I have learned a tough lesson on molds. My first 10 years of molds were made with urethane and the last few years with silicon and this past month has been rather disturbing due to the discovery of deterioration of some of my older molds. There are areas turning to liquid especially sharp details or projections. I have actually had to take the last few days to keep my wax vats hot and re-pouring constant in order to try to salvage as many editions as possible. Your editions are only as good as the stability and quality of your mother mold (the one you pour all your waxes from to be taken to the foundry.)
On that note I won't say too much about molding as it is the next step and I am not exactly in the advising mode. As my crisis lessons I will hopefully be able to sanely describe the molding process. This might be the place to insert the idea that the computer or internet should be used as a tool but not necessarily lead to a way of life, it can rob you of very special time needed to create. If you use the computer as an asset, set a time aside daily to take care of business, respond to emails and market but remember your true calling is not the chat line but creating art whether it be pastels, pencil, oil, sculpture and pottery.
One of the best things I can advise any beginning artist is organize your time, have your ideas set ready to go in the morning and have your tools sharp or ready to work. Set hours that would be the same as a job, even though you are passionate about your art, it is still your job...without creating, marketing and managing it is just a hobby and can not pay for itself in the world of black and red. Another thing is don't let feeling stuck or non productive stall you out, remember you have to keep refueling your insight. You empty your passion every time you create a piece of work so therefore you have to refuel yourself and your passion...go to the mountains and view animals (if you are me and work in wildlife) or go to the Botanic Gardens and refuel if you love to paint...just do whatever gets you back into the mode of excitement.
I know that at times I get burned out, either irritated at myself or whatever and need to re-think so I re-read Artist Way. Each time I re-read this book it gives me a jump start. There are all kinds of great books out there including the Bible "do what you do good" that will instill your power again. Another thing to do is go to a gallery and check out your competition...all artists are competitive and it will motivate you like nothing else.
While I am re-pouring waxes check out one of my sites and enjoy all the artists and their particular passions...fineartamerica.com
This is a good area to acknowledge help: There are times in everyone lives where they need to acknowledge needing help and advice and I have many people ranging from old friends to new acquaintances to advise me.
Everyone knowing my mold deterioration problem will understand my panic reaction but I would like to share with you advice I received from an artist in Australia.
"You mentioned some of your molds going bad. Molds seem to have a short life, depends on the temperature it is stored at as well as what is put in it, not to mention that some materials just don't last. The only way I know of having a back up is to save the original sculpture, but if its clay or plasticine that is not very permanent so I keep copies in either plastic or plaster, that way if the mold needs remaking I have a model I can make a new mold from....I cast the thing in polyester casting resin, but mix it 50/50 with a material that is called Plastic bond (here in Australia) basically any plastic putty they sell for fixing dents in damaged cars....By mixing the two, one liquid, the other like tooth paste results in a slow running thick material that sets in about 20 to 30 minutes during which time it sets and is also removed from the mold before it all gets too hot." This is from a very diverse artist by the name of Mario Donk and he can be found on fineartamerican .com or http://www.artbymariodonk.com/