Everlasting foliage preserved in plaster.
Hello dear friends,
This week I’ve been taking my botanical ceramics a step further. I wanted to create a raised print of seasonal foliage and to do this I had my first go with plaster of paris. I say first go, I once made some Mr Men when I was a kid… do you remember those? Anyway, if you fancy having a go at home then the method is fairly straightforward… if you follow instructions! I mucked up my plaster of paris and discovered these are the instructions you need to be precise with! I tried adding more to my mix, it was a disaster, it’s best to make more than you need! And work quickly!
You will need a collection of foliage with good stems, I used artists earthenware clay, I haven’t tried air drying clay so I can’t tell you if it works or not but you should be able to buy earthenware clay online. You will also need fine casting plaster of paris which I found on eBay. You will then need a rolling pin, some cling film, a tea towel, a bowl for mixing the plaster and a spatula, and a tray is handy too.
Start by rolling out a slab of clay onto a tea towel, using a tea towel means it doesn’t stick to the table and it’s easy to peel off and turn over so you can roll the other side. Roll to about a cm in thickness. Next place your foliage in a natural manner and roll firmly once from the bottom to the top in a slow and controlled movement. Now place the cling film on the tray, enough for your clay to fit on, move the clay to the tray and place on the cling film. Now pinch the sides of the clay up by at least a cm, a bit like pinching pastry, this will hold the wet plaster.
Next up remove the stems carefully. Then following the manufactures instructions mix the plaster of paris. When the plaster is the consistency of pouring cream (mine was a gloopy mess) pour into your clay mould and leave to set. I left mine for about an hour and a half then peeled the clay off gently. By sitting the clay on cling film it keeps it moist so it’s easier to remove.
The details are amazing ? and I’m slightly addicted to the process.
Have a go and let me know how you get on!