Saturday, 5 October 2013

Plaster Caster workshops as part of Encounters Festival

October is the month of North Lanarkshire's cultural festival, Encounters. I was asked to develop and lead a plaster casting workshop for school children in conjunction with my exhibition at Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre.

Over the past couple of days I have been leading the workshops, first based at St David's Primary School, Airdrie and another day at St Patrick's Primary School, Coatbridge. I was working with children in P6/P7 classes, and had just under 20 students each day.

Both days went really well; the children were well behaved and all immersed themselves fully into the activities, producing some excellent work.

I began the workshop by introducing myself and talking a little about my art practice. I then explained what we would be doing in the workshop, showed examples of the materials we were going to be using, and handed round some of my work. I showed them documentation of other artists who have used casting, and simply explained the process.

The children were given a square of corregated cardboard and asked to cover it with parcel tape. They then used clay to make a boundary wall to form the shape of their mould. Working in small groups, the students made different colours of plaster and poured the plaster into their moulds.
The students made a variety of colours of plaster, and they all got a chance to engage in ever stage of the casting process. In addition to pouring the plaster into their cardboard and clay moulds, I had also given them a range of plastic containers for them to fill and had covered some tables with sheets of baking paper for them to pour and drip plaster onto in a more freestyle fashion. I showed them all how to remove the cast from the mould as they would need to do it the next day once the plaster had dried properly.

I ended the session with a question and answer session where we discussed what they had learned, how they had found the workshop, whether they had enjoyed it and so on. They also asked me questions about being an artist.

I am delighted that the children responded so well to the workshop, and the teachers were also very pleased with the workshop.

I am looking forward to receiving an email from the teachers with photos of the children holding their casts once they had been removed from the mould.

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