here are Bruce Wayne and Jeb, installed
A maquette means a model, a small version of a sculpture meant to show a client what it will look like. Franconia Sculpture Park-- a paradise of sculpture located just outside Taylors Falls, Minnesota, just north of Stillwater-- had the wonderful idea of hosting a maquette show at the Casket Arts building in Northeast Minneapolis for Art a Whirl. These little guys were in it.
And here's Jeb in wax . . .
The plaster molds must now be cleaned and soaked for several hours; the water-saturated plaster will not stick to the wax. The plaster must be well cured before we soak it, though.
We begin by casting the clay animal in plaster, and pulling off the mold pieces . . .
But the animal faces still need work. What is amazing is how sensitive we are to facial features, whether they belong to people or animals. An eighth of an inch tweak to an eyelid, a shift of a facial plane-- it can change everything about the expression or presence of a face. So there is an infinite amount of subtle adjustment yet to come for our little animals here. It is very hard to catch the soul of Bruce Wayne (that was the name of the model for the little sheep here-- a particularly valiant and charming Babydoll Southdown ram).
Here's some more images of the goat in process. I will head to the zoo and do more sketches of the goats to refine this piece.
Here's an early stage of the goat for the zoo in clay:
Here's an armature for one of the barn animals-- this is the wooden structure that will support the hundred pounds or so of clay that will eventually form the sheep, which I'll then create a mold of in plaster. After the plaster mold is pulled off the clay sculpture and cleaned, it's fastened tightly back together and filled with molten microcrystalline wax. After the wax has begun to harden forming a thin shell in the mold, the rest of the liquid wax is poured back into the wax pot. It's sort of like making a hollow chocolate Easter bunny.
The Lake Superior Zoo was flooded in the torrential rains Duluth experienced last June. Tragically, some of the barn animals in the children's petting zoo were drowned. The Zoo has commissioned me to help them create a memorial to these beloved animals-- I'm working now on the clay for a bronze of a pygmy goat and a babydoll sheep. I'll post some progress photos as they become available.