soon, hopefully.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Part 2: Sculpting

A little easy progress. First I used the computer to crop down to the face I want. It is a little dark so I will need to do some lightening later. Then I drew a grid using powerpoint and put the two together. The grid squares represent 1 square inch, so this will be about 22 inches tall and the correct proportion in width. I need to find some side views to get the depth right as well.

Next I cut and glued my foam block. Then, using a half sheet leftover, I made a small cube, 6 inches on each side, and started practicing. All I was doing was working from memory and imagination. As you can see I didn't leave any room for the mouth and chin. Also, I just noticed, I made the forehead upside down. Remember, this is just practice.

And here is the opposite profile. What tool am I using? Anybody see it? Yes, a Ginsu knife! This freehand work took me about 30 minutes. The styrofoam is very easy to carve.

So what's next? Well, I want a real mug to have in my hand so I can look all around it, plus take pictures from all 4 sides at the same elevation and face on. That way I can make a consistent grid for all 4 sides. Where to get a mug? There is one that I am watching on Ebay. The guy has a starting price of $7.50, there are no bids yet, and the auction ends in about 6 days. So I'll just continue practicing my carving for now. I'll finish the nose and mouth on the small piece, turn it around and practice a mouth and chin on the back side. Ears as well.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Going to try my hand at sculpting

Those of you who know me well know that I don't finish much before starting on something else. What is important to me is learning and trying something new. I love the whole process.

So, why not sculpting? Yep, I'm going to try it. If it doesn't work I'll only be out a few bucks. If it does work then I'll be able to make all kinds of neat things that I like.

To start with, I need a table base. I have a small round tabletop for an end table lamp, in the basement. Currently it sits on a stool because I wanted something cooler and could not find anything.

I've long been fascinated with sculpture, Michelangelo and Bernini are my favorites. And I have also been drawn to the Moai heads of Rapa Nui (Easter Island). So, why not combine these two likes into a base for my downstairs table. Yes, it's eclectic, but I will like it.

There are many pictures to choose from on the internet, but I like the shape of the black one on the right. Note how it gets a little bigger at the base, which would do well for a table.

What I want is that, in concrete...only about 2 feet tall. As a beginning sculptor I am not going to try to emulate Michelangelo and Bernini. They "took away" stone to reveal what's inside. I'm going to make a "positive" by building up using styrofoam clay, etc. Then will make a fiberglass mold (negative), then pour the concrete to make the final positive. There will be a lot of things to learn along the way and probably successes and failures. But it's all for fun in my spare time. There's no time limit and when done I can reuse the mold (already thinking of an eclectic birdbath for the backyard).

So, where to start.

First, I need a block of styrofoam. I found a pack of 6 sheets that are 4 feet long, at Lowe's. Very inexpensive. I need to cut them in half, glue together into a block and start working it down.

Of course there are two things I needed to know. How to glue them together and how to cut without making a huge mess. If you've ever snapped apart a piece of styrofoam or cut it with a knife you know what a mess it can be...little bits everywhere that are statically charged and hard to clean up.

Both answers were readily available online. Use spray adhesive, and make a wire cutting device. What is that??? First a picture:

I cut 3 pieces of wood, screwed them together, put in two eye screws, and strung a piece of wire across. Then hooked up a car battery charger to each eye screw (set to 6 volts and 6 amps...VERY low and safe). Wherever I want to cut I can lay the wire down, plug in the charger, and pull the wire through. It actually cuts like a hot knife through room temperature butter and almost no mess !! See the strip on top that I did as a test?? It leaves little foam hairs, very fine, that stay attached, but these clean off very easily.

That's it for today.
In my next post I intend to have the block all prepared and start the sculpting. But I think I need to play with a small piece of leftovers for practice. The head I want will be put into a Powerpoint slide and superimposed with a grid. I will label the grid according to the height and width I want so I get the proportions right. Then I will mark key points and start playing. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck.