Casting the Nude Female Torso | Page 1
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For this torso casting we are using cheesecloth and plaster for the shell mold. Of course you may use the more traditional plaster bandages method if that’s your preference. If so, you will need about six or seven plaster bandages rolls six inches wide.
The cheesecloth and dental plaster method championed by the late sculptor and teacher, Dave Parvin has certain advantages over plaster bandages though. His method is faster to apply and there is less of a chance of bulges due to air pockets which weakens and deforms the appearance of the final torso casting.
Casting bulges are caused when the shell mold does not fit flush against the surface of the alginate mold. This often happens when applying plaster bandages when air pockets are not eliminated; such voids create unwanted bulges or dimples in the casting.
Some life casting artists are able to create a flexible mold and a rigid mold without bonding them together. A highly experienced artist can get away with this. But most of us will find that if the alginate mold separates from the shell mold in the act of demolding, it is difficult to get the two pieces to fit precisely back together again. The standard way to laminate the two different materials is to embed fiber into the alginate before it sets. The plaster in the bandages will adhere to the fiber bonding the two layers together as one piece. However, getting the fiber on thin enough and even sufficient enough, is a challenge, it has a tendency to clump up. Clumping fibers cause those unsightly casting dimples or depressions. The Parvin method makes adding fiber easier while eliminating the casting dimples.
The torso casting project begins with advance material preparation. The artist cuts cheesecloth into 6-8 inch strips. Then he measures out one pound of FiberGel alginate and has four pounds of water ready. The water must be soft or distilled. Hard water produces a lumpy mix.
A six-inch square is cut from a roll. The square is pulled apart to expose its fuzzier inside surface. This cotton square will be used to secure the alginate mold to the shell mold.
Five pounds of fast-setting plaster is portioned out. It will be mixed with water and brushed on the cheese cloth to form a shell.
If have dental plaster isn’t available, a half a box of CastRite with SpeedKast added can be substituted. SpeedKast will hasten its set time making it as quick setting as dental plaster.
A plastic drop cloth to is put down to protect the floor. A model stand is readied to support the model. The stand is smply a door covered in foam rubber and vinyl which is leaned against the wall to support the model. Several rope loops are hung above it so the model has something to support her arms as she is posed.
Before starting, the model should sign a model release as it protects both model and artist. It can be downloaded from the Association of Life Casting International’s website.
The life casting artist should have a discussion with the model before she is hired, so she knows what to expect and there are no surprises.
Before the artist begins, he makes certain that all body piercings that we be covered in alginate are identified and removed as this jewelry will rip the delicate alginate upon de-molding. In this case the model needs to remove a belly ring.
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