Today I attended a CSAD body casting workshop at the Howard Gardens campus held by workshop technician Dallas. I was a little apprehensive as I’ve never tried anything like this before. Though I have worked with clay in the past, specifically in my foundation year I have never worked with plaster.
We began the session by talking about the Health and Safety aspects of working with plaster and body casting. We then discussed the different ways of creating a cast which included using modroc, sellotape and alginate. We experimented firstly with alginate which is used by dentists to make impressions of the teeth and mouth. We mixed the alginate half and half with water, we casted our fingers in the alginate, after a couple of minutes the alginate hardens into a rubber like consistency. Once the alginate gets to this state we removed our fingers and made some plaster. Once the plaster was combined with water, we poured the mixture into the moulds.
The plaster gets hot as in hardens, when it has cooled it is ready to be removed from the alginate mould.
We then got shown how to cast with Modroc. Dallas casted a hand of one of the girls who also attended the workshop. He layered small pieces of Modroc which he wetted and massaged onto the hand to pick up all the small details. Once the layers were thick enough, Dallas added long stripes which he rolled up to create a supporting structure on the cast to make sure it stayed in the same position.
Unfortunately I did not get to take pictures of the final cast of the hand in plaster.
Once the workshop was over, Dallas gave us each a roll of Modroc to use in our own time and also gave me a small bag of Alginate. I really enjoyed this workshop and am looking forward to using this new skill in the future! I am also considering the idea of combining this with my specialism of textiles.
Today I attended a book binding workshop at Howard Gardens campus, the session was run by Tom Martin. He began the session by showing us examples of books he had made, they ranged in size and style, using different papers inside the book and also different book covers. He then talked us through the tools which he uses and which we would be using in the session.
We began making our books by cutting cartridge paper to the right size, measurements had to be precise and all sheets had to be equal. We cut 12 rectangular pieces which we then folded in half, these folded sheets were then paired. We then pierced holes in each sheet four times, each hole was spaced out evenly down the fold of the paper.
The next stage was to sew all the paper sections together. I struggled with this as you had to do it in a certain way. It was quite fiddly to hold the book whilst sewing all the sections together. However, after a while, I got the hang of it and finished this stage! We then used PVA glue and stuck scrim fabric to strengthen the spine.
The next thing we had to do was to create the book cover, we did this by cutting mount board, 3 sections – front, back and a thinner piece for the spine of the book. We stuck these down onto our chosen cover fabric, I chose a black sketchbook style fabric. We then glued the cover to the paper and our books were finished!