- Rachel Dien
When I was first starting out with my plaster casts I wanted to see if anyone else had done something similar, so I could see if there was a particular way of taking casts of plants that was most effective. Rachel Dien presses the plants and flowers she uses into clay first and then pours the plaster over the top. I didn’t have any access to clay while I was making my plaster blocks, but I found that just pressing the plants into the surface of the plaster while it was still wet worked well. Dien gets very clear imprints of the plants she casts though, though she has a lot more experience in casting methods then I do. I’d never worked much with plaster before this project, so I was learning what worked well as I went along.
- Margaret Mee
Margaret Mee was the artist whose work I had intended to go to Kew Gardens to see. Botanical illustration has always interested me, horticulture in general has been a main focus in my life as I’ve been growing up. I’m sad we ran out of time at Kew, so I didn’t get a chance to go and see these illustrations in real life. I love the detail that is put into botanical illustrations. I kind of ended up seeing my plaster casts of plants as botanical illustrations but in plaster, as the nature of the material is that it picks up a lot of the detail from the cast object.
- Fossil Casts
When I was growing up, my mum was friends with an archaeologist who gave me and my sister boxes of plaster casts of fossils, which we then decided to paint in really disgusting colours. That’s been a very solid memory for me though, and I’ve still got several of the painted fossil casts at home. I had that memory in mind for this project. The plaster cast is an interesting thing because in the case of my work, you don’t see the object that is cast, you just see the space it left behind. With the casts of fossils, the cast is of the space the fossil left behind.