Casting sculpture with clay mould

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During my twenty-three years post-graduation experience as an art teacher and a practising sculptor, I have identified two problems that prevent the Ghanaian sculptor from making substantial impact in his society. A vist to our art galleries, national and regional museums, parks, art centres, cultural centres, or a drive through the national and regional capitals will reveal a lot to attest this assertion. There are only little to see on’sculpture in terms of monuments, busts, statues, fountains, landscape sculpture, architectural sculpture and so on. Ghanaian sculptors scarcely participate in exhibitions. But this is not so with other fields such as painting, textile or Ceramics. The first problem is that, sculpture processes are by nature very slow arid laborious. A sculptor really toils to have a work completed. With the peculiar poor nature of Ghana’s economy, a sculptor can hardly be wholly devoted to the creation of sculptures in a situation where the populace has problems in acquiring basic life necessities. Even if he starts, he will soon give up the practice and seek other ventures that offer better economic rewards. Another problem confronting the Ghanaian sculptor is material restriction. There are some materials that are not locally produced but are indispensable in executing special works. Plaster of Paris, the traditional mould material is an eloquent example. Its non-existence often cripples the creation or the completion of works that involve casting. There is a need to find an alternative material for plaster of Paris so that even in its absence, sculpture involving casting could be undertaken. I have observed that clay, which is in abundance in. the country, takes surface impressions of objects in the same details as plaster of Paris does. Most often we see trails of lorry tyres and footprints of persons and animals clearly marked on wet clayey road surfaces. (Plates 1 and 2). I have also observed that clay is capable of being pressed into slabs, rolled into coils, squeezed into moulds or twisted into different shapes. These characteristics suggest to me that, if carefully handled, clay can be used as a mould material for casting. In this research therefore, I have explored the potentials of clay as a possible mould material for casting. The result proved very successful. I have discovered that clay, which has been with us for ages and has found its uses in diver’s fields of human endeavour is also as perfect mould material. The presentation of this report is simple, describing a step by step approach to the processes used. Every step employed is supported by a photograph to make comprehension easy. I hope that the results of this project will go a long way to simplify some of the laborious casting processes as well as provide available local material for increased production.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Post-Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree, Master of Arts in Art Education,1993.