Wk 1 – Art Experience – Plaster Casting

For this weeks art activity, we were required to purchase plaster of Paris, a metal shovel, and a small bucket. ~ $1o or so later, we headed to Seal Beach, a personal favorite of mine, to cast plaster forms of our hands and feet in the sand.

The process was straightforward enough. After arriving at the beach, my girlfriend Amanda and I decided that the best way to complete the task at hand was to dig a hole with the metal shovel, no more than a cubic foot, and then to collect some ocean water in the bucket.

Next, we tried to make a shape with our hands that could easily be buried and then removed from the sand, without destroying the mold we had just made of our hands. This took a few tries. Eventually, we discovered that the easiest gestures to make involved straight fingers, while other gestures involving fists and protruding fingers were more of a challenge to extract from the sand.

We next took the ocean water and mixed in almost all of our Plaster of Paris (we eventually mixed the whole container), until it seemed to be thick enough to set. We carefully poured the plaster into the molds we created. Amanda created a mold of her hand in the shape of a peace sign, I created the shape of the shaka symbol, and I also created a test mold of a straight hand. Pictures of the results are shown below.

dsc00614Pictured from left to right: peace sign, shaka, and test casting.

The plaster was a bit too thick to completely fill in the peace sign, furthest to the left. Perhaps pouring the mixture a little sooner after introducing the two reactants together would produce better results.

The middle casting was the result of my shaka attempt. The gesture was difficult to remove from the sand but with a bit of finesse and some tenderness it was doable.

Lastly, the casting furthest to the right was the test casting that we used to gauge if our main castings were done yet. Because we poured this casting the last the plaster barely penetrated into our mold, yet it still served its purpose.

If I were to attempt this again, I would choose a simpler hand gesture and bring tools to precisely and quickly mix my plaster. If desired, the sand could also be removed to create a more human-esque appearance. I could also improve surface quality by finding finer sand.

That being said, I am completely satisfied with the result of my castings and I am proudly displaying them on my front porch.

dsc00620I labor in the heat to showcase my creations. The blazing sun is unforgiving.
Picture credit: Amanda Jensen

All in all, a success. I look forward to more art activities.


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