Part 3, Assignment 3, casting plaster in a strong plastic envelope

Casting into a plastic bag had not been very successful.  Stronger material was clearly required, so this attempt was made with a plastic mailing envelope, which is thick and strong.   The plaster was coloured with a little cerulean blue acrylic paint.

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I tied the bag in various directions to make interesting surface patterns and allowed it to dry for about 15 minutes.  It was much easier to remove the plastic envelope from the plaster; the appearance was smoother altogether, and defined marks appeared where the plastic had creased.

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Some tiny pieces were left behind in thin fissures; they were difficult to remove, even with a scalpel.

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The piece was sanded with both paper and an emery board.  The emery board gives greater control within the valleys of plaster.  The sanding process was easy; the plaster got smoother without shedding lumps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although more successful, the overall result is underwhelming both in appearance and reasoning.  It isn’t as round as I wanted, in fact the shape was out of control, despite the string wrapped around the bag.  For me, this doesn’t relate to textiles at all, not now anyway.  If this was a general Mixed Media Art course I would have explored this further.  For example, I think a bag with corners doesn’t work, and even if the plaster was wrapped in a circle of plastic like a Christmas pudding, there would still be creases around the top.  It would be interesting to sew suitable bags to the shape you want.   Maybe that’s where textile techniques come in, by learning how to create a container which makes the exact inner surface you want to cast from?

This needed embellishment.   I chose to try attaching French Knots somehow, because I guessed perhaps the uneven texture and colour of my stitches might hide any imperfections in the gluing process.

It was interesting to work out a way of attaching French knots; they were sewn onto some vintage nylon net curtain fabric (inherited from my mother).  I tried sewing tiny groups and attaching them to the plaster by adding fabric glue with a cocktail stick, and using the stick to poke them into the fissures.  It worked well.  I tried to use the knots to camouflage the plastic I couldn’t remove and, although they stuck, it was not possible to totally disguise the plastic.   As of posting this on the blog, I haven’t got any further with this sample.  The next post  will describe the casting of eggs and I used this technique to add French knots to one of those; I wanted to know if a flat surface works as well.

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French Knots sewn onto vintage nylon lace curtain fabric.
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Cutting out individual pieces of embroidery to attach to plaster
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French Knots glued on and poked into place with a cocktail stick.  tiny pieces of trapped plastic are visible to the right.

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