WEEK 2 – ACTIVITY – PLASTER CASTING

In Art 110, our week 2 activity was to make two plaster castings of our hands and/or feet. My friend Kim and I carpooled to Seal Beach, where we joined our professor and a few other classmates. We searched for the perfect area of sand where it wasn’t too dry or too wet, and started our activity right away.

As we were taking out our materials from our buckets, we realized that we had forgotten a shovel to dig our holes. We looked around and asked a group of girls to borrow their cement trowel since that’s all they had. Although it wasn’t a shovel, it worked perfectly. Once we each finished digging two holes deep enough, we had to decide what we wanted to mold. Kim and I decided it would be easier to take our hands out of the sand without it collapsing. We started burying each hand, in hopes that the results of the hands would be able to high five each other. After burying my left hand, I had to pull it out carefully without ruining the mold. It was difficult to pull out my hand because I put it in straight down. When I was finally able to pull it out, I proceeded to my right hand. I learned my lesson, so I put my right hand in at an angle. It was a lot easier to pull it out when I was finished.

After creating our hand molds, we moved on to making the plaster. The directions for mixing the plaster was to use two parts plaster to one part water. We poured one of the two plaster mixes into our bucket and used the empty carton to fill with water. We mistakenly filled up the carton all the way instead of half way, making the ratio 1:1 instead of 2:1. Luckily we still had Kim’s plaster carton to correct it to the right ratio. We stirred vigorously to eliminate all the clumps and quickly poured the mixture into the holes before the mixture hardened. Now we had to wait for at least 30 minutes for it to completely dry.

While waiting, we sat on the shore admiring the beautiful view. As we were watching the waves, we started to notice that the waves were getting bigger and stronger. The water was getting really close to where we had made our castings, but we didn’t have much of a choice to relocate since our plaster wasn’t completely dry in the sand. After 20 minutes of waiting for our art to dry, one wave after another kept crashing into our area, completely submerging our castings into the sand. We had to quickly move all of our belongings to avoid damage to our electronics. After moving our things, we hurried to find our castings completely buried in the wet sand. We had to make the decision of digging out our castings early, even if there was a chance that it hadn’t fully dried. We didn’t want to take the chance of having our art destroyed by more water.

A lot hard work, fixing mistakes, and most importantly, fun went into this project! And our hand castings turned out a lot better than we had expected. We were pleasantly surprised that the waves didn’t affect our castings at all. We used the brush to take off the excess sand and marveled at the detailing of our castings. We were able to see creases and even fingernails. Overall, this activity was a great experience because I don’t think I would have ever thought of this if it wasn’t for this class!

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