CAST Contributor Feature: Marlene Rose, Part 2 of 4, the creation of "Fountain Buddha"

CAST Contributor Feature: Marlene Rose, Part 2 of 4, the creation of "Fountain Buddha"

This is the second installment in a four-part series documenting Marlene Rose's newest piece, Fountain Buddha.

This post covers the initial design, creation of the model, and preparing the mold for the sand casting. Fountain Buddha will be her largest piece to date, the glass head head alone is 3' tall and the sculpture will be 7' tall when complete, weighing a whopping 500 lbs. The Buddha head is the largest single pour she has done to date.

Marlene is working on commission more and more. When we asked her about this particular project, she said:

Challenging to say the least, this piece has called for the invention of a whole body of new techniques to deal with its size and complexity. I love it when a client challenges us to go way beyond our comfort zone! So often theses challenges lead to new insights and new realms of creation.
 

The Creation of Fountain Buddha

The first step in any commission process is agreeing on a design. Marlene presented her clients with this computer rendering of finished piece and a new project was born. Fountain Buddha will be installed in a private estate in West Palm Beach.

  Computer rendering of Fountain Buddha, 2017.

 

Computer rendering of Fountain Buddha, 2017.

Sculpting the clay model for the Fountain Buddha. The grid is used for assessing symmetry.

Sculpting the clay model for the Fountain Buddha. The grid is used for assessing symmetry.

Finished clay model

Finished clay model

Clay isn't an appropriate material to press into the sand, so a more durable model was cast from a synthetic cement bonded with fiberglass.

To make this more durable model, Marlene took a rubber mold of the clay model (not shown.)

Cement model

Cement model

The cement form was placed in a mold box and lightly covered in graphite powder. The graphite prevents the sand from sticking to the form. The mold box has a removable backing board held in place with the orange straps shown here.

The cement form lightly covered in graphite powder. 

The cement form lightly covered in graphite powder. 

Layers of sand are pressed on top of the head. When the sand is nice and firm, the straps are undone, and the wood mold box is removed, leaving the head and sand on the backing board. A steel "stretcher"  is dropped over the sand. This all gets strapped together again and the mold is ready to be flipped.

Preparing the sand for pressing the cement model.

Preparing the sand for pressing the cement model.

After flippin, the backing board is removed. Sand that came loose in the flipping process is packed back in place.

Marlene working on mold preparation

Marlene working on mold preparation

An acetylene torch  set to a reducing flame was used to deposit a layer of carbon on the sand. The carbon prevents the glass from sticking to the sand, and a fine layer of powdered glass is sifted over the mold for color.

Marlene Rose removing the model from the sand mold.

Marlene Rose removing the model from the sand mold.

The mold with stretcher is placed on a bed of sand in a mobile casting box and then wheeled into place in front of the furnace. 

Marlene is ready to cast!

Marlene is ready to cast!

As shown in the computer generated design for this piece, the "body" of the sculpture is a vertical element covered in a grid of small circles. This is the sand mold for that element. 

Sand mold for the body of the sculpture

Sand mold for the body of the sculpture

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series - it will be exciting - lots of molten glass, fire, and even a video of part of the process. It's amazing to see how many ladles full of molten glass are required to fill a 3' tall Buddha head!

Marlene Rose is a glass artist who lives and works in Clearwater, Florida. See Marlene's website HERE

How I use the casting process to make Eilisain Jewelry by Lisette Fee

How I use the casting process to make Eilisain Jewelry by Lisette Fee

CAST Contributor Feature: Marlene Rose, Part 1 of 4

CAST Contributor Feature: Marlene Rose, Part 1 of 4