Monday, June 23, 2008

Get Plastered! Literally--well, kind of!







Plaster of Paris…and, yes, it does have something to do with Paris! A large gypsum deposit at Montmartre in Paris is the source of the name.

When the dry plaster powder is mixed with water, it re-forms into gypsum. Plaster is used as a building material similar to mortar or cement. When plaster powder is mixed with water, it creates a paste which emits heat and then hardens. It remains quite soft after drying and can be easily manipulated with metal tools or even sandpaper which enables it to be used for finer sculpture work than mortar.


It seems that from the 1930s through the 1950s a demand for the antiquities’ reproductions must have been a popular decorating trend. Two popular manufacturers are Marval Ind Inc and Alexander Backer…see labels below.





I have seen several ethnic styled busts done in African, Asian, and Eastern figurines from both these American companies. I would imagine these were post WWII after we made our mark as a world power, and we were expanding our horizons.

I must confess that I only buy the figurines that appeal to me…they are the angels, the women, the urns...

These figurines do tend to get overlooked at an auction or sale because they are not bronze or marble, yet they have a soft charm about them. And, yes, many times they have some flakes and chips around the edges…but don’t we all?

21 comments:

lisa said...

I so look forward to your post every Monday. I learn something new and I get to see lots of beautiful treasures. Love the pinkand blue cupboard in the last photo.

Lisa
www.palepinkandroses.com

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...

Love the gold figurines in the last photo! It is just beautiful. Thanks for teaching us something about plasters and these treasures.

Pei Li

Craft Diva said...

pretty, pretty, pretty, my dahling!

Shabby in Pink Boutique said...

Oh so pretty! I love all of them! Happy Monday!
Pink Hugs,
Stephanie

Brandie said...

What gorgeous finds! I love that you set yourself apart with all of the thought that you put into this blog. I just love that I learn something everytime I read it!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I love coming to your blog. I learn something new each time. I have several pieces of plaster ladies ready to put in my e-shop. Pink Hugs, Lynn

Patricia said...

Love your blog. The history of the treasures we love is so much fun to learn about.

Pat

gail said...

Hi Susan, I love that I always learn something new from your blog. I remember my Mom had alot of plaster of paris statues around when I was a kid. She must have been a fan. LOL Thanks for sharing...luv gail

Lilli Blue said...

I hope my secret sister reads this story. he he he that's all I'm sayin'. And Susan you are the best. Love the story. I love your blog! What a treat.
Let's get plastered in Paris!
Now there is a goal! LOL

Michelle M. May said...

Love my lessons every Monday! The figures in the last photo are so beautiful.

Hugs,
Michelle

Cottage Flair said...

Great pieces ... and interesting how they are made.
Jennifer

Noelle Garrett Designs said...

Susan,
Seeing these pictures reminds me of being a little girl exploring my Grandma's house. It was overflowing with pieces like this, even a few of her own creation! Just lovely!
Carrie

Susie said...

Susan, Thank you for such a lovely show and tell. My dear Mom used to make puppets out of plaster of paris when we were growing up. Our home was where everyone brought their children to when they had a project....Aunt Bea will help us! I was always surrounded by creativity; hence my appreciation for all the arts.
Susie ~ The Polka Dot Rose

Inka Thomas said...

Susan,
You know I am a big fan of your blog. Again it is wonderful. I love things made of plaster.There is just so much you can do with them.
Inka

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

Susan, You must be a very popular teacher. Your posts are so interesting!

ann furnivall said...

love your blog susan....i always learn something...and your pictures are beautiful....

SoCal Helene said...

Susan, I’m so enjoying your show and tell! Where were you when I went to school? I could have used an inspiring teacher like you!!! Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us.
Carpe Diem!
Helene
Sisters Gift Company

Couture de Papier said...

Beautiful love those colors!

Roxie said...

Oh wow! I love these pieces.

Sharon said...

I have a few chips and dents~ but I am nowhere as gorgeous as your plaster of paris statues.

Mickey K said...

Susan
I am Mickey from Windham Fabrics. Next season we are launching a line called Hankie Club inspired by hankies from the 1950's. I was wondering if I could quote from your blog posting for our salesman's sample cards? Thank you
mickey krueger mickey@baumtextile.com