Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wax work

I realize that I have mentioned this before but wanted to go over some of the finer details of working your waxes because I feel that it is so important for an artist to do her own wax work if possible because no one knows your work better than you.

This is one of my most textured pieces and I decided it would be a great piece to explore the wax cleanup process.

Keeper of the Sacred Spirit
This piece is one that went fast in production and was produced using blue contractors foam underneath and then warm Chavant clay used to form model, especially in the hair area.  I really had it warm almost soupy where I could use my scratchy wash cloth to create the hair.

You must always think of how your patina will look on the surface chosen also, some patina's do not take well on a textured surface.

classic case of awful!

This is the time that you will look at your task at hand and panic because you think that you can not save your piece...relax. This was an example of a mold that deteriorated on me and I had to pour the remaining waxes so that I could salvage the edition. Notice the silicon stuck in the negatives of the wax. It was liquid but you could not wash it off and even when you used a wax tool you could just scrap it off very slowly and very carefully. It  was the consistency of syrup.

Some of my wax working tools, favorite are dental tools.

This shows the wall left during pouring between the two sections of the mold, it is best to not melt a lot of wax in this area because of the texture and only do minimal work with a tool to eliminate the thin wall of wax and repair area.

You definitely have to keep your sense of humor, some come out of the mold missing vital parts, such as this tail, you just have to refer to pictures of your completed ones to copy the tail in wax and replace.
This shows the bottom of the wax which was actually the top when pouring so it is never clean. I have a flat piece of steel that I place on an outside grill (very low) and put my wax onto the warm grill just long enough to level the base and make it suitable to sit flat on whatever base you have chosen, wood or stone. One thing that is important when laying it down on the warm grill make sure the entire bottom hits the grill at the same time or you will melt too much off one side. KEEP IN MIND THAT IT IS ONLY SECONDS THAT YOU LEAVE IT ON THE PLATE OF STEEL.

Just another view of the seam line left from the molding.

Sometimes as in this picture you will not have a wall you will have a ditch instead. This you have to gently fill with a minimum of wax.

These two are typical examples of tiny holes that are hollow and holes that have a fine layer of wax hiding them, both have to be done with minimum  damage to the surface. The tiny holes all over this hip area were terrible and only had one turn out that way, it was a major drag of your hot iron over the surface and repairing with new hot wax.  The second type were easier, just insert your hot tool into the covered hole to expose the cavity underneath then refill it with hot wax.
These last two examples were the worst that I have had in a given area and it could have been because of the change in wax temperature or the speed at which they were poured. I have learned when pouring my small pieces that some require that I pour 200 degrees for the first two pours and then almost 170 degrees for the second two pours then always check for any thin areas that might mean using a spoon full on a spot. (This is a trick to do also after you open your mold and have held it up to the light and find a hole or thin area, just be careful or you will bust through and leave a larger hole).
Hey also I was told by my mold maker that I could use rubber bands instead of the tape I was using to hold my molds together while pouring and it has been fantastic idea. They have large ones at Office Depot for cheap!

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