The Seraphim Classics Figure Crafting Process
The Seraphim Classics Collection, by Roman, Inc., debuted in 1994 and possessed a celestial beauty never seen before. With unequaled grace and elegance, Seraphim angels feature elaborately detailed wings, graceful flowing gowns and exquisite angelic features. The process of creating Seraphim Classics is an arduous undertaking that results in an angel unlike any other with a brilliant translucence and sense of motion where one can almost feel the heavenly breeze that gently sweeps the angel's luxurious hair and robes.
Angel design begins with sketches that are revised over and over again to meet the exacting standards of the Collection. Gaylord Ho, Master Sculptor for the line, transforms the pre-sculpting sketch into a three-dimensional clay model. One of the world's greatest artisans, Gaylord instills a sense of motion into every angel, from the rich folds of flowing fabric to the intricate details of each feather in the sheltering wings. Like the initial sketch, it is reviewed and revised until the extremely high demands of the design team are met.
Once the sculpture is approved, Gaylord discusses with his mold-makers how best to reproduce his original sculpt. Special attention is given to ensure that the molds allow the figure to be easily removed. Elements like sashes, hands, and other details are often molded separately to decrease the likelihood of breakage when a figure is removed from the mold. Seraphim Classics figures have been crafted with a single mold and as many as nine molds depending upon the complexity of the design. Once molding decisions are made, the pieces that will be cast separately are cut from the clay figure. Thin layers of silicone are painted over the clay pieces to create a "mother mold." The silicone mother mold is peeled from the clay to create a perfect negative of the original sculpt. Since this process destroys the clay sculpture, the success of this phase is absolutely critical. A sample figure is cast from the mother mold and, if the sample meets the design team's expectations, a master mold is cast in the mother mold. Made from epoxy, the master mold is a positive image of the original sculpt. Generally two epoxies are cast so that there is a back-up master mold. One master mold is used to make production molds from which the Seraphim Classics angels are cast.
Resin, porcelain powder and marble dust are combined and poured into the production molds. In about 40 to 60 minutes, the hardened figure and any components are removed from the molds. Next, the figure is cleaned in a gentle soda wash to remove the oily film left from the molding process. After washing, the pieces are trimmed to eliminate any mold lines and inspected to ensure that they are faithful to the original sculpt. Those that pass inspection move to the next phase of the process, while those that do not are destroyed.
If the final design consists of component pieces, the next step is for each cast section to be carefully assembled by hand to create the complete figure. Liquid resin is used to affix the various elements and to ensure that seams where pieces are joined are invisible in the final figure.
Each figurine is then meticulously hand-painted using a special pastel palette. Talented and well-trained artists paint the features of each Seraphim Classics angel. The most talented painters paint the faces, and the best from that select group paint the eyes. It takes a sharp eye and a very steady hand to paint the delicate details. The painting process is completed when a mist of pink color is airbrushed on the angels' cheeks, tops of feet and backs of hands.
A gold understamp provides an assurance of authenticity on the base of each Seraphim Classics Angel. Printed with ink containing real gold, the understamp provides the name of the Collection, the name of the angel, the item number and copyright information. Since 1996, the understamp has also included a year of production mark: a harp for 1996, a dove for 1997, a heart for 1998, the number five entwined with a long-stemmed rose for 1999, a butterfly for the year 2000, a daisy for 2001, a candle for 2002, and a musical note for 2003. In 2004, the production symbol is the number 10 entwined with the initials SC in honor of the Collection's tenth anniversary year.
At each step of the production process, quality inspections are done before a figure moves to the next phase. At the packing table, a final inspection assures that every Seraphim Classics angel shipped is as perfect as possible. Each angel is then wrapped, packed and shipped to Roman for distribution to Seraphim Classics dealers, and ultimately to the Seraphim Classics Collectors.