Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fimo Mickey Mouse - Attempt 2

Now that my sister Rose's birthday is past, and I don't need to keep this as a surprise anymore, I want to share my second attempt at creating a Mickey Mouse sculpture / figurine from Fimo.

The first attempt - I can't believe it was Oct 2013! - looked pretty promising :
Attempt at Fimo Mickey Mouse sculpture / figurine.
However, after building most of the Mickey Mouse character, I was dismayed that it slowly broke apart into pieces overnight, before I could finish and bake it.  I also realized that I would need a wire tail to support Mickey so he would be free standing.

So before my sister's birthday this year, I made a second attempt.  This time I bought a thick black wire which could serve as the tail and support, as well as provide internal structure for Mickey, so he would hold together.

I was able to re-use the Mickey head, and just re-attach the ears which had fallen off, but most of the other pieces I couldn't reuse, although at least they served as a model for the new pieces :
Fimo Mickey Mouse broken bits and pieces

I used three pieces of wire.  One started in the head, and provided the backbone support and tail.  The second provided support in the two legs.  The last one provided the support for the two arms.  It was much more stable this time, and Mickey was able to stand independently.  The arms moved a little bit, not being anchored to the backbone wire.  However, I hoped that it would be strong enough, so put Mickey into the oven to bake him.

Sadly, this is what came out of the oven :
Damaged Fimo Mickey Mouse figurine
Poor little guy had fallen face-first in the oven, knocking off his nose, and breaking his shorts in the process.

I have now realized that it was a mistake to have 3 independent structural wires.  On next attempt, they will need to be tied together, with a smaller wire.  Alternatively, I will use the thick black wire for head to tail, and then use a smaller wire which I can wrap around and extend to the arms and legs, but as one solid piece.

I may have tried again that night, but I didn't have enough black Fimo.  So I have subsequently purchased one, but not in time for the birthday.

So the adventure continues.  Although I can't guarantee that it won't be another year or two before the third and hopefully final attempt.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raku Results : Foil Saggar Pots

When I finished my raku course, I tried not to post all my photos at once.  But suddenly a month has gone by, and I still have many to post.  So far I've posted photos from the firing, then the horsehair raku pots, the glazed raku pots and pendants, my naked raku pot, and a peek at my raku lady on display at Shadbolt Center for the Arts.

One of the raku methods I was least familiar with, and didn't know if I'd be satisfied with the outcome, was the foil saggar firing.  We were told to collect up various organic materials, and bring them to class.  Dried seaweed, fertilizer, horse dung (I was very tempted to collect some at the equestrian center, but I'm glad I didn't), dried rose petals, copper wire, etc.

Here is my first pot, getting wrapped in the organic materials and foil :
I can't remember all that was in there, but from the photo, I see pine cones, bottle caps, horsetails (which contain silica), wood shavings, sea weed, some immature cottonwood fluffs, and a sprinkle of "magic dust".
Preparing a ceramic pot for foil saggar firing.
I wrapped the pot itself in copper strands (from a pulled apart metal scrubby) and the bottle cap.

The second pot had similar ingredients, as well as dried burdock, and some pellets of fertilizer.  It was also wrapped in the copper wire, bottle caps, but also cotton string which had been soaked in salt, and some fresh rhododendron flowers :
Preparing a ceramic vase / pot for a foil saggar raku firing.

They were then wrapped in foil and fired, and the following week we collected them, and unwrapped them, to reveal our finished pots.  Here are some of them, still wrapped in foil.  One of mine on the bottom shelf is peeking out :
Ceramic pots coming out of the foil saggar raku firing.

Here are the final pots from a couple of different angles.  I'm pretty pleased with the result :
Unique hand thrown pots from a foil saggar raku firing.

Ceramic pots from a foil saggar raku firing.

Here is a closeup of the first one :
Foil saggar raku fired ceramic pot.
...and the second one :
Foil saggar raku fired ceramic pot.

Here's a table full of my classes's creations.  I love that one in the front (bottom left in the photo) with the dramatic blackish pink lines.  These were also formed by the same copper strands as I used, but somehow the location in the kiln or perhaps another ingredient contributed to the dramatic colours.
Foil saggar raku fired ceramic pots in a range of colors.
It was fascinating to see the wide range of colours, from the pinks to oranges, to shades of grey and black.

Stay tuned for the horsehair raku plates, and the obvara raku fired pieces, when I find time to post again.