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July 1st, 2014 by

Part 3 of 6: Life Casting

This the 3rd post of a 6 part series discussing the management and fabrication of human figures.  This month we’ll be discussing the process of life casting and its place in creating a figure.  We tend to be a little sloppy when we use the term life cast, often using it as a substitute for “figure.”  Some figures are completely assembled from life casts but most are a combination of sculpted and life cast pieces and some are totally sculpted with no life cast components at all.

Life Cast Figure - National Museum of the Marine CorpsThe term “life cast” refers to the process of making a mold of a body part from a live model.  Life casting is preferable to sculpting whenever a suitable model is available.  Life casting is an exact reproduction.  The level of detail and scientific accuracy life casting produces is impossible to completely achieve by sculpting.  The most common use of life casting is for hands and heads. If the figure being produced is of a young child, member of a historical ethnic group, or a historical person the head will most likely need to be sculpted instead of life cast. (more…)


April 24th, 2014 by

This is the 2nd post of a 6 part series discussing the management and fabrication of human figures.  Last month we discussed decisions that need to be made during design and the effects those decisions have on durability, budget, references required, and the aesthetics of the final figure. This month we’ll be discussing what to expect and what decisions will need to be made during the initial phase of fabrication. (more…)


March 20th, 2014 by

The purpose of this guide is to inform and educate clients managing a new exhibit project that includes human figures.  The fabrication of lifecast figures requires significantly more decisions and approvals than a typical component we fabricate.  Should the figure be full color or monochromatic?  Will the clothing be natural or hard coated?  Will the figure be lifecast or sculpted? What are the crucial approval points?  Over the next several months I’ll be posting additional information regarding starting fabrication, figure fabrication, assembly, and paint/theming. (more…)


November 13th, 2013 by
Posted in Taylor Thoughts

Management Style of President Lincoln I watched the movie Lincoln last night. The portrayal of President Lincoln was very appealing, an interesting blend of folksy humor, intelligence, and cunning. Two scenes in the movie really resonated with me as a manager. They both illustrated the uncertainty that leaders (managers) often deal with no matter how many “best management practice” books are read. (more…)


June 25th, 2012 by
Posted in Taylor Thoughts

Lately, the management team at Taylor Studios has had some lively discussions on how to maximize the value of the exhibits we produce.    The crux of the challenge centers around recognizing naturally occurring department and company biases that that can result in decisions, made with good intentions, that may be counter to maximizing value delivered.  For example:

Department Bias – Internal departments (Exhibit Design, Project Management, and Fabrication) have built in biases that must be acknowledged and managed to best serve the client.  For example, an exhibit designer may have a bias to create original designs for every component when using selected stock component designs would allow the project budget to do more.  A project manager may have a bias to achieve a material budget on a purchased component at the expense of long term reliability.  A Production Manager may have a bias for maximizing fabrication efficiency to such a degree that the uniqueness of each design is compromised.

Company Bias – Taylor Studios is proud of its experience and reputation for creating scientifically accurate natural history exhibits.  We believe paying attention to the minutia is important.  How does that bias affect our approach to designing and fabricating a children’s play area within an exhibit?  Do we automatically assume the client requires the level of scientific accuracy we’re proud to deliver?  Do we have a culture that thinks whimsical is bad?  Do we explain the affect on budget if the exhibit is looser and more whimsical?

Fortunately, our Taylor Studio’s Mission Statement, which is referenced often, has a lot to say about how we will manage these biases going forward.  Let me know what your experiences with department and company biases have been.

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