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plaster casting


From: Linda Erling-Baker (beartsmart_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Sep 06 2001 - 17:57:00 PDT


I remember doing something similar in college as well. We did a clay
self-portrait (blindfolded). First built up a basic head and neck shape
on a wooden armature, then while blindfolded touched our faces and added
clay to the portrait.
It was interesting because everyone's turned out to be of a caricature
of the artist!

Anyway, after these were completed, we used copper strips (can't
remember the name of the material) to divide into 2 sections. Then we
built up plaster first applying it with a brush to pick up any details.
I think the final mold was a
couple of inches. After it was dry, we separated the 2 sections and the
clay removed quite easily since it was still damp.

We then coated the inside of the mold with tincture of green soap
(purchased from any pharmacy at the time), let it dry and built up
layers of plaster inside the mold (which was held together with rubber
bands too) to probably an inch
thick. We reinforced it with a layer of burlap and covered the burlap
with more plaster. Can't remember how thick the final piece was but I am
guessing 3" maybe?? Not sure but we may have stuffed it with more burlap
and sealed the end
with plaster to make it more solid.

After that completely dried, we took a hammer and wide chisel - hammered
gently into the mold - careful not to go down too far and damage the
positive portrait. As the chisel got close to the layer of green soap
between the mold and the
portrait, the mold fell off in chunks, leaving the portrait undamaged.
We did some sanding after the entire mold was removed.

Linda wrote:

> Hello--
> I've officially jumped back into the fray--first day of classes and
I'm exhausted! (But also incredibly psyched...)
> I've got some questions....
> When I was in college, we made life-size heads/busts out of clay.