Monday, August 29, 2016

Arrivals and Departures: Part One

A few thousand miles up in the air, I am departing from a great adventure to Pullman, Illinois. As my fingers tap glass, I already miss the rust. The old brick buildings, lush vines adorning alley ways, and clusters of front porch gatherings still appear in my mental mirror.
Arriving to Mosnart, the space was filled with possibility. Uncluttered, simple, and plenty of space for making and reflecting. Pacing these floors was going to be a very bright light in the film reel of life, I could feel it. When in time, could I simply go from kitchen to studio in a matter of a few steps?! Ah!! I unloaded my bags and took a few deep breaths of anticipation, thinking of all the amazing talent who came before me and the forms and ideas that surfaced from these walls.

Let's get to work! The second day began with a van ride to the superstore of mold-making materials! Dee from Pullman Arts graciously offered to give me a ride to get the largest amount of alginate ever, and we immediately struck up great conversations about plaster and life. 150 lbs of materials, here we go! 

Coordinating a community art event can be tricky. I had done a few casting sessions in Seattle, but nothing to this scale. Late night lists and a year of planning...down to this moment. My first couple days with the Pullman community and I was already amazed at the solidarity and support! The Cooperation Operation offered up their lush community gardens to host the event while the ladies from Pullman Arts graciously volunteered their time to help setup and guide participants through the mold-making and casting process. Meanwhile, JB and Amy from Mosnart were busy helping me create the bones of the space. Saw horses into tables, buckets stacked, and we were ready for a sensory takeoff!






Monday, August 8, 2016

Adventures in Casting

My architextural gears are starting to warm up, bags are packed and I am off to Chicago tomorrow! Soap, socks, clay, and tools all arranged and ready to go capture some architecture and old poetic surface. Visiting Pullman especially triggers my textural sense. Hard shadows cutting through the peeled window pane stop me in my tracks.

On my last adventure to Pullman, I did some clay pressings of old surfaces and architectural details. I used oil based clay to press into the wall and make an imprint of the detail. When I got back to my studio in Seattle, I made molds of the clay objects and cast those into plaster and wax.

Using the cast plaster "positive", I used a few tools and techniques to cast them in glass. This plaster "positive" actually became a "negative" once the glass had melted into the box mold. The plaster was removed to reveal these beautiful holographic surfaces.


As a maker and storyteller, casting is a way of capturing my own lifeline. This weekend, I am honored to share in a once-in-a-lifetime moment with you! Memory indeed builds the communities of today and the legacy of tomorrow. It's not too late to RSVP. Email before midnight Aug 9th to reserve your spot at the garden table!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Hand-Held...How To?!

Hello Hand-Casters!

It's a couple weeks before we all gather and I wanted to take a moment to describe the process we will be using to make molds and casts. I'm starting to pack my studio and can't wait until my own hand's are in Pullman, collecting, making, and communing! If you haven't already done so, please RSVP to to reserve your spot! Casting dates are Saturday August 13th or Sunday August 14th (10-12pm) at the Co-op Op Gardens in Pullman! does one make a mold of their hands? And what does a "mold" or "cast" mean? Think positive / negative! In order to make a "positive" or cast of your hand, you will first need a material to fill the "negative" space around your hand. We will use gooey, non-toxic dental alginate for this.


I'm forever intrigued by the alchemy and science of materials. The base of dental alginate is derived from sea-kelp and is biodegradable! It's easy to mix and captures a lot of fine detail. The life of the alginate is fairly short, as it shrinks after a day or so. Refrigeration of the mold will prolong the life. For more durable molds that you'd like to use again, you can try a variety of silicone products. My favorites are TAP Platinum and POYO Putty.

After a few minutes, the material will change from cake batter to more viscous, silly putty. Simply remove your hand and VIOLA! MOLD MADE! Time to cast a hand positive! With casting into alginate, a variety of liquids can be used. Wax and plaster are the main two. Casting with high temperature liquids like glass or bronze requires a different moldmaking path, called the "lost-wax" technique. I often will use wax positives of hands to cast those in glass! More on that in a later post!

For our session, we will be using my all time favorite material...plaster!! From using it to cast and mold from, or troweling it in earthy layers on walls, it is such a versatile material. There are many different types of plaster, mostly derived from gypsum, lime, clay, or cement. We will be using a type of plaster called pottery plaster. It's fine gypsum base gives you a lightweight, cast. Once the plaster sets and hardens, simply peel away the alginate from the cast to reveal your hand. Air bubbles are common in the casting process, and those can be easily scraped away using pottery files.

Showtime! Can you imagine having a whole community of hands casted in plaster?  A writer, a welder, a doctor...each gesture creates a different callus. Collectively, marking a moment.
Everyone is invited to attend this session, so grab your neighbor and let's cast! See you soon!


Monday, July 11, 2016



Sherri Gamble here! I wanted to take a moment to say hello and introduce myself. Coming from both a computers and construction background, I love all things tactile and physical. Before I fell in love with plaster, I had a previous career working at Microsoft as a Program Manager. I really enjoyed interfacing with clients and driving projects, but my nighttime love for decorative painting and plaster came to bloom. It's amazing how picking up one tool can change your life!

I started my plaster company Sage Artistry, llc in 2006. I have covered a lot of square footage over this challenging and rewarding journey. I mostly work in Seattle, but have installed plaster finishes for other out of state projects. Plastering spaces gives a sense of spreading the beauty of the hand over the earth. I especially enjoy using earth-based plasters in my work. Clay, lime, an marble all have such amazing properties to them. The intersection of materials, science, and art is intriguing.

So here I am, 16 years later, loving the leap into the physical world of art-making. I still really enjoy working with clients to guide their dreams forward to a complete vision. It's exciting to work with construction teams and see buildings develop...watching a slab get poured, then the "bones" of a space created, next...the "skin"...down to the very last hand.

"Hand-Held" originated from a residency I did in 2014 at VALA in Redmond, WA. To probe into the impact of technology and touch, the community was invited to cast their hands in wax and plaster. It was amazing to see everyone so fascinated with the process! They all left with a little grit on them, a bit further from the slickness of our society.

Marks made by the human hand are becoming more scarce these days, so it is time to celebrate the power of touch. What are some of the ways you enjoy using your hands? With the architectural beauty that exists in Pullman, I can't wait to hear stories from you about your family's connection to this community. Hope to see you during my residency in Pullman and for a community casting event on Aug 13 and 14! Special thanks to Pullman Arts, the Cooperation Operation, and Mosnart for all their hard work to put this special event together! Stay tuned for more posts and details!

For more photos and information on my plaster work, visit


Chloe 2015. Cast Glass 5"x 7" x 3'


Hand-Held Pullman: Community Casting Weekend!