Ceramic Giant Toad of the North (Põhjakonn)

Põhjakonn | Giant Toad of the North


A small-scale sculpture that grew out of a commission piece for a friend that needed a model for an outdoor sculpture that could survive on a rock in shallow sea. It ended up looking like this: https://scontent-frt3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/11056570_858637050857935_1235386284868990739_o.jpg

However, I felt that I liked the model and wanted to develop it further. So, I used the mould to assemble a ceramic model and added some textures, refined some forms and facets. Now I’m waiting for it to come out of the kiln, to be able to take a new mould and reproduce the new model for some other variations and perhaps to sell some as decorative sculptures.


Suure-kõpu mõisa näituse butafooria 2015 suvi


2015 summer manor exhibition: Suure Kõpu | Mõisakoolide näitusedekoor

The main project this summer was not restoration, but polyester resin casting and design for an upcoming manor exhibition in Suure-Kõpu. The main idea was to create quirky elements into the room and as the client had seen impressive capitols during a fashion show in Italy, she ordered corinthian capitols, made from polyester resin.
As most other custom projects, this was a learning experience with several key points that I’d do differently, if I’d undertake a similar endeavour again.

As an experimental project, the final results were satisfactory for the client, but I would have liked to do several things differently. Firstly, the model for the capitol ought to have been modelled onto the half-pipe that it’d be installed on, both to achieve a good base and a good seam. To save time, use pressing molds for the acanthus leaves and finish the attached clay details instead of separately modelling each one. Use more guides from rigid materials to ensure proper measurements and plot out a proper grid for installing the ornaments.
Secondly, the rubber mould would need a better shell to provide moving the mould with the shell while applying the polyester, both for ease of access and sloshing the liquid resin around. Probably worth it to spend more time finishing the pieces of the shell to sit just right, maybe install some connecting metal hinges/plates. Especially if the mould would see heavy use. (The current mould had several issues after six casts).
Thirdly, invest in better protective equipment and ventilation. Polyester resin is toxic, having a respirator and gloves is okay for a small job, but large scale work requires full body protection and ventilation.
Also, never grind or sand polyester resin with glass fibers/microspheres indoors.
Mixing too much resin at once will increase its speed of hardening, so material is prone to get wasted if you misjudge the ratios (~1-2:100). I stuck to around 400 ml at a time, with 2-4% of catalyst added.
All in all, I don’t think I’ll be working with polyester anytime soon, because the whole experience was rather unpleasant, but I will definitely be more experienced the next time around.

Materials from:
Inno solutions (Brush on, Superseal, Easy release)
Variant Eesti OÜ (Polyester, fillers)

Conservation of altar statue in St. Paul church, Tartu, Estonia. | Tartu Pauluse Kiriku vana altarikuju konserveerimine

Tartu Pauluse Kiriku vana altarikuju konserveerimine

*Update on 11.07.2016:

“I finally completed my MA, and subsequently the practical conservation and theoretical analysis of the altar statue is concluded. The thesis can be found on: Thesis

It was a long road to this point, and I would have hoped to have a complete exhibition of the statue set up by my graduation, but as things lay I doubt it will be completed before the statue’s 100th birthday in 2023. I will however look for opportunities to make it happen, either by donations or some grant project, as it would be a shame to leave things unfinished after years of work.” -HK

Cleaning with distilled water and brushes:

Cleaning of the statue

Overview of cleaned statue before exposition, after cleaning: