Taking a Plaster Mold

As a continuation from my previous blog post “Making an Armature”, this post is going to be about taking a mold of the torso sculpted on that armature. Below (Fig 1) is a picture of the clay body.


(Fig 1)

The first step in this process was to map out how the sculpture is going to be parted, a sketch can be seen in fig 2.

18618327_10153962743567609_1893934102_o                                                                            (Fig 2)

It was decided that the sculpture would be separated in six parts, eliminating as many undercuts as possible. Each area was separated using small metal pieces, which acted as a support when the plaster was poured, as can be seen in fig 3. Three layers of plaster should be applied to each section, prior to the third layer a wire structure was inserted for durability.


                                                                         (Fig 3)

After all the body was plastered, the demolding process took place two – three hours after. Once this was done, the mold was cleaned with a sponge and water to get rid of any residue, see fig 4 & 5. The mold then needs to be reassembled and the air pockets and seam lines should be smoothed out using clay, see fig 6.


(Fig 4)18641586_10153962596572609_1356020544_o

(Fig 5)


(Fig 6)

The mold was tied together using metal wire. The lower back will be attached at a later stage so as to apply the materials manually. This whole process took around 10 hours in general and another blog will follow showing the final result.


Making an Armature

There are many ways of making an armature, the method I chose was to carve it out of Styrofoam. The piece I was working on was a torso of approximately 70cm/ 30cm. The first step in this process was to map out the size and form of the torso on a large piece of paper, as can be seen in Fig 1.

18618144_10153962596652609_1625689327_o                                                                           (Fig 1)

The next step was to trace the outline onto the piece of Styrofoam so as to have a reference when carving, see Fig 2. Since the drawing was done to show the exact size of the torso, the Styrofoam armature should be around one or two inches smaller, so as to leave space for a plaster layer and clay, see Fig 3. 18641234_10153962596687609_1473020160_o

                                                                         (Fig 2)


(Fig 3)

The next step was to embed a pole through the body and secure it to a base. The base should be quite thick so as to reduce movement while sculpting and remain sturdy. there should also be some form of plate just beneath the Styrofoam body so it does not slip down. This is something that I forgot to do myself and resulted in the metal rod piercing through my sculpture body at a later stage. After this was complete, i proceeded to cut up sac the material in squares, enough to cover the whole body. These material squares were then doused in plaster and neatly pasted all over your styrofoam body and left to dry. This can be seen in fig 4.


(Fig 4)

The last step was to apply three coats of varnish to the structure so as to prevent the clay from drying out prematurely. The end result can be seen in fig 4, ready for clay application!


Attempting to create an uncanny effect


When I sculpt, time stops and its just me the clay. During this process all I can think about is the clay residue on my hands and the image that I want to achieve.
The portrait sculpture itself is not meant to be a perfect, realistic depiction of a person, but instead quite the opposite. The eyes are not symmetrical and are quite small, the nose is very large in comparison its long face and it possesses no ears. This sculpture is gender-less.

This sculpture is still in its  early stages, the next step will be to fire and glaze it.

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