Life casting brings forth unique risks and challenges as a live human being is involved in the process.
Life casting is a beautiful art of creating a spitting replica of the living human body in three dimensional form. Molding and casting techniques are used to capture the shape of the body and reproduce its likeness.
However, the challenges in making a body mold are definitely much higher than when making molds of inanimate objects. The fact that the model is alive and breathing will complicate matters a lot. Some of the inherent risks are:
The model’s health and safety is a prime concern. The mold making material should be safe for the skin and completely non-toxic. You have to check for allergic reactions as well. This is why organic alginate derived from natural seaweed is mostly preferred for life casting. Yet, patch tests are always advisable.
Generally, you can apply a hot mold making material on an inanimate object. You don’t even have to worry about the material heating as it cures. This obviously is a big no-no in life casting. Plaster is generally not applied directly on the human body as the heat produced can be uncomfortable for the model and can even cause burns on sensitive skin. Plaster bandages are only used to reinforce the alginate mold or to make form molds such as from the abdomen.
The pose in which the model will be cast has to be carefully planned, discussed and practiced to avoid distress or injuries later. The mold making has to be completed in a short span of time as the model may not be able to hold the pose or even lie still for long. Some models become anxious when enclosed in a mold or may even end up fainting. Therefore, all materials and other preparations have to be done beforehand to avoid wasting time during the mold making. Having an assistant at hand is quite helpful.
The artist also has to be particularly careful when applying the mold making material. It should be applied gently like a soft massage, but without taking too much time over it. And you obviously don’t want to end up covering the model’s nose in any manner. In fact, keeping the nostrils open and clear is a major concern during life casting. The mold making material should not even go into the eyes due to improper application.
Think you can breathe a sigh of relief once the mold making material has been applied? Well, think again as you still have to demold the body mold from the model’s body. This brings the possibility of fine body hair getting snagged in the mold and causing discomfort to the model. The mold will not come away easily either. Consider the possibility beforehand and coat the body part with a liberal dose of release agent or petroleum jelly. And the model will thank you infinitely if you cover the head with a bald cap or even a shower cap!
Happy mold making and life casting!