Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Art Work In Process Post 7

Another day ... another step.

The good thing is it is very hot here and my studio room, being downstairs is very cool!

Over the years I have tried a number of different ways of surfacing the horns and antlers.  I want them to look  boney like real horns or antlers.  Plaster of Paris is not good because it shrinks as it dries and this cracks.  Plastic wood is very hard to work with, but Durham's water putty works pretty well, but it to will crack if the underlying structure is not perfectly rigid.  Some years back I learned about a product called Hydrocal that ceramic artists use to make molds.  It is very strong and does not shrink very much.

I use two coats of Hydrocal to finish the surface of the horns or antlers.

The first coat fills in the smallest texture of the plaster cloth.  The second will cover the larger wrinkles.

After the second coat on the moose antlers I set them aside for a day or more of drying time.  The warthog was put out in the heat of the day and his tusks dried nicely by late afternoon.  I then painted them with a white primer, let it dry, gave them a golden brown wash, let it dry and sealed them with a water base sealer.  He will be ready for his skin tomorrow.

This picture show you the things I assemble to create deer antlers.

I have a deer skull with the antlers attached.  There's a story as to where it came from, but I won't go into to that now.

I also have a very good set of pictures of antlers that I look at.

I start with a PVC assembly that goes into the head.  I cut pieces of plastic that separate the head from the antlers so they do not get fused in the creation process.

I use 12 and 14 gage wires and masking tape for the first part of the structure.

Each wire loop is anchored in the PC and taped together.

Then I bend them into shape.  They don't have to be perfect.

I work a layer of plaster cloth over the wires.   Tomorrow I will work on the shape a bit more and add another layer of plaster cloth.

I did the same for the impala.

Even though the studio was relatively cool, I'm reading a very good book right now and decided to call it a day at about 3:00.

More tomorrow.


  1. There is so much detailed work involved in the making of your animal heads. I am so glad you have shared this process with us. Thanks!!

  2. Your art is fascinating. I never would have guess how much work and thought is involved in creating these sculptures. All I can say is WOW!

  3. I think you have the start of a new book Merikay!


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