Saturday, August 1, 2015

Workshop with David Neat

Learning never stops! 

I have followed David's Blog for quite some time and there is always so much to learn from them that I wanted to see the man in action!

14 of us took part at his 1-week summer course at the University of Arts in London. Ronnie and I were the only ones from the miniature/dollhouse scene - it was super that we met each other.
And University of Arts (UAL) is a very inspiring location with all the students and fantastic architecture.

David thought there was not much to learn for me - ah, but he was definitely wrong! Just look at the length of this blog...



Day 1:
We built a house facade with foamed PVC, 2mm and 1mm version. I learned today:

  • sanding made easy: attach the grinding paper with double-sided carpet tape to a piece of wood (90° exactly). This makes sanding much easier and gives you dead straight edges!
     

    • Only glue foamed PVC with super glue
    • First time I used a scalpel (instead of a Japan knife) - wonderful to get into corners..
    • No need for hunting thin strips of wood - use veneer and cut your own.


    Day 2:
    This is the kind of scalpel work David does....    
    And it was training day for working with the scalpel
    Making of furniture 1:25
    The simple chair made with 1mm foamed PVC was enough for me...
    Fauteuil made with 5mm foam board
    To top the day, Ronnie and I went to 4D Modelshop at Leman Street!!  
    EVERYTHING a model builder could use and want. They even make 1:12 trees on order! 
    We now have so many ideas - we will be busy for a while.. 
    Check out their website - they are delivering internationally, too.



    Day 3:
    Today was about making shapes with styrofoam, making figures with wire and... 
    Since figures are not really what I want to make, I stuck to making small, fiddly things with styrofoam (to get to know the handling of this), managed to bend the foamed PVC (works with a hairdryer) for a stool surface and using Super Sculpey which is much easier to use than Fimo (bakes at 130° as well).
    Not much I can present photo-wise  - except David in full action!
    We all loved it when he tried to find the words to tell one of us in a nice way that 'this is not good enough' ;-)
    And a great tip from a classmate David: instead of using the usual super glue that has the tendency to run: use super glue gel and then apply punctually with a toothpick. Much better to control...

    Another classmate, Ronnie Bailey, found the solution to making knobs for the stove! That was a bit of a challenge: over after-course Prosecco(s) we evaluated various solutions, from making moulds to cutting metal rods. Typical model maker attitude: why buy it for 50p if you can make it for £20 ;-)


    Day 4:
    Big surprise: David, the model railway builder, brought me some NOCH synthetic grass, which he suggested as bristles for my scrubbing brush. This and a dab of super glue gel worked like a charm!! BTW: the handles are carved from foamed PVC.
    So, today was all about surfaces! I made a stamp sample with Super Sculpey using real pebbles from outside the building, we imitated wood on foam board, some of us made trees from chicken wire (I turned this into an 'organic' chandelier..) and we carved shapes into blue Styrofoam (the stuff used by builders for insulation). 
    This stamp would have to be concave so that it is easier to press it into the foam board and that there are no obvious boundaries in the pattern.
    ..something like this...
    David manipulating a photo to make it look 'used': make area slightly damp with water, then use wire brush to scrape it
    A commercial vinyl wallpaper with 2-3 color washes
    Spent the evening walking 2km along the Regent Canal (yes, a real canal with boats and all in the middle of town!) to Camden and landed up in a huge, lively market with an open air cinema, loads of food stalls and plenty funky people and shops - fantastic atmosphere!
    I want, I want!

    Day 5:
    Painting surfaces was the main theme today. And this is something that only comes with experience... I considered myself a total failure! I finally got the concrete look ok, but the stones?? igitt...  
    Even David battled to get it right. Here dry brushing it - but much too yellow...

    Here the different facades on the sample we made
    Concrete, yeah!
    Doing 'freestyle' stuff like my 'organic' chandelier was much easier - now it just needs lights ;-)
    Unfortunately I had to leave a little earlier to catch the flight back and I missed David's demonstration on soldering. But it is pretty well described in his blog and then there is a book he wrote as well. He reckons that he does some of the things slightly different today but the basics are still right and valuable for model builders. 

    All in all: it was a great week and I will definitely do a short course with him at UAL again!