What is it made of: Outdoor plaster, oil paint, and in the making process I used also plasticine.
First of all I decided to go for outdoor plaster, because previous works I produced, in the same medium seemed to work well for me, and sculpting out of the outdoor plaster was enjoyable. It was strong and wasn’t chipping and it allowed me a certain kind of freedom of decision. Taking a step back, another reason why I wanted a strongest plaster, for it to last long time and make my life easier in transport, but a disadvantage of the denser plaster is, it is very heavy, which I realized in the process. As to when I used Alpha Plaster (Fine Casting Plaster), that left a whiter surface colour, however it was significantly more brittle.
I’ve made five other similar but much smaller plaster sculptures previously (http://www.silviakrupinska.com/portfolio.html) I’ve given this series name: From the Bottom of the Sea.
How is it made: I hesitated about revealing this however, I think sharing processes and techniques is OK, and it gives a deeper insight into my thinking and where I’m trying to get. This information is only going to be published here exclusively on my blog.
I have poured my plaster mix over hundreds of shapes of plasticine, into a mould in a square shape of dimensions of about 70×70 cm, to be honest it was an old unused stretched canvas with frame. I isolated it before pouring and let it set over night. When I returned next day, I struggled to lift it up to my desk. No it wasn’t stuck to the frame, just very heavy . I predict it was at least 24kg. Pheeew. Somehow, I managed to lift it from the floor of my studio to my large desk, where I continued working.
There were a few different stages in making, and the next one was trying to dig out all the shapes from the set plaster, achieving the gappy and see-through effect. See the image on top, where some holes have been produced, some plasticine is still showing. Image on the right is showing reverse side of the piece.
I continued to excavate till all the plasticine was out.
After taking a few steps back, looking at the shape and the texture, I needed to make it look neater and shape it so it felt right. I used a power tool to sand down the circles, and I made a decision to cut off the edges with a hand saw, and round it all up into a circle. See the both sides on the photographs with my sculpture rounded. Which one do you like better?
I liked image on less busy one better. It worked more in tune, what I wanted to achieve and it wasn’t as tight as the other side of the sculpture. Organic feeling of the piece and something that looked like it could have been shaped by the nature, water were some of my criteria. I went on to shape the larger organic looking holes and digging in to multiply the number of them. It was a long process and a lot of hard work. The plaster at that point was already stone hard, and all my tools are looking over-used.
All about the shape:
Yes, back to the shapes. In the past I like to use as a ‘holding’ shape of a piece circle or square. As I looked at the unfinished sculpture, it being a circle still didn’t work for me, because it felt too real, tight and not natural for what I imagined could have come from the bottom of my imaginary sea. With a little hesitation, whether I’m going to break it in half, or ruin it completely, I made a drastic decision to shape it with a chisel like tool and a saw. To make it less regular, broken edges, as they have been hitting rocks and sea bottom for some time. Despite it being probably most exciting moment after lifting it from the mould, gosh it was scary too. But aside all that drama, it quite satisfied what I was aiming for and the final shape was born!
I couldn’t put my finger on it, I wasn’t entirely happy with the sculpture yet…What I do, after a day in my studio, I would sit at home with my laptop, download all shots from my camera, which I take each day(works in progress) and I would stare on to the artwork.’ Think, think, think!’ Next day in my studio, decision was made to go for it, and make a painting of what I felt like it could have been some sort of old floating plants, either attached to my artwork, or flowing near it in the water. There, was the sea-weedy colour overtaking the surface of my sculpture, and drops would suggest the direction, where the water drips and splashes. And the sculpture is finished! : )