16 March 2011

Plaster is great stuff

Monday was spent learning how to draw ceiling cornices in a 3D CAD programme. You will all know plaster from the stuff you wish were flat and even on your walls (find a good plasterer at local.which.co.uk). But there is more to plaster than even walls. In Riga, early 20th century, architects went overboard, dressing up the outside of their buildings with beautiful cement and plaster layers, making them look like futuristic birthday cake icing. This window cornice looks like a stylised crash helmet. 

Back to my 3D cornices. It was a bit of hit and miss on my first day. They ended up all over the shop in my CAD house. I would certainly not be able to do one with oak leaves. This piece I found in a skip at a building site. Only about 70cm long, it weighs several kilos. There were metres of the stuff there. Obviously a ceiling had come down overnight. Backdrop is Nutation, lambda print, by Tim White (markjasongallery.com)
If you do want a real plaster ceiling cornice and not one made of foam, go to: londonplastercraft.com or gesso.be in Brussels. 
I have several plaster casts bought in museum shops. I think that copies are allowed at home, especially of Roman and Greek statues. More difficult to look at are life size plaster copies in museums. They don't age well. They get dirty in the wrong way, reminding you that they are not real. It doesn't stop the V&A having rather grand Cast Courts (www.vam.ac.uk).

One more of Riga. If you want to go there, have a look at www.rigatourism.lv, but don't do like me and miss your connecting flight because you are chatting to a friend online at a Wifi spot at the  airport. Not good.

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