Join Us on the Journey – Philly Take Two
Join Us on the Journey – Philly Take Two! The big day finally arrived. The molds for the Nolcha Four were ready for pick up. Aside from the pouring rain and bumper to bumper traffic, the trip to Philly was uneventful. When we arrived at Stratton Sculpture Studios, Shane and Julia Stratton were waiting to greet us. The molds were laid across a huge work table in the middle of the main room. Honestly, I was a little shocked when I first laid eyes on them. I was not prepared for how enormous these molds were. I must admit, I began to panic. My mind was racing. Why were they so huge? How much would these bad boys weigh? What have I gotten myself into? How am I going to fit these, along with 200 pounds of clay and assorted hardware, into my SUV? What are they going to cost to ship to the casting foundry in California? I glanced over at my husband, Mike; he looked nervous I knew what he was thinking. What the hell has she gotten me into now? Incidentally, I am pretty sure he has wondered the same thing on multiple occasions.
As it turned out, the molds were so large because the outside shells of the molds were made of heavy plaster; not fiberglass. Also, they were made in one piece, something I had not seen before. Some mold makers cut the sculptures up into multiple pieces and make individual molds of each part and then weld them back together once they’ve been cast. Shane, the mold wizard, explained that he uses a very old, traditional method called a clay blanket poured rubber mold. Noting that before rubber was invented; gelatin was used in its place. Shane prefers this method because it maintains the integrity of the original sculpture and precludes the necessity of cutting the sculpture up into multiple pieces and then welding all the pieces back together after casting. Before owning his own foundry, Shane worked for many years as a mold maker for Carolfi Studios in New Jersey. Complex molds are his specialty. While inspecting the molds, I marveled at how incredibly intricate they were. The detail captured in Jade’s fur stole was simply amazing! All of the molds were perfect. Mold making is truly an art.
Thankfully, we were able to fit all 300 pounds into the back of the Nissan Rogue. Shane built a wooden barrier behind the front seat explaining that a few years ago a sculptor who worked in steel failed to secure his cargo. On his way to his destination, he had a traffic accident and was impaled by his own work! Yikes!
I am happy to report that the Nolcha Four made it home without incident. A shipping crate is being built tomorrow and the story continues as they head to the casting foundry in Joshua Tree, California next.
To read more in our Join Us on the Journey series check out Nolcha Four Head to Philly – There are Molds to be Made! and Collaboration for Cause.