Glassblowers use specific tools to manipulate the glass at the work bench. Two of those tools are the Tweezers and the Jacks. They are very delicate, handmade steel tools. In order to duplicate these in wax, I beefed them up on the interior with clay and then made a silicone mold of them. I had to do this several times before I was able to pull a wax that I liked. When I was able to get a likable wax, I then had to sculpt it down and fit it to her hand. Casting it in glass will be a whole other chapter.
The process of making the wax work bench starts by taking a silicone mold of a pre-existing work bench. Then the silicone is peeled back off the bench and brought to a work space. It is then sewn together at the ripped seams and braced for pouring wax into. The wax pulled from these molds are cropped, and tightened to fit the vision of the final presentation of the piece. The is a lot of back and forth to make sure the gaffer and assitant match up in the scene and line up with the blow pipe.
There are many tricky and technical aspects of this project. Recreating the individuals in wax is one. After pouring and pulling the wax of from the life cast there is many stages of sculpting the wax goes through. It has to be pieces together with the rest of the body to look like it is in the pose intended. In this case he is about to blow into the pipe. An armature has to be created to support the wax figure and the limbs have to be "pinned" with screwers to keep from falling apart. The gesture and facial expression is continually altered as it comes together.
The live model for the gaffer in this sculpture was Yazzie Graham. After taking multiple molds from her body and head, I poured wax into the silicone life molds, pulled the waxes and started assembling them together. This is a time consuming, tedious endeavor where the wax has to be warmed, manipulated slowly, fitted, trimmed and placed.
Dean Allison is a studio artist working with portrait sculpture and the figure with glass. His studio is in Pittsburgh PA. Dean is working on a commissioned sculpture for our new space in the Newark Arts Common. Follow Dean as he works to create this new significant work of art.