I spoke to Martin last week about casting mine and Seb’s hands in alginate, for my project outcome in Subject for Cited. As I am still experimenting with materials towards my final outcome, I thought alginate casts would be a positive step forwards as I could take it into a vast variety of materials from that cast.
Originally, Martin and I discussed how we were going to cast the hands, there was a question of using a bucket to pour the alginate into, but soon realised that would result in a large quantity of waste of materials. Moving on from this realisation, Martin suggested building a clay foundation, almost like a trench that my hand would sit in.
The material measurement of alginate would change, according to the position of my hand, the size and shape and how it’s held. Because I was aiming to do two casts of different people’s hands – both definitely different sizes – there was no precise measurement of alginate to mix up, only a rough estimation.
Due to the issue with guestimating the quantity of material, this resulted in the first cast having two or three holes where my fingers were positioned. As a result, the cast ended up falling apart as there was no way to remove the plaster from the alginate, without destroying the mould. The plaster was too soft, which resulted in nearly all of my fingers being broken off upon removal.
After the failure of the first cast, we went from the horizontal position of the hand to vertical.
Instead of creating another clay ‘trench’, we used clay as a base before wrapping a sheet of clear plastic around the base to create a sealed tube. By changing the position to vertical, the alginate pour was more efficient and covered the whole hand equally. This resulted in a better cast and a quicker process. The mould was stronger and without holes, so made the plaster casting easy and efficient.
I was pleased with the outcome of Seb’s hand in plaster, as it captured all the detail of the skin and nails, which was definitely more realistic than the material experimentation with gloves and that was my initial aim for my outcome in Subject.
I repeated the same process as Seb’s hand-casting in the afternoon, re-casting my hand after the failure of the first cast. This was successful and I was very pleased with my outcomes of the day.