Advanced Hand Props, with Tom Fiocchi
Ohio University, 2016
For this class project I challenged myself to be able to not only replicate a particular object, but to be able to duplicate my own work. This meant choosing an object that was essentially a mirror image of itself. The Sphinx’s body was essentially symmetrical except for the placement of the tail. It was also my intention to challenge myself with carving the human form again. It’s smaller scale (18” L x 10” W x 14” H) added another layer of difficulty for me since all other carving previous to this project were at a life size scale.
I started with 4 layers of rigid insulation foam and carved down from there. I started with a hot knife to take away large chunks of material, and the rest was done with snap knives. I continued to carve the body until I realized I needed more information about the wings. I chose to carve the wings in poplar so they would be more durable. Each wing had a visible front and back side. I used a dremel with a sanding drum to lay in the feathers.
When it came time to insert the wings, I dug two slots into the foam and adhered them with expanding foam. Shrink wrap kept the wings in place until it cured. I also used the expanding foam to add material back where I had carved too much away. Masking tape took care of any additional imperfections. Upholstery tacks created the eyeballs, a bundle of twine was used for the tail, and microcell foam pierced with wires established the flourish in front. The statue was attached to the wooden base with contact adhesive and a thin bead of caulk for security. Sculpt or Coat unified all the surfaces before being painted.