Horses for courses.

Having finished the sculpting and modelling I found I have twenty one new things for the one hundredth Miniatura.  That’s a lot for any show

As each item has between one and six two-part moulds to produce the porcelain shape, that’s a lot of moulds.

Today I started on the horse.  Being a twelfth scale horse, as each porcelain item shrinks by about 14% the moulds to mould the correct sizes for shrinkage are huge.  There are six moulds, for the body, the neck, the head, the hollow upper legs, the solid lower legs and the ears. Making the moulds has taken all day and I am stopping now because I am absolutely done in.  The legs proved very difficult, I had to do one half twice as it broke on completion.

Some days I wish I had an apprentice because apprentices clear up at the end of the day.  An apprentice would pick all the plaster out of the Lego bricks, an apprentice would lift the unheftable bucket of plaster, an apprentice would have to clean the plaster out of his fingernails and then wash the floor at the end of the day.

Sadly I do not have an apprentice.

All day I have been thinking about the horses belonging to the terracotta warriors.  They are life size.  The official website shows the warrior parts being made from moulds in the way you’d expect, a mould for each leg and so on and then details carved in the leather hard demoulded clay and parts stuck together with clay slip.

Terracotta shrinks too, when fired.  The moulds to make life size horses must have been absolutely immense.  They were all hand made over the course of forty years, just over two thousand years ago.

How did they do it?

Over 700,000 workers did it and I bet a lot of them were apprentices.  If you had spent most of your working life picking the plaster out of your fingernails, I bet you got very good at it very quickly so you could progress to the master caster job and direct operations, on a better pay scale.

If they were paid at all.

Blimey, I wouldn’t do this for a handful of rice.

I would only do it for the one hundredth Miniatura (and I don’t even know if it will work yet, because everything I know about horses could be written on a postage stamp.)

How nee ma and whoa dobbin.

Early to hit the hay for me.

Brrrrogh!  Neeeee!  Clip clop.

(Don’t worry, I’ll be back to normal tomorrow doing a doll.)


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