Monday, April 12, 2010

Plaster Progress

I feel I am finally making progress with my plaster work. Whew! I thought it would never come. I have learned how not to mix plaster, and finally, how to do it correctly. First make sure your plaster is not old and ruined like mine was! I am also using pottery plaster for my projects, which is necessary for clay work. You have to start with a small amount of water and slowly add the plaster to it until the plaster does not sink. Then mix gently for a few minutes. It will thicken on its own in about 15 minutes. I found it quite frustrating that the bag of plaster did not come with instructions printed on it. Hello? I had to call some douche bag from the plaster company and listen to him jabbering on for 15 minutes before getting the information I needed to start my plaster mixing. I have no patience... I know this.

I can now see why so many people have declined to teach me this casting technique. It's tricky! And involved. Thankfully, I have my superstar mentor now and I am getting the help I need.

I start out finding the largest surface on the pepper without undercuts. Then I have to block it off with clay and stabilize it on a table. It is good to put dimples into the clay block, so that the plaster will fit into it - like a key. Once the piece is ready to go, soap up any plaster that will be touching plaster, and put alcohol on the clay piece and also into the plaster mix. Paint a thin layer over the piece to get it started nicely. Continue slowly adding thin layers of plaster. Once the plaster begins to harden you can plop it on with your hands. You want to be finished before it heats up. Let it heat for about 10 minutes or so, and you can begin to peel off the clay blocking and shape the plaster with some tools if needed.

My peppers are full of undercuts and funny shapes, so I have to do this for several sections... about 4 or 5. Next I have to pour the molds and see how the casting turned out.

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