Monday, April 23, 2007

Body Casting

The really cool thing I did on Saturday at the Women's Centre was the last in a series of body casting workshops. Plaster castings--the kind of plaster strips that can be used for casts. A bit over a month ago, a few women got together with Kim, the health and well-being counsellor, and Sari, a kick-ass artist. We spent a day discussing female images, body image, and stuff like that. The first day, Kim cast Sari's butt, to show everyone what was involved in the process. The next day, we all got to do ours. One woman did the front of her torso, with her arms crossed over herself. That looked really cool. One woman did her hands and feet. I did my left side.

It was great. Aside from feeling totally awkward, laying down on the floor of the Women's Centre bare-ass naked, while Kim rubbed cold wet plaster strips all over my body, I really enjoyed the experience. It was a really cool feeling, actually--the plaster starts wet and cold, but after the first layer the feeling of the cast-er gets further and further removed from your body. The plaster starts to harden pretty quickly, and heats up as it goes. By the time she was finished, it felt like I had a shell. Once it hardens, it starts to come away from your skin--bad if you're standing up, since it means you need to work really quickly and can't move at all. But in the laying-down position, she had time to smooth it out and make it really good.

After they were allowed to harden, and Kim had reinforced them with plaster on the insides, we got to take them home. I set mine up on my desk that I never use.

That's a bowl of sea shells in front of the cast, and some photos from PNG in the back. It's very abstract, but I love the way it looks. I think it's a bit clearer when it's standing up:

The bottom is the start of my thigh/butt, and you can see my ribs and the side of my boob there at the top. The edges are pretty fragile, so I had it sitting on some old tee shirts to take some of the weight off.

So, we were supposed to get together the following weekend to decorate them, but something came up. Something came up the next weekend, and the weekend after that as well. I'm glad we didn't decorate them straightaway, because I had no idea what to do! But when I did come up with an idea, I started to get antsy. So antsy, in fact, that I bought my own paint and started doing it on my own. I found this cool, metallic blue acrylic paint and put on a few layers.

It sat like that for a few days, propped up on two tins of spaghetti, drying out fully. Then we finally got together for the decorating. I had gotten some stationary paper or something, and cut out a few flowers and vines that I wanted to paste on. I painted some streaks along the curves, glued on the flowers, and added some glitter. I took it home, then sealed it with some clear acrylic stuff (maybe you can tell that I am no artist). This is the final result:

I love the way it came out. The other women weren't finished with theirs yet, so I'm curious to see the end results of all of them. But I'm really pleased with mine. Here is some more detail:

That's the top.

Here's the middle. The flower at the edge is right under my ribcage. Everything sort of comes out of there.

And this is the very bottom. When I was finished, Andy said "I didn't think you were going to pull it off"--very supportive, but he was referring to my normal lack of creative genius. Actually, I didn't think I would be able to pull it off, either.

P.S. Happy ANZAC Day :)


KleoPatra said...

That is just SO cool.

And beautiful!

Wow!! I've never heard of or seen anything like this before. Total original art, one-of-a-kind for sure.

Too cool.

bazu said...


Lindy Loo said...

Very cool! I love how you painted it. I actually took part in a breast-casting workshop once myself, and we came out with some really awesome results as well. Very woman-centered and powerful stuff. =) Cool to be able to make art that literally is PART of yourself.

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

This is so COOL! Super cool. My friend did this with her belly when she was pregnant & it hangs in the kid's room, but she didn't decorate hers! I love your design, & I think it's pure creative genius! :o)

Kati said...

What an awesome project. I think it looks beautiful.