Behind a Plaster Pour

Since I talk about my plaster work for my thesis project so often on this platform, I figured I would show a little “behind the scenes” action of some of my process. I’ve been using this method to create pieces since last spring, but I’ve adjusted it a bit to experiment with new materials.

The earliest version of my plaster pour required four-way stretch fabric, an embroidery hoop, and a cardboard box filled with Styrofoam spheres stuck on top of wooden dowels. I would cover the embroidery hoop with the fabric, leaving a lot of excess in the middle, and lay the hoop over the cardboard box. I would then pour plaster into the fabric, and let it dry. Once dry, I would release the plaster from the fabric – the resulting piece had interesting texture from the fabric, and soft folds and curves from the weight of the plaster pushed against the Styrofoam spheres. The contrast of hard and soft, in both material, form, and method, was most interesting to me.

I carried this technique over into my work with clear plastic cylinders, because I thought the circular embroidery hoop was a natural complement to the cylindrical shape. Instead of using the spheres suspended on dowels, I began to stack smaller plastic cylinders inside of larger ones, then pour plaster into the hoop/fabric contraption over them. Once I released the plaster, the resulting form could be placed back over the cylinders: it looked like it was floating in space because of the transparency of the plastic.

Now, I have moved on to using different weights of plastic sheet instead of fabric in the embroidery hoop, as well as starting off my pours in plastic cylinders, releasing them once dry, then resting the finished pieces inside of glass cylinders of the same sizes. This allows me to get a more polished look without risking the plaster pieces getting stuck inside of the glass during the pour – it is a lot easier to manipulate plastic than glass!

I’ve included some pictures of the process, but not the finished product: you’ll have to come to my thesis exhibition in May to see those.

Featured Image: Jill Sibio, 2018

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