3.2; Adding Colour to Plaster

Aims: To find an alterative means of colouring my plaster samples created by casting inside a balloon.

Why did I select this material/process/approach? Although I liked the achromatic appearance of the samples I wanted to try to compensate for the loss of colour once the balloon had been removed. I knew from earlier experimentation that the porous surface of plaster can be painted by sealing it before hand but was keen to find an alternative.

In the video about Maarten de Ceulaer that I watched here, he appears to have coloured the water before adding plaster. I wondered if Brusho would work since a tiny amount of powder in a large quantity of water produces quite intense colours?

Sample properties: Look/Feel. Structure/texture/colour.

SAMPLE ONE: I rescued this sample from the bin, hence why pieces are missing. I initially rejected it because as I removed the balloon it disintegrated. Being my first test of adding Brusho, I wondered if the chemical structure of the plaster had been altered in such a way that made it more porous and chalky. I later discovered it was over handling at the curing stage that caused the breakages.


I’m glad I saved the sample, the surface quality is totally different from anything else I achieved with plaster. It does not have the silken smooth finish I associate with Ferrand Scott. The rougher texture suits the broken nature of the sample. The raised bubbles which are reminiscent of bubble wrap were actually created by pressing into a previous sample, in this regard they are informally arranged, which I think is more appropriate than a regular alignment in this instance. Reconstructing the pieces formed new negative spaces that are rather interesting.

I would like to develop this sample but as yet am unsure what to do exactly. I wonder if some sort of Kintsugi style join would work. I had some success with using hot glue and transfer foil in Part 2, as identified by my tutor:

“Your use of the hot glue, which can be very hard to use in a sophisticated manner, was also interesting. The foiling completely changed its visual impact: it highlighted the irregular form of the glue in a way that made it a relevant part of the design (rather than a bogged joining method, as it so often looks).”

SAMPLE TWO: Looking at Rachel Whiteread encouraged me to try a more conceptional approach to sampling. This sample was inspired by the volcanic eruption that occurred when I blew into a balloon, partially filled with plaster, with a straw.


The craters formed in the plaster were made by blowing through a straw, as such the internal space of my lungs is recorded in the disc. The Brusho has highlighted the irregularities of the shapes created which were a pleasure to draw:



Some strange things happened over the next few days: the colour on top of the sample deepened, as a result of colour particles being pulled to the surface as the moisture content evaporated:

Conversely the base of the sample lighted, appearing almost bleached of colour. I would have expected the colour to be stronger underneath where the plaster sat on the desk (a bit like currants sinking to the bottom in a cake) this was not the case. This slightly unpredictable set of findings would need further investigation if a more archival colour was required. However, thinking about how Eva Hesse’s work (particularly in latex) must have degenerated over the years I wonder if this is part of the story of the object?









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