There was a steep learning curve with this project, with plenty of failed attempts at casting – some through stupidity on my part, others through not being fully aware of how the materials react:
- if you happen to be stupid enough to pour hot geflex onto wax, funnily enough it will cause the wax to melt!
- silicone rubber needs a thixotropic thickener or it will just run off the item to be moulded, but it is brilliant stuff when you have the thickener.
- it is really quite difficult to get your last two fingers out of an alignate mould if you curve them backwards!
- for plaster only moulds, there can be no hint of an undercut and even without any, plaster moulding in plaster (in my experience) is a disaster!
Pretty much everything was worked on at the same time as it took so long to do some of these pieces (especially with multiple failed attempts along the way!).
The first piece to be finished was the result of an experiment with slip casting and casting internal spaces – yes, I did inadvertently follow some of the course notes in the end!
I started out by creating a two piece mould of a polystyrene ball in plaster:
I then poured in casting slip and rotated the mould until it has all solidified, then left it to dry for a few days (it broke opening it earlier) before opening the mould and drying fully. As it was a solid mould, the shape had no easy way of contracting as it dried, this resulted in a dimple in the shape which made it look as if it had sunk into something. I thought this could work with a different colour slip poured onto a surface and several balls sitting in it. So I continued casting balls as I was doing other things and I ended up with 5 hollow balls.
As I was creating moulds out of plaster for other work, I was often left with some plaster I didn’t need, so I started to pour this plaster into various plastic boxes with the thought that I could use them for something at a later date. Thinking about how to lay out the balls into a sculpture, these came in handy.
Some initial ideas for layout:
The heights didn’t work on this, so I stacked two different plaster moulds and arranged the balls on this. The sculpture flowed in one direction, so I arranged the base on more plaster moulds to tilt it forwards so the slip would flow down through it. Layout:
I then diluted some slip (possibly too much), crossed my fingers and poured it over the top ball to flow down over the sculpture:
I had envisaged a thicker layer of the other slip and would have liked to have it crack in the way that Adrián Villar Rojas work does (maybe I should have combined it with earth?). However, the initial lack of cracking was actually due to it taking a very long time to dry out. When it eventually had, the slip dried in a sheet which sometime cracked and sometimes pealed up from the surface in a sheet (especially where the surface was non-porous on the base). Where it pealed up from the surface, I broke it into cracked pieces by pressing it back down again.
The finished piece:
Clay, plaster, wood