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Thread: Subway Art

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    ^ Looking great ...

    How many pounds of clay did that take?
    Thanks Lofter, he took a bit over 100 pounds if you can imagine that.
    It's at the stage now where I'll have to decide real quick a few things before it dries, one is I know I'll want to make these in both hydrocal as well as fired terra-cotta, and the materials require different molds and processes entirely.
    To make it in hydrocal it needs to be cast in one piece, for terra-cotta I'll want to cut the model into sections like the originals. cutting it into sections will mean I have to make molds of each piece and this has to be cut while the clay is still moist.
    Once it's cut up, the only way to make the rubber mold of it for the hydrocal is to fake mortar it back together so it looks like the original with mortar lines- that all has to be done when its DRY.
    So it will be a big process with this!
    I expect to finish the model in 2 weeks.

    You might have noticed the somewhat obvious poor job they did with the glaze on the original, it's like the blue and green in some areas have a sloppy bleed-through, almost as though they changed their minds on the colors and applied the changes over it but not very well. The company was supposed to be a well respected firm and their ware highly collectable, but on these the glazes looks sloppy or like a rush job, I'm not sure what to make of it or why they let it go through like that.

  2. #32
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I had thought the glazing looked a bit messy. Maybe the precursor to the MTA was a budget-cutter, too

    That 100 pounds of wet clay in the medallion will dry down to what weight?

    And how much shrinkage in size will you get when the piece is fired?

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    I had thought the glazing looked a bit messy. Maybe the precursor to the MTA was a budget-cutter, too

    That 100 pounds of wet clay in the medallion will dry down to what weight?

    And how much shrinkage in size will you get when the piece is fired?
    I hollowed it all out last week Lofter once it firned up enough to handle without distortion, it's around 60 pounds now and is slowly being dried.
    The moist clay shrinks about 3/4 of an inch to 1" per lineal foot when it dries, and a little more shrinkage when fired- about 8 to 12% depending on the clay and temperature. So whatever size I want to end up with I typically compensate for that shrinkage with the layout of the clay.

    With this model though and my others- they are not normally fired, just dried, lacquered and used to make a rubber mold from. This particular model however will go thru that process- 5 molds for the 5 pieces, and then from the 5 rubber molds 5 plaster casts will be made and those will be "mortared" together into one piece, and a mold of that layup made to cast interior cast-stone in. That way the casts will appear to have mortar lines bewteen all the pieces like the original in the station.

    The 5 individual initial molds will then be used to pour liquid mold rubber into each- making 5 solid rubber positives just like the clay model, and then those 5 solid rubber positives are in turn used to cast plaster molds from which are then used to pour either liquid ceramic or hand-press clay into

    Sounds more complicated than it is, though it is quite involved.
    I will however fire the eagle pieces in a kiln at some point just to preserve the original model, though it will shrink more and won't be suitable later to make a mold from because of the size change, I will have already made a cast-stone "master" to shelve and use for that purpose by then anyway, so I won't need the original for future molds.

    And now it's bascially finished and cut into 5 sections- 2 less than the subway plaques have, and as it dries out I'll no doubt be refining a little here and there;

    Last edited by UrbanSculptures; April 23rd, 2008 at 11:08 PM.

  4. #34
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Wow ^ Bravo!


  5. #35

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    That looks amazing lostnyc. When does the next sign start?

  6. #36

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    Thanks guys!

    When does the next one start?

    I'll have to give some thought as to what might come next, the issue is there are not a lot of figural pieces in the subway other than the eagle and the Astor Place beaver, but a lot of mosaics. That makes the eagles and beavers rare and unique just because most of the decoration (besides borders and ceiling bands) are multi-colored mosaic tiles not sculpted reliefs.

    In looking at photos I have from flickr.com some possibles might be the ship plaque at Columbus Circle, a boat with a very fancy surround at South Ferry, and the blue oval "Bleecker street" plaque. 1, 2 or all 3 are possibilities and all would have to be made smaller in scale.

    There's the Brooklyn Bridge depicted on a panel too but I'm not sure how well that very low relief would "translate" into a smaller piece- there's not alot of relief on it, it's mostly painted.

    I'm also looking at an owl on that 90 West Street building that is pretty cool, I have 2 picture sof one but don't remember from where it came- scaffolding is seen in one of the photos. That owl is also pretty large even if it doesn't look it, I estimated the wingspan to be around 32"



    I'm happy to say a local museum here invited me to do an art exhibition next April thru July with 10-12 pieces. Possibly one of these subway pieces might be included in my selection.
    Last edited by UrbanSculptures; April 23rd, 2008 at 11:11 PM.

  7. #37

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    Well, whatever you decide to do, I'm sure it will be as excellent and as well done as both your beaver and the eagle you just finished.

    Congrats on your museum exhibition!

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