Elaine Unzicker: Getting Plastered!

by | Aug 22, 2022

Have a headache? Well, you might after looking at these photos. What am I doing? I am poking a sharp instrument into the paper head. It’s true! I wanted to secure the metal piece to the head more fully. And, to do it I poked holes all the way through to the inside. I was able to wire the piece down to the head so that it would move only slightly. “Contemplation” is a sculpture going off to the Mentor and Student exhibit in Bloomington, Illinois at the McLean County Art Center. Opening reception September 9 up through October 21. www.theunzicker.com

Now, here’s the scary part. How did I make that head? I have an artist friend named Janusz who happened to know a great deal about mold making. So, he was the perfect person to help me create a mold of my head. First I put vaseline all over my face, eyebrows, skin. Can’t remember what I put my hair in, but it was covered. After that, I lay down. Plastic wrap is placed over my mouth which is sticky with vaseline. A straw is sticking out of each nostril for breathing with a little clay around any openings. I close my eyes which now have plastic wrap nestled over the lids and wait.

Janusz mixed up the plaster to the proper consistency and then layered it over my face. He’s doing the front first; soon to be followed by the back. I remember thinking….. trust, trust, trust. And, this is a bit like being buried alive. Plaster warms up as it starts to harden, so, I guess I had a facial? Anyway, the smell of a lit cigarette wafting through the air let me know Janusz is waiting for the plaster to harden. My face came out easily. And, once I recovered a bit, I lay down with my face in this newly created mold. Janusz mixed more plaster and covered the back of my head, lining up the two molds. Something was placed between the two molds so they would release. Those molds were used to create the paper casting in the pictures. And, now you know a little bit about making a head mold. Definitely a job for two people or two artists!

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