Hand Sculpture

In this project, we made alginate molds of our hands and filled them with plaster. The final product was supposed to represent some sort of political / social issue in our world today.

I messed this project up from the very beginning. Since I wasn't able to get the alginate set up until the end of class, and the fact that it wasn't mixed enough in the first place, it didn't set right. So, when it was filled with plaster, the resulting product was... bad. It had the general shape of hands, but the fingers were either too short or too long, and it was all craggy, without the minute details that the others' hands had. I was disappointed, but I decided to just go with it—after all, we've been taught to work and turn our mistakes into a "beautiful oops," and so that was what I tried to do.

I went in without an idea as to what my subject would be. I decided that I wanted to cover the surface of the hands—anything that would minimize the visibility of the craggy skin would be good. So, using Sculpey, I made some flowers. Admittedly, I did this just because I wanted to make flowers, and not because I had an idea for the project; however, it ended up working, so that's good.

Most of the time spent working on the project was spent making the flowers. I've never used Sculpey before, so the first time I baked it I sat there for twenty minutes, watching it in fear of it burning or exploding or some other equally bad thing. After that, the process got easier though, and so it also went faster. Once the colorful flowers were done, I made some dead-ish ones too, since I thought the contrast between the two hands would be nice—one dead and gross, and the other more vibrant and alive. While the flowers were cooking, I painted the hands and the wooden bases. At this point, I knew that I wanted there to be a lot of contrast in this piece: black against white, and colors against monochrome. I thought that it would make it more striking, and so I'm pleased with the outcome in that aspect.

When all of the components were done, I was able to start putting them together. I hot glued all of the colorful flowers and the leaves on first, hot glued my finger to the hand at least twice, and had to re-glue some flowers on when they fell off and brought some of the paint and plaster with them. It wasn't too bad, however, and soon I repeated the process with the second hand.

With the white hand, some of the paint got smudged and chipped, so I decided to leave it. I felt that it contributed to the sort of "dead and messy" feel, which I liked. Finally, I hot glued both hands to their respective bases, which was probably the easiest part of the whole piece. With that, I was done.

This project was fun, even if it didn't turn out exactly how I hoped it would. I was looking forward to being able to work with realistic-looking hands, so even though I was sad I couldn't, I'm glad that I was able to problem-solve. Like I've mentioned, I also like the contrast in the piece, and I think that I made okay use of the structure of the hands. Additionally, I'm also proud of the flowers—I spent a lot of time on them, and I hope that this time and attention to detail shows in the final result. Overall, even though the beginning was kind of rough, I do think that I did a pretty good job making use of what was given to me.

ALSO, I just thought of this, but I like how it changes meaning depending on whether you put the living or dead one first...