It all started when I saw bas relief trees on Pinterest and found the connection between drywall joint compound and plaster. Mind blown! So of course I had to experiment. Here are some of my experimentations. First, I wanted to have a go at a relief tree so I picked up this old framed mirror from the thrift store for $3, bought a sensitble sized bin of Compound and a 2 litre carton of plaster powder. Viola! Instant in love! Now, there are ways of having smoothness but I personally love the rough texture of trees so I kept that look for my first experiment which was mainly about feeling out the materials, how it moves around and overall workability. I'm quite happy with the results - texture is amazing. I learned that no matter how much paint you put on the surface, you will still see the bare, white plaster being reflected back at you along the edges - though I typically won't be doing reliefs on mirrors.
I was gifted a wonderful bounty of crystals from an old chandelier and they needed a proper stand if I were to upcycle them into crystal suncatchers and sell at markets so I set to work on a tree base sculpture. I was too excited and caught up in construction that I forgot to take pictures along the way so I will tell you what I did here. I have some twisted hazelnut branches that I would have coming out of plant pots or in funky vases because they are the perfect, beautiful things to hang things off of including draping climbing plants over. I had a few of them lying around and thought they would make awesome branches for my tree so I found 4 and taped them together. Then I took a tall ricotta container, glued the lid on and fixed it upside down to a hunk of wood I had laying around. Then I mixed up some of the powdered plaster with water and filled the bottom 3 quarters the way up ( I wanted a good weight to my tree without it being too heavy). I then popped in the taped together branches and secured it and shaped it a bit with more tape. I had thought the whole thing would be a tree trunk but as I worked with it and how the branches sat, it made more sense for the tree to be perched on a big rock. The rock gave me an opportunity to play around with smoothing. Once I got the tree and its roots figured and the rocks smoothed, it was time to allow it to dry a bit. I'd say it was about 2/3rds dry and I carved a bit - mmm like butter. Painting was the fun bit. The hardest part was waiting for the plaster to dry before I could carve and for the paint layers to dry. I couldn't resist highlighting the tree using a gold paint and I'm slightly obsessed with the results. Perhaps it is something you need in your home or shop to display your beautiful necklaces or wares? Hit me up because I don't think I will ever tire of making these - I'm going to do a smaller version soon.
Since creation, this tree spent the holiday at the Campbell River Art Gallery for their Christmas Market. Unfortunately, when I got it back, the base had somehow been "broken" off.
So it grew some mushrooms and flowers. Wabi-Sabi. Kintsubi.