"In The Making"
The "BIG FRIENDLY BOOK!"
Over 100 pounds of clay has gone into this Big Friendly Book puppet sculpture.
It measures approx 24 x 18 inches.
A special profile jig was cut to draw the edge of the clay into
the wonderful PAGE EDGE shape.
The eyes were cast in plaster from the inside of a plastic dome - a release agent of soap was used against the plastic to help the plaster pop out. The eye models needed to be the same size and inset into the clay. They were laid into position, scribed around, and a relief was cut into the clay.
The splash coat of Ultracal 30 went on. When the balance of the mold is made - burlap is used for reinforcement, and the master mold is hand smoothed and allowed to dry.
The mold is turned over and the substructure (a cardboard box filled with newspaper) is removed. This is no easy task as it weighs over 200 lbs! All of the clay is slowly removed being careful not to damage the surface of the mold with the tools. The mold is surface cleaned and air dried.
The liquid latex is poured into the mold and filled to the brim. This BIG FRIENDLY BOOK mold holds 10 gallons of latex during this dwell time of about 2 hours! During this time the water and amonia will absorb into the mold surface allowing the latex solids to begin to collect. The remaining liquid latex is poured out and the skin allowed to air dry overnight.
What remains is a tender half cured skin on the surface. At this point it can tear easily. It is placed in the exhaust air dryer until it completely cures.
Steve, What a wonderful experience, especially for those of us who use your puppets to share in the experience of what it takes to create them. It makes me admire your work all the more. Patrice Kenna.
Careful airbrush detailing makes for an "AXcellent" finishing touch to the latex. Now it will be supported inside with a form, and finished off with a fabric back covering. This first one was shipped to "Paul Adams Productions" in Cincinnatti, OH. He was thrilled with the results and immediately took publicity photos.
You can order this "Big Friendly Book" and nearly one hundred other characters at the Axtell Expressions Website.... www.axtell.com!
Thank you for being part of our internet design experience.... "In the Making".
Dear Steve, Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed that little trip thru your shop via your website. As usual, the finished product, The Big Book, was absolutely beautiful. Please continue your fine work (yeah, we both know you will) and thanks for providing such a terrific website for folks in the industry, God Bless. Will Hatch
Axtell Expressions, Inc.
2889 Bunsen Ave H
Ventura, CA 93003
(c) Copyright 2006 Axtell Expressions, Inc. all rights reserved on text and photos