American Bald Eagle The American Bald Eagle was sculpted by Charles Oldham for Cybis Porcelains. Above: Views of the American Bald Eagle in porcelain. Porcelain making presents significant challenges to sculptors that bronze and resin casting does not. This is due to the fact that when it comes to porcelain making, only molds made of plaster of Paris can work. All sculpture destined to become porcelain must be consciously designed from the start to be cut apart during the mold making stage so that each section presents absolutely no undercuts when the mold is drawn off. Only very experienced ceramic/porcelain mold makers are able to tackle a large piece such as the Bald Eagle. In the United States, this is practically a lost art, as all the porcelain sculpture making for the giftware industry went offshore during the nineties and plaster mold makers were effectively out of a job!Two or more interlocking sections make up the plaster mold, which must be drawn off by gliding smoothly away without catching or resisting. When the plaster molds are drawn off, what remains are numerous hollow casts of “green ware” or unfired porcelain clay about 3/8 inch thick. These parts are delicate in the extreme and it’s been compared to handling egg shells. All the separate parts — and there can be hundreds in a complex design — are then painstakingly glued back together with liquid porcelain referred to as “slip.” After it dries, any seam lines are carved back and sculpted over to blend and hide any join lines. Then the entire piece must be strategically supported and fired in a large kiln to upwards of 2400 degrees fahrenheit. Many failures occur in this stage — warping, cracking — you name it, as the piece shrinks to about 16% of its original size during firing. When the kiln is shut off, there is often several days wait until the cooled piece can be removed. In conclusion, a porcelain sculpture of this size and complexity, such as this example of the 24″ Bald Eagle with its heavy, extended wings, is an amazing achievement. Photos courtesy of Ian Lawler, from How Original Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HowOriginalStore Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here... Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email (required) (Address never made public) Name (required) Website You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ( Log Out / Change ) You are commenting using your Google account. ( Log Out / Change ) You are commenting using your Twitter account. ( Log Out / Change ) You are commenting using your Facebook account. ( Log Out / Change ) Cancel Connecting to %s Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.