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02.14.2014 Warm Valentine’s Wishes

I went out early this morning to our favorite coffee & pastry shop and brought home Barry’s favorite raspberry oatbar and a steaming cup of coffee for him.  He surprised me with a handmade card and a sampling of my favorite locally-made chocolates.  No big drama, just little gestures that sweeten an otherwise fairly ordinary winter day.

Noticing and appreciating the ordinary.  Because when you think about it, the “ordinary” is actually very extra-ordinary.  The chemistry of personalities that enriches our lives with love.  The serendipity of events that bring us both bitter challenges and sweet resolve.

My most recent sculpture, Winter’s Whimsy, is in many ways a meditation on the ordinary and about finding lightness, even in the heart of cold dark winter.  If it’s snowing where you are today, catch a snowflake on your tongue. It will make you smile.

 ~ click on any image above to enlarge and enjoy the detail ~

If you feel you’d like to add a bit of winter whimsy to you collection, Winter’s Whimsy is available to order until April 15, 2014.  Click for more photos, info and to order.

Sending you the warmest of Valentine’s wishes,

12.11.12 The tale of the mane and tail that became my main obsession

He’s finally done — Peppy Poco ChaCha.
As you might have noticed, it took much longer than I thought it would.  When I started on this little diversion of a project, back in January, I thought this would be easily completed within a couple of months.  Right.  Sigh.


Then I got all excited in August when I finished the main sculpture and Barry made a waste mold so that I could have a hard resin master to work on.  Just add a mane and tail.  No big deal.   Right…  Sigh…

Except it turned out that the tail had to be carefully designed as a support and balance structure.  Just a wee bit of engineering. That was the last blog entry. In September.  Sigh…

Since then tale of the mane and tail has become my main obsession.

Quite often, I have been disdainful of manes and tails as a sculptor. Especially manes.  They only cover up all that gorgeous neck structure that I love so well.   And, let’s face it, other artisans like to customize manes and tails to create a unique piece, so why not make it easy for them by not having a cascade of mane that will just be dremelled off anyway. (Is “dremel” officially a verb yet?  If so I suppose I can properly use a past-tense version…) So for the past few years I’ve kept manes pretty sparse.

Fraley14_ChaCha_ManeDet1_10x8_72dpi_typeBut now I was faced with a dynamic sculpture demanding that a complete story about movement be told. Where did that movement begin?  Where is it going? How fast?

Beyond depicting the structure of bone and exertion of muscle and what visual element do you have to work with? Hair. Long silky hair.




I think there’s a nice flow when all’s said and done.

But how did we get here?  Lot’s of layers:



A note here about the tail.  I started out being very swirly and curly, a highly dynamic sculpture in it’s own right.  But that didn’t work with the overall design of the piece.  Too busy, too eye-pokey for an area of the sculpture that is intended to depict a pivot point.  It was more show than flow.  In the end the idea of “Flow” won out.


Peppy Poco ChaCha will be available for order starting tomorrow, December 12, 2012.  Newsletter subscribers will receive an alert later tonight with more details.

Happy Holidays ~ Lynn

05.03.11 Introducing a New Draft Horse

 You saw Indigo Beau way back on August 9, 2010, in this post. Since then he has been patiently waiting his turn in the queue for molding and casting — well, he’s a draft horse, of course he’s patient (even if I’m not)!
If you think he looks familiar, you’re right.  This is a mature version of Bram’ll Blue Boy, who was a rather gangly, goofy youngster released as a limited edition in 2008. 
Horses mature from their toes up.  Foals are born with about 80% of their adult leg length, as I understand it. The last bones to reach full growth are the vertebrae.  That’s why those adorable babies charm us with those long, long legs and compact little bodies.
To create Indigo Beau I followed that growth pattern, lengthening and deepening Blue Boy’s torso, adding a fully developed cresty neck and of course a luxuriant full mane and tail.  His face also became more wise and dignified as befits an older gentleman.
You know I love drafters, and I admit to being smitten with Indigo Beau — I can’t wait to see all the beautiful colors and patterns that our community’s talented painters will clothe him in!
The very first Indigo Beau was sold this past Saturday as a fundraiser for Idaho’s Treasure Valley Model Horse Club at their annual Spring Fling show — many thanks to Robin Irwin for winning that silent auction!!
This Thursday, May 5th, you may order your own copy of this new drafter.  More photos and sales information are available now at the Laf’n Bear website.

01.18.2011 Cryptonite for Super Hero Peanuts

Those pesky packing peanuts.  This time of year, charged with static electricity, they’re like little super heroes defying gravity, climbing up the sides of boxes, leaping from bag to hand, then clinging there there — floating in mid-air when you try to shake them off, only to have them target the cat as their next victim.
It’s annoying.  And it slows down the packing and shipping process. 
Zap the little dudes with a spritz of Static Guard.  Puts ’em in their place quick.
By the way there are still a few of the resin mules, Iko and Tee-Nah, in inventory, ready for immediate shipment.  Just don’t be surprised if you catch a whiff of the “fresh scent” of static guard when you open your box! 
P.S.  Blogspot is not cooperating in letting me link text this morning, so here’s the addy for more information about the mules: 

10.28.10 Monday will be Mule-day!

A cavalcade of spunky mules is filling up our shelves!

The mules are hollow cast on a rotational casting machine (above). When each frame is spinning simultaneously around its individual axis, it always puts me in mind of an MC Escher print.  You know the one, with staircases going in all directions at once.

The mules sales debut is coming soon 
~ Monday, November 1 ~

Witching you a spooky fun Halloween in the meantime — boo!

10.21.10 When Less is More

 — more efficient, more aesthetically pleasing, more economical. But, less can take more time.

Originally the bases for the mules, Iko and Tee-Nah, were designed to simply be cast solid, with flat bottoms.  Barry made a simple one piece mold for them and cast a few.  

They were heavy.  It was hard to control the level on, and if you have a pair of mules, you’d really like to have the bases be the same thickness.

So, Barry asked a local woodworker to rout out two hollows on the back side of each base, leaving a solid support bar across the middle.  The weight of the base was reduced by about 25%, yet the bases remain heavy enough to solidly support and anchor the sculptures.

Tomorrow the two revamped bases will be remolded, each will have a new two-part mold to control the thickness very accurately.  Then… Iko and Tee-Nah will be back on track for their November 1 debut.

Stay tuned.


09.30.10 New Resin to be Released Monday

Rompadeux, resin, 2.75 x 4 x 1.5 inches by L.A. Fraley
On Monday, October 4, collectors will have the opportunity to add a new resin to their collections — Rompadeux, a playfully cantering gelding.
This piece is not breed-specific, you have any number of options for color choices. You don’t have to decide on just one color, collectors are welcome to order multiples.
Rompadeux is a little gem of a sculpture; not even 3 inches tall, yet packed with the details and personality that make him come to life.  
He will only be produced for one year, or until 150 unpainted resins have been shipped to new homes, whichever comes first.  The first batch will go up for sale on Monday at with a handy shopping cart system.  There will be no waiting for this first batch, they will ship immediately! 
Rompadeux, resin, 2.75 x 4 x 1.5 inches by L.A. Fraley
UPDATE Monday October 4 — the first 25 have sold out, thanks everyone! 

You may order a future casting now, (click to go to the web page for more info).  A nominal deposit is required at the time of your order, full payment is not due until your resin(s) is ready to ship.


09.16.10 Rompin’ Along… the Lowdown on Low-tech Tools

Rompadeaux by Lynn Fraley being molded by Barry Moore of Bear Cast Molding and Casting Service
O.k. the secret’s out, Barry’s favorite, “low-tech” tools — shop towels and a toothpick!!  Sometimes you just can’t beat the basics for getting into tiny little areas to clean them up.

As you can see, the mold is coming along nicely; we should be able to start casting soon!


08.23.10 Behold the Mold, part 2

Molding tip — placing a sheet of foil under the mass of clay allows you to reposition the in-process mold on the work surface as needed to build walls.

In our first Behold the Mold segment Barry worked on the all-important first section of the production mold for Iko.  
Legos are used to form the container walls of the mold. Additional non-hardening clay fills the corners to form a contoured wall, this saves on the amount of silicone that will be needed for this pour.  The silicone mold material is mixed then degassed in a vacuum chamber.  Pouring it in a thin stream also helps to break any remaining bubbles.

After the first piece of silicone cured, it was covered in plaster — the white “rim” seen around the pink silicone in the photo below.  The plaster is the rigid mother mold, or supporting shell, which prevents the flexible silicone mold material from deforming.

Next, Barry flipped the mold over and removed the purple and blue clay that the model had been resting on.  Above, you can see the smear of purply blue color that remains on the creamier clay that is the “place holder” for third piece of the mold.
After the mold lines on this side are refined, Barry builds another set of “container” walls and pours the second side of the mold.

As with the first side, the second side of silicone is also covered with plaster to make the second half of the mother mold or shell. Then the final bit of clay is cleaned out from the inner section and silicone is poured in to form the final piece of this mold.

Silicone is a bit temperature sensitive, so on cooler evenings Barry sets the mold under a lamp (or in the hot box if it’s really cool) and covers the curing mold with plastic wrap to help keep heat in.
Now, as Iko’s mold cures, Barry begins to pencil in the mold lines for Tee-Nah!


08.16.10 Chicken or the Egg?

Which comes first, the name or the sculpture?
In this case the sculpture came first — a frolicking new version of my Little Bit size sculpture Smittyn
Like Indigo Beau, which you saw a preview of last week, this variation was created while I worked on the resin masters of the new mules Iko and Tee-Nah.  Smittyn had her head lopped off, then it was completely reset with a newly re-sculpted neck.  A new profile and a lovely long mane and tail were added too.  Oh, and a sex change.  Minor detail. 

So what about that name…  
He’s just a horse out having fun, romping around with hardly a care in the world.  I like the word “romp”.  But it took me quite a while to figure out a way to work it into a good name.  Rompin’ Robin, Romp Around, Romp-aholic, Rompoliscious, Romp A Billy…  All sorts of silly things occurred to me.
Then I was looking up the spelling for “beau” (I had originally spelled it “beaux” — the “x” at the end looks cool, but it turns out that’s a plural version of the word, drat…) and ran across the French for two — “deux”.  It has that great “x” at the end.  Blend “romp” with “deux”, throw an “a” in the middle to tie it all together and you have a new word that conjures playfulness, the second time around.  It fits.
Rompadeux is also in the molding queue on Barry’s workbench, look for the resin version of him this fall!