Monday, July 30, 2012

Buttefly Island Sketch

Below is Bogie's sketch for Butterfly Island (see previous blogs for earlier sneek peeks.)

Silver Elegance

It's too hot to go outside, so I've been hanging out with Bogie. This weekend she used up the last of our French chair parts and created a black and silver combo we call Silver Elegance. It's too small for me to sit in but I'm sure one of your 16 inch doll beauties would fit nicely. We have a total of 3 chairs. This is now the official end of all the french chair designs. Bogie will be taking a break from furniture for awhile to focus on dolls then she'll be tackling the upcoming chaise-lounge sculpt.

Silver Elegance LE 3: $82.99
Inspiration for the upcoming chaise-lounge

Thats if for the month. Stay cool and enjoy your summer,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Log Cabin Fireplace Mold Making

Things are picking up at Bella! Studio. Being done with the stripe chairs has really added some "umph" to Bogie's step. We are catching up on our orders and Bogie's been back to creating being imaginative.

Between making red chairs Bogie is working on the Fireplace Prototype. Below is her initial soft clay sculpt. This week she is making a thin prototype mold. Once it's done she will pour a few resin samples, grout the stones and add some other details. This resin version will be her final prototype. Once it's all approved Bogie will be make a second, more stable production mold. If she doesn't screw up on the pours she should be able to get about 50-75 pours out of each production mold.

Mold making is very expensive. One way to save money, especially on prototype molds, is to make a brush on mold. This consists of 3-4 thin layers of silicone rubber laid over the original part. Eash layer takes about a day to dry. To build up thickness scraps from retired molds are added. In the final layer Bogie will drape cheese cloth over it. The fibers of the cloth will help hold the thin layers together and prevent tearing.

Below are some progress photos we think you might enjoying seeing.

Happy creating,

Fireplace is sculpted from soft non hardening clay.

Old molds (such as the french chair molds) are cut into
small pieces. Mold material is very expensive. Adding
these old mold scraps to add volume to new molds
helps to reduce the cost.

First layer of mold material is poured over the original
sculpt. Mold scraps are added to help build up the
thickness. We will do two more layers. On the last layer
we will cover with netting or cheese cloth to help
add strength.

Tom Bishop Show & Butterly Island

We went to our first miniature show this weekend: "The Tom Bishop San Francisco Bay Area Miniatures Show." This was a small show but reminded us a lot of our first IDEX show in 2001. The room was filled with amazing miniature artists. The level of talent was so overwhelming there were moments when we felt we were way over our heads. I think some of the other artists must have realized this because several times they came over and gave us encouragement. We also received a lot of fantastic advice on how to get our work to museum quality.

We showed our finished house "Spinner's End"and received a wonderful response. It was amazing how many collectors and artists told us that seeing our house was inspiring them to take their own Glencroft dollhouse kit out of their closet and build it too. We also brought some of our tools and clay and worked on our next project "Butterfly Island." Collectors really like being able to handle the Paperclay and see what they can do with it.

Some of the artists really impressed us. Ranbow Hand & Kathy (  The talk of the show was her steam punk style electric chair execution room. Sounds morbid but it was actually really amazing and creative. Marie Petrik was our table neighbor. She made life like paper flowers floral arrangements. Bee Tree Miniatures also had florals but her's were made from japaneze rice clay ( and Gilbert Mena had miniature paintings that were so realistic  you felt like you were walking through the SF Museum of Art.

We have some more photos and lots of wonderful close-ups of our other cottage "Spinner's End." To see them check out our "Spinner's End" photo album on flikr at:

Below are some photos of "Butterfly Island." Enjoy the progress images and have a great weekend.

First floor roughly sculpted from contractor's foam. It's now partially covered in it's paperclay finish.

Here's a close up of the grape roots winding around the stairs.

Bogie's not completely happy with the butterfly
stone sculpt and is thinking of ripping it out
and redoing it.

Initial sketch of the butterfly Fireplace

Crazy brick.

The concept of this house is that it was built on a
small stone island in Lake Windslow. Some of the house
is carved out of the stone and some of it is built up
with crazy brick and rock

This island is made of granite boulders and shale rock.