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  #1  
Old 02-14-2007, 09:50 PM
DidaDragonfly DidaDragonfly is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ontario,Canada
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Question Where to buy clay

Greetings!

I am new here, as well as to sculpting. I really haven't got much of an idea of exactly what I want to do in the long run, BUT

I need some guidance in choosing the right material to get me started on small scale sculptures.

I want to start out with 12 inch human and monster type figures and I don't know if I should use an oil based clay (to stop it from hardening), or an air drying or kiln type clay.

What are the reasons/advantages/disadvantages to both types? Am I correct in my assumption that if I were to use an oil based clay, I could make a mold with it, and then reuse said clay?

All help will be greatly appreciated! Oh, and along with your recommendations, could you please direct me to a low priced seller of clays? I live in a smaill town in Ontario, Canada, and anything I buy I will have to place an order and get it shipped here.

Thanks in advance!

~DidaDragonfly~
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2007, 12:23 PM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

I've been sculpting off and on for a long time and I've tried lots of materials. I think it would be best to start out using an oil based modeling clay. Wax is slow to work and takes experience to use it properly. I tried to use waterbased clay but it was very messy for me and dried out and cracked. It got on my hands than dried out and flaked all over the floor etc. Spraying it with water only make it sticker and messier. The same is true for all the self drying clays that I tried.
So from my own experience I would recomend using a oil based clay. I like using metal tools and sometimes I warm them up over a small oil lamp filled with parafin lamp oil. If your going to make a silicone rubber mold from your model you should use a sulpher free clay. For me I like to use Van Aken sculpture gray modeling clay in warm weather. In the cold weather I like to use Plast-econ modeling clay from www.freemansupply.com. It sells for $1.95 a pound and they ship. Iv'e had no trouble making silicone molds off of either of these clays.
I live in Burbank by the studios and a lot of sculptors use Super Sculpey which bakes hard in the oven they get amazing detail. It's very expensive and you can't reuse it after it's baked. If your going to make figures you may need to use some wire or an armarure to support your clay model. Also I fogot to mention with oil based clay you can take your time modeling it because itr stays the same and doesn't dry out. Whenever I stop working on a model I just cover it with a plastic bag.
Your right about oil based clay being reusable and it lasts for years. In fact I have clay that is over 30Years old and it's still good.

Last edited by SPRINGFIELD : 02-15-2007 at 12:38 PM. Reason: miss spelling
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2007, 05:05 PM
DidaDragonfly DidaDragonfly is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

Thank you for your input! What about hardness of clay? When making the size figures I would like to start with, will I be able to get good detail say from the Plast-econ clay? I guess what I need to know is Plast-econ too soft for my requirements? Can you compare it to something else that I might be familiar with, like plasticene for example?

I just want to be sure that I will be able to cast a mold with my completed sculptures.

Thanks!!
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~DidaDragonfly~
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2007, 09:23 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

I used to use plasticene- ol based clay but while it's one advantage is it can sit around for months, I never liked the smell, the sticky residue it leaves on your hands or how trying to model and then smooth details like fur texture on an animal leaves little balls of blobs or sharp edges.

For a model that's only a foot high,the amount of materials in that is so minimal it's hardly worth salvaging used clay when it's surface is contaminated by spray sealer, and the clay maybe contamined by bits of plaster, hair and dirt.

Water clay is cheap, it works nicely, it smooths great, and if kept in plastic closed up it will stay moist for months easy. I had one model Idid that I kept sealed in a plastic bag for almost a year, checking it occasionally and spritzing some water in maybe once a month.
It does shrink- about 6% but that's easy to allow for.

Water clay can be molded the same as plasticene, plasticene can't be saved, but water clay however CAN be kiln fired at any time once dry- before or AFTER a mold is made.

After having worked with both, I'll probably never use plasticene again unless it's a very small thin model that would be difficult to keep moist for weeks.
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  #5  
Old 02-16-2007, 02:40 AM
SPRINGFIELD SPRINGFIELD is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

The two clays I mentioned are a little bit soft but I haven't had much trouble getting detail. Before I make a rubber mold off of them I spray the clay model with a thin coat of shellac. After I get the mold finished I just wash the shellac of with alcohol and the clay is ready to be used again. If you would like to use a harder clay Chavant makes a whole bunch of different clays. You can order a sample pack of their different clays. I ordered a sample pack a while ago. I think it was from Sculpture House. They sell on the internet and they ship.
Chavant NSP {non sulpher plastiline] comes in soft,medium and hard. I find that the Chavant NSP hard is a lot like using wax.
I am just guessing what material you would like best. So you should also try using a water clay and maby some modeling wax. I envy sculpters who can use water based clay. The stuff is so inexpensive and when you let it dry it gets real hard. I can get some {WED clay - a water based clay developed by Walt disney studios}for less than $8 for 25lbs. Still for me I can't seem to get used to using water based clays.
I like a oil based modeling clay that sticks to itself without sticking to my tools to much. Van Aken and Plasticon clay work pritty good that way.

Last edited by SPRINGFIELD : 02-16-2007 at 02:53 AM. Reason: added words
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2007, 08:48 AM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPRINGFIELD
I envy sculpters who can use water based clay. The stuff is so inexpensive and when you let it dry it gets real hard.
I bought 1,000 # of clay from Georgies ceramic supply, and yes, it IS cheap, the shipping was more than the clay, but the whole bill was under $400.
I don't bother trying to salvage/reuse scraps of it. it gets used for models, dried, lacquered and then a mold made, and the model set on a shelf in the basement for some fuure date if I build a kiln and want to try firing them, but they are very thick and I take no special care to eliminate internal air pockets etc. I just save a couple of defect-free hydrocal casts for making future replacement molds. Since I sell the CASTS not the originals I don't even need to save the original model.
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  #7  
Old 03-09-2007, 09:39 AM
merelees merelees is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

I work with both plasilina and wet clay, and I would recommend the plastelina. I use Le Beau Touche from Chavant because it is sulphur-free, so it is easier to make a mold.

Because it never hardens, you can work on your sculpture as long as you want to without worrying about it hardening on you. Here is a piece I started this week-you can see the musculature I have on him already.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2007, 02:29 PM
RodZombie RodZombie is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

Can alginate be used over unfired/dried water based clay?

I have a cast that I want to sculpt on top of. I then want to re-cast the modified bust and eventually make a "cold foam" copy of it. But I dont want to permanently alter the original.

With water clay, I figured i could just scrape it off and water wash the residue away.

Or do you all suggest a different clay for this?

Thanks
Rod
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  #9  
Old 04-04-2007, 05:54 PM
nep75 nep75 is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

It's really a preference thang. Try different ones out is my advice.

Although I'm more with the plastiline group. But then again Felippe Faraut uses water clay for his busts....

Chavant has distributors in Canada as well. There are several types and sulfur-free and sulfer clays. I would stay away from the surful kinds. Many of them can be heated to soften to desired firmness then harden up again to hold good detail in finishing. It really depends on what you're sculpting. I know some bird artists that love the Le Beau Touche because it's so soft and a bit sticky (she likes how it sticks to aluminum foil for the wings). I know some artists that love the NSP Medium (non-sulfurated plastiline) as they do fine detail after warming and applying quickly. I also know a few figurative people who love the J-Mac Classic Clay (also oil based clay).

As for alginate being applied to unfired dry water clay, I would think that it would still have to be sealed. I don't know if the moisture in alginate would affect the detail or soak into the dried water clay. Someone might know here or you could go to www.artmolds.com and email them there. Ed would know.

Good luck with getting started in sculpting clays - it's addictive.
~ Niki
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2007, 03:19 PM
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Alfred Alfred is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

Dragonfly, I too have sculpted with a number of materials. I prefer oil based clays like Chavant La Beau Touche, especially for smaller works. It doesn't dry out and gives me the freedom to walk away from it for a while if I need a break. I use water based clays for anything life size and bigger, because it is easy to bulk with and in large quantities like that it is also easy to keep it soft. How soft you want a clay really depends on your preference. I know some people that like a very soft oil based clay, almost like the water based clays. And I know others who prefer a very firm clay that they warm in an oven to make bulking go faster.

I have attached photos of two works. The Hulk is in the Chavant clay and the other piece is a Lifesize sculpt in water based clay.

For extereme detail like monsters and that kind of stuff, I recomend sculpy. Check out this link - http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=59727 it's for a concept art community but the link is to specific thread in the sculpture forums section. You can learn a lot in a very short time just by reading through the posts.

Take it easy, I hiope this helped.

Alfred
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2007, 06:33 PM
jim jim is offline
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Re: Where to buy clay

St johns university in st joseph, mn had over 105,000 tons of clay dumped into a field...They have clay for the next 100 years...it was from a road construction job....I believe they are world known for pottery.
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