Friday 6 January 2012

Casting Spells...

Many of my statues, bowls and amulets are hand cast by me - from my original sculptures. The following is an explanation of this process...

My originals are created with clay - the air-drying kind. Here's a selection of them...

When they are fully dry (this takes about a week), I make a latex mould. This is a very time-consuming process, one that takes at least a day and a half of almost constant attention.

Many layers of latex are required, and each layer has to partially dry before another is added.

After all the layers of the mould have been completed, it stays on the original overnight. Then, with help from talcum powder, the mould is released. I then make supports for each mould - from cardboard packaging that I've saved. I rarely make more than two moulds of each original.
When I'm ready to take the first cast, I'll prepare the moulds - they have to be rinsed, with a tiny amount of water left in. Then I'll prepare the plaster - I use Stonecast, which is the hardest. It's very tough stuff. The mix has to be just right.
For the amulets and pendants, I mix by eye, from experience. When I'm casting large pieces, I will use scales and measured amounts of water. I normally cast a small batch of items - between four and ten - and will repeat the casting as necessary later on the same day. The prepared moulds and their supports are placed on whatever is tall enough to stop them touching the worksurface - I keep a selection of plastic tubs and pots for this.

The mix displaces the water, and that little amount of water helps to get the mix right into the details too. I check for air bubbles, clean up the excess water and mix from the edges, then wait...
The mix is quite quick to set, so after about six minutes, I'll start to carefully set the bails into the pendants. Some of my pieces have a little hole for threading instead - these usually take a little extra care during the pouring to make sure the mix has flowed everywhere.
The mix, like all plaster, warms up during the time it takes to set. I wait until they are all fully cold again. Then they are ready to emerge...

I check each one, make sure the edges are nice and smooth - I use one of my steel sculpting tools to round any edges. They then sit and wait for a couple of days to fully dry out.

Then, the fun begins...choosing colours...I use acrylic paint, and a non-toxic, non-solvent waterproof varnish.
The painting and varnishing takes several days, as I like to give everything time to fully dry. Each piece is signed and dated, and my special Limited Editions are usually named too.

So, that's the process for all of my hand cast pieces - the pendants, wall plaques, statues and bowls.

Wednesday 4 February 2009

The Ocean

If I look out through the front windows of my house...I can see the ocean. I love going to the beach - and I go as often as I can to collect Sea Glass. The ocean-dwelling creatures are fascinating and over the years I've created many pieces of jewellery and paintings inspired by the ocean and her occupants.
The pendant pictured above is one of my favourites - one I enjoyed creating - and love wearing. A Clownfish and Coral sculpture created in clay around a piece of natural Turquoise.

This is one of several pieces, all with an ocean theme...another is this Narwhal, set with a natural piece of Apatite and a glass bead...

I love Clownfish ! So colourful, and lots of fun to paint or sculpt.
This is part of a painting that is my creation this week. It's 5" by 7", acrylics on watercolour paper. Clownfish, blue and silver sea and golden spirals.Finally for this week, a Starfish Goddess. I created her around a piece of Sea Glass I collected on my local beach. The shells in the photos are all from my local beach too.

Friday 27 June 2008


Heavy rain. A nightmare when your house is at the bottom of a hill, and at the bottom of your own steep terraced garden. And it's even worse when the drains outside your house get blocked. The road that runs alongside this house can get quite busy and, of course, no one takes any notice of the speed limit.
So when the drains get blocked, the road outside gets flooded, the cars and lorries speed past...and the whole of the front of the house gets washed with tidal waves of water. It doesn't really clean the windows though, and the scary part is that if I need to venture out into the weather I could also get the tidal wave wash.
The path to the front door runs alongside the road...and timing is everything.

This house is pretty old. 1830. It leaks a bit.

It also sits right next to some lovely trees, and the ocean is just across the road. I'm not really a landscape painter - the Moonlight ACEO at the top is about as far as I'd normally venture into that - but recently I've had some ideas for some landscape paintings. Watch this space, as they say...

Saturday 12 April 2008

Showroom Dummies

The challenge :

Create two display items suitable for use as hatstands, no funding available for materials (with the added bonus of these being available for jewellery display after the hatstand use)

So...some old newspapers, a small cardboard box, two balloons, some sellotape, a bag of wallpaper paste and one afternoon of messy fun later, these appeared !
Of course, they needed to be painted or finished in some way. I decided on white acrylic paint. I wasn't able to get a photo of how they looked with the hats on, but the hats involved are quite amusing - with multi-coloured furry ears attached !

They have a sinister look about them, maybe they could be villians in Dr. Who... !

I may alter them a little for jewellery display, perhaps add some fabric, but I quite like the serious-sinister look they have !

Sunday 16 March 2008

Things that go "bump" in the night...

...go "bump" in the day in this house.

And in the night too, according to the previous owners. Their children apparently moved out because they couldn't sleep with all the footsteps and door opening and closing activity.

The house was built in 1830, and does have a well recorded history.

We've never had any trouble here though - I'll make that clear from the start. If you're looking for The Amityville Horror, then look elsewhere !

Haunted House, Story No.1.
We had some guests quite recently, and during their visit, one of them requested to use the bathroom. No problem with that. We have a lovely, functioning bathroom. Our guest returned to the table, looking a bit odd...and asked us if the bathroom door always opened on its own. Perhaps we should have said something before she went upstairs, but many people think you're weird and crazy when you tell them about resident ghosts (and sometimes they get too frightened to use your bathroom !) Thankfully, she was fine about it, just a little surprised at being ogled by a ghost when she was using the facilities !
This happens to us often.
It's quite impossible to not close the bathroom door properly. It's an old door, with a latch. The room has a slight tilt, so if you don't set the catch correctly, the door swings open doesn't wait until you're on the throne or washing your hands...

When we viewed this house prior to moving here, we were aware that something was here. The previous owner didn't say a word though. The neighbours are a little wary about this place too.

Friday 14 March 2008

I think we missed it.

The storm.
Eighty mile an hour winds, torrential rain, hail and general bad weather. Somehow, all that seemed to bypass us, thankfully.
We did have a bit of hail and rain, but it wasn't too bad. I'm not sure how the beach has fared though, or that little lighthouse.
This was the view outside the house when the storm was supposed to be at its greatest...definately not beachcombing weather !

It was possible to see the waves smashing up against the wall further around the coast, which probably would've been a lot more awe-inspiring in real life than my photo of it is. I'm a bit too far away to be able to get much detail, but I tried.

Sunday 9 March 2008

Storm Warning !

According to the news, the UK is expecting some pretty severe weather...any time now.

I'm hoping that it won't get too bad here, but as I can see the ocean from most of the windows in my house I am a bit concerned. I'm not expecting to be flooded, but the concern about structural damage is high. Having said that, this house was built in 1830, so I guess if it's lasted this long already it should be able to cope with a bit more weather.

The pebble dash will likely be hit hard again. We've already had a few hail storms today, and there's nothing quite like hail to knock pebble dash off your walls !

Tomorrow, I don't expect the beach to look anything like this...

The last time we had severe weather, that Lighthouse was damaged. I remember seeing huge waves too. Hopefully, this storm won't be as fierce as predicted.