Getting back In the workshop after a week meant that my sculpture has had long enough to really harden and gives me a chance to examine what my next step to finishing it might be.
Looking over the model, the modroc has done a fair job, but, there are still fibres and ridges present.
I have some options,
1, just to modroc again, this could of course leave me with exactly the same finish as I currently have, fibres and ridges due to the nature of the application…
2, modroc another layer and whilst still damp apply a thin skim of fine casting plaster, this could be quite messy and complex and the speed with which modroc goes off may not give me enough time to make a batch of fine plaster and apply it to good finish, plus if there are any fibres and it’s wet, they may well come up through the skim and give me problems when trying to sand as they will pull out to the modroc leaving a small hole in the model….
3, just use the fine casting plaster to do a skim over what I have, this may be the best option as long as it is able to adhere to the hardened modroc layer underneath.
I think the best result will be had from going with option 3, and fully wetting the area to which I will then skim on.
Jim shows me a test piece that he has experimented with, in order to look at the adhesion of fine plaster directly onto a polystyrene former, without using scrim underneath (which was my alternative method). It has worked quite well, but he shows me what happens when the polystyrene flexes and parts of the plaster pop off and cracks. So moving my sculpture is going to be the trickiest part, this is where any stress on the plaster will pull at the tension and cause cracks or fissures to appear.
So I dive in and get the right wing fully wet with warm water and quickly mix up some fine plaster, just to a fairly thin consistency and start to apply…
As I put it on I am shocked by how quickly it starts to dry, it really doesn’t give me as much time as I’d like, I’m guessing it must be the thinness of the plaster which is making it harden off before it normally would. But I grab a bowl of water to try and smooth as much as I can before it starts to harm the finish. I have a couple of places where it pulls up the skim I’ve just put on, let’s hope it holds on enough to get through the show.
Although this technique is getting the finish closer to what I had envisaged I’m glad that I didn’t start with scrim and plaster, I think I would have put on too much plaster and the scrim would still have left the fibre problem, which I had on the base…
I turn the sculpture onto its side so I can more easily cover the whole right wing and almost decide to leave that to dry before doing anymore, but, this would take a ridiculous amount of wasted time in between sessions, so I turn the Bustard onto it’s stomach and start to cover the other side.
I get the left side and tail done before lunch and leave the back and head until the afternoon.
Because of the medium I am working so quickly I get the back, head and neck done in just two hours. The head shows a big improvement in quality of surface, from lumpy to smooth and I’m now looking forward to sanding this all over.
This should be the final surface, bar painting, and I will experiment with paint on some spare plaster pieces to see if a satin, gloss or natural sanded plaster will be the best hold for projecting onto.
Trying to make best use of the time left in the workshop I still need to sort out the gap that appears when the body is placed onto the base, so using up some of the modroc I increase the height on the ‘shorts’ of the bird.
When the model is dry I need to remark the metal bars on the body so it sits nicely, and check whether it can still manage the weight of the sculpture with all of the added plaster!
I am surprised by how little plaster I have had to add to smooth over the whole surface, each time I mixed up a new batch I always had to throw some away, even though I was only making up a small amount… Of course I ran out on the head, but think I just got away with that…
Next session will be sanding and hopefully testing projection thereafter.