Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Monday, 28 February 2011

OH IS IT THAT TIME AGAIN - I HAVE TO PAINT SOMETHING AGAIN?

So it would seem so help me so it would seem!

The first ten of my skulls two full skulls and two half skulls are pure plaster and the other six are my White Matter© skulls. I will remind you all which are which once they are finished and shown here hopefully by this coming weekend as i am only painting these ten in between mould casting new ones too.

Oh how i love to hate painting lol. Anyway the first two 'base coats' have gone on them. This being a dark brown & a pale brown that will then be under white, off yellow (dark brown and light brown mixed with yellow) slowly building up the dark and light shading on each skull.

Once these are finished i will be leaving them a full week to fully dry then i will be coating them all with high gloss clear sealer to fix the paint. I know this sounds like an odd thing to seal them with but the paint and the plaster in all the skulls will absorb most of the sealer dulling the normal glossy finish whilst sealing the paint too. Trust me this works i have tried it before. The trick is not to go more than two light coats. Just enough to seal the paint really.

So more soon on this as i say hopefully by this coming weekend. I will post pictures as soon as they are painted. Once they are sealed they will be going in my Esty shop.





Friday, 25 February 2011

MY PLASTER PULP EXPERIMENTS - CLOSED FOR NOW













Okay It has been a relatively short path as far as experimenting goes in the case of my White Matter© at least. As with most experiments not a total success at first mixed but positive results at least. Still in the end i got the results i was looking for with version 2.6. Of course i was looking to create a medium i could primarily use in latex moulds myself. With little adjustments this medium can be made a little thicker to then be used on existing armatures, existing plaster or indeed White Matter© projects in building, adding to or repairing said forms.

Since 'my' own requirements called for large batches to be made as i was (am) working from several moulds at once with a high production of such skulls being required for numerous projects, i naturally made a large batch, also for my experiments once i knew the right direction to take with the formulae. Of course it stands to reason since a side effect is that it can stand for several days in or out of a refrigerator and still be a working medium. Other users who may not require such a large batch even though it will keep until required again with inevitably have to experiment with smaller batches of their own. It stands to reason too that they may wish to experiment with making adjustments to the water, plaster and the retardent levels of the pure PVA glue in 'theyre' batches of course. Other than mentioning how to and possible effects i have not addressed this in too much depth as it is a simple matter even for the most newest experimenter to grasp.

If not i am at hand to assist where i can of course.

So for now as i say i have what i was looking to create for my own purposes, having past on the recipe and other information too. I feel it is time i got to work getting on with the task at hand not only producing the skulls in this medium i require but also to get back to older projects and indeed unfinished posts on my blog here.

Before i do just that however it dawned on me i have discussed in the past posts my aims and achieved goals for and with the medium. But i have not yet given any evidence to back up my claims as yet. So whilst i am closing the doors on this feature for the time being. I will be returning to the experimenting table with this medium at a later date. I still have a few ideas, theories i want to throw in the mix as it were but that's for later as i say lol.

Until then here is as they say around my area "The proof in the pudding is in the eating" or "It does what it says on the tin" by way of a short (high speed) video of myself sculpting one of my White Matter© skulls using a power tool. Of course it can and i have in the recent past used a craft knife but that is a slow method of sculpting best suited to a 'few' items. As i say i have a 'lot' to make then sculpt the final forms into. So with further talk here is me sculpting one of my skulls.


video

Monday, 21 February 2011

AT LAST MY PLASTER & PULP MEDIUM -WHITE MATTER Ver 2.6













Before I begin I must state that this mixture has been created to suit ‘my personal requirements’ as a ‘hybrid’ plaster and pulp medium created by myself to suite ‘my own’ current mould casting requirements that retains connections to the art form ‘paper mache’ with current use again by myself within liquid latex moulds, but has a high potential for other uses too.

Whilst this is far from a new creation in its main ‘descriptive’ form it is fair to mention that the Victorians used similar medium to create cornices and other decorative wall mouldings. However it must also be pointed out at this time that the Victorians also used slightly different recipes along with huge hydraulic machine presses to create these mouldings.

My medium allows artists wishing to create art forms using pre-made purchased or self ‘home made moulds’ and also potential use as both a bulking medium or free sculpting medium on or over existing or self made free standing armatures.

Throughout this document I shall include the recipe and method used to create this medium. Please note the recipe given is as ‘I personally’ designed and have farther enhanced this being version 2.6. I shall also include all known ‘issues’ with this medium known ‘to me’ at this time from my own usage within such boundaries as well as any alterations ‘other’ users may find to potentially work when modifying this medium to better suit ‘they’re own’ requirements. In the matter of altering the given recipe to suite ‘other users’ requirements I limit my information to known working formulae discovered by my own usage and experimentation. Anyone wishing to use this medium outside the given known and working area’s listed by myself run a high probability of encountering unknown issues that I have not accounted for as ‘other artists’ uses may well be outside my personal range of intended uses and therefore I may or may not have answers to any such issues that potentially arise. I shall however attempt to assist in any issues other artists encounter if and when I can.

Whilst i will be only too happy to assist where i can with unexpected issues that may develop after alteration of my original recipe for this medium and any uses not listed as tried andtested by myself. Please understand i cannot see (hands on) or know the limitations or effects of brand or none branded materials 'you' may be using in both the preparation of this medium nor the materials you intend to use this medium with/on especially if these relate to other countries and materials found there that potentially differ from those 'I used' here in the UK.

The medium i have created that i have called WHITE MATTER V2.6© works based on materials and working conditions relevant to the UK. Whilst using this medium 'please' take into account of the potential differences in materials etc relevant to 'your’ country/regions when casting judgment on my efforts and creation. Thank you.

RECIPE
Makes 3.2lb/1.5kg batch size

6 ounces/1.25gms wet tissue pulp.
12 ounces/3.50gms white plaster of Paris.
4 ounces/100gms (NOT FLUID OUNCES) PURE PVA (white latex based) glue.
30 fluid ounces cold or tepid (room temperature) water.

METHOD
STEP 1:
Create your tissue pulp as you would normally do so. I used the cheapest tissue I could find as this breaks down much easier to a finer pulp. You can even do this by hand with nothing more than a house hold utensil such as a large fork.

STEP 2:
Drain the freshly created pulp for 1 hour in a sieve/colander etc. The pulp should be visibly ‘wet’ but not dripping wet when handled in the palm of your hand.

STEP 3:
Measure out ALL the required ingredients and place to one side in ‘separate’ containers.

STEP 4:
Place the tissue pulp, PVA glue and water in a suitably sized mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly until you are sure the ingredients are mixed as thoroughly as possible.

STEP 5:
Slowly add the plaster and again mix as thoroughly as you can. Continue until ALL the plaster has been added. Mix for around one minute or so to ensure the ingredients HAVE been mixed throughout as much as possible. Failure to do so can promote hard unworkable plaster lumps in the mixture later. These ‘may’ promote premature curing of the medium in random clusters and also create week regions in a project when used.

STEP 6: Use as intended. In the listed formulae above the medium is designed as a pouring/spreading (soft brush or spatula) medium for moulding. For uses in ‘slip moulding’ or ‘free hand sculpting’ read on.


KNOWN MATERIALS THAT IT WILL BOND TO

By this I mean materials WHITE MATTER V2.6© is known by myself at this time to readily bond with. Such materials and uses then include: Whilst repairing existing projects or existing or self made armature forms either for use as a light weight ‘bulking’ material or as a free hand sculpting material. Also in this respect I imply ‘absorbent’ or ‘porous’ un-treated un-finished ‘none polished’ surfaces which will produce a firmer more lasting bond.

Paper ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.


Card stock ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.


Wood ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Dried pure plasters ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Dried White Matter© ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Cloth/fabrics ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Foam Firm open pour none smooth like surfaced types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Clay ALL types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

Stone/Brick Including natural & man made forms. Open pour none smooth like surfaced types untreated (none glossy painted, varnish finish, waxed, laminated surface, plastic coated surface etc type) ALL thicknesses. Note potentially ALL thicknesses with limitations involving thinner samples respectfully.

WORKING TIME/SHELF LIFE
The current and previous versions of WHITE MATTER V2.6© created using the listed materials and method had an on-going working time of some 10 plus hours (viability as yet undetermined beyond this time frame) when left standing in an open bowl or plastic container (bag) in a moderately cold to cool working environment between 20/30 degrees centigrade approximately. Experimental batch Version 2.0 was also stored in a sealed plastic bag over night (some twelve hours or so) in a refrigerator. Batch version 2.0 then went on to being used even after being left in an open plastic bowl for the remainder of the day some eight hours or so later when the remains of the medium where used successfully in assorted latex moulds.

I suspect that WHITE MATTER V2.6© can potentially be stored in either an air reduced plastic bag or closed plastic food storage container for several days perhaps a week or more. The limitations of such storage times are yet to be tested. As are the viability of further working with WHITE MATTER V2.6© after being subjected to these time frames of cold storage. I will be testing other temperature and storage limits too at a later time.

WORKING WITH MOULDS
In the original un-altered listed medium form. I can confirm that working with plastic or liquid latex moulds you should experience little to no issues with this medium bonding with the mould surfaces. Even though PURE PVA glue which is latex based WILL bond to latex mould forms (or others potentially) WHITE MATTER V2.6© will not bond to none branded liquid latex mould forms.

As for ‘other’ moulding materials I have no working experiences so can not comment at this stage when using WHITE MATTER V2.6©. Information given by ‘other’ artists using a variant of this recipe, have experienced no issues with using silicon moulding form that I know of. I do not know the brand of the used silicon mould medium how ever.


OTHER WAYS TO USE WHITE MATTER V2.6©

In the current listed prepared form WHITE MATTER V2.6© as was created and intended for can simply be poured, brushed or ‘pushed’ using a spatula into a latex mould of course.

I am currently toying with the theory that WHITE MATTER V2.6© can potentially be watered down and then in a ‘slip’ form be used in ‘slip casting’ should the user have access to as well as experience with at home slip casting moulds. I have an idea to text this theory later. Otherwise this remains a working theory only at this time.

Existing ‘un-decorated’ none painted varnished or other forms of surface treated pure plaster forms can be ‘added to or even repaired with varying success depending on the nature and extent of the damage using WHITE MATTER V2.6©. As with ALL such damage and repairs of course WHITE MATTER V2.6© is not without its own limitations.

Newly moulded forms using, either pure plaster, clay, paper clays and of course WHITE MATTER V2.6©. Can be readily joined and or sculpted over with WHITE MATTER V2.6© with a strong and lasting result. Of course I repeat WHITE MATTER V2.6© will have related limitations in this procedure. This is something how ever subject to ongoing experimentation by the user.

White matter can be readily sculpted over many of the above listed under the heading: KNOWN MATERIALS IT WILL BOND TO. How ever to free sculpt on or over a pre-designed armature etc some ‘slight’ modifications are required first. WHITE MATTER V2.6© In its current form is a ‘flowing medium’ best suited for use in moulds specifically. To alter this medium to make it more user friendly as a free sculpting medium you ‘must’ thicken the medium first.

WARNING: This WILL dramatically reduce the working life from 10+ hours to anything from 2 to 15 minutes. When doing this it IS advised that you create & work with small batches of around 2 to 4 ounces which will be easier to use up before the medium cures (hardens).

To do this:

1: Reduce the amount of curing retardant (the PVA glue) levels.

2: In some cases depending on ‘your’ batch size and current alterations made to ‘your’ batch increase the plaster content slightly.

Carrying out steps 1, 2 or both together will dramatically change in accordance to ‘your’ working batch sizes. Trial and error are the main rules in this case. Not knowing what batch sizes ‘others’ will be working with I can not know how much you would require to vary steps 1, 2 or both together. This you will have to discover yourself.


GENERAL WORKING RULES AND CONDTITIONS

Whilst my listed recipe is for an extremely large batch the following rules and conditions will also be relevant and ‘apply’ to ‘your own’ smaller batches equally once you establish a working combination. It is advisable that you take note of these rules and conditions. Failure to do so at ‘best’ will result in failed mediums and wasted materials at ‘worst’ could result in an accident, damage to personal property or ‘yourself’ or ‘others’ present.

1: Room temperature variations WILL increase or decrease mixed batches working life from the moment you make up a batch ‘regardless’ of the batch size.

2: Varying recipes that differ from the original ‘listed’ batch recipe given above WILL have different working and storage life times. As these WILL vary from personal user requirements batch sizes and recipe amounts during creation I can not therefore know or list what other working or storage life times may then be in effect.

3: It IS advisable that you leave the medium in the moulds until you are sure the medium is cured sufficiently before de-moulding. You can (with practice) de-mould once the medium feels hard within the mould. De-moulding times WILL vary from recipe to recipe and batch sizes. With practice you will discover the relevant times for ‘your’ own recipes and batches to allow de-moulding.

4: Air drying IS advised at all times. Drying times WILL vary from recipe to recipe, batch sizes and room temperature.

5: Only attempt to speed up drying times ‘after de-moulding’ then it IS advised that you do so ONLY by placing ‘near’ or ‘on’ a hot radiator for several hours or overnight. At this stage the medium should be adequately dried to handle the process.

NEVER attempt to speed up the drying process by placing moulded or de-moulded projects in a conventional or microwave oven. There WILL be trapped air within the drying medium.

6: Colour can be added to the medium during the mixing process by use of ready made tempura (water based) paints. Whilst these paints contain water it is a small amount. This combined with the fact only small amounts of such paints will be required to colour individual batches the water content in the paints should not adversely effect your altered recipes.

7: Adding oil based paints or other mediums during mixing WILL affect a recipe. These effects may potentially include: Drying times, bonding, working life and storage life.

8: You can paint finished dried projects with any paint types you wish. This includes use of sealer or varnish mediums too.

9: WHITE MATTER© (ALL versions) when mixed in the correct working combinations IS an extremely strong, hard and very versatile medium. It looks and feels like pure plaster but due to varying tissue pulp levels incorporated during mixing can be many times lighter in weight. It MUST also be noted that whilst it is very strong and hard a set back to adding any pulp medium to plaster WILL dramatically reduce the medium in comparison to pure plaster which in itself has its own strength issues. It is therefore NOT a plaster substitute or replacement. It is simply a paper mache ‘hybrid’ medium. It should also ONLY be treated and respected as such at ALL times.


ALL original contents of this document including ALL references and relevant context in relation to ALL versions of the above listed medium here in described as and listed as a ‘hybrid’ plaster and tissue pulp sculpting medium also otherwise known as White Matter© as listed within this document remain the property of J Jones.

The contents of ‘this’ document may be: added to, altered with intentions of updating or improving facts, figures or methodology at any time without any prior notice. The contents of this document are hereby FREE to be ‘used’ both in the ‘original’ state and as with intentions to create ‘new’ versions of the medium known as White Matter©. The original documentation shown here may NOT be altered in anyway without permission from Mr J Jones


©20/02/11 J Jones.

 

Friday, 18 February 2011

MY PLASTER PULP EXPERIMENTS BATCH 3 - QUICK UPDATE

Okay today i am going to make experiment batch 3. Hopefully with the semi-success i gained from batch one and the lessons learnd from adding too much paper in batch two i now know the right combinations close enough to gaining the right mix this time round. Certainly from batch one i found the perfect retardant which gave me ten plus hours working/storage times. Then also gave me absolutely no issues when going into the molds. Indeed batch one had excellent drying times in the molds. Once in the molds batch one was dry to the touch and the molds could be handled/moved with ease at around ten minutes. The thickness of the mix 'in' the molds was around some four millimeters yet the drying times to touch/move remained steady at ten minutes.

Lessons learned between batch one and two showed me that essentially the paper pulp levels HAVE to be less than half of the plaster content. This i still need to access more clearly but this is a minor challenge i think. Clearly from lessons learned from batch two i discovered that equal paper pulp or more paper pulp than plaster no matter how slight increases drying times in the mold dramatically. Also in batch two again too much paper pulp creates shrinkage & serious cracking issues both in the wet and dried mix. Alongside the excess water retained by previously pulp paper causes water pooling in the lower hollow sections of the molded mix.

Now ordinarily plaster does not require air do cure, though it does require air to thoroughly dry out. With this in mind it would be safe to assume the water pooling in the molds of batch two would, should have little to no effect on curing times. Sadly the opposite appears to be true. Even though i know the reactions by very nature of the three elements in this mix. The paper pulp has a natural slow drying time, where as the plaster and ingredient 'X' have very fast drying times. Plaster of Paris of course having the fastest drying time between it and ingredient 'X'. Then again ingredient 'X' in it's normal form has a fast drying time too. This is itself retarded by the addition of the water to allow mixing of the three ingredients of course. It would be natural to assume that the plaster of Paris would overtake the other ingredients in precedent of curing/drying times due to its more favourable nature?

Saying that mixing elements of predictable natures can and often does produce unexpected effects at times when you would most least expect them.

So to round off this er!, what was meant to be a 'quick' update. I have created enough toilet tissue pulp to cover both current mix experiments and then later several projects. I am currently draining the paper pulp for an hour or so to reduce the water content hopefully to give me a more accurate measure of pulp during the mixing stage. Of course totally drying the paper pulp then re-shredding it dry would be the ideal solution. Sadly after the first roll of toilet tissue which i planned to pulp four my blender decided that it no longer wanted to play lets make a big mushy mess after roll one. I had to pulp the remaining three rolls by hand. Mercifully the tissue i am using was so thin i was able to pulp it in a large bowl by hand using a metal potato masher. All three remaining rolls that is at once. Again mercifully i purchased this brand of toilet tissue because of it's ease in pulping by hand or other wise.

More soon.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

GAS MASK SKULLS PROJECT - PART 1

Okay before i begin on this project let me just re-cap here: The many projects i have planned for my various skulls be they paper mache, plaster and my White Matter©  (plaster and pulp mix) amongst these is one very special project a collection of gas mask skulls. These are based on a series of such skulls one of my sons amongst other things his being a tattooist the designs he tattooed on his own legs a while back. Below is a couple of the rough sketches i made from some of those skulls which i now plan to turn into a real object De art.



























Using pure plaster i am creating a series of 'basic' cast skull forms that i can then 'individually' carve/sculpt with unique to each skull they're own final look. Amongst the various sizes of skulls i have a set of three skulls i am currently working on to create those basic master casts. They being a typical closed mouthed skull, a semi-open mouthed skull and a screaming skull.

Now of all three current designs the screaming skull lends itself to the gas mask skull projects more as the gas masks some shown above do not cover the lower face entirely. As in a portion of the sides of the screaming mouth can be seen. For me this adds a nice gruesome touch to the final design not shown in my sons tattoos. Below are the pre-carved/sculpted original basic cast skulls.


















As i mentioned in a previous post i joined these together wrong causing the front of the skulls to miss-align. How ever once again the nature of the project means the gas mask section 'will' cover up this fault. I just need to carve/sculpt the features that will show beyond the gas mask. Then again as i said previously if i sculpt the entire skull since i am creating the gas mask features in plasticine, once i have created the new latex mold for this project, this particular skull, i can simply remove the plasticine and have a full skull again. A decision i came to when experimentally sculpting this skull i discovered the badly joined version could indeed be saved. As you can see below the first of the two screaming skulls sculpted into the final design.




























































Of course to use this as a gas mask-less version i will have to do some more minor sculpting to bring the skull up to standard, but this is minor work.

So what does the first stages of the plasticine gas mask look like then so far? Have a look below.























Now clearly i have a long way to go as yet. Once i get the proportions and design i want for the gas mask, straps etc established i can then work on adding the finer details in the mask.

AAAAGH! DISASTER STRIKES!!

Yesterday was not the best day to start this stage of this particular project with this particular skull!. Any of the other two versions would not have been a problem what-so-ever but no i had to start with this one didn't i. I broke off one side of the lower jaw because i did not warm up the plasticine enough between my hands before sculpting it directly to the plaster skull. In reflection what i 'should' have done was to only sculpt the area's that were visible beyond the gas mask straps and all!. Of course it is only too easy to reflect on what would have been the best thing to do isn't that just the way things are sometimes?

So luckily i still have another ready made so i am not having to mix up a new batch then wait for it do dry etc. With lessons learned from this mess up i should have more to show you in the next part of this feature post.

So what happened to the damaged skull then i hear some ask. Well i removed the remaining lower jaw and trimmed it all off around the damaged regions. Now this guy is a jaw less skull of which i now have two individual styles. The first one of course being by choice i might add lol.

Here is this poor damaged guy saved.


More soon.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

MY SKULLS QUICK UPDATE

Just a quick look at the skulls i have re-sculpted from the original 'basic' plaster copies so far.



































As for the faulty (my fault) screaming skulls i have one almost completed. Just some minor touches to sculpt now. This one of two so far made has come out better than i thought it might. Whilst this is definitely one design for the gas mask skulls (see previous posts) i can now or rather later remove the plasticine mask(s) from these skulls & still have a working fairly decent screaming skull in then end.

Just goes to show never rush to give up on a project, you just never know how a mistake can be salvaged until you try.

























































More soon.

Monday, 14 February 2011

WHY MASS PRODUCE PLASTER SKULLS JUST TO RE-MOLD FROM THEM AGAIN?

This is an idea i have been working on since i started making my Troll Screamers, i must get back to those soon. B (Barbara) my wife keeps asking when i am going to finish her mummy Troll Screamer. One of the designs family members came up with lol. Essentially by working from a fixed basic form i can then mass produce a few dozen semi-finished skulls. By making them first in plaster this serves two purposes for me. Firstly i need some plaster skulls for candle sconce creations later anyway. Secondly by making them in plaster first i can then re-sculpt countless 'new' individual skulls as and when i choose.

Being made first in plaster gives me a much tougher form to work with. Especially when sculpting with a craft knife. If i dig too deeply or slip and scratch the surface the tougher plaster skulls give me more room for such slip ups as there is less chance i will dig out too much plaster. Whilst the plaster pulp skulls 'will' be quite strong and hard they will never be as strong as the pure plaster skulls. Of course as i have already said this also gives me my plaster skulls at the same time for other projects.

The differences may only be slight and in most cases you would need to see two or more side by side to see the actual differences. The three styles i am going with for now are mouth closed, mouth slightly open and screaming. Below are a few of the first new 'basic' plaster skulls (mouth closed and mouth slightly open) waiting for the 'new' look to be sculpted in them.


















As for the screaming skulls, well i er!, messed up when i trimmed the halves after de-molding. Basically i did not remove enough of the plaster from the edges where the skull halves come together. For no particular reason i like to work from the back of the skull forwards when joining them together i did not realize what i had done on both skulls until they were dry and ready for the final plaster to join them together was added.

I did not realise of course because of how i work. I start on the back of one skull and join that region only first. Then i place it to one side then start another, and so on and so on. When i came back to these two and came to start the fronts i discovered my error. You can see the problem below.

















Of course i need simply cut the back of the skulls apart again and trim off some more of the edge of the plaster. It also occurs to me i haven't started making my sons 'gas mask skull tattoos' into real skulls either. These messed up skulls offer my the perfect reason to begin those now. Since the initial gas mask will cover most of the lower face of each skull. The messed up mouths offer no problems at all.

In fact once i post this i will begin work on sculpting the gas masks etc on these two guys in plasticine. You can follow the progress of the gas mask skulls in they're own special feature in a few days as i can work on these in between waiting for new plaster and plaster pulp skull molds to become free etc. Then i have to join the new skulls and sculpt them too.

More soon.

MY PLASTER PULP EXPERIMENTS BATCH 2 - ANOTHER UPDATE

In the previous update i mentioned a serious shrinkage issue due to i think an increase in un-accounted for water when i added more wet tissue pulp. I was going to make a third test batch today but i am simply not up for it as it turns out, not today. When i do (tomorrow, day after maybe) i will be reducing the tissue pulp content back to where it was during the first batch experiment. I will be draining the tissue pulp too before mixing, but more on that at the time of making the new batch. For now here is that shrinkage i mentioned. You may need to click on the image to enlarge it to see the problem better.


























I new there may have been 'some' shrinkage or extended drying issues from adding the extra tissue pulp. However a miss-judgement of the water in the soaking wet tissue pulp threw my calculations and expectations out more than i thought.

Never mind these samples can simply be re-mixed into a random batch later when fully dried.

More soon.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

MY PLASTER PULP EXPERIMENTS - UPDATE BATCH 2

Okay i put together a second experimental batch of my White Matter© today. At this point it is some two hours and seventeen minutes in and it is working just as the first batch did as in it is not going off (hard) in the mixing bowl. I 'definately' have cracked the secret of retarding the plaster of Paris going off too quickly. However, i made some slight changes to the tissue paper content this time to see what would happen.

In the first batch i made the mix was approximately forty percent tissue paper to sixty percent plaster of Paris plus ingredient 'x' which i will reveal later when i know i have perfect results every time. Now as i have said it is staying wet and completely useable as the first batch did, however drying times in the moulds has increased dramatically and in some moulds there is serious shrinkage. Water is pooling in the lower hollow regions in the moulds too.

I have been aiming at getting the mix to a fifty percent tissue pulp and fifty percent plaster. This it appears will simply not work. Not with as fast in the mould drying times anyway. The shrinkage i 'think' is due to the 'increase' of water which is being introduced along with the increased tissue pulp levels 'not' the tissue itself. Now don't take my word on that yet. I am still only working from personal theories here and they are best sketchy at this point. I am still working out the reasons 'why' this mix works as it does. Plaster after all 'will' go off no matter how much water you add. It will take longer of course but it 'will' none the less seprate from the eccess water sink and go off under the water. This consistant reaction is how you clean your containers after use after all.

To clean mixing containers you want to reuse simply add water to the container you were using. Use a paint brush, cloth or sponge to wipe down the sides of the container with the water in the container. Then simply place the container somewhere it will not be disturbed for a day or two. Later go back to it to find most of the water has evaporated leaving a solid block of plaster at the bottom of the container. If you have no use for this plaster simply dispose of it as your local waste management authorities advise. Or you can break it down with a hammer, oven bake it dry. Run it through a coffee grinder etc, voila re-useable plaster again.

When it comes to using the new batch on existing plaster/White Matter© objects IE: previously made skulls there is 'no' change to the way the mix reacts as with the first batch. In this respect the results are identical. In fact i am currently using it to join up the halves of the plaster skulls i made yesterday. Not only are the two halves bonding beautifully, seamlessly. The new batch of White Matter© is acting exactly as the first experimental batch did in this instance.

I still have another twelve skull halves to build up today which is going to take me up to my time to quit for the day. I will make a third and i am sure final experimental batch tomorrow with a reduced tissue paper content matcing the first batch which should fix the increased drying times and shrinkage issues i created with toady's experimental batch.

So to round off for today not total perfect results but i did throw a spanner in the works by increasing the paper content. Then again this is all part and parcel of experimenting is it not lol.

More soon.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

MY PLASTER PULP EXPERIMENTS - HOLY CRAP I CRACKED IT!

SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS

Okay just let me calm down a second...

Now for those who have been following my blog, especially my attempts at making a viable  plaster and pulp sculpting medium you will know of my semi successes and failures so far. Just the day before yesterday i posted on my latest failure. Okay yesterday i cracked the recipe..

I have created a plaster of Paris and tissue pulp medium that bonds to several mediums which paper mache artists currently mainly use. My plaster and pulp medium can be sculpted on or over existing creations and armatures without any prior preparations these being dry: plaster, clay, pulp, news paper, white printer paper, telephone directory paper, card stock and even wood.

My previous attempts at making this medium met with mixed results among which was a varying working time frame which ranged anything from eight minutes to fifteen minutes before the previous mediums dried out and became un-workable. Below is a short video of my latest and successful medium. Watch the video and see if you can guess the current life span of the medium in the video. Oh i apologise for the darkness of the video it was late, i was sore and tired. I did not think to check the lighting quality before shooting the video - Sorry.
 
  video

So care to take a guess at how old this mix is then at the time of shooting this short video?

1: five minutes?
2: ten minutes?
3: fifteen minutes?
4: twenty minutes?
5: thirty minutes?
6: one hour?

Keep guessing.


keep guessing.


Keep guessing.


Keep guessing I will tell you in a minute.


Keep guessing.


Go on one more guess.


The medium you just watched me playing with in the short video is at the time of shooting the video was in fact two hours and eleven minutes old. Directly after shooting that video i made the following skull you can see below as well as testing it on the other mediums i mentioned above.
























The skull in the foreground (on the right of the picture) is the one i made with my new plaster pulp medium. The skull in the background is a pure plaster skull i made days earlier. As you can see the new plaster pulp mix when dry can easily be carved/sculpted using a craft knife. It looks and feels just as strong as pure plaster and can easily be smoothed out to a very smooth finish no matter how you use it. Here it is direct from a latex mold however.

I did not use up all the plaster pulp mix in fact i wanted to know just how long it would stand before drying out and becoming too hard to work with. If you think two plus hours working time is unbelievable your not going to believe me then when i tell you that ten hours later the plaster pulp mix shown in the video was 'still' as fresh as that shown in the video. At that point i got tired of checking it every ten minutes and simply spread it out in the bowl and microwaved it for three minutes before going to bed.

So now there is one question still to answer. Can i remake this batch, if so will it work in the same way?

I will get to it in a few hours, run some tests then get back to you after the weekend on that one. Yes before anyone asks i WILL be giving you the recipe for this just as soon as i know if i can repeat the mixture and have the same results.

More soon