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I'm fairly new to sculpting, and have made a few finished pieces, but I feel very restrained and can't do as much as I would like to try to tackle because I can't fit very large sculptures in my oven. I prefer to work with super-sculpy for how long it keeps its malleability, since I have to sometimes go for weeks without adding to it. So epoxy clays don't attract me, they dry to quickly for my purposes.
I've tried larger pieces, but if they come too close to the sides or top of the oven, they burn very badly.
How do other people with very large sculptures bake them?
I work at a grocery store, so I've thought about asking to use the bakery ovens during the night when they are not in use. But since they use it all the time for food, of course, I doubt they'd allow me to use it, even though sculpy is non-toxic.
I would very much appreciate any pointers, as I'd love to sink my teeth into some bigger sculptures
That is a loaded question.
Some people use a large box lined with Aluminum foil and a worklamp to create a "oven" to bake larger pieces.
Some people use a heat gun or embossing gun to bake the outside of the sculpture then cut it into smaller pieces for baking.
For the most part though, larger sculpts are not done in SS because of this issue and it is not really cost efficient to do so. Using a Chavant or other actual clay is cheaper for large pieces, they can then seperate and mold for wax for bronzing or concrete for lawn ornaments. I guess basically, the sculpture material for large pieces is never the "end" material as SS would be.
Hope that helps.
Oh and definately don't count on the grocer letting you use their ovens. There are too many OSHA and Health Dept. regulations for them to even consider it.
Thanks for your help. Although SS is expensive, I'd still far rather use it than any other kind of clay, as it's the only kind I've ever been comfortable with, no other clay I've found is versatile enough for me to have any success. So even though it would be much more expensive to do a large (I'm not talking HUGE, but just larger than could fit inside a conventional oven) sculpt with it, the end result would be worth it for me.
But I've never been able to organize things well to do it in separate pieces... I've tried that as well, but my brain needs to see it as a whole to get it right.
And yeah... I figured the store wouldn't let me for those reasons, which is why I haven't asked yet. Although in Smellybug's tutorial, he baked his in a large pizza oven, I wonder how he managed to get the use of one?
For now I'll see if I can manage to construct one of those wooden work-lamp ovens that you mentioned, hopefully some googling will help me along that path
Typically, when confronted with a size issue, I've taken Apoxie Sculpt and used it to fortify my armature. Then take the piece and literally bolt it to a piece of wood, so that the piece in question could be baked horizontally in an oven. I've got a pretty decent sized oven.
What you do is take two pieces of wood, screw them together at a 90 degree angle, creating an L. Then you take a third piece of wood, that's cut into a right triangle, and then screw that to both pieces fortifying the join. The long side down, you would bolt your sculpture to the short side which is pointing up and down.
Lay the piece in the oven, and bake slowly.
You shouldn't have any problems.
God so loved the fat people of the world, he gave them his only begotten donut.
wth?? Tommy Allison...you actually know about SS? i thought you are the apoxie master!!! lol. i still trying to get that comfortable with apoxie.
bronze recently i got caught getting little excited with a sculpture and when i was done it was little bit bigger than my oven. and i was feeling like a total moron how i left that happen, but what i did is that i used a hair dryer ( i dont have a heatgun) and i baked little bit the points i was afraid to brake then i lay my sculpture to the side to bake it. i added some support with thin strong wire to some points so even out the weight and it was fine.
building an oven it is a good idea, never thought of it before. if you find any notes or blueprints please post them here or pm them to me. thanks.
Most of my sculpts are quite large, and too large for the oven and do use a small home oven. I also use Super Sculpey too and yeah I agree, you gotta be comfortable with what material you use.
When making the armature, I use square brass tubes where the limbs, and head meet the body. I use two different sizes so that one tube fits snuggly into the other like a key.
After the armature is complete, I start sculpting, and during this process, when I need to get to the main body I take off the limbs using a wire (I call em cheese cutters) this process helps in many ways as you can reach places that you can't always reach, or where it isn't quite manageable. Also, another advantage is, is that you can work on different body parts as much as you want. When sticking body parts back to the sculpt, I rake two sides and 'mush it' with some rubbing alcohol. (So that when the two pieces meet, they stick together instead of sliding off.) Since you can use the brass tubing as keys taking the body parts in and out, you can therefore bake each part individually. This method is used by many sculptors for the purposes of a.) ease of use and b.) to make moulds out of each body part. I think the guys at ADI workshop who made the Alien sculpts for AVP used this method too, and John Brown.
As Anemos pointed out, you can use a heat gun but it is pretty pain stakingly boring as well, sitting there being as careful as you can heating an entire sculpt for ages. But, if you have patience and be careful then it is certainly an option. Speaking of which I have used the heat gun on a few sculpts to enhance the effect of texture! But not always.
I do hope that what I said has made some kind of sense!?
Anyway, since you're pretty new to this, all I can say is that I'm very much looking forward to seeing your work, and above all.. enjoy yourself!
Last edited by dreamsorcerer; May 10th, 2008 at 06:54 PM.
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My students have made figures too large for a home oven. Luckily, I've access to an enormous commercial oven. I bet it costs a couple grand, easy.
Super Sculpey doesn't need to be baked at more than 200°. It shouldn't be too hard to make some kind of box that can get up to 200° with the help of a small space heater or work lamps.