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Matt Buckley - The Designer & sculptor

Matt  Buckley started off his sculpting career over 20 years ago having been afforded the opportunity to hone his craft by following in the footsteps of his step father, Robert Harrop, by working on the ‘Country Companions’ and later named ‘ Doggie People’ range which have resided successfully to this day within the ‘giftware’ and ‘collectible’ industry for well over 25 years themselves.

 

Licensed figurines that Matt has both sculpted personally and directed include the Beano and Dandy, Camberwick Green, Roald Dahl, Bagpuss, 2000 AD, The Magic Roundabout, Mr Benn and Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray, with many pieces being continually produced to this date.

 

Matt remains the Creative Director of Robert Harrop Designs LTD and indeed the skills and ability to manufacture quality figurines from within their family run company in Shropshire has enabled this very new collection of work to become a reality and Edge Sculpture to thrive.

This is a very new collection and very much at the beginning of its creative evolution and Matt indeed looks  forward to designing, sculpting and producing  many new concepts well into the future.

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This of course means any design can at most only be hinted at within the confines of a sketch and instead a piece really develops on the turntable alone, keeping the reference material down to a minimum and relying far more on the mind's eye as a source of aesthetic judgement.

Research & Design

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To be able to evolve a sculpt with the energy and fluidity required means that a sturdy armature is needed.  Its primary purpose is to have the strength to hold the weight of wet clay as it is violently formed into its desired shape with such purpose that leaves a deliberate rawness within the body of every piece.  Of course the composition is incredibly important and the engineering paramount in order to make a figure that stands solidly and without weakness so that an appropriate thickness of clay can be maintained throughout.

Sculpting

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We pride ourselves in our ability to keep the integrity of the original clay sculpture alive so nothing is more important than the first rubber mould.  To harness the sheer weight of material and avoid leakage we have to construct a very strong and perfectly sealed case to shroud the piece as closely as possible.  Cut-lines are predetermined an appropriate bleeds are added to allow any trapped air to escape and only then can we begin to pour in the pre-vacuumed liquid rubber.  Once the rubber has hardened the Mould is then skilfully cut allowing the removal of the now surplus clay sculpture.

Moulding

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Casting

A careful mix of marble resin is then patiently poured into the prepared master mould, which is then lowered into a vacuum chamber to aid the bleeding process to remove those unwanted air bubbles that still may otherwise reside within the casing.  Once cured and properly hardened, the cast can be removed to reveal the first clean white sample.

To prepare for painting a cleaning process begins where one of our ever diligent fettlers will eliminate any unwanted mould lines and undesirable casting residue using small speed adjustable drills, knives and sanding blocks.  Any pieces made in several parts are then assembled using steel pins, resin and glue before being levelled and then finally sand-blasted in order to give it a slight key.

Fettling, sandblasting & levelling

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The piece then finds its way back to the Design Studio in order to complete its journey through the development phase.   The colour patterns are developed and the chosen hues applied until a Studio Master is created.  This is ultimately the piece with which all subsequent production pieces are compared against, to maintain our excellent level of continuity.

Painting & Finishing

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