I was unable to go to Seal Beach with the class to complete the plaster casting, so instead I tried two alternative methods to complete the assignment.
The first version was done by taking fresh clay, flattening it out into two disks big enough to cover my hand and wrist, then I placed my hand on one disk and pressed the second disk over my hand. I pressed the second disk of clay firmly upon my hand to make detailed imprints of my fingers against the inside of the clay, then i sealed the edge of the clay to bring both layers of clay to meet. Afterward, I carefully removed my hand and placed a crumpled paper towel inside to keep the mold from collapsing. I allowed this to dry for an hour or so before placing the mold upright in a rectangular cardboard box, mixing the Plaster of Paris, and pouring it into the mold. At first, plaster poured out of the bottom of the mold because I hadn’t sealed the edges enough, so I went back and pressed the edges more firmly together, filled the mold, then allowed the plaster to set for two hours before taking it out of the clay mold. Removing the clay was easy; all I had to do was peel it off the top and bottom of the plaster cast. The edges are messy, but there is good detailing of the fingernails and bottom half of the fingers on this mold. Clean-up was also easy, as the clay just peeled right off and revealed clean, white plaster.
On the other hand, the second version was very messy. I did the same process that was required for the beach plaster casting, but in garden soil. The process of creating the mold and pouring into it remained the same as the beach process, but the only difference is that it is impossible to get all off, or even most of, the soil off of the plaster casting after removal. Upon first cleaning, hardly any of the soil came off. After 24 hours I washed the casting and it remains extremely dirty with soil, but the fingers and hand are distinguishable. Unfortunately, there is no fine detail shown in this process.
Overall, this was a fun experience. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and experimenting. I have never done this before and I’m glad I was prompted to in this class. I am thinking of making more of these with friends or family in the future and possibly engraving them.