What is it made from? 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, 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 getting. This information is only going to be published exclusively on my blog.
I have poured my plaster mix over hundreds of plasticine shapes, into a mould in a square shape measuring about 70×70 cm, to be honest it was an old unused stretched canvas. I isolated it before pouring and let it set overnight. When I returned next day, I struggled to lift it up to my desk. No, it wasn’t stuck in the frame just very heavy. I guess it was at least 20kg. 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 see-through effect. See the image on top, where some holes have been produced, some plasticine is still showing. The image on the right is showing the 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.
Organic feeling of the piece and something that looked like it could have been shaped by the water were some of my criteria. I continued on to sculpt the larger organic looking holes and digging into them 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 liked 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 with some 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 fullfilled what I was aiming for and the final shape was born!
Colour next. As far as I was concerned, I wasn’t entirely happy with the sculpture yet. I would sit at home with my laptop, download all images from my camera, which I take each day and I would stare at them.”Think, think, think!” Next day in my studio, I made a decision 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 colour drips and splashes. The sculpture was finished!