Plaster Workshop

As part of our field, we looked at figures cast in plaster, either to produce a mold or as a piece within itself. The part of the figure, or human form that  I chose to cast was a hand. We were given the choice of either sewing our limbs out of a materiel like canvas, that would easily contain the plaster without any major leaking, or to simply bring in something that would be equally as plaster tight; e.i, I brought in a rubber glove. In hindsight, had I more time between field and subject, I might have preferred to of had a go at sewing myself something to cast, but unfortunately time was not on my side and the rubber glove would have to do.
In the workshop, we were put into small groups of two, or in my case three, and shown the correct ratios of plaster to water and also given safety instructions on how to deal with the hazards of working with the plaster in it’s fine power form (which can be very dangerous if it is breathed in); wearing masks and using the extractor fan in the plaster studio space. The plaster then needed mixing and sifting through to make sure that there were no umps or excess air trapped in the mix, as this would cause weaknesses in the structure of the cast and possible breaks further along in the process. Having never worked much with plaster before, I was completely unaware if the health risks and, as I love the idea of creating molds and casts for future 3D illustration pieces, am glad that I’ve now gotten a much grater knowledge of how to mix and deal with my plaster.
The plaster, once poured into the mold took a little over 15 minutes to be completely set, so in this time I first quickly arranged it into the position that I wanted it to hold when set, held it there until it could support itself with the aid of a few weights, and left it for the remainder of the time to quickly go grab a coffee.

Once it was fully set (I gave it extra time as I was worried about breaking it and also wanted to take it back to my studio where I had better tools to cut off the rubber), I cut off the rubber glove using a scalpel, in order to get it off as smoothly as possible.
Unfortunately, I lost it on the very last finger of my hand and it broke off as I was tgrying to pry off the very last bit of rubber. While this was annoying, I actually quite like how it looks in the final product; the hand itself came out quite well, though the indentations on the inside of the glove are visible, and I feel like the detected finger gives it a sense of movement and adds to the overall final look of the hand. If not for the missing finger, I think my hand would look quite uninteresting like a rubber glove (another reason as to why I’d use a sewn mold next time), but the broken finger and how it can be moved and positioned in relation to the rest of the hand, creates a conversation within the piece that I don’t feel it would have if fully intact.
Overall I am really happy with the out come of my 3D hand plaster cast and would love to take the skills into my illustrative work next term, in order to further explore the ways that it can be applied to create form and figure.


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