Saturday, October 16, 2010

Super slo-mo shoehorn progress, wax with a memory, plus Mike Masse's favorite ear plugs ever!

Slow moving snail shoehorn - a work in progress (it's not cast yet)

What do you do when you're wrestling with wax that always wants to return to its original shape?

I was working on my tree frog shoe horn. I had a mold made on my original wax shoe horn design and got some other waxes of it to mess about with.

Instead of the usual bendable wax poured into molds, this was injection wax, which behaves (or rather mis-behaves) differently.

Anyway it didn't hang on the wall just the way I wanted it to.
I tried bending it this way and that, and in the process broke the one I had my frog on. Before it broke it always wanted to slowly return to its original shape after bending.

Quite frustrating.

Eventually Lee suggested I try letting it soak in very hot water before bending it (I'd already tried this, but it would return to its old shape when it cooled). But Lee also suggested quickly cooling it back down in cold water. So I gave it a try, using a tray of iced water, and voila!

After getting another wax just how I wanted it, I broke off the top of the one with the frog on, so I could remove and transfer the frog to the newly shaped wax.

Left with a broken, now shorter shoe horn, I liked the way it sat sideways on the table and decided to take advantage of it.
So I tidied it up and now it's got a snail on it.

I happened to have some snail shells kicking around for just such an occasion.
I heated small quantities of wax in a spoon over an alcohol lamp from Artisan (the art store), and poured the hot liquid into the shell making it less fragile, and easier to attach wax based clay to.

After a quick google image search for snails (and likewise on YouTube) I had all the reference I needed for the slimy parts.

Oh, here's a handy tip for doing the tentacles...
Copper wire, even really thin copper wire inside the clay tentacles, is a bit stiff to bend just right. So heat it up in a flame (gas cooker stove tops work fine) to red hot, and let it cool back down. Then it will be nice and bendy. Just be sure to hold it in pliers (not your fingers) while heating!
Or I s'pose you could just use very thin aluminum wire.

Call it a sculpture you can put your shoes on with, or call it a shoe horn that looks great on the mantel piece!

I like how it looks, and I can't wait to get it cast. It's at Lee's getting its very own mold right now...
So I guess I'll have two uniquely individual shoe horns when I'm done.
His 'n' hers?
Spookily shot wax and clay snail shoehorn

On another topic...
I remember when I picked up what looked like nastily colored fruit pastels at Mike Masse's studio a year or so back.
But they were squashy. And waxy.
And ear plugs, as Mike was quick to point out.

But recently when I was there Mike was keen to show me what he called the best ear plugs he's ever tried.
He was very excited about them, as you can see...
Mike Masse sporting this season's must-have ear accessories. A perfect gift for the power tool enthusiast in your life.

Radnor reusable earplugs. Mike swears by 'em.

If I ever start snoring I'll know just what to get Meridee for her birthday.

By the way, she's put up some pics online, with more coming soon (and presumably regularly thereafter), at
Click HERE to have a look.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

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