How To/Techniques: Cast

Kirsty Gentle

Insights Editor

Did you get the chance to see Rachel Whiteread’s show at Tate Britain recently? The process of casting is essential to how she makes her work.

Tate have made a great ‘how to guide’ that introduces you to the process.

This isn’t a five project make you can try at home – it requires some equipment, space, materials and a bit of patience. So, treat this more as an introduction to casting in a workshop environment. The video and accompanying step by step guide will introduce you to the key terms artists use for this technique.

Credit: ‘How to cast like Rachel Whiteread’. Video, © Tate Digital, London 2017.

Casting is essentially the technique of reproducing shapes or objects by pouring liquid into a mould. In this video, Tara from Tate Collectives goes through all the different stages of making a mould of a light bulb in two halves using silicone and plaster. She then makes a cast by pouring in jesmonite.
Tara guides you through making a clay bed to keep your object in place and building walls to contain the silicone and plaster layers of your mould.

As always the essentials of the technique are in the detail – adding channels and registration marks before you pour the silicone and plaster respectively will help the two halves of the mould fit together. Pay close attention to the instructions about making pouring tunnels so you can fill your mould after you’ve secured the two sides together!

If you’re inspired to get making, why not share this with your teachers and tutors and see if you can set up your own casting workshops at your school or college. Watch this space for smaller projects you can try at home.
Casting is widely used across the world of art and design for creating prototypes, models or final work. It’s also used widely in film and TV for prosthetics, props and special effects albeit with different materials.

Looking for more inspiration?

BA (Hons) Fine Art: Sculpture

BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

BA (Hons) Production Arts for Screen

BA (Hons) 3D Effects for Performance and Fashion

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