Carving back the foam ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Now that the foam enlargement with armature is safely at the shop it is time to begin working big. For this I will need serrated knife, sculpting tools, drywall sanding screen, respirator mask, step stool, ladder and a shopvac. This gets messy! First I need to cut back some of the foam. There are areas that are just blobby and too soft - undercuts that need to be revealed etc. I use a serrated knife to go in and shave off areas and cut and refine the hard areas and undercuts.

Carving back the foam ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Sanding the foam ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

A sanding screen that s used for drywall is great at knocking back some rough areas - but makes a huge mess of fine foam crumbles. The shop vac will remove the mess from both the foam sculpture and floor as well as my clothes at the end of the day. Thank goodness we’ve got that - sweeping simply makes the bits airborne and I definitely use my face mask until the shopvac has done its job.

Carving back the foam ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Foam hand before refining ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Here is the hand before I make any refinements…

Foam hand after refining ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

And here is the hand after a bit of carving in the foam. I shave things back a bit to allow room for the clay.

Nail embedded in foam to be heel armature for shoe ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

The narrow heel of one of the pumps wasn’t milled in foam properly and was missing. So I inserted a heavy nail into the fragile foam to make an armature for the missing heel.

Paperclay on foam armature ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Next I mixed up some air-dry paperclay and applied that to the nail armature. Once dry I can sand it back a bit and then add the clay over the hardened heel armature.

Cardboard armature for hat ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

As mentioned before, the hat brim was simply too large and thin to be milled in foam. Prior to scanning the maquette the hat was removed so the maquette was scanned without the hat. That means that I will need to fabricate a hat armature and affix to the life-size foam for sculpting. I scaled up the hat to size and using a make-shift compass, drew out the circumference onto a cardboard packing box and cut it out. The cardboard hat brim was then glued to a dome of foam for the crown and left to dry over night. 

Paperclay over cardboard armature ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Then I mixed up a batch of air-dry paperclay and coated the top of the hat with the clay, shaped it and left it to dry. This will become quite hard and will hold its shape - acting as the armature for the clay to be added.

slab and case of Jmac Classic clay

With the foam carved and sanded and the hat drying, it is time to start preparing the clay. I’ll be using J-Mac Classic clay in Medium for the large sculpture. This is a non-drying, oil based clay and I purchased the case of it at Sculpture Depot in Loveland. The slabs are about 10 lbs each and are too large and hard to use in this state. To start I cut the slab into manageable pieces. 

Heating mac classic clay

I would normally continue to cut the slab into little chunks about 1” square and then either heat the pieces in a microwave or in a hotbox so that the clay softens to a more pliable form. However, as I have the large foam armature milled for this maquette, I will be melting the clay in an oven to a liquid state and then brushing the clay over the foam in several coats before I begin sculpting.

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