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help! ideas needed for hand sculpture

updated thu 21 sep 00


Penni Stoddart on mon 18 sep 00

I have a co-worker who wants a sculpture done of her
and her one year old son's hands so that it looks like
they are holding hands. She does not want just any
hands but their own. I am not a sculpturer (?)
although I do some handbuilding. Is there anyone out
there who can give me some ideas on how to go about
this? I was thinking of using plaster and casting
their hands but as I have a son the same age, I know
that unless he is asleep or drugged (!) I can't see
him holding his hand in the same position long enough.
Thanks ahead of time!

Penni Stoddart of Penelope's Pots

Eagles may soar, but weasles don't get sucked into jet engines =o)

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Ann Hunter on tue 19 sep 00

I'm not familiar with Life Cast, recommended by Czola. I have made
casts of hands by pressing the hands in slabs of soft clay. If the
directions on the other material don't seem as if they would work
for you, try this method . The slab should be thick and soft without
being sticky. Use two slabs, one for the front and one for the back
of the hand. Then bend the pieces of clay into what seems to be a
natural curve, trying to get them to correspond, front to back. Use
extra pieces of clay as props until the slabs become leather hard. I
think you could get this to work even with a baby, if you are
patient. Get the Mom to press the child's hand in the clay. Since
you are just using clay at this point, you can redo it if the parts
don't seem right. Or abandon it if the baby is upset. When the
pieces are leather hard, cut and patch them, assemble cottles (or
box) and cast with plaster. One of the harder plasters like
Hydrostone will make a more permanent object. Before it has time t o
cure all the way, you can trim extra bits and figure out how to
assemble the two hands into one sculpture. Good luck.
-Ann in Texas, where it has been a bit cooler this week.

Czola on tue 19 sep 00

Go to your art supply store and get Life Cast -- it's DESIGNED to work for
little kids. It sets fast enough that you can do babies (but they recommend
you do it while they're asleep) -- i think it sets in about two minutes.

Cindy Strnad on tue 19 sep 00


A form like too pairs of hands clasping one another (or even two single
hands clasping) sounds like a very advanced mold-making project to me. And
if your friend is expecting identically-sized hands to hers and her son's,
that makes the project even more complicated. I'm not saying it can't be
done, but think hard about whether you want to attempt this project. Unless
you're a master mold-maker, I think sculpture may be your easiest bet.

For some reason, hands have a reputation for being difficult to draw. I can
attest to that in my own experience, but likely that's only because I
haven't drawn enough of them to truly learn what they look like. Sculpting
them may be a bit easier--I would think it would be for me, anyhow. When you
have three dimensions to work with, it's easier to get a likeness. However,
to be honest, if a friend asked me to do this project, I would invite her to
my studio to have a go at it herself. Since you say you're not a sculptor,
that gives you the perfect "out".

Cindy Strnad
Earthen Vessels Pottery
RR 1, Box 51
Custer, SD 57730

Carrie or Peter Jacobson on wed 20 sep 00

At the local fair last week, there was a stand, you know, a fair kind of
stand thing, concession, that's the word, that made molds of your hands.
Like instantly. So,,, do you live in rural America? Go to your local fair
and see if they have that concession. I didn't try it... the thought of
sticking my hands into some sort of semi-public goo just bothered me... It
was called Sand Hands.

Carrie "No Goo" Jacobson
Bolster's Mills, Maine