Part 4 of the course is all about casting in plaster, and, at the end of the two projects, and 3okg of plaster, I am deeply ambivalent about the medium. I love the white purity of the natural finish and its ability to render fine detail but I have really struggled to use it creatively. Casting plaster is a very controlled process, and it is this control which I find a barrier to creativity. My work is usually about layering, obliteration and restatement, development, building up textures, responding to a work as it develops; the antithesis of plaster casting. I have tried to work through this block by creating interesting surfaces with a degree of happenstance, particularly in the bas-reliefs. I have found myself most interested in plaster when it is combined and contrasted with other materials.
Focusing on the assessment criteria, I have developed my technical skills in terms of my ability to cast a bas-relief reliably but my casting of forms was rather hit and miss because I was, perhaps, overambitious with the complexity of mould. I really wanted to push beyond casting plastic bags and packaging. Joining forms was unsuccessful; I couldn’t find any meaning in joining/gluing the simple forms apart from the fingers. Once I considered joining forms using thread or another medium, I related to the works much more.
Some of the pieces have been successful, some not. I have tried some ideas and quickly abandoned them; others have been carried forward through multiple iterations to a satisfying outcome. Some ideas have been good but haven’t been realised successfully in plaster and might be revisited in future in a different medium. I try to be experimental and imaginative and I interpret that as taking risks and being prepared to fail. This means that I am philosophical if an exercise or project doesn’t produce a polished physical outcome. I don’t see these as dead ends, more a discovery of future possibilities.
I have found my greatest creativity in the overlap between textiles, sculpture and printmaking and this makes me very excited for the development of my future artistic practice.