Casted Plaster: Art or Craft?
22 - 24 November 2023

Casted Plaster: Art or Craft?

Maastricht Institute of Arts, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Rocaille, Stichting Het Nederlandse Interieur
22-23-24 November 2023

In recent years, cast plaster ornaments and figures have regained interest. Plaster collections of nearly 200 years old are being dusted off and are regaining their place in art history. In addition, old cast building ornaments are now in need of maintenance, replacement or restoration. At home and abroad, increasing attention is being paid to the preservation of these collections. Most recently in a 2021 symposium in Lisbon "The Art of Plaster - between creation and reproduction - study and preservation." In Maastricht, Bureau Europa presented the topic with Stucco Storico in 2019. In 2015, during "Casting, a way to embrace the digital age in an analogue fashion" in Berlin, this topic was discussed extensively and very diversely.

The aim of the congress and exhibition is to create both national and international attention to the application of cast plaster in three manifestations: the building ornament, plaster models for art (craft) education and plaster moulds in the ceramic industry. Contemporary applications in interior construction, art education and ceramic production are also discussed.

The use of casting moulds to make interior ornaments dates back to Roman times. From the Renaissance onward, we see the use of casting moulds to manufacture repeating elements on walls and ceilings increasing again. As cast building ornaments began to be manufactured industrially, their use takes off in the 19th century, and can be found in countless interiors in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Plaster is also used to make casts of numerous objects up to and including humans and animals. For the study of art objects, collections are established from the Renaissance onward. In Maastricht, a large sculpture collection has been preserved within the Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In 2023, this collection exists 200 years. Ample reason to draw attention to this category. To this day, casts are made in Paris, London, Brussels and Berlin, among others. The universities of Lisbon and Strasbourg, for example, are proud of their large collections and also build parts of their curriculum around them.

Plaster moulds also play a role in the production of ceramics. With the start of industrialization, two types of plaster moulds come into use: printing jigs and casting moulds. Plaster moulds are particularly practical for both processes because the plaster absorbs water from the clay or from the casting clay, thus speeding up the process of drying. To this day, plaster moulds are used in the manufacture of ceramic objects. A ceramics and plaster workshop should not be lacking in arts and crafts education (design).

The conference will take place 22-23-24 November 2023 in Maastricht, and is a collaboration between Maastricht Institute of Arts, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, Rocaille and Stichting Het Nederlandse Interieur.

For more information, click here.