. . . life encapsulated in art . . .

Body Casts

This page shows some examples of artwork I create by casting parts of the body to make a unique and personal piece. The casting material I use is a safe, quick and gentle “paste” which solidifies to a rubbery supple texture in under two minutes, ensuring that the tiniest details of a person are captured. When it is peeled off, not only does it catch the pose, but also the skin texture, recording everything from leathery working hands to the soft plump creases of a baby’s hand. In fact, I have cast a range of body parts up to this time, anything from a child’s foot to an adult’s ear.

In the past, these pieces have been requested to celebrate a variety of occasions, from births to christenings, to birthdays, to engagements, to weddings, or simply commissioned as a three-dimensional family portrait, or, as in one case, to send to a special relative living abroad – they are moments cast in time.

Normally, as with both of the examples shown here, I make these pieces in plaster, working back into them whilst still damp to correct any slight imperfections, then drying them thoroughly and sealing them, before arranging their final presentation.

It can take a number of hours just removing the cast from the mould, even before any other work starts, as it has to be done slowly, sliver by sliver, working with a surgical scalpel as I get closer to the model. It depends on the complexity of the pose, but some interconnecting poses have taken up to twenty hours or so. Imagine that you are working on a piece of wet chalk and you will get an idea of how fragile they are whilst damp and how carefully these pieces need to be handled as I’m working on them in order to avoid damaging them.

However, I can also make them in wax, eventually transforming them into beautiful bronzes, creating family heirlooms that can be handed down from generation to generation. I do this using the “lost wax” method, and to follow this amazing metamorphosis step by step, take a look at my 'process' page.

The final presentation of the piece is done to the client's preference. They can be mounted in a deep glass-fronted wooden frame which can either be mounted on a wall or rested on a shelf or mantelpiece (see bodycasts gallery) or in display cases, as in the glass globe above (right), or gift packaged as also shown above (left).

After consultation, the client and I decide what would work best for them, and they can rest assured that whatever they pick will be unique, and will certainly leave a lasting impression- in fact the mould will definitely be broken.

The cast shown above (right) is the left hand of three-week-old Rory who, being the perfect model, slept soundly through the two-minute process! The second cast, meanwhile, features one each of Rory's and his parents' hands.





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The Concept

The Process

Gallery - Sculpture

Gallery - Jewellery 1

Gallery - Jewellery 2

Body Casts

Gallery - Body Casts

Children's Art Camps

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© Copyright Kathryn Smyth Sculpture 2008 - 2011