After making plaster casts of the sidewalks with fascinating patterns; sidewalks where Nobel Prize winning scientists as well as science students marched and pondered, I let the plaster dry in the summer sun. Plaster cures as it dries and becomes stronger, and lighter. Moving wet plaster is risky.
In my studio I used a cartapesta technique, pressing the special paper into the plaster mold. Traditionally Italian artisans use eight layers of paper. Each succeeding layer is a bit bigger than the previous layer. The layering of size and direction of paper bolsters the strength of the end product.
I applied fabric to the back–just one thin layer of cotton or poly. Fabric provided additional reinforcement. I didn’t know at the time exactly what the end result of the project would be and didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the final result with thickness. I was thinking textured painting that didn’t sit flat against the wall but rather floated on the wall. Eventually I attached canvas stretchers to the back. The stretchers were smaller that the rectangle of the print, thus serving to “float” the painting.