Friday, November 9, 2012

Hard Copy

Pulling the first casting from a big mold is generally either a great day, or a terrible one, and today was great. The mother mold came apart like a dream (might have gotten away with a few less sections, but better too many than too few), and the blanket pulled off without a hitch. Almost (almost) anti-climactic.

That said, this is pretty high stakes stuff. If the something goes wrong, you could easily be left with nothing, and you don't necessarily know if something goes has gone wrong until the very end. Pulling this cast means we're officially out of danger. Even if the next cast goes completely pear shaped, and bonds with the mold, or doesn't set, or whatver, we have a hard copy. If worst comes to worst, we can cast it again.

I wouldn't want to, but I feel a lot better knowing I could.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Face Coat

What this video doesn't show is us laying up layer upon layer of burlap, and some wire sky hooks, but that's what we did. Look at how methodical Amy is compared to me.

We'll see how this one comes out this week, but laying it up definitely gave me a sense of how to go forward with a real casting. In the meantime, I'm going to need to do some experiments with 1512x and chopped strand glass. The stuff we did for a face coat was disappointingly brittle, but maybe with a little bit of a glass backbone...

A warm thank you to everyone at the DCCA who made my two, back-to-back speaking engagements such a pleasure. I'd never been there before, but I found it to be a great space, filled with a generous and knowledgable crowd. Can't ask for more than that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Video Process Updates

Technical info: I used Polytek's Polygel 35 as a face coat. Worked well, although I don't know that I thought it was a lot easier to work with than the stuff I've worked with in the past. Set's up a little quickly for my taste, which means making A LOT of batches. In the first video you can also see us trying out Poly1512X (also from Polytek). This was a real disappointment. I had hoped for something light, strong, and with a quick set up time. This was much too slow, and surprisingly brittle. I elected to go with FGR and fiberglass instead, which works great, but which used up all of my FGR, so now I have to wait FOUR TO SIX WEEKS for my local supplier to get it in. There has got be an easier way.

Beyond that, everything went smoothly. In the end, all the pieces of the mother mold came off with no trouble, and went back together the same way. There's a little plasticine still sticking to the inside of the mold, but other than that, I really can't complain. Hoping to pull an initial Hydrostone cast this week.

The videos above are quite disjointed. I had high hopes, and a lovely tri-pod set-up, but the phone kept ringing, or the music wouldn't work. There's something to be said for having more than one gadget, I guess.

As I said to Amy at the time, there is nothing like sculpture for teaching patience. In the second video, if you watch close, you can see us stop pulling up the mother mold, which is coming up like a dream, and start thickening up a couple of the hydrostone and burlap pieces we had to use when we ran out of FGR and fiberglass. Inches from the big reveal, pulling up the rubber mold, and instead we have to spend an hour repair the piece in place. In the past I might have just pulled it and hoped for the best but, like I said, sculpture has taught me a few things about patience and delayed gratification.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


36 hours turns out to have been wildly optimistic. This project will never end. I will be dead and in my grave, and this piece will still be taunting me, just out of reach.


Friday, September 7, 2012

36 hours

Looks like I've got about 36 more work hours left before this really needs to be done in order to get it molded, cast, and photographed before Nov. 1. -  in time for a couple grant deadlines. Feeling cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Fie, I say, on the work obligations, and the family obligations that keep me out of the studio day upon day, week upon week. If this goddamn thing isn't done by the end of the summer, it won't be for lack of desire. It will be because of the Teacher Observation Institute, and the Transfer Sessions, and the Critical Thinking Conference, and the Stockton Critical Thinking Institute, and surgeries, and vacations and camps and pickups and work, and the lawn, and the garden, and every other fucking thing. But it won't be for lack of desire.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another Process Day

Another Full Day from Jed Morfit on Vimeo.

The first day I was able to spend on the lady in quite some time. Too many other obligations. Very hot in the studio, very hot. Makes for a sweaty day, but it does mean that the plasticene stays nice and soft. I'll probably need to wait for some cool days work details into the surface, but it's good for roughing out forms, which, unfortunately, I am still doing.

At this point, I don't even pay much attention to how much progress I'm making, or how far I have left to go. I suppose that's good. It's not an experience I've ever had before. Mostly, I just move the bikes and the lawnmower out in the morning, and apply nose to grindstone.  

At the very end of the day, I got tired of pushing plasticine around, and impulsively decided to take the body away, and see how the connections between the two pieces was going to work. If you look closely in the video, you can seem me cut the face off the mock up - it was jammed up against the rafters, preventing the two pieces from coming apart. In retrospect, I'm not sure this was a great idea, but I can't actually see the downside, either. It's not like I need her for reference at this point.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

By Product

I've been working on this for a while, but since it was a surprise for my wife, I couldn't post the process photos. I don't think she spends a lot of time checking the blog, but a surprise is a surprise.

This is the EZcast prototype for a cuff that will be cast in silver, hopefully some time this week. I'm really happy with the way this one came out, and really intrigued by this developing series of work that is driven by, and related to, the larger processes, but with their own identity and purpose.

At some point, when I've managed to bring all of these various projects to completion (end of summer?), I'm thinking I'll start an Etsy site, and see what happens.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Apparently, I Forgot To Post This Review In the Times

Been remiss in the self-promotion aspect lately. Here's a lovely review in the New York Times for the excellent Beyond Rodin Show. Thank you Bob Clyatt for putting it all together!

Good News From The Front

I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded the National Sculpture Society's Dexter Jones Award. This is my second year winning the award, and I am deeply grateful to the National Sculpture society for their generosity and support.

The Dexter Jones Award is an unrestricted prize of $5,000, which is presented annually to an emerging sculptor for an outstanding work of sculpture in bas-relief.
The award is given in memory of the late Dexter Jones (1926-1986), a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society. In addition to being an accomplished sculptor of portraits and works in the round, Jones created several outstanding bas-reliefs in his lifetime.

Also, I am pleased to note that "You Wish" was recently purchased by a private collector from the Beyond Rodin show at the Rye Art Center. I am grateful here for the hard work of both Bob Clyatt (for putting the show together) and Helen Gates (for negotiating the sale). It is unfortunate that emotional value has no corresponding purchasing power, because making money from your art feels like a million bucks.

Friday, June 22, 2012

More Homemade Tools

These were made with old bike spokes and leftover bits of dowel. Compare to the microcarving kits offered at Amazon and SAVE. Plus, they work beautifully.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sculptural Thinking In The Home

My baby girl asked for a waterfall...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Full Day In Just Over A Minute

There's something weird about recording yourself in the studio. It's like having a supervisor sitting right over your shoulder. Turned out to be good for productivity - wanting to keep the camera in position meant I had to concentrate on a the visible area, which I wouldn't necessarily do. Still, I think this is an interesting record of the process. It's probably as close to the actual experience as you can get without actually spending the day in the studio - boring, but satisfying to watch the whole thing slowly come into focus.

Process from Jed Morfit on Vimeo.

Watch it on Vimeo to see it at a larger size.

New Fisher Cat

Longer, leaner, slinkier. Had to move a bunch of vines around to make it happen. Plan to spend a little time in it this morning, see if it's right. 

New Tool, Old Tool, Blank

Spent a few minutes yesterday replacing one of my favorite tools. The old one is elegant, but the new one is thicker, stronger, and better suites to pushing through plasticine.

The piece of wood they're sitting on is an off-cut from the maple tabletops we use in the sculpture studio at school. Upcycles nicely into modeling tools.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Someone should take FRMI images of the moment during the creative process in which an element that had been fine/finished/acceptable suddenly becomes intolerable, and requires that the rest of the day be spent tearing it down and building it back up. Is it a positive, important part of the process? Or is it just a compelling cognitive illusion?

All I know is that I spent A LOT of time working on the fisher cat today. I think it's better, but it's hard to be sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reference Material

Love this shot. May try to shoot it again on Wednesday. It almost, almost makes me wish I had done it exactly this way, with the original image inset into the new piece. Not too late, I suppose, except that it is. I just couldn't face it, and what while it makes for a seductive picture, there are all kinds of possible problems in the execution. Deep sigh and move on.

In other news, Susan Hodara has written a lovely piece in the NY Times about the Beyond Rodin show at the Rye Arts Center. The whole thing can be found here. Thanks to Bob Clyatt for putting the show together, and (I assume) for organizing the press. Really a great show.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Start Of Day 5/23

First mostly full day in studio. Very excited.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother Of Invention

Improvised book holder.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Days Progress


Desktop Composition

Finally finished this demo I did for my 3d class. I cast it in Forton as a waste mold, but I rushed it and it came out badly. However, with the addition of a solution of Aluminum Sulfate and water, Forton also works as a great patching medium, so no harm done. I'm happy with it, and am increasingly excited about the idea of working directly, without the effort and expense of molding and casting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sausage Factory

I just re-published all of the old posts that I had taken off earlier. I took them down because I was concerned that watching someone make art might be a little watching someone make sausage. It's something I'm still worried about, but, on reflection, I don't think taking down most of the old posts is the answer. After all, what is the point of a process blog if you can't look back and follow the process?

If and when I do decide that this whole project is too inside baseball, too little mystery, I'll take the blog down. Until then I'm planning to commit to the process, and put it all online.

Speaking of putting it all online, the semester is over, so I should be getting back in the studio on a more consistent basis. Fingers crossed and stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Studio Stay-cation and The Sculptor's Reward

Working in clay IS SO NICE. It's so soft, until it isn't, which is nice, too. It smells like earth, not a refinery, and the color is warm and inviting. I turns out I really, really, miss clay. So, Friday turned out to be a studio stay-cation, working on this portrait that I started as a quick demo for 3D. Usually, having gotten all of the other distractions out of the way (re-casting the "Self-Portrait...", making crates, packing up, etc.), I would feel duty bound to go back to work on the current project. But on Friday I said fuck it, and spent a blissful morning working on something for the sheer hell of it. God, did it feel good.

In other news, we coined a really nice term in one of my classes the other day, referring to the enormous added expense and labor incurred by attempting to make work that is even slightly more dynamic, ambitious, and interesting. We call it The Sculptor's Reward.

Monday, March 26, 2012


DONE! Two weeks of nights and weekends, and I've got 4 pieces packed and ready to ship down to the Columbus Museum tomorrow. So nice.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Short Film About Demolding

Lots going on at the moment, working hard against a deadline. Mostly consumed with casting the second "Self Portrait..." (of three). Plenty of anxiety, as I left myself no time for error, and there is always error. Thankfully, I pulled the cast on Monday, and it looks fundamentally sound. No better feeling in the world.

Demolding Process from Jed Morfit on Vimeo.

Despite the rush, I managed to make this stop motion movie of the demolding process using an app called Frames. A great app, and highly recommended. I should have shot more frames per second, but it was super easy, and it's a great way to show process. I'll definitely be posting more of these.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Better Moments

Blogger is giving me a hard time about the picture layouts, and I'm not interested in spending a lot of time figuring it out. 
In brief; a decent day. The photo at top shows where I started, around 9:30, and the photo at bottom shows where I ended up, around 4:15. In the middle is an image of one of the joys/frustrations of the home studio arrangement - a monitor that reaches to the studio. The good news is that this means that my wife can pick up the two older kids at school and leave the baby napping. The bad news is that he inevitably wakes up as soon as she leaves the house. In my better moments I remember that having the luxury to do what I love in the morning and have lunch with my son in the afternoon is a great privilege. In my lesser moments I am not as grateful as I should be. 
In these pictures it's a bit hard to see what's changed, which makes me a bit nervous. If you look at the bottom section however, particularly at the leaves, you can see things shifting, moving, gaining definition. I think I'm finally starting to get familiar with the leaf shape, and the feel of the plasticine. In my better moments I remember that I am actually only working in the studio one day a week, and I try to be patient, and enjoy the process. In my lesser moments, I step back, look at how far I have to go, and panic.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plasticene Choreography

Continuing to make steady progress in my one-day-a-week marathon.

I think this is some of the hardest modeling I have ever done. It's not that the forms are particularly hard (although the grape leaves are no picnic), as much as the composition is so complex, and working with plasticine is so slow. Changes can't be made quickly, which means I need to visualize a lot of moving parts that I can't actually see, which always makes me nervous. I have come to be very suspicious of what I think will work vs. what I can see is working. The closest analogy I can draw in my own experience is my limited experience with choreography - trying to compose multiple movements on dancers in space as they overlap in time turned out to be one of the hardest creative exercises I have ever encountered. Particularly because, at the time I refused to use video recording. In those days, I was still more willing to trust what I thought than what I could see.

As I get close to the bottom, I'm having to figure out what that space is like. Does it remain a constant tangle all the way to the bottom, or does the addition of the fisher cat and the chicken require a more rational, dimensional, space? Questions like that keep me up at night.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Business Model

For the time being, I have decided to limit the scope of this blog to the (more or less) present. I've been feeling a little anxious about the amount of information I'm leaving in my wake, and have decided to  make my digital life a bit more like my actual life; things happen, and then they go.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

State Of The Arts

Watch Jed Morfit, artist on PBS. See more from State of the Arts.

Produced by the excellent Susan Wallner. Thank you Susan!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mama's In The Arbor

Good progress today.

It's hard not to panic in the face of so much detail, and such slow going, but so far so good. I keep reminding myself that there's no rush - nobody's waiting for me to finish this this, there's no deadline - so just relax and enjoy it.

Easier said than done.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hard Looking

I had been looking forward to yesterday for a long time. Everything that I'd been working on for all the various shows done and out the door, the semester launched, but not crazy, and a chance to get into the studio and get back to work on the big lady. Of course, with my calendar blindness, I'd forgotten that I was supposed to be at an Instant Decision Day in the morning (waiting for one prospective student who never showed up!), so I didn't get started until after lunch.

Incredibly frustrating, but it turned out to be fine. Two things; first, the little propane heater I bought makes working in the studio in the winter a pleasure. It's like having a roaring fireplace at your backside. Second, working on the tangled vines of the skirt is hard on the eyes. I don't know how to describe it, except to say it's like staying in the batting cages too long, or driving in in a blizzard - it requires a particular kind of visual concentration that's hard to sustain. I don't know that I could have done it for any longer than the 4 hours I found myself left with. Slow going, and no pictures, but nice to be back at work just the same.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Shows Down and Out

They are all gone. Gone to Stockton. Gone to Philadelphia. Gone to New London. God, it feels great.  I had hoped to have some kind of statement at this point, something that would tie all these pieces together. Particularly now that I have enough work to see the forest somewhat more clearly. The statement I'm working on now has, as usual, gotten too long and convoluted, and become a comment on art, and the art world, and on the viability of artist's statement's in general. Hopefully I'll straighten it out in the near future and get it out there. Finding a way (and finding the time) to be more articulate and honest about the content of this work is one of my goals for 2012. I'm also trying to drink less beer and be a better person. It's been a touch year for resolutions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On The Road Again

Being an sculptor on the east coast means learning to love the 95 corridor. On my way to deliver work to Connecticut College. They were prepared to pay for shipping, but in the end the I would rather have the piece of mind that comes with driving it myself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Frames Within Frames

Building crates out back.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things I Wish I'd Made For 1000

I love all this post-apocalyptic, Tank Girl/Mad Max-type stuff. Love it. This one is by the Korean artist Bhead.  There's more good stuff to be found on his blog, but it's all in Korean, so it's not that easy to navigate. The textures and surfaces he's is getting are particularly fine. I love the lace shirtfront, the fishnet tights, and the evidence of hard use on the binoculars.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Another Quora gem: an answer to the question "what is it like to have an understanding of very advanced mathematics?"

You are comfortable with feeling like you have no deep understanding of the problem you are studying. Indeed, when you do have a deep understanding, you have solved the problem and it is time to do something else. This makes the total time you spend in life reveling in your mastery of something quite brief. One of the main skills of research scientists of any type is knowing how to work comfortably and productively in a state of confusion.

From the excellent

The exact same thing could be said about art.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crazy Vs. Lazy

I'm not a perfectionist.

I'm not a perfectionist, and these pieces really aren't meant to be perfect. The individual elements that make up the whole are not precious. They are plastic casts. Each one is one of many. They get cut and ground down, chopped, spliced and split. It is, in theory, fine with me if there is flashing visible along the edges, or air bubbles in the surface. To my mind, there's an element of theater to this work that I want to see reflected in the finish - luminous and awe-inspiring at distance, mundane material up close.

That said, as I get close to finishing these pieces, it's hard to know when I'm allowing for an appropriate degree of mundane materiality and when I'm just being lazy. The line between finishing a piece and overworking one is always clear. Particularly if you're not a perfectionist, or even particularly detail oriented. As readers of this blog will know, I find the last 10% HARD. And I am ready, ready, for these pieces to be done. But then I see some errant hole, or some thin shaving of plastic clinging to one of the elements, and I will wonder - should I leave it and let the physical reality of the thing speak for itself, or is that just me justifying my basic desire to get this done?

Strange Monolith

Repainting on a 54 degree day.


Last year I got smart and started getting my frames made by a professional. Much respect to David Goldmann at SDJ Woodworking, who never fails to do beautiful work.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Problems In Pink

Let this picture stand for two things. First, this new piece is going to be Pepto Bismal pink, which I'm really excited about. Second, no matter how much your new, fancy propane heater warms the space, it is unwise to try to spraypaint urethane plastic in a cold studio.

I always tell my students that sculpture is the medium least able to be left to the last minute, and here I am gallantly proving the truth of it. There are just too many variables, and inevitably one of them is going to find a way to bite you in the ass.