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Process, The story of Ennio, creating a mannequin


The Story of "Ennio"
One of our clients requested a mannequin for the John Cabot exhibit in Bonavista, Newfoundland. In our research, we found that John Cabot was a Venetian gentleman between 40 to 50 years of age. Since no accurate historical images were documented, we set out to create what we felt was a prime representation of John Cabot. While conducting our search for the proper candidate, we came across Ennio, an Italian gentleman in his late 30's who immigrated to Canada 20 years ago. His look was perfect, but his skin was too young and needed a weathered seaman look. So we set out to do what we call in the film industry, an "old age" make-up, consisting of texturing the skin with latex prior to casting his image. The result is a perfect  example of a 15th century individual who's life was the sea.



"Old" Ennio
Skin was aged with "old age" stipple

Casting Ennio
Dental alginate is use to cast Ennio's head.
A plaster "Mother" mold is then applied.

Freed Ennio
Completed casting is removed and
ready for plaster pouring

Painted casting
Painting completed. Acrylic paints
were used for this project

Detailing
Eyes, lashes and eyebrows are applied.

Final detail
Hair and costume era completed, ready for display.

The "John Cabot" display
Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada.
Photographs by: Guy Louis-XVI SFX ©

More details on Life Casting.

The process starts off with the model sitting in a comfortable position. A  latex bald cap is applied over the model's hair for protection. Then a mold release is applied over the latex bald cap and if required, over facial hair. Cotton ear plugs are then inserted for cushioning the inner ear area.
The model is then positioned and handed a writing pad and pencil. This is used for communicating with the technician during the casting process. Dental alginate is then applied over the entire head of the model to take an impression. Great care is taken to keep the model's nasal area free of material to maintain uninterrupted breathing. The casting material is then left to cure. Next, a plaster mother mold is applied in two parts, the front half and the rear half with a mold release applied between the two. The process is achieved by using plaster bandages.
The bandages are first soaked in warm water to activate the plaster and are then applied in layers over the molding material to create a strong outer shell for support. Once cured, the rear plaster half of the mother mold is then removed, revealing the back of the alginate molding material. The molding material is opened-up in a zigzag fashion and the technician reaches  inside to separate the molding material from the model. First by separating from the bald cap, then the ears are "popped" out, then the whole front section is lifted from the face and head with the back of the mold material intact.
The mold and the mother mold are then reassembled ready for the plaster pouring. Meanwhile, the model is cleaned-up, removing the bald cap and adhesive residue. The whole process, from applying the casting material to the model, until the removal, takes approximately 30 minutes.


Disclaimer: The suggestions and techniques provided in this web site are given in good faith.
If you try them, it is at your own risk. Guy Louis-XVI SFX takes no responsibility and
and will assume no liability.

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