plaster surgery

Lately I’ve started casting torsos to make a series of sculptures about women’s bodies and the things that happen in and around them. This is gonna keep me busy for the next couple of years, I think.

Just before my last open studio, I sent a message to my mailing list saying that I was looking for more models. I got a whole bunch of replies. Some were just a little curious. Others were very keen to get started As Soon As Possible. I am so grateful to all of these ladies for their courage, their questions, their patience, their doubts, and their straight-up panic attacks.

I’ve not had a single casting session yet that has gone smoothly, and that’s okay. I’m learning so much!

This week, for instance, I was halfway through plastering someone’s back when she told me she needed to leave in an hour. I set a timer, and I was not even halfway done with her front when it went off (half an hour later).  D’oh! I stopped adding new plaster, and got out a hair dryer to make sure what I’d already done was as dry as possible before I tried to take it off her.

While she got dressed, I propped up the two halves with bubble wrap so that they wouldn’t collapse.  I wasn’t too worried about the back. I’d done that first, and it was nice and thick. The front was thin, though, and stopped just above her belly button.

I worried about it all through the next day while I rested my knees. I hurt them a few months ago, dancing with abandon, and now they complain about things like standing for ninety minutes.

Today I went back to the studio and was relieved to find the two halves dry and holding their shapes nicely. They went back together easily too. She wore a bra during the casting, and the straps made it easy to line up the shoulders:

IMG_0777

Today was all about matching up the edges, attaching the two halves, and reinforcing some of the edges. Next time, I’ll have to start extrapolating her lower belly from the parts I’ve already got. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do it. Probably it’ll involve more bubble wrap, and maybe polyester stuffing and an old t-shirt.

It doesn’t have to look exactly like her. It just needs to look plausibly human. I’m pretty sure I’m up to the challenge.

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