Preview to plaster casting

Before I start writing this blog, I must say that I did look on google to find other artists who have done plaster casting, but all I came up with was websites that gave instructions on how to make plaster casts for broken limbs, which I did not think was in the true spirit of what this project was about. Maybe I worded my question wrongly on google, if that is Theo case I would be grateful to. Be pointed in. The right direction, regarding people who have done plaster casting.

Having said all that, my brain seems to have finally begun to work in that David Burnham Smith, of whom I am a great fan does brilliant work in ceramics producing his one off pieces from start to finish. The work he does is very varied doing owls, dodos, cats, and mice to name just a few. The decoration is so detailed that he never decorates both sides of a piece the same because he becomes bored. I have included a sample of his work in my sketch book.

On the day of the projectkim began by showing us the clay in which we were to impress the pieces we wished to take a cast of. She also explained that a frame was needed in the clay to contain the liquid plaster. This could be as simple as an empty margarine carton with the bottom cut out. The object to be replicated is pushed firmly into the clay, then removed. You are then left with an impression of the item to be replicated.

When mixing the plaster, the water needs to be as cold as possible so that the plaster doesn’t set too quickly.

A measure of water is put into a bowl and the plaster of Paris is sprinkled over it a little at a time, after the plaster you have sprinkled over the water has sunk to the bottom, more plaster is added in stages until the water cannot absorb any more.

With your hand, you then mix it thoroughly until it is the consistency of double cream.This is then poured on to the clay and left to set, and completely dry out. If you try to Take it off too soon the plaster would crack. Kim did mention that during the setting process the plaster tends to get very hot, which I found very interesting.

There was not time for me to do a cast that as there was not enough space. I did try one a few days later which Was not one of my best efforts.

I did not have anything  really to take a cast of so I took some, what I can only describe as very small punching tools, and used them. I tried to arrange them imaginatively as possible, but as I have said, I was less than happy with the result.

Next time I do this I will push the object much deeper into the clay which would make it stand out much better on the finished cast, and I would give greater thought to the whole thing.

My mantra for the whole of this course is I can only improve, onwards and upwards as they say.



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