It worked. The paper mache head did dry, even though the paper mache was applied over a wet clay form. But that wasn’t really the part I was most interested in. I wanted to know if I could cut the paper mache into two pieces to easily remove it from the clay, and then put it back together again without the paper mache’s shape getting distorted in any way. I worked fast, and the head went back together again just fine.
We already knew that we could use a modeling clay or Super Sculpey form for the fast-setting paper mache, because that’s how I made all the masks that I teach people to make in my new mask book. And we already knew that we could also use paper mache clay over “real” clay, because that’s how I made the old lady mask.
What I wanted to know with this experiment was how the materials would work on a sculpture that would need to be cut in two in order to remove the clay. I had already done a very small experiment along these lines when I made the Plague Doctor Mask, but I only cut it down the underside of the beak – so another experiment was needed. I did know from a previous “experiment,” (my giraffe head) that if you remove the paper mache from a clay mold and allow the two pieces to dry without sticking them back together quickly, the paper mache will warp and the pieces might not fit.
I might add a bit of paper mache clay to this head to make some slight alterations to the shape. So, why not use paper mache clay entirely, instead of using the fast-setting paper mache paste and shop towels, you might ask? Because we wouldn’t be able to take the “Jonniclay” off the form until it was completely dry – and when it’s completely dry it’s so hard I’d need a power tool to cut it.