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Three years ago I participated in my first 10x10Brunswick Art Show, and I am currently getting work ready for this fall's event. The show is a great fundraiser for the Arts Are Elementary Program that benefits the students in the Brunswick elementary schools. All of the artwork is presented in black metal 10x10 inch frames, and I decided early on that I could create plaster reliefs that would be compatible with this format.
The first step I take is to amass as many different objects as I can find that would create interesting textures or marks when pressed into clay. Then I roll out a test slab of clay and experiment with the objects. When I come up with an idea I like, I roll out a half inch thick slab of clay that is just a bit bigger than the final size of the finished relief, and press my design into the surface (keeping in mind that the image will reverse). I avoid making any marks that would create undercuts so the clay can be easily removed from the poured and hardened casting plaster. After cutting the slab to final size, I place it on a board covered with plastic wrap (to keep the clay from sticking) and enclose it with framing boards.
Once the slab is framed, I mix a batch of casting plaster (making sure to tap out all air bubbles) and pour it into the frame to a depth of about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch. After the plaster hardens, I remove the framing boards and gently peel the clay away from the plaster cast. If done carefully, the clay slab can be used for several casts. I then remove the clay residue form the plaster relief by it rinsing under water and brushing it with a soft bristled brush. After the piece has dried, I seal it with an acrylic paint - usually either a graphite gray or titanium white mixed with titan buff. (Plain gesso is another option.) The piece is then ready to be mounted in foamcore and framed. A relief for a good cause.
* Additional relief images can be viewed in the Sculpture section of this website.
4/2/2018 09:48:46 am
The framing boards are melamine....clay and plaster do not stick to surface and they are easy to clean!
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Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.