The next major project for Foxy-Wolff is another play set/ film project. The earliest inspiration for this piece comes from Barbie’s Dream House, but early concept is as far as the influence goes. This work was conceived of at the same time we dreamed up the LLICPS, but is so much more complex to build and film that it has taken a great deal of time to manifest. Our first job was to decide on the scale of the piece. We were wanting a larger piece than our small kiln would allow so modules were the best solution. Another priority of the piece was a high degree of precision. Molds then became the best solution for the build. Several ideas were pursued, but in the end a two-part press mold was decided on, allowing uniformity of each wall with both inside and outside detail. When making a doll house, better follow the rules of doll houses. Each wall would then need two parts, a floor, a ceiling, a roof joist, roof tiles, trim work, gables, and a staircase; in total 15 separate molds were made.Originals were the first step, after determining desired finish size and calculating shrinkage, patterns were created from heavy paper. all the decoration was applied to the patterns, then transfers were made using graphite and tracing paper.After the transfer process and the tiles were cut, the decoration needed to be removed from the original. A border was then added to the tile to provide a wall for the mold. Registration marks were also cut to help the molds fit back together after the original was removed. Walls were then built and secured in preparation for the plaster. once the first side of the wall was poured, the walls and the border was removed and the interior received its transfer image and was carved and prepared for plaster. Early on we could see that an escape route for the clay was essential. the tabs at the top and bottom were added to create voids to allow this. in the end this was not quite enough and plaster had so be dug from the window voids as well. Another tricky issue with these was the need for the window openings to line up inside and outside. The plaster was added again. For our plaster mixing formula we follow the one provided by ceramic arts daily.
The basic advice here is excellent and the ratio is nearly always perfect. The small batches seems a bit watery, we typically add a little plaster when mixing small.After a few days of drying, the molds were broken into so that the original could be removed and the mold left to dry. At least a week, but the longer they dry, the better the molds become. As mentioned above, they piece required many details. The mold making phase of the project lasted weeks.The stairs proved a different sort of challenge. As I said, precision is a high priority for the project, I was unsure of how to get what I wanted with clay and keep it crisp through the build and pour. This bit was handed off to Gabe and he engineered and built this beauty in a couple of hours. This mold was not only huge time-saving but its crisp lines really makes the look of the piece.The roof and the ceiling were difficult to design, this is how the module aspect of each floor works, with locking tabs in the floor and roof of each story. Also critical is tying the porch to the stairs so that the characters can move from floor to floor smoothly.Once the molds were built we had to learn how to use them. The stairs were a particular challenge, keeping that crisp line and filling all of the cracks and gaps took several tries and approaches.As the molds were dried and their techniques for use were understood, we were ready for the build. More on that soon.