In a message dated 10/6/01 7:25:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time, PrimaryE writes:
> What do the students use to carve?
Plastic knives, large nail, plastic spoon.
>Does the plaster get all over everything and is it healthy in the air?
The kids work on a flat soda can carton (ask the cafeteria) that catches all
the mess. Newspaper works well too. The kids just roll it up and throw it
away each class. Clean up was quick. Now, I have polyurethane trays from
surgery (clean ones) from a hospital OR. I even use them as printmaking
palettes for rolling out the ink!
Mixing makes plaster dust (why I wore a mask and latex gloves). I mixed it in
a bucket outside the room and sometimes on my counter in the room which I
lined with newspaper. I keep an air filter going all the time in my room, but
it didn't seem to be a problem anyway.
>Is this a huge job preparing?
You have to work fast so it doesn't set up. That's why I make it in small
batches. It takes me about 15 minutes for a class. Since I do not have a lot
of shelf space, I only do 2 classes at a time, so mixing isn't a problem. Had
my student aide help by holding the cups as I poured plaster in the cups
using a soup ladle. Then, he tapped each cup bottom on the counter
(important!!) to get trapped air out.
> Does the plaster break easily when carving...
I had only 2 breakages and mainly because the kids didn't listen to my
warning of "DO NOT MAKE THE AREAS TOO THIN! It must be as thick as your
finger (adult's.)" One did a snake (break!)- other did a human torso with
muscle ripples and got too narrow at the waist (OOPS, break) I tried to fix
them with a small skewer through the middle. and found that glue doesn't
stick because of the porosity.
Eileen, here's my method. I'm sure others have one this and can add to your
knowledge base. The kids liked to do it and the whole carving took about 2-3
periods. The plaster takes on warm tan look because of the vermiculite. The
texture looks like stone. The only thing I will try this year is to use pint
iced tea containers from the cafeteria. I think the cube shape will be an
advantage over the cylinder.