So, Thursday was a write off. Or was it? As usual, I multi-task to the extreme. A trait that was valued in my career as a lab-tech, but frowned on by organization gurus. Guess what I’m not.
I jump from task to task. Scanning photo albums for a photo book, hyper varnishing a set of reprints out in the garage, and mucking about with plaster in the kitchen. Probably not the best combination.
But I have an excuse. I am not a patient person. Once I get a notion in my head I either have to run with it immediately, or give up on the idea forever.
What I’m really looking forward to is the plaster. I bought a new 50 pound bag of industrial plaster Wednesday when I made my bi-weekly foray into the city. I needed to replace one stored in my over humid basement. My recent purchase of a dehumidifier brought the humidity down from a dripping 75 to a much more normal 48. But I’d lost a number of supplies to warping and moisture first. Lesson learned.
So even though plaster casting wasn’t supposed to be on the agenda, I was anxious to see if my recent episodes of plaster not setting was indeed because the plaster had absorbed too much moisture.
Brilliant idea number 1, make a mold of several varieties of leaves. I want to cast them in paper for my Seriously Whimsical project. I love the irony of using paper to reconstruct trees. I know. I know, it’s rag paper, but the thought persists.
I wander around my yard plucking leaf specimens that have not yet started to turn yellow. See, my impatience is justified again. Soon it will be too late to get non-crispy leaves. Then I roll out some Play Doh smooth enough to leave a leaf impression. Best use of a rolling pin I ever came up with. I must be hungry because the Play Doh smells like cookie dough. Then I place the impressions into plastic containers that can hold the liquid plaster.
Now I’m ready for plaster. Immediately I can tell the difference from the old plaster. This feels silky. I’m confident it will work. I mix an ice cream pail to perfect consistency and pour it into the waiting containers. One of my best batches. The plaster heats up as the chemical reaction begins.
I return to my other tasks of varnishing and scanning, going back to the plaster once the plaster cools a little. I tip the containers over and push the plaster out. Yuck! The heat of the plaster softened the Play Doh to the consistency of chewing gum on hot pavement. The impression of the leaves, tentative at best, will be gone even if I could ever remove the Play Doh from the plaster. Awwwww.
Next I work at removing the stones from the plaster. Funny how it looks like conglomerate. Oh ya, I forgot to coat the stones with any kind of release. But I don’t think it would have made any difference. The small stones have allowed too much liquid plaster to flow between them. I pry out about a third of the stones before giving up. Time to toss it all out and clean up my mess.
Thank you Carolyn Roberts for the Carl Jung wisdom , “Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also.” My Facebook friends agree if Carl Jung says mistakes are ok, then we’ll go ahead and make more.
Let’s see. Maybe next try I could use very soft clay to take the impression of the leaves? Ya, that’ll work. Next.
On a whim I run hot water over the pea stones I pulled out of the plaster. Presto. The stones release immediately. Something to store in the “good things to know” part of my brain. Was it just the water, or does the water have to be hot? Maybe I can dip the conglomerate into a bucket of water and all the stones will release? Maybe I can make a mold of the conglomerate, and then mold that before making my final mold.
Oh I have more investigations to make, but later, because now I have to go for my run.