Back to work; sculpting a torso

The spring weather is all but gone and I am in my studio concentrating on my alternative portrait commissions.
In weather like this it is difficult to get the studio warm enough; I can wear layers of clothes, my client needs to strip off. She had several hot water bottles and the fire was roaring; I think she was fine.
I start my torso sculptures by making a body cast of the client and it takes at least an hour to apply the plaster bandages.
Once the plaster has set, I can remove what now looks more like an empty shell.
blog moldm1

Which I soft soap and then fill with plaster

ripping off bandages

After the plaster has set, you can peel off the plaster bandages

And then comes the fun bit; you need to make a plaster mold from your plaster cast by pouring fresh plaster on top of it. The trick is to use industrial amounts of soft soap. And to make sure you build strong clay walls to contain the plaster flow!

blog mould
Here is one I made earlier….
I never seem to  get used to the sheer terror of pouring wet plaster on top of dry, praying that I’ll be able to separate the two chunks once they’re set.
Once all that technical stuff is over and done with I can start to be creative  by adding or subtracting bits of clay, patterns and motifs inside the mold. I never tire of it!

blog Blue Mermaid jan 08

‘Mermaid’ 52”x 36” , a  smoke fired ceramic torso sculpture made to hang on the wall.


About Anna

I am a ceramic sculptor living on the South coast near London, England. My work is influenced by my experience of the earth as a living being and seeing how we are all connected with eachother and with the things that surround us. I create ceramic torsos using molochite clay which I often smokefire in galvanised dustbins. I also make House Gods to protect and amuse, and Fat Birds - little smokefired sculptures that tell the story about what it is like to be a fat bird at peace with its surroundings.
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7 Responses to Back to work; sculpting a torso

  1. Alastair says:

    Do you have people who come in and ask to have their own torso done?


  2. Very creative stuff Anna. I can understand the trouble you must have to go through, to keep your models warm, when it is winter. It is nice to see a behind the scenes look at your art. Have a relaxing Sunday! Much Love Paul OXOXOXOXOXO


  3. pimpmybricks says:

    I had that experience today. Not the lying down for an hour and having bandages applied (though I think that could be beautifully relaxing, cold notwithstanding) but pouring plaster on top of plaster (I was being shown how). I found it such a pleasurably weird thing to crack the disposable mould and release the plaster within, identical, but smooth and sinuous and entire unto itself – ooh! It felt almost kinky! The mermaid torso is lovely – how wonderful it would be to be blue.


    • Anna says:

      Come to my studio, and you will be! Brrr!
      Plaster is a fabulous medium, so soft and creamy one minute and then. Pof. Rock hard. It is the undercuts that befuddle me.


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