Ram’s horns – construction

A commission for a pair of my Ram’s Horns was the perfect excuse for me to document their construction process.

This time around, to save me some labour, the lovely SamLR used the python library ‘dfx writer’ to generate 50-odd circles ranging from 7mm to 32mm in radius, in steps of +.5mm radius. Each one is numbered, and has two holes in for the wires to go in. The circles for one horn fit on two sheets of A4. A little spray glue later, and we had a few fun hours cutting little circles out of cardboard with scissors and stabbing through the holes with the spikes of a pair of dividers.

We then threaded the circles onto folded wires, separated by two cardboard spacers in each gap. Another time I’d like to make ’em all on a laser cutter – that would approximately halve the construction time.

Once the cone is constructed, I bent the wire in opposite directions to form the horns’ spirals.

Plaster of paris fabric strips are really easy to use – cut to size, dip in water, slide it between through two fingers to squeeze off the excess water, then drape over the form, overlapping and building the surface. By placing the fabric strips diagonally – what you’d call ‘on the bias’ when cutting fabric – the fabric distorts to suit the form. I pushed the fabric between the circles to shape the distinctive ridges.

Once the plaster was dry, the texture of the fabric was still very visible. I mixed up a loose slurry of plaster and water – far runnier than you’d expect – and laboriously re-surfaced the horns, touching up the shaping where necessary. As I worked the plaster in my tub gradually got thicker, and I was able to use globs of it to improve the shape of the ends of the horns, covering up the stubby ends.

I painted the plaster horns with acrylic paints – yellowey undercoat and dark brown on the outside. A little tricky to paint without lifting the plaster surface, but otherwise not too bad. Then it was mounting – a plastic hairband from Claire’s Accessories, trimming the wire to suit and planting it back into the body of the horns.

Ta-dah! On their way to one hopefully happy customer.