also known as bodymolding, is the practice of creating sculptural
works from three-dimensional molds taken directly off the human
body. It is an art form that is thousands of years old, dating back
to ancient Egypt. Today, we still feel the same compelling reverence
for the beauty of the human form and seek to celebrate, honor and
immortalize it through our artistic pursuits. Lifecasting provides
a direct access to sculpting that might otherwise be unattainable
by most people. The molding materials are completely skin-safe,
and the process is very participatory and fun!
preserves a moment in one's life in a way that no other method can.
All of the shapes, details and expressions that make you YOU are
captured in amazing detail. Your lifecast can feature any degree
of detail you like, from ultra-realistic, to artistically textured,
to highly-polished and stylized. The modeling process is a creative
and collaborative process between the model and the artists. Through
this process, a beautiful and durable heirloom is created that will
be treasured and handed down for many years to come.
or "belly masks" have become a very popular way to celebrate
and memorialize the profound experience of creating human life.
ELS is happy to provide this service, from the simplest plaster
gauze impression to a full-fledged lifecasting in our standard process
(described below). The simple plaster gauze version captures the
basic shapes with little detail, while the molded version captures
the pose in very fine detail.
it is difficult to define the word "art," we like
this attempt at a definition:
art is something that conveys great emotion or causes a
deep emotional reaction."
is profoundly capable of creating a deep emotional reaction,
such as when one sees a sculpture containing a loved one's
face, a grandchild's hands, the hands of two lovers, or the
impression of a child in the womb. It is different than a
painting or a sculpture, as it has actually touched the person
that it represents, evoking more emotion and more sentiment
than any other art form.
Sculpture (ELS) was started by two artists
wanting to create studio-quality sculptures from the lifecasting
process. Making a high quality lifecasting involves more
than simply taking a mold from a body. How carefully the model is
posed, how painstakingly the bodymold is cast, how creatively the
piece is re-touched or augmented, how the sculpture is cast, and
how it is finished and presented... All these factors affect the
quality and emotional content of a lifecast sculpture. ELS strives
to excel at all of these steps, and this is why we prefer to use
a 2-phase molding process.
first phase is a carefully layered bodymold, as true to the model
as possible. We don't recommend the use of plaster directly against
the skin, due to safety concerns as well as the fact that the first
"print coat" of plaster will unavoidably crack as the
model moves and breathes. ELS uses a skin-safe material called alginate
for the print coat, made from the seaweed kelp. It is the same material
that dentists use in your mouth to make tooth impressions, and it
is even related to the seaweed-wrap skin treatment offered at health
spas. Alginate solves the cracking problem by curing to a soft and
rubbery state, and it also captures detail better than plaster.
-- whether they use alginate or not -- will stop at this phase and
cast the finished piece directly in the bodymold. There are two
main problems with this method. First, the bodymold is rarely perfect,
so the finished piece will contain any defects present in the mold.
Second, the bodymold is destroyed as it is peeled from the casting,
so you only have one chance to get it right. If the imperfections
are irreparable or too distracting, your only option is to make
ELS employs a second phase in the process. We cast a wax or plaster
positive from the bodymold, which provides unlimited opportunities
for re-touching or "chasing" the work. Anyone familiar
with foundry casting will recognize this as a standard step in sculptural
casting. The wax positive is painstakingly chased to remove defects
or to fix problems in the pose (sometimes the model will move during
the bodymolding, for instance). During this process we invite the
model to revisit the studio to see how their sculpture is looking.
The model will sometimes see features that they would like to have
altered slightly, and we are happy to re-sculpt the piece to satisfy
their wishes. A good example of this is in the stomach area, a feature
the bodymold tends to capture in its larger 'in-breath' state. It
is usually an easy matter to re-sculpt selected areas to how they
look in normal life, or even better if so desired.
the wax positive is completed to everyone's satisfaction, we
then create a silicone rubber 'master mold' which will be used
to cast the finished work. From this master mold, we can cast
a finished sculpture in just about any material desired, including
bonded bronze, bonded marble, plaster, and resin. If a cast
bronze duplicate is desired, the master mold can also be used
to cast another wax to be used in the 'lost wax' bronze casting
benefit of having the master mold is that it allows us to create
multiple reproductions, something that can benefit both the artists
and the model (see the Modeling section
of this site).