I call him “The Mad Monk(ey)”

The Mad Monk(ey) as an homage to my doppelganger Rasputin of course. I actually have so much more to post right now than I can find time for but I will put up a few things before I get back to work, and then to bed. You’ve seen lots of my modified versions of Nefarious’s toys in the past, but normally I do them in plastic and paint them. In the case of this alchemist/mad scientist monkey though I cast it in metal and also mounted a nice cut citrine gem in his eye. I guess it’s a paperweight.

It’s modeled after the head from a Littlest Pet Shop toy but here it is in my hand so you can get an idea of the exact size. It’s not unbearably heavy but it’s too heavy to be jewelry and I think would make a nice desk decoration.

In this side view you can see that I managed to capture a pretty good level of detail. I’m also really thrilled because I finally have the process of carving these, making silicone molds (I use Smooth-On “Dragon Skin 20” by the way), and then doing a perfect cast in pewter after generously coating the mold with graphite powder. I think I said it before but that’s the sliver bullet, the graphite. I get a perfect copy every time, from the first pour to the last. It’s getting easy finally!

On the back of his head I’ve engraved the symbol for the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone (as in the alchemical object/process, squaring the circle, not all the hard work I imagine Rowling put in — which reminds me I have to admit that I’m excited to use my beta account to Pottermore soon) because I saw the character as that sort of madman. Madmonkey. By the way, we went and saw Planet of the Apes the other day and I really enjoyed it. On the bottom of the character I signed it as well. It’s very hard for me to engrave such tiny lettering but I think I am getting better at it. That said, I don’t really have the right tools for it so I think if I equipped myself I could do a lot better still.

I like the silicone molds because I can manufacture as many copies of my pieces as I’d like, but when it comes to jewelry with custom fittings (I’ll post an example in the next entry) I’m just doing one offs, so I thought I ought to educate myself on lost wax casting. The examples below are the first two attempts I’ve ever made at that in my entire life. The smaller one on the right is my first attempt, and, upon the advice of the sculpture supply place I used Castilene which is wax with clay mixed in to give it a “best of both worlds” character. Unfortunately what they didn’t tell me is that you need to fire it in a high temperature kiln to burn out the powder, so I had to fake it by melting out the wax a bit in my oven and then scraping it with a plastic rod. Naturally this barely worked. I do like how creepy it looks, but it was not intentional.

The second one, the sort of Abe Lincoln beard dude, was sculpted out of beeswax and that worked much better. I left it in the oven to melt the wax out and dry the Hydroperm (like plaster) while I took Nefarious and a friend out for the afternoon, with instructions to Caitlin to turn off the oven after an hour. Unfortunately before that time came, the wax must have ignited because a huge cloud of smoke erupted from the oven. The bottom half of the mold was all burned and brown. To my great surprise I hadn’t lost too terribly much detail and it still worked.

I don’t know if I will continue with this method, but I have to admit I enjoyed the reduced number of steps.


  1. Nicole wrote:

    If you try this again, I can give you resources for jewelers wax or order you some wholesale. Once your cement is completely dry, I usually burn out the wax in a tin can in the oven rested on a small metal grate. Have you tried sand casting??? I think you’d find it easier and much faster.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Permalink
  2. Amanda wrote:

    I’ve read your blog for quite a long time but I don’t comment usually. I just had to say, I am extremely jealous of your beta account to Pottermore. So jealous.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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