Plaster Turning Workshop

I made up a plaster chuck a few days in advance of the workshop. It is not a good idea to make it up too early, as the plaster dries out and a great deal of dust is produced, during the lathing process.

I have previously done a wood turning workshop and enjoyed it very much. All the health and safety procedures are the same for wood, as they are for plaster and it is important to remember goggles and mask.

As the plaster chuck was large, I decided to lathe a vase type object just to familiarise myself with the technique and to see how much or how little effort was needed to create the desired effect. Also as I am planning to lathe a wooden medal for my subject module, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to make a plaster medal, similar to my design so that I could see how it would look in relation to size etc.

First thing I noticed was how soft the plaster was to work with and how satisfying the process. It didn’t take much effort to carve the design in the plaster but it was shocking how dense and heavy the medal was. It was also a bit bigger than I thought would be acceptable for a medal, but all in all I was pleased with the result.

Normally blanks are lathed to use to create moulds for casting, so there is no need to lathe recesses into the plaster, as I had done. I am not interested in creating moulds at the moment, so I have walked away from this workshop wondering what I could lathe in plaster and how I could render the objects to create a finish product. I also like the fact that the created objects are fragile and not durable; this is perhaps an abstract concept that I could use in the future.