Friday, May 24, 2013

PJ048 Sea Turtle mold ~ Still a work in progress

 This mold, much like the actual sea turtle has gone a long, long way to reach the final destination. Like all our molds, (they usually start with an idea, an ah-ha moment, a review of our customer's wants) what ever the beginning, the end is always the same, we have an original mold.

Sketches either on paper or in clay begin the projects. Research photos are collected and compiled. Sculpting can either take a short time or, sometimes, a long time. Most of our molds go from idea to finish in two to three weeks. Some designs end up sitting on a tile for months or even years until a finished vision is achieved.

This mold started out as a straightforward, simple mold. Sculpt an animal I like (sea turtle) and some teardrop Caboshapes (our name for cabochons that are unusually shaped).

The first turtle was sculpted and a caboshape shell sculpted. A simple test mold was created to test the idea. Will it work or won't it?

Baby Sea Turtle Bezel
The test mold proved that the idea would work.

Now the rest of the Caboshapes were next sculpted and all that was left to sculpt was the small adult turtle. 

Green Turtle bezel and metallic polymer clay 'shell'.
Then there was one of those knotty problems.... instead of a small adult turtle, the idea of a baby sea turtle just would not go away. How cute would that be????? Pretty cute! So, change of plans, Baby turtle not a small adult.

Soooo.,... it was collect more research, compile it and prepare the drawings to fit into the mold.

Somehow I just HAD to add the appeal of an up-tilted head to the cute baby turtle. A chin flat on the tile just did NOT do the job. So, just for fun I gave his head a bit of a tilt. Now he could look me in the eye and was cuter than all get-out!

Uh, oh, now the adult turtle looked a bit like a Peterbuilt had run over him. The chin flat out in front just would not do it with the baby turtle's head tilted up, the adult's head had to tilt up too.


Finished green turtle with swirly caboshape "Shell". 
Back to the sculpting table. Cutting off the turtle's head was the first thing to do, then re-sculpt it with the chin lifted and a nice expression on the face.

A new mold was needed so everything was set, the initial pouring fence set up and the initial mold was finally poured.

Back to the testing table. Since the heads are tilted up, they actually go down into the mold and are not visible when looking at the mold itself.

This turned out to be a problem. In order for the head to be completely formed, a finger of clay needed to be inserted into the head opening to fill it completely and pick up the details.

Molding the head first. Green turtle bezel.
This molding style takes a little practice to get consistently good molded parts but with practice, I believe that the buyer will be very happy with the mold and the parts molded.

Left is a photo of the clay ready to be pressed into the head area of the mold. The rest of the clay will fill up the edge of the bezel and all the flippers and tail.

There has not been time to test a number of colors but this next bezel is molded of metallic gold polymer clay.

When removing the bezel from the mold the clay stretches a bit. To remedy this little hitch in the molding, mold the teardrop caboshape first. 
This way, the cabochon can be added to the bezel and the edges of the shell gently pressed into the sides of the caboshape securing the cab and supporting the edges of the bezel. 

The gold bezel with shiny bezel is, as of now, unfinished. 

For a completely different look, I made a polymer clay ivory and brown jelly roll cane. The Ivory was three times the thickness of the brown.

The round cane was pressed into a square and cut into pieces and stacked to form a repeating pattern.

The large caboshape was molded of scrap clay, a slice of the cane on the left added to the scrap and the caboshape returned to the mold where it was pressed firmly to set the patterned clay into the caboshape. Excess clay was removed and the teardrop caboshape was fit into a green clay turtle bezel and the shell edges gently pressed into the sides of the caboshape.  

Turtle pin/pendant with patterned shell.

To add grace and movement, I reshaped the flippers a bit and tilted the head to the side for a look of movement.

After baking, the turtle was dry-brushed with heavy body metallic gold acrylic paint. The eyes were painted black. The shell and eyes were varnished using high gloss varnish when the paint on the eyes was dry.

We plan to have this mold ready to ship by Tuesday. 

You can see all of our molds on our website

Yours, Penni Jo