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Technical Methods Week 5

Plaster and concrete workshop London

It’s finally time to go and learn how to create 3D objects, I’m going on an intensive Casting in Plaster and concrete course at the London Sculpture workshop. I want to learn how to create 3D work, gain knowledge and understanding of plaster and concrete.

Above image mixing plaster and pigments


This course has been so beneficial I’ve learnt so much and it was good for me to be out of my comfort zone, experimenting with materials I’ve never used and learning

how to -

build moulds

Create 3D objects

add pigments,

use lots of different materials, some not available at University

I liked the finish of Jesmonite, how it absorbs colour and how you can dry fragments and re enter them into your work, it can also be finished to look like wood metal etc, it can be used to create large or small sculptures.

Above image dried Jesmonite inside Jesmonite Triangeles

Below image a black Jesomonite square with a hole in it

It was invented in the UK in 1984 by Peter Hawkins, who keeps the materials properties a secret, the only details I can find are it’s plaster and fibre glass based and on their website they say it’s

“Solvent free, Fire resistant, lightweight & impact resistant”

During the workshop I took one of my Jesmonite shapes out of the mould to early and half of it came away with the mould, this was a lesson in patience but it also taught me how to create objects with a derelict appearance which lends itself to my work.

The Mastercrete was my lest favourite, I find it dull, I’m not enamoured by the surface texture and I don’t feel it picked up the detail like the other materials. I do however like the smooth polished sides.

Above image Mastercrete

I got some really interesting results with plaster

I like the black and blue triangle with rust running through it, the rust was a surprise, I had made my mould out of steel, which rust overnight on the inside due to all the moisture from the plaster, the rust then became imbedded in the plaster.

Above image plaster triangle with pigment and rust


The plaster is surprisingly light when it’s 100% dry but I also feel it’s rather fragile.

My favourite is the plain fibrecem triangle with steel embedded into it and a hole in the back. It is constantly evolving as the steel has started to rust and so will be forever changing. Its more robust then plaster and is smooth and cold to the touch.

Above image Fibrecem triangel with steel inside


I would like to create a large scale version of this.

I’ve made an A4 mould out of etched rusty steel, I filled this with plaster, when dry my etched design was embedded in the plaster,


Above image plaster tower, with rust etched into it


I want to up scale it. with no colour apart from the rust and possibly a little black from by inking the etching plate.

Research

After the course I looked at Rachel Whiteread’s work. .

I looked at her work because she creates installations out of plaster, inspired by buildings, whilst researching her work I saw this piece untitled (stairs) made of Jesmonite, which was one of my favourite materials during the concrete and plaster workshop.

Above image Rachel Whiteread's Untitiled Stairs (image off Tate.org)


I think this piece has similarities to the Graphic art works of Escher, both artists work have stairs going in all directions that ultimately lead nowhere.


I have often used Escher’s work to describe the uneasy sensation of navigating the world as a partially sighted person, not always knowing where I’m going or what are steps or a flat surface until I’m walking on it.


This image Escher's Penrose staircase seen at mcescher.com

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