The dog wanted that bone, it wanted it more than anything else. Oblivious to his surroundings, he continued to chase after the bone, pounding the ground with each paw. Relentless, hungry and hopeful, the dog was happy.

My work is very geometric and so naturally it lent itself to producing a vinyl toy. Well, it was made of resin, but you know what I mean. I've used the image of my dog chasing a bone strapped to it's back, hung in front of him, almost from the beginning. I think the pup represents happy enthusiasm and perseverance, which I would like to think I share some of those qualities. So it was only natural I'd pick that image to make into a little toy.

I knew nothing about vinyl toys when I started making this toy. I think 'toy' is a misnomer, as some of these things can be really delicate, and I've yet to see a kid play with, for example, a Dunny. It took eight hand-sculpted prototypes for me to finally be happy with an entire dog. Some prototypes had odd faces and I realized others just had odd proportions only once I had finished making them.

Once I had a prototype I was happy with, I hardened it by cooking it in the oven and got to work on it with various grades of sandpaper to make it ultra smooth. Towards the end, the sandpaper I was using was indistinguishable from paper to the touch but my god was that eighth prototype polished to the nth degree! The silicone mould will pick up the finest of details, so anything on the prototype would be reproduced in the subsequent resin casts.

I modified a pressure pot (usually used to apply liquids like paint or glue on an large scale) and hooked it up to a hulking air compressor to allow me to create a two-part silicone mould using my prototype without any tiny, niggling bubbles that would ruin the design. First, I poured enough silicone to cover half of the dog up and then once that had cured, I poured the second half. The result is a rubber mould that will split in two, allowing me to extract the resin copies.

After a couple weeks of playing around with various resin casting techniques and methods, I found the best way of casting copies of the prototype. From there on in, I produced an edition of fifteen dogs to be sanded (to remove the seam where the two halves of the mould met), air brushed and displayed in a metal-perspex case that I had also made.

It was great to work in a third dimension (as opposed to the usual two dimensions I spend my time in), although it took a while for me to get to grips with thinking about an added axis. I bought all the equipment needed to make the damn things, so I should really revisit this project and see what I could produce these days...

Posted 5th March, 2014

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