Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mold-making, Casting and Masks!

In preparation for Mask-making next semester, I am taking a course on mold-making and casting. Awesome! We first learned how to use a simple two part putty mold-making medium. This is used a lot in jewelry making -- that's where I've encountered it before. It's a great way to make a simple mold. All you have to do is mix equal amounts of each part of the mold medium (part A and part B) and then press whatever it is you want to make a mold of into the product. You let it sit together for about 20 minutes and then it's set! You can get a surprising amount of detail. I think this is especially nice for buttons and brooches. We then used this mold to make a resin cast. In jewelry making we would often use this type of mold to pour wax into and then cast obviously, a lot of uses and ways to use this type of mold making.

The next mold that we made was a silicone one. Again, you mix equal parts of part A and part B of the product and simply pour it into your mold box, onto whatever it is you wish to create a mold of. I made a mold of a key. The detail for this one was fantastic. I also really liked the silicone -- it is flexible and easy to use as a mold. We also poured resin to make the cast for this one as well.

Next was life casting with alginate. This was a ton of fun! You make the alginate mold for the face with the person sitting up, in order to capture an accurate face mold. You mix the alginate with water and the just start glopping it onto the persons face. They are wearing a bald cap to keep hair safe and away. The also have a tiny bit of Vaseline on their eyebrows and lashes. The alginate mixture starts out like thick chowder or oatmeal in consistency. You continue to pour the alginate over the face and constantly pushing it back up against gravity. You really need to make sure to cover everywhere and get the air bubbles out! We also kept the nostrils clear (important for breathing! ). One the alginate starts to set up it gets easier to keep it on the face. When it stops being moveable you put a layer of gauze onto the alginate to create a link between it and the plaster mother-mold that you will be applying next. Once that is all settled you begin applying plaster bandages on the alginate. It is really important to get the plaster right close to the alginate contours in order to create a stable mold. You continue applying bandages until it is several layers thick. Careful to mind the chin! When it was being done to me, I could definitely feel the alginate wanting to fall off my mouth and chin area. Anyway, then you let t takes about 20 minutes or so. This whole time it's very important to keep in contact with the person under the plaster -- make sure at least one person is keeping  a hand on their shoulder so that they are assured you are nearby! It's a bit scary being under there, completely cut off from light and a bit from sound, with a bunch of heavy plaster all over your face! After it has completely set, the person simply wiggles their face a bit and it pops off pretty easily!

Next step is to pour plaster into the mold you've just created in order to create a positive of your face. We used ultra-cal plaster -- super hard and strong once set. Before pouring you must seal off the nose hole with clay. You can also fix air bubbles and anything else with the clay too. You have to be careful not to futz with it too much -- the alginate can get great detail, including pores, wrinkles, etc. The more you rub it with water and clay, they more you will lose this detail.

So at any rate, my mold turned out nicely. It's not perfect -- you can see where the alginate was falling off my cheek, upper lip, and chin -- but in general, it worked out great for a first attempt! We were working in a group of 3 people by the way, taking turns.

 We will now use this face cast to create masks! Our first assignment is to use plastiline (oil based) clay to sculpt a mask over the face. It has to be bird themed. We will then create a two part plaster mold. Next semester we will use that mold to cast a latex mask.

Here is my bird mask sculpt so far -- it still needs to be smoothed and refined.

The plastiline clay is interesting to work with -- I've done a lot of work with water based clay, but not oil based. It is very plastic! Heat makes it much easier to work with!

Draping! Continued...

1930's Drape:

Continuing with some 'speed' draping, here is my 1930's drape, based off of a Sears catalog illustration. I started by taping the form and indicating the main style lines. I then did some research and decided how best to approach everything. I had a hard time finding other examples, but I worked with my draping books and figured it out as best I could! I started with the skirt -- straight of grain is at the center front. I worked my way around the waist, letting the skirt flare out as needed and indicated by the illustration. There are no waist darts, or darts in the bodice as there is just some fullness to it all. The belt/side tie acts to pull everything closer to the waist. The bodice overlaps and ties at the side. There is a nice circle-cut trim along the edge of the collar, which is so neat! I always love how circles can be applied to so many things and work so beautifully! There is also some double collar over-lap action going down, though it's hard to see in the photo.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I spent the first half of my semester working through flat patterning exercises and really learning how to easily manipulate flat patterns, and in turn really learning how to combine flat pattern and draping. Now that it is the second half of the semester we've moved to some 'speed' draping -- basically getting a new rendering or photo each week and having to drape it (in half)...preferably in about 3 -6 hours. The goal is really to just get the shape -- you are handed a rendering and you need to figure out the basic silhouette in three dimensions to show a designer. You also get to do a bit of research to help you along the way. This has been super fun so far! It's great to get back into some draping and starting to really apply all that I have learned to new and different projects. It really all comes down to the same's just manipulating those basic ideas in order to get the result that you need!

At any rate, so far I have done a drape based on a 1790s fashion illustration and a drape based off of a 1913 walking suit photo. Next week is a dress from 1932 out of a Sears catalog.

1790s Gown

 For this first drape, we were given everything in class -- rendering and research -- and just got started right away....this is what I came up with! I'm happy with how it turned out -- I think proportionally the 'waist' could be pushed up a bit this time it was really pushed right up under the bust. This is when there is a disadvantage to dress forms...they're just not squishy like people! The back waistline too could be a bit higher.

Next is 1913!

Original Garment

 Again, I'm happy with how this one turned out. It was a good challenge! I drafted the bodice pattern (kimono sleeve!) and draped the rest. I think that once again the waist could be just a smidgen higher up...hard to tell because of the size difference in the original and the dress form I am using...but in class we decided that this would help the proportions. I think that the skirt I did too should be a tiny bit narrower...