Weekly To Do List 14/01/19

river project, UNIT 2, Weekly To Do Lists


  • Morning – help prep sandpit and mould for the pour in the afternoon
  • 12pm- meet Adamina and experiment with 3D scanning and printing


  • Morning- Glass wax cast the jaw pieces and redo the brick
  • Afternoon- start making silicone casts of bones


  • I have work in the evening so I will probably rest during the day


  • 10am – 12pm Group tutorial
  • Continue casting in glass wax/silicone/polymer plaster (brick)
  • Work on aluminium bone casts?


  • Photograph pieces so far
  • Continue working on presentation for 7th March

Weekly To Do List 07/01/19 – 11/01/19

UNIT 2, Weekly To Do Lists

Was out of action yesterday, so here is my plan for the rest of the week.


  • Use glass wax to make casts using bone moulds
  • Redo herculite hollow brick cast, as first attempt broke
  • If pos- do herculite casts from the jaw silicone putty moulds today


  • I have work 3.30-10pm, so I don’t expect to get anything physical done, will upload photos from Tuesday if pos


  • De-mould everything from Tuesday
  • Bronze pour- assist where possible for my bronze rose mould (digging the sand pit, moving the moulds into sand pit, securing moulds in sand pit)


  • Make sure all photos are uploaded
  • Reflect on progress
  • Foundry is shut- I should use this time to research and start planning my presentation for 7th March


  • I have work both days so I won’t have time to do physical work, may do some research before or after work


Plaster Room 03/12/18

Weekly Summaries, Work in Progress

Today I got the third and final rose ran up, then attached to the cup with the rest using hot knives and wax. Then I painted a layer of shellac over everything, to help the grog to stick to it, and once it was dry I covered it all in first coat grog.

Once that had set we put the plastic cylinder over it all, and I layered scrim (netted fabric) and plaster along the bottom, to seal the cylinder to the board, and around the middle of the cylinder for stability. As soon as this was set I spent the rest of the afternoon mixing and pouring second coat grog, to fill the entire cylinder to make the mould ready for the kiln.

Really proud of my progress today! Got loads done, and worked hard to get the mould ready for the kiln. It doesn’t look like I’ll have a chance to pour before the break, but at least when I get back it will be all ready to go.

Plaster Room 29/11/18

Work in Progress

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I am putting the leaves to one side for now, they have been dipped in wax so they should stay in a usable condition over the break. The above photos show the process of prepping the wax dipped roses to go into a plaster mould- Lindsey was showing me how to do it in a different way from how I have previously made moulds with Becky, essentially working the opposite way round- you can see one of the roses attached to the cup, and the cup attached to the board. Once all three roses have a system of runners and risers they will be attached to the cup in the same way. The next steps will be to degrease it all, put a cylinder around the whole structure, and pour the plaster mix into it to make the mould for the kiln.

I have decided to focus on the roses as I realised that the roses will go beyond simply being a gift to my mum and my nan. I began to think about the ideas behind preserving something that is normally fleeting- roses die and dry out quickly, yet the bronze casts never will. Not only will they outlive any real flower, but they will outlive myself, my mum, and my nan, too. I was inspired by my classmate Gabby’s documentation of her family, and I think I would like to photograph each of us individually with a rose, and then as a group, to capture the moment of gift giving in time, much like the roses are being frozen in time by being cast in bronze. I have also been thinking about how, in time, I will end up with all three roses- my mum and my nan will at some point no longer be around- so it is almost like I am loaning them to my mum and nan, knowing that one day I will get them back. It is a reminder of our own fragile mortality, and also raises the question of who will inherit them when I die. I chose roses as they have a particular significance to my mum- they were my dad’s favourite flower and since his passing she has always bought yellow roses for special occasions, and when she is feeling low, as a way to feel connected to him and his memory. My nan and I frequently buy my mum yellow roses when she is feeling down, and it is my intention to try and patinate them a yellow colour, if this is possible.


  • discuss the idea with my mum and nan
  • get the roses into a mould ready for the kiln
  • ask Gabby for some photography pointers, if she has time. I really admire the sentiment behind her projects, but also the way she executes the photographs is really beautiful, and I am not very experienced with photography so I want to ask her some technical questions about lighting and such
  • look at Louise Bourgeois work- her work often deals with her feelings surrounding her own mother, and a lot of her work is also sculptural so it is a relevant reference

Plaster Room 26/11/18

Photographs, river project, Videos, Work in Progress

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  • Made up a batch of herculite for my hot rubber moulds- to demonstrate the process I am going to leave them exactly as they came out of the moulds
  • I made sure to wiggle the moulds as I poured to make sure the plaster got into every crevice
  • The bones came out beautifully but the brick broke as I tried to de-mould it, clearly the sides weren’t thick enough
  • I could make the brick solid instead of hollow but herculite is super heavy, and if I am trying to show the process it should be hollow to match how I made the wax cast
  • I will make a thicker hollow cast of the brick later on this week
  • I wanted to get into the metal workshop today but I felt really sick and foggy so Lindsey and I decided it was best for me not to use the power tools today. I didn’t want to waste a day, so that’s why I made the herculite casts, as a way to still be productive

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I also ended up going on a walk to the flower shop in Camberwell with Ellen, a BA Sculpture 2nd year student, and we are going to be doing some bronze casting together. We are both interested in nature, and capturing fleeting moments (and both want to make Christmas gifts for loved ones) so we bought flowers from the shop, and also collected foliage on the way back. We then dipped those in wax, and the next stage is to use a hair dryer to set the wax, and then we can build the moulds- the plants will burn out directly in the kiln so there is no need to make hot rubber moulds and waxes. The wax will help to stabilise the plants and make them a bit thicker, so that they will be more likely to come out in the pour. I know it isn’t directly related to one of my projects but this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and I feel like I might as well give it a go whilst I have the opportunity.

Applying the Patina

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

A patina can refer to the natural colouration that happens over time to bronze, as the copper in the alloy reacts to oxygen, or it can refer to a man-made process where a chemical mixture is heated onto the surface of the bronze, to achieve different colours and effects. I am referring to the man-made process, and the above video shows foundry technician Becky Stevenson demonstrating how to apply a patina to one of my bronze pieces.

I then replicated what she had shown me, and once the pieces had cooled down I then applied two coats of wax, by hand using a cloth, to each piece to seal the colour.

This was definitely one of the more fun parts of the whole casting process! It was a chance to experiment and play with the different colours and effects that the application of heat and layering of the patina could achieve and I am super happy with how they turned out!

Removing Excess Metal from the Casts

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

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The photos above show the process and tools used for this stage of the project. As you can see I used a clamp to keep the casts in place whilst cutting and grinding off excess metal using a Dremel and angle grinder. I had to remove the cup, and all of the runners, risers and wax channels as they had all been cast in metal. This was hard work as the studio has been reaching 35 degrees Celsius, so I had to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. On a few occasions the technicians closed the workshop completely as it was too hot to work in, and on other occasions I did the work in the metal workshop rather than the foundry as it was a few degrees cooler.

As well as removing excess metal I also used the Dremel and an engraving tool to work back in details that had been lost in the casting process, such as holes in some of the bones, and textures where they had been lost.

It took a bit of practice for me to get to grips with using a Dremel and angle grinder, as I had limited experience with only a Dremel, previously. However throughout this stage I learnt very quickly how to handle both tools properly and effectively, and I am really proud of myself for it- I have always been a bit scared of electric power tools but I pushed myself and am really pleased with how far I’ve come.

Before and After Clean Up Bronzes from Kat Outten on Vimeo.

The video shows the bronzes and aluminium pieces still attached to each other by the runners and risers, and then each bronze bone once I had finished working on them. As you can hear me say in the video I’m not 100% happy with each piece; I feel that the pieces of jaw both need a bit more work to add back in lost details around the teeth, and one of the bones in particular I want to go back and work into further as I am not happy with the hole (I broke two Dremel heads trying to fix it) or with some of the texturing on one side. However due to time constraints I had to move on to the patina stage, so that I would have some finished pieces to put in the end of year show.

Unfortunately I only had time to finish the bronze bones, so both brick casts and all of the aluminium bones will have to be finished when I get back from the Summer break. I am a bit disappointed by this, but the casting process is incredibly time consuming, and I want each piece to be the best it possibly can be, so I am trying not to beat myself up over not getting everything finished.


Cleaning Plaster From the Casts

Photographs, river project, Videos, Work in Progress


Once the moulds had been poured and removed from the sandpit they next stage was to cut off the plaster coating, with a saw, and then smash open each mould with a mallet. The above photo shows one of the bronze casts, mid smashing. The aim was to remove as much of the plaster as possible, which was then smashed and ground up into powder, to be reused for further mould making.

This video shows part of the clean up process- once the casts had been removed from the mould, the rest of the plaster still needed to be removed from around the casts. It has been sped up by about 250%, as the original video was 20 minutes long, and I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to watch it! As they were too big to be secured in a clamp at this point I had to secure them with pieces of brick, so that they were stable enough to use the hammer and chisel on.

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Once I had gotten rid of as much plaster as possible with the hammer and chisel I tried to cut off some of the runners and risers using an angle grinder, which shook some more of the plaster loose. Before I could cut any more of the excess metal off I had to take them down to the print making studios and blast them with the pressure hose, not pictured because I got very wet!

Health and Safety: I had the extractor fan on, and wore gloves, a visor, ear protection, a dust mask and an apron

Prepping the Moulds for the Kiln/Setting up for the Pour

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

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Before the moulds could be fired in the kiln, Becky removed the plastic from the outside (that we had used to make the moulds, as seen in previous posts, and the brick video). We then had to cover the sides and bottom of each mould with layers of scrim coated in plaster, to create a protective barrier to stop the plaster moulds falling apart in the kiln- four of us did this, and I didn’t take any photos as it was very messy! But you can see the moulds with their plaster coating in the above photos. The moulds then went into the kiln upside down, as you can see in the photos. They go in upside down so that as the mould is heated and the wax inside melts it will flow out of the mould, leaving empty spaces where the metal will then be poured.
The next step was to vacuum the insides of the moulds to ensure they were free of debris, ready for the pour. Once this had been done the moulds were ready to be winched into place using the pulley system in the foundry, and set up in the sandpit ready for the pour.

The video shows the technicians winching one of the moulds into place, I kept out of the way for this part as I hadn’t done it before and wanted to watch and make sure I knew how to do it for the next moulds. I then had to dig the moulds in, making sure the sand was packed in closely around each mould to ensure stability for the pour. To keep the moulds clear each one had a piece of wood placed over the top.

This was definitely one of the more arduous parts of the process- it took five of us to do the plaster coating, and four of us to get the moulds from the kiln into the sandpit, as each one was incredibly heavy and fragile. I was careful to follow all instructions from the technicians to make sure nothing went wrong!


Putting the Waxes into Moulds

river project, Work in Progress

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These photos show the process of prepping my wax bones for the kiln.

  • I started by pressing the waxes into clay, separated by a layer of cling film to make it easier to remove the clay at a later stage. I built up the clay a little to help hold the waxes in place
  • I then joined the waxes to create runners (where the metal would flow through) and risers (where the metal rises out of) using wax tubes, straws, and sausages of soft wax, depending on the thickness of each bone. I added additional runners made of soft wax to any points on the bone that were smaller, thinner, or looked like they would benefit from it and joined them onto thicker parts of the bones or onto the main runners
  • Once I was happy with how the runners and risers and I had degreased them with meths (to help the grog stick) I then began to layer up the first coat grog mix (2:1 grog and herculite) starting off with a paintbrush to work it into the details of the bones. As the mixture thickened I then pressed it on and built it up around the waxes, making sure not to cover the main runners and risers (the pieces you can see sticking out)
  • When the grog had been built up enough and left to dry I then flipped them over, removing the clay and cling film, so that I could repeat the process of layering up the first coat grog
  • I then needed to extend the runners and risers further, bringing the risers at the bottom up to the top, layering with more grog as I went along, for support
  • As I did this Becky built up a base with grog, which we then used to stand up the separate parts of the mould, building the grog round the sides until it was stable
  • Next we had to get the cup onto the runners, using hot knives to join them and soft wax for additional support
  • Because of the heat we had to degrease and add more grog around the runners for support as we went, as we left one over night only to find that the wax had curved over in the heat
  • I then extended the runners using hot knives to join the pieces of wax tube, and bring them up to the top of the cup, again degreasing and layering grog as I went for support
  • The next stage was to fit a sheet of plastic around the whole thing, which we secured with duct tape, before mixing a batch of normal fine casting plaster. We then dipped some scrim into the plaster and used this to secure the plastic to the base- working extra plaster in to waterproof the join. We also tied some plaster dipped scrim around the middle of each mould to help stabilise it ready for the 2nd coat grog to go in
  • This isn’t shown in the photos but we then filled the mould gradually with 2nd coat grog (1:1:1 grog, ludo and plaster then 2:1 ludo and plaster) until it was to the top of the cup and left it to set

We made 3 moulds this way with the wax bones inside, but I will be uploading a more in-depth video showing the process of the two wax brick moulds once I have finished editing it!