Been papering up a storm in all the new Ultracal 30 molds made here with Ms. White's help. And so the experimentation begins in how the puppets from them will get made and also be, at least partially, animate-able.
I may end up using latex instead of the rice paper layers for the skins. But right now I'm still trying out ways of getting the facial expression to change without a collapse of the flesh underneath. I'm currently testing a product called Liquache, which is a chemical polymer with paper fiber pre-mixed to a pancake batter smoothness. It's pourable directly into plaster molds, comes out without the need for release agent. Or it can be brushed on top of my flexible paper mache skins in thick layers as I'm doing. I don't need a lot of movement in these, just subtle shifts in lip and eye shapes.
The interior of Rana's face mask, lower right, is being fitted with armature wires to give her some movement there. There are horizontal wires embedded in her lips and cheeks under these in her chin and nose. The shifts they make can be seen in the set of pictures under the top image.
Another note about toxicity: Liquache is labeled and announced to be Non-toxic. I had to dig deep online to even come up with a MSDS for it. The company's site claims no precautions need to be taken with its use. Its MSDS however clearly states that a respirator and gloves need to be worn.I'm finding this to be a common reality. Where materials that are sworn to heaven to be "safe", even so far as showing children handling the products with bare hands, etc. only to look at the MSDS that indicates the ingredients to be in fact harmful without precaution. Liquache seems to contain an enzyme called Transglutaminase which I don't imagine to be seriously neurotoxic. [UPDATE: it's aka is Meat Glue. Wikipedia ID's it as a biological enzyme forming extensively cross-linked, generally insoluble protein polymers. And states that it's used in food production to make things stick together. ] I like the product so far. I think the bigger picture and point I'm getting to is that "non-toxic" on a material doesn't mean safe to use without mask and gloves in the raw state generally.Many people might use highly toxic materials without protection for years without any adverse effects, others may get reactions without realizing what's happening, others too may be fine for a while and then have their system overloaded. I'm big on being careful and will probably use mask and gloves with nearly everything as a rule, no matter what their label says.
Next Post will show the continuing armature experimentation that has me feeling pretty frustrated. It seems like I'm trying things in the hardest way possible, nearly impossible, and don't know what else to try. You may know.