Rachel Dein (previously) chooses to immortalize plants that might otherwise wither away shortly after their appearance in the spring. Dein places theses flowers, vegetables, and foliage in arrangements within clay, making an impression of the plants before applying a layer of plaster. Once hardened, the initial clay is peeled way to reveal a relief formed by the delicate leaves and buds. A silicon rubber mold is then used to cast each tile in plaster using the shades of light white, green, or blue.
Dein sells her botanical work on her Etsy shop, a selection of which will be included in the Chelsea Flower Show this May, and in her first solo exhibition at Hampton Court this July. You can see more of her plant-based tiles on her Instagram.
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London-based artist Rachel Dein has spent the last few years perfecting the art of plaster casting, an admittedly straightforward process of pressing objects into clay and then filling the voids with combinations of plaster and concrete. However Dein’s time spent as a prop making apprentice for the English National Opera, The Globe Theatre, and The Royal Opera House, has greatly influenced her techniques, elevating a simple craft process into something else entirely.
Dein’s plaster cast tiles can be quite large, measuring nearly 16″ square (40 x 40cm) and are composed of unusual plant life including iberis, Welsh poppies, lilac, dicentra, hellebore and others. Each cast can only be used once, so every object is one-of-a-kind. “I enjoy the magic of plaster casting to create fossils from everyday life, whether it’s a shell found on holiday, your grandmother’s treasured lace, a Christening gown, or the flowers from your wedding,” she says.
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