Whilst making the second plaster support shell for the ouroboros project i found i had a little plaster left over. Again whilst i have already made some mini skulls for my mini trophy/sconce projects i also needed some slightly bigger skulls too. The larger skulls i have since made & copied in latex. These were the 'other' projects i wanted the rest of my current supply of liquid latex for. So as i was saying whilst making the second half of the ouroboros support shell it turned out i had just enough plaster left over to try out one of my new skull molds.
I actually have three designs made up & copied in latex. After casting one of them which i will show you in a minute i decided to sculpt the design a little more enhancing the detail & well you can see the final design below of the first new larger skulls.
As you can see just as with the smaller trophy skulls i sculpted out the lower jaw at the side. I also sculpted out the eye sockets & nasal cavity too on this larger version. I even added the hole in the lower sides of the skull for the ear connections through the skull to the brain as well. Below you can see the actual size of this skull compared to my hand. Whilst the smaller trophy skulls fit 'in' my hand. These larger versions are roughly the size of my closed fist. Oh the strange symbol on the sides of the skulls head are simply pen markings that have leeched into the wet plaster from the latex molds. This is just an identifying mark so i know at a glance which two mold & halves go together when making mass molds nothing more. This will be lost in the painting etc later.
P.S. You can also see in this shot my 'boo boo' has healed to what resembles a crude birth mark now. Other than being totally annoying to look at it is totally healed now.
Whilst taking these pictures i had not noticed a very weird phenomenon, a simple trick of the light of course. By sheer fluke the angle of the light shining through the sculpted holes in the sides of the skull formed a, well before i say anything more can you see it before i say it 'inside' the skull?
Do you see it? A wailing cartoon ghost!. Two eye's peering out of a peeked hooded head? An open wailing mouth complete with tongue & even three fingers on the right hand (as you look at the picture) that complete this weird trick of the light. Spooky or what lol?
Okay back to more serious things.
In previous posts i mentioned my lack of enthusiasm for using anything other than as close to original paper mache materials & methods in my final creations. Whilst discussing various aspects relating to PM on other blogs, groups etc. The use of linseed oil came up many times. Immediately stated there as well as here my lack of enthusiasm for its use. Of course linseed oil has many uses many most people will be well aware of. Somme of the more common being a natural wood preservative it is used to preserve furniture, flooring, cricket bats & is also used amongst other things in glaziers putty too.
So i decided to do some research of my own into its uses in the paper mache world. Amongst my findings & after a helpful pointer from fellow PM artist Jonni Good I found a wealth of information which included the fact that the Victorians used PM in the creation of many of they're wall & ceiling decals & moldings.
Of course it goes without saying that paper is made from wood, linseed oil being a natural plant extract preserves wood. Saying that it stands to reason that many long time PM artists contest that it makes paper mache stronger & last longer. It also turns out that it has unusual properties when mixed with plaster too. For some reason i have not yet discovered beyond my own conclusions as it is a natural 'oil' it then dries out slowly whilst forming a fine barrier around the plaster as they both dry out then this slows down the plaster going off (drying out). This means of course whilst using plaster in molds you gain slightly more working time. It appears too however that either whilst mixing in the plaster during the er!, mixing stage or painting directly onto the dried plaster forms it also hardens the plaster even further than plaster alone, even high quality sculpting plaster which is a more refined gypsum plaster.
I have never been a one to deny when i am wrong on a subject & i have always been a keen advocate in saying "You can't knock something unless 'you' have tried it first". So!, on the findings from my own research online, testimonials from artists, linseed oil manufacturers etc I have decided to try linseed oil both on & in my current & future plaster mold forms as well as my 'new' plaster pulp recipe. I have already given my existing 'new' skull plaster molds two coats as well as the new skull shown above. Below is the new skull with the linseed oil freshly painted on.
Whatever else this may achieve it gives the plaster (in this case) a wonderful aged bone tone which if it stays this colour it will reduce a lot of painting that would be required later.
Prior to painting on the linseed oil i placed a small lit candle inside the skull to see how it would look if i made some up in this way. Below you can see the spooky cool look the candle gave it.
Okay i will leave this post here for now. I am going to go make up some more plaster skulls, plaster & pulp skulls as well as the first of my plaster pulp ouroboros. When i get some of the other plaster skull designs made & enhance them with a little fancy sculpting as i have with this one i will show you the results as well as show you how i am going to re-copy 'new' latex molds from this what is normally an impossible form to make a mold from, or so you'd thing lol.