Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Secret of the Mystery Molds.....

My latest obsession has been collecting vintage molds from the extinct Levay Glass factory housed in the old Milton Schoolhouse in Alton, Ohio.  The owners, Joel and Meredith are refurbishing the building and are selling beautiful glass artifacts found in the factory on ebay, and on etsy (Vivavivant) they sell the rubber and/or latex molds as well as objects found at the factory made from these molds and other supplies.  YOU HAVE TO CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK!
These molds were my big Christmas gift from Lance this year...they are round hard rubber 2 piece molds with multiple items in each mold.  I think they were made to be put on a machine and the pewter spun into them...i really haven't figured out how to use them yet.  I have about 15 of them!.....most of them are various tiny birds, but i have lambs, angels, cats, hearts, crowns,swans and a few figures.  I have tried polymer clay in them, but i haven't been very successful - yet......next i will try metal clay....


some of my molds.....
...and then there are the silicone molds...OH MY!

I have a HUGE 9 inch  angel head with wings, a hummingbird, all kinds of columns and bases, frogs, kneeling angels...and a bunch of mystery stuff.
Meredith asked me to cast 2 of the silicone molds to see if they were what she suspected they were....since these molds do not come all the way apart, you can't see what they are by just looking at them.So what could I do?  I was FORCED to try pewter casting.  I had a casting ladle Lance gave me about, uh, 15 years ago.....that I had never tried.  ...and i had bought lead free pewter scraps from Vivavivant.  But i didn't know diddly squat about what to do.....so i googled it.  I got a lot of demos, mostly bad or too complicated...and then I found a short you tube. It seemed pretty straight forward...... But was it dangerous?  would my melting pot ladle get hot?  did i need gloves?  how long did it take to melt?  would my torch be too hot?  could i over heat it?so i just DID it.  I had made some silicone molds of my own last week, so i tried them first - just in case the pewter melted the molds.
pewter in the casting ladle

melting the pewter with a plumbers propane torch
waiting for the pewter to cool...faster, faster!

my first pewter pieces demolded.  lots of overspill on these...but they do clean up fast....

a pewter spatter...
Now that I knew the silicone molds wouldn't melt, it was time to ...cast Meredith's mystery molds.
Meredith's mystery molds
The first mold came out quite clear.
YES!...you had this one right, Meredith...it's.......
the worlds tallest man...who went to school at THE MILTON SCHOOL HOUSE  before it was a glass factory......
The 2nd one....well it just looked like a weird roundish blob on a stand.....
see the roundy looking thing on a pedestal on the far right?  I couldn't figure out what it was either...that's the one made  from Meredith's mystery mold.  there are also 2 skulls, a small bird, a sea urchin shell and a face in the photo, from molds i made.  The hummingbird is a LeVay mold.
Maybe I had cast it badly, so I tried again.  I waited for it to cool.   But what was it?

front?











side

back
...and then i got the idea to turn it upside down...and woohoo - there it was!
MYSTERY SOLVED!
So sorry Meredith - I don't think it's a missing zodiac marble.....maybe the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland as a cabinet knob?  Pretty cool, anyway.

5 comments:

Angie Platten said...

SOOOO cool! Are you making charms or beads out of those little kitties and putting them in your etsy store?

Joanne Huffman said...

You are "the cat's meow" with your mystery solving mold and the molds you made. Such great stuff you're making. I really do want to come to Kauai and play.

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie,

It is one of the Chinese Zodiac marbles! I'm sure Meredith can puzzle out which it is. We had a drawer of them made in plastic and after we spent a whole lot of time scrubbing them with a toothbrush, and sorting out the few that were cast well,we had to get a copy of the zodiac critters and puzzle them out - pretty much by elimination. I think it might be the tiger. These are a huge Milton mystery, since we found none past the prototype stage, and nothing remotely like them in the factory. the whole 'stand' was cut off the most finished ones we found. I find them cute, and wonder what might have become of them had the factory remained open.

~Marci (Mom of Meredith)

jackie said...

All I can say is WOW! You amaze me with all that you find and all of your talents in using your finds! So interesting!!

Flowermouse Design said...

Wow - this was fun to learn about. I love what you do with the molds. Great work!!