© Martino Catalano 2017
Original Blanchard vase on site. The severe erosion from weathering of the terractotta is evident.
The vase neck at Shaws of Darwen premises.
Work area with both original vase neck on the right and a prepared plaster blank core of identical underlying dimensions on the left. The plaster blank was made by professional modelmakers in the plaster shop. Here, I have applied shellac to the plaster blank and marked it out into divisions.
First base leaf feature sculpted directly onto shellaced plaster surface.
Plaster mould taken off the leaf. Clay will be pressed into this repetitively and skimmed back to create replica 'pressings' of the leaf. Sixteen pressings of this particular base leaf were needed in total.
Leaf in place with marked out placings on the base and neck of the urn. I'd previously marked out the whole plaster core into quarters, eighths and sixteenths from top to bottom.
First rough leaf pressings in place within markings.
Base leaf arrangement, blending and smoothed off.
Top rim marked out with equal spacing with nails to support 'egg and dart' features.
'Petal' features pressings from pre-sculpted original mould.
These are aligned around the topmost rim of the vase neck.
Placement and sculpting in of 'petals'.
'Petal' features section complete.
Intermediate feature for base leaves.
Secondary leaf feature sculpted onto neck.
Plaster moulding of secondary leaf feature.
Clay pressing of secondary leaf feature.
Secondary leaf feature clay pressings in place at the marked out 'quarter' lines.
'Egg and Dart' features on the original.
'Egg' pressings from a plaster mould of a sculpted single original clay part made by me.
'Darts' pressings.
'Egg and Dart' clay 
pressings affixed to the support nails and then sculpted in and blended.
Clay thickness built out for the fluted features.
'Egg and Dart' and 'petal' features shellaced.
Marking out of fluted groove features.
Flute 'lozenge' feature.
Top section shellaced.
Large leaf feature sculpted on with stencils in foreground. I used this stencil method for all the neck leaf features, taking rubbings off the original urn neck. I then transferred the rubbings onto card and cut out stencils for accurate placement correspondent to the features on the original.
Large leaf feature complete.
Large leaf feature complete (side view).
Clay wall in place for plaster moulding. In each instance of plaster moulding, the surrounding areas were masked off with polythene and the exposed plaster blank surfaces immediately around the clay feature were brushed with soapy water for release.
Large leaf feature plaster application to create a press mould.
Secondary and large leaf arrangement.
Clay blending on neck to meet leaf features.
Addition of small intermediate leaf feature from a press mould. This was one of four press castings.
Large overlapping top leaf feature pressings added and aligned accurately.
Consolidation of all leaf features on the neck of the urn.
Urn complete and shellaced.
Urn complete and shellaced (base).
Original 'swan neck' feature with 'twin' neck missing. It was my job to create a 'mirror image' replacement.
Original 'swan neck' feature with my sculpted 'mirror image' corresponding one to replace the missing original.
'Swan neck' sculpt close up.
'Swan neck' sculpt left view.
First slip casting of the urn. The plasterers made a huge multi-part plaster mould of my sculpture to handle all the complex undercuts.
The casting team poured a thick 'slip' - liquid terracotta clay - into the plaster mould to produce this casting. The seam 'flash' lines are evident and these need to be fettled down and neatened up.
Seam line on the casting (close-up).
Seam line on the 'egg and dart' area (close-up).
Installation of the fired terracotta casting on the site with replacement 'swan neck'.
The site is at St Mary's Square in Bury St. Edmunds.
'Blanchard vase' replacement.
In late 2009, I was commissioned to create a replacement sculpture of a very old and weathered 'Blanchard' vase neck for a client of  'Shaws of Darwen', a company in Lancashire who create very high quality architectural faience for heritage buildings worldwide including The Wrigley Building in Chicago and Harrod's in London. The task entailed taking rubbings and accurate measurements off the original urn neck and replicating them in clay onto a pre-prepared plaster 'blank' which was itself a remarkable, precision-turned piece of work by the lads in the plaster shop working off the dimensions of the original urn which was located in St Mary's Square in Bury St. Edmund's.
I divided the blank into accurate sections and created stencils from the rubbings. I used the stencils to mark out all the floral and leaf features within the divisions on the plaster blank. Because all the features overlapped intricately on the original, each feature was sculpted and moulded in separate sessions on the neck. Press castings were then taken off the moulds and each leaf feature was precisely aligned and placed witihin the divisions on the plaster blank and then re-sculpted, blended and consolidated into eachother to correspond to the original urn. 
Below the two main photos is a gallery exemplifying the step-by-step procedure employed to create this reproduction. 
Galllery of sculpting and moulding procedure - click on images below for larger views and details.
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Shaws of Darwen site: http://www.shaws-terracotta.co.uk
Architectural and faience reproduction.