3D Realisation of 'Orandas on a Wire' by Ursula Vernon




About: Hi! A little about me! I graduated BA Hons Modelmaking for Design and Media in 2009 and am now an art technician at a school and loving it. I didnt get into the modelmaking until late (well actually the un...

In my last instructable I showed how I made one of my Uni final projects, EVE. In the background of some of the images would have been the working pieces of this project.

This instructable is being entered in the Hurricane Lasers Contest.
Im currently trying to revamp the art dept at the school where I work and part of that I getting a laser cutter. I want to show the students how to design things for the machine and hopefully inspire and inform them of possible options their futures could take in the world of art and design. I also want the students to design and produce things that they can sell for the school to generate more income for the dept.
Right now im currently working on various ways to raise 50k to do up the dept and winning a laser cutter would be a ginormous help to bring the art dept up to date.

For years I have admired and been inspired by the fantastic work of Ursula Vernon. Her website is totally worth checking out! http://www.redwombatstudio.com/
One of my favourite pieces by her is 'Orandas on a Wire' and I chose to translate this into 3D for one of my final pieces for Uni.
I hope to start making some other pieces of hers into 3D in the future too.

I studied Modelmaking for Design and Media. Its courses like this I really want to inform and hopefully inspire the kids at school to look into.

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Step 1: In the Begining

I decided to do the fish to a realistic scale. So looking at Oranda info I chose the size I wanted them to be.

So to start I needed to sculpt the fish. Using foil to bulk out the body shape I started to build up the form with Super Sculpey. For the final pieces I wanted to use glass fish eyes so to get the positioning for these I used teddy bear eyes the same size .

Step 2: Carry on Sculpting

I loved the expressions on the fishes faces. Couldnt help but giggle my way through doing this :)

My glass fish eyes that I ordered finally arrived and I found out that the teddy bear eyes I had started with were no good. So I made a quick little sillicone mold and copied the glass ones into little plaster ones.

Step 3: New Eyes and Tails

Just had to carefully slice the eyes away and replace the old ones with the plaster ones.

For the fins and tails I rolled out sculpey thinly and cut the shapes needed. Using foil to make them bend into shape I baked them solid and attached them on with sculpey.

Once fully sculpted I baked off the whole piece (and managed to singe their heads!)

Step 4: Making a Mold

Once the fish were baked and solid I could build a box around them. I used pieces of acetate and plastic plugs so it would be easy to get equal 1/2 molds (i needed to be able to separate the pieces easily and not break off any tails etc).

Once the silicone was set I could carefully separate the last bits with a scalpel. I also made sure the fins had a slice down so that they would be easily removed.

Step 5: Cast

When the molds were ready I could place the glass fish eyes carefully in the molds. To make sure they stayed in place I poured a little fast cast resin over them to partially fill the mold.

I had little tubes in the mold by the fins and tails, created by sticks when making the initial mold. When I put the mold halves together I could put sticks back in and then when I poured in more fast cast resin I could make sure all the tail was filled by pulling the sticks out which would draw the resin after it.
There were a couple of bits that didnt fill in the fins and tails but using a syringe I could fill these in with resin.

Next I just had to paint the fish. I used pearl acrylic paints in an airbrush to give a nice shimmer and a lovely bright red for the heads.

For the wire the fish were to sit on I found a textured steel bar at B+Q, bent it to shape and welded on two little posts for the fish to sit on.

Step 6: All Done!

The fish sit together very happily on the wire :)

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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    They are very nice!

    Can I ask, why did you mold the fish, instead of using the Sculpy originals?

    7 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I was originally going to put a 'skin' on the fish so needed to mold them. But I didnt have enough time to do it.
    Also the fast cast resin had a nice transparency in the tails compared to the sculpey.
    As it was a Uni project I had to show a process too :D


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe just limited additions he he. I would love to make some more and send them to the artist!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    this project is about 3years old now. i sent the artist a pic of it done and she loved it! and a little time later she did another pic of a different fish on a line. would love to get around to doing that one too :D