Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Difficult horse is. . .difficult.

I completely forgot to post an update about this guy in my pre-Breyerfest rush!  LOL!  For those of you that aren’t on our studio Facebook page, this is Nagmificent.  He is my homage to all those unattractive, poorly trained, horses with sour attitudes that we’ve all known through the years.  They inevitably end up in the hands of some starry eyed gal who is so enamored of her first horse that she has no idea what she’s gotten into!  LOL!  I loosely based this guy on a rank creature that was owned by a childhood friend of mine.  Known to his teenage owner as “Sunshine” this horse was an accident waiting to happen.  In spite of the fact that he actively tried to injure her on every trail ride I witnessed. . .Sunshine could do no wrong in her eyes!  She adored this beast and proudly proclaimed him to be a purebred Thoroughbred that was 14.7 h.h.  ;^P
I sculpted Nagmificent to be a passable but poor representative of many different light breeds.  Indeed I have seen everything from Arabians to Quarter horses in possession of this same “type.”  I don’t usually have a piece take on a personality and presence in my life much beyond the “what you see is what you get” stage. . .but for Nagmificent, it was different.  He has come into the world just as stubbornly as his appearance could have predicted!

 Nagmificent has a long and nerve wracking journey which *fortunately* now has a happy ending!  I completed this brute more than 2 years ago!  I decided to not rush through making a mold right before Breyerfest 2012 so I took the clay and showed that. . .then I let it sit around for a whole year. (yeah, I know. . .procrastination is a sin) Right before Breyerfest 2013 I panicked and started the mold  (on this as well as on 2 other smaller pieces) Aaaaand. . . it. . .was. . .a. . .disaster.   The only thing I can think happened is that I picked up a can of Krylon Satin spray to spray the clay with beforehand instead of gloss.

As I applied the layers of silicon. . .immense quantities of oil gushed out from underneath. . .sometimes it even dripped down all over the outside of the mold from microscopic holes.  All three molds, behaved the same way.  I was crushed.  All that work and there was no way they were salvageable.  I couldn't imagine the silicon could cure next to the greasy mess my sculptures had become!  So I abandoned them. . .all of them.   In fact, I sort of abandoned sculpting altogether for awhile as well.  It really is soul crushing to put that much work into something only to have it ruined through your own stupidity. So the three molds sat there. . .oozing oil and depressing the heck out of me for an entire year.

Before Breyerfest this year, I had decided I needed to throw them all out and get rid of the constant reminder of what I had lost.  About 2 weeks before we were supposed to leave for Kentucky, my Sister Sheri Wirtz was poking around the mold room in my Parents basement.  She asked me if I wanted her to help me finish the three molds and see if we could get anything out of them.  (Sheri has been making Dad's molds for years and years now, so if anyone could do it, she could)  I was reluctant to even try. . .it was just too depressing to even imagine having confirmation of what I'd been worried about all along.  She insisted though, and we set aside a couple of days to make the plaster shells and try to see if there was anything salvageable under all that greasy silicon.

As we peeled off the molds, I was surprised to see that, while the clay had transformed into something that felt like congealed beef fat. . .the silicon was firm and there appeared to be visible detail on the surface!  We pressed on and after a lengthy cleaning process (which ended with me having to rinse out the molds with nail polish remover to get rid of the nasty grease) we were ready to pour resin and see what we had!  I was a complete wreck. . .with every promising sign. . .there came exponentially more doubt that things would turn out okay.  It was because of my rampant pessimism that I almost managed to mangle what turned out to be the only resin copy of Nagmificent in existence!  LOL!

Because we make our molds in halves (for pouring wax for bronze casting) there is the matter of plugging the bottoms of the feet to make sure the resin doesn't come pouring out as soon as we pour it in.  I am always concerned that the resin hasn't made it's way into the lower legs because it's been blocked by trapped air.  It was this very same doubt that compelled me to pull the wood block away that had been sealing off the hoof bottoms before the resin had had a chance to cure completely.  Imagine my surprise to see that not only were both hooves there, in their entirety. . .but that they were still attached to the wood block I had just pulled about a half an inch away from the mold!  AAAGGHHH!  I had stretched his front legs out like warm taffy and all I could think to do was to slam the block back into place and pray. . .  Amazingly, as we demolded the legs first, we could see that everything was fine!  Whew!  But as we went further up the legs the mold began to resist parting from the resin.  I had prepared all of the molds with the same mold release spray but that front half had a mind of it's own.  The resin on the torso, neck, and head had simply become one with the silicon.   So, there was my Sister, sitting there for more than an hour, sweating buckets as she “skinned” my resin out of it’s mold with an Exacto knife.
Sort of like this, but smaller and without all the velvet.

When all was said and done, the mold was completely destroyed, but I had a useable copy of  my sculpture.  So. . .there is still a lot of prep work to do on Nagmificent. . .but, I can finally say with 100% certainty that he will be offered as a resin edition very soon!