For some time I have been talking about shaped plaster and a final admission that the material, even though host to a number of effects, has not held up well. I was obliged this last summer to dispose of a large number of pieces that were suffering damage, with the prospect of further degradation.

A likely alternative has been to substitute plastic for plaster – either poured or in the form of sheets that can be deformed through the application of heat. Clear sheet being more available at this time, I have been experimenting with what comes of hot plastic sagging. It’s been a kitchen thing with the oven pressed into service. I arranged some silverware on a cookie sheet and laid a thin sheet of clear Plexiglass over top. A temperature of 400 F. gave me a vacuum-formed quality as the sheet draped itself into every available declivity. I then poured black varnish into the larger depressions, and once that set, poured transparent red into a few on the other side. I sprayed a little gold (Hi Karl) and some forest green on the other. This was then backed up with an application of white.

I find the overall quality to be complex far in excess of its overall simplicity of manufacture. To be Frank, this kind of a thing is a trap for me as it comes across as “decorative”. I surely do appreciate its resemblance to the glass maker’s art but I feel that it needs to be handled by a far more flamboyant sensibility than mine.

An earlier similar example in plaster is this set of panels that were formed over tubes on the left panel and a variety of shapes on the right. Varnish was used, but in this case the underlying plaster did not allow any see-through effects.

Then, this set of four panels. Something of an aboriginal quality.

And, as an exercise, I attached a copier paper printout to a sheet with acetone and put that through the 400 F. treatment, along with an underlying layer.

This does bear somewhat on Karl’s question about the use of gold. In this case the topic is the inherent attractions found in glassiness, and of things seeming to live in an amber-likeĀ  context. Does this so bear for you?