Ever reached that point in the devising process where you need a very particular prop? Maybe you have an original item but it is too fragile or valuable or maybe you like to carve or model your own designs and would like to make more durable, robust versions for touring.. (thinking of all the puppeteers out there)
Well.. what about making a copy?
David Neat offers a 5 day modelling, mould-making and casting course, run out of his studio in Deptford and assisted by his partner Astrid Baerndal. For more information on David see his website www.david-neat.co.uk and blog site http://davidneat.wordpress.com .
Last year, after much wild experimentation while building a life sized version of myself for our new show Imaginary Friends, I thought it might be useful to learn about some of the many different materials and techniques available in the prop making and special effects area of work, so I signed up for David’s course in March 2012. Typical of me to do it that way round!
David’s course offers the opportunity to create two-part and one-part silicone rubber moulds and to use them for casting a variety of different resins.
As the process involves distinct stages which require overnight setting times David and Astrid used these pauses to demonstrate a variety of other mould-making and modelling methods such as Gel Flex, Alginate (used in the film and theatre industries for making prosthetics), foam shaping, latex, quick set silicone, slip-casting and cold metal casting.
Here is a link to my photos relating to the course, we were all encouraged to document the process for our own reference and to consolidate the learning process.
The course offers a wealth of information such as the fascinating Shore Hardness Scales, which rate just how gummi is your gummi bear, it’s also useful for deciding which type of silicone is the right one for the job in handBoth David and Astrid are artists in their own right as well as, respectively, professional model maker and photographer and we got an extra insight into how they have used these modelling and mould-making techniques in their own work.
Below is a selection of moth cocoons created by Astrid
The course was presented in their studio flat and the atmosphere was one of relaxed concentration, a perfect combination. David and Astrid are very easy going and welcoming and their years of experience did not overshadow their open minded enthusiasm for new challenges thrown up by the questions and different backgrounds of the course members.
David has also made a great deal of information available on Sky Drive which is a great reference tool but you can’t beat getting your hands on the raw materials and trying it out for yourself.
Sue Auty - April 2012