I designed and sculpted the masters from which to make molds for the cast resin ship token used as player pieces in the game Skirmish.
I started with paper aeroplanes as the most familiar form and material, probably not the most progressive futuristic choice but, you know, childhood.
To get a more solid ship I used 0.5mm copper foil and experimented with bits of origami and cutting things up and sticking them together. Having already
decided on the narrative of solar powered space craft that use ‘star shards’ to generate power from solar energy I wanted the craft to have a crystalline quality. My idea was that the ships would be translucent with a sort of geode within that housed the players so the copper ships were not quite solid enough. I tried padding them out with scuplty and then tried just making the forms in scuplty from scratch but found it impossible to manipulate a clay into perfectly flat geometric forms, every time I got one section flat I was depressing into another.
Having worked with shou shan stone while carving chops which is very soft and can be worked with simple files and hand tools as well as polished to a shine I bought soap stone on ebay. I wasn’t very impressed that it came in a pile of rubble.
I used hand tools to make my self some starting cubes and then small files and chisels to work the shapes taking inspiration to my pile of copper origami and a couple of semi precious stones kicking about the boat.
Soap stone is a silicate, the dust is talcum powder but that doesn’t mean it is safe to breath. Silicate dust is a repository health hazard eventually causing silicosis so should be worked wet or with extraction or dust masks. Soap stone also contains very small amounts of asbestos so all the more reason to be cautious.
I’m trying to think of technique practiced and developed while carving but it really is very simple, a couple of different shaped mini files and patience.
One really cool thing which my mum put me on too was while polishing them I was working through the grades of wet & dry paper which on such a soft stone is pretty fast but getting the final shine seemed to rub off as quickly as on until I used a nail buffer which I shit you not is my new favorite polishing tool. It even works really great on resin. I cut the end of and divided it up into triangles to have smaller bits to get into the nooks of the ships.