Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unfinished business

"In hell there is no other punishment 
than to begin over and over again 
the tasks left unfinished in your lifetime."

-- Andre Gide

Polymer clay mask 7-25-13

"I don't like the word 'experiment' in the context of art in general. 
It implies something immature, unfinished, 
something entertaining for a moment before it becomes irrelevant."

-- Abel Korzeniowski

Peg Boggs:   Oh, my. What happened to you?
Edward:      I'm not finished.
-- Edward Scissorhands

Typically a face has to be "finished" before I post it on the blog.

But sometimes I like to indulge in a process that takes a little longer than a day to complete, from start to finish.

Often, if I am waiting for such a process to take its time, I make other less time consuming faces simultaneously, post those, and wait for the time consuming one -- the lolly-gagger -- to be finished.

But today's face, even though I plan to do more to it, looked kind of cool in it's unfinished state. 
So I decided to share it, and some of my process.
For anyone who's interested.

This face is a mask -- a life-sized face -- made of polymer clay.
Usually when I make a mask this size, I use the clay as a mold only, and render the final mask from it in papier mache.

But this face  looked pretty cool in clay, and it had some details that I didn't want to lose in the papier mache.  Plus, I haven't ever made anything this big in polymer clay and I was in an experimental mood.

So I went ahead and baked it and made it permanent.

Here it is "raw," while the clay was still pliable and before I glued in the teeth.

Polymer clay mask (unbaked) 7-25-13

Polymer clay mask, baked, with teeth 7-25-13
And here it is "baked." With the teeth glued in.

While I was photographing it, it was getting dark, so I had work lights on. 

I dug how the light filtered through the mask highlighting and shadowing the different thicknesses of the clay. 

Also, it made this face look super-sinister. Which I also dug.  

It looked like this:

Polymer clay mask (2) 7-25-13

He looks pretty devilish, doesn't he? 
Or maybe she's a she.
 I haven't decided yet. 
Stay tuned.

To get the image at the top of the page, I used this same image, and just fiddled with the colors and contrasts, turned and tweaked a couple of knobs.

I plan to do more with this mask, but I enjoyed playing with it the way it is. 

It's a lot like raising kids.
You don't have to wait for them to grow up before you can enjoy them.
They're lots of fun at every age.
And its nice to take pictures to chart their progress along the way.

Also, just in case I fuck up this mask by doing more with it, I wanted to have a record of its existence while it was still pretty good.

Which is also a lot like raising kids.