My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Soft soap and horsehair…

For those interested in technicalities, I will continue the saga of making a cast of the torso.

From the plaster waste mould I can take a plaster cast.  To prevent the two plasters binding together, the mould is coated with soft soap. Dish washing liquid is today's equivalent of the soft soap used for centuries by sculptors and washer women alike.  Likewise, strands of glass fibre can be substituted for Hessian and horsehair.  

Plaster can be mixed thin enough to pour into a mould and then swilled around until it sets.  By this means the thickness of the cast is gradually built up.  However, in my experiments with plaster polymers, I have found that a thicker mix and a slower setting time are desirable.  Hence, I brush the mixture into the mould and after a couple of coats add the fibreglass reinforcing.  (Sorry to say I’m out of the pleasanter Hessian and horsehair.)  This is the stage I was at when I took today’s picture.  Once the brush coats have set, I can trowel up to the final thickness of the cast. 

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