Bone Mother

Erin Curry art- Bone Mother plaster sculpturePerhaps you've seen this piece before, but here are some different views.
Erin Curry art- Bone Mother plaster sculpture
Erin Curry art- Bone Mother plaster sculpture

72" tall

A little note about process- this piece is hand built (as opposed to cast) with plaster. I started out making small plaster sketches, using wire, threaded rod, cheesecloth and plaster. The wire was shaped before mixing the plaster, and then the sketch worked with the initial batch of plaster until the plaster hardened. These sketches became Daughters. There are some detail shots of Daughters here.

Erin Curry art- Bone Daughters plaster sculpturesDaughters
plaster, bone, and chalk on paper
sculptures are 24" high

For the large sculpture, I welded together an armature with steel rebar, then built up layers with styrofoam, burlap and plaster. Once a bucket of plaster was mixed, the session lasted until the plaster completely hardened, about 45 min to an hour. Usually the process began with a bucket of plaster freshly mixed into which burlap would be dipped, and wrapped around the form. As the plaster thickened it could be used to glue" pieces of styrofoam together, and then smeared around to fill in gaps or build up certain areas, as the plaster hardened further and began to cure some areas could be scraped smooth or filed away. If there was any time in between sessions I'd have to soak the piece down with water so the new plaster would adhere to the old without cracking off.

This method of building is one of my favorites because an element of spontaneity is retained even working so large, plus it's fairly affordable. A one hundred pound bag of plaster costs less than forty dollars at a building contractors supply store, the styrofoam blocks were free, and the rebar was pretty cheap as well. One of the down sides is the sculpture is not outdoor hardy, if I coated it in resin, or an polyurathane it may be okay, but I haven't tested it because I like the surface of raw plaster. The other problem is Bone Mother is quite heavy, probably 135 pounds fully cured and dried, which means it was much heavier as it was made. I spent weeks putting one sculpture together, and right at the very end it collapsed because my armature couldn't hold up the weight, it wasn't rebar and I didn't use much styrofoam. So I had to start from scratch, such heartbreak. . . except the reincarnation is so much better than the predecessor.

1 comment:

redredday said...

did not know there was an opening slit on the bone mother...found it a bit startling for some reason. at first it appears so regal and graceful, and then to see the jagged edges of the opening makes me think of pain and a sort of quiet suffering. i guess that is part of being a mother, no?
and the daughters...they seem to be in their own little world dancing and just being in the moment. i would like to see them without the background drawing and hold one in my hands...


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