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Hollow Form Casting: Memory


Diablo Valley College



Course Level

Beginning Sculpture


Conversation points for instructors

This is a great online project as it is low tech, but introduces the idea of casting an object/object transfer. We also like that it fits well into the theme of memory. Luke Damiani and I have done this project successfully in a fully online asynchronous class. We find the Q&A discussion to be very helpful (if you don’t have a synchronous zoom component), as well as the check-in for ideas and the in-progress crit discussion.


Luke Damiani was inspired by the paper casting projects of Leonardo Drew and the packing tape sculpture installations of Mark Jenkins. Conceptually we were also inspired by Do Ho Suh, Doris Salcedo, and Kiki Smith's paper works.



Project Prompt / Challenge

For this project, we will explore the technical process of hollow form casting using tape OR paper. With this process, you will create an artwork that explores the theme of memory, giving it a personal meaning. Make sure to read through this entire page for explanation, especially the professional artists examples slide show, linked below.




You will "cast" 3 objects in either clear tape or paper. The objects should not be smaller than 5" in one direction. You can go as large as you want, but beware of costs of materials and time. The final project needs to be 20" minimum altogether. Finding the right objects takes some time. The objects should be something personal. It can be man made or nature made. 


For technical reasons, it is best to find objects that don’t have too much texture or details, that don’t have holes all the way through, and that are simple. The object should also be rigid. The material of the original object doesn't matter as much, but be aware that you need to cut or slice the paper or tape off, and sometimes you need to pry the casting off, so make sure it isn't an heirloom object. It is possible to cast body parts too. If you have clay at home, you can also sculpt a form to create a cast from your created object. 


After going through the processes for tape or paper casting, you will remove your "casting" from the original object.  Your result will be a “shell” of the object to work with creatively.



Your created object “shell” will be very light weight, translucent (tape), and hollow. Conceptually, you now have a "ghost" form. This empty form is full of conceptual qualities to explore for the content of this project, for example, it can provoke notions of loss, emptiness, etc. but most importantly for us in regard to this project, it invites notions of MEMORY from viewers. Consider: What can your piece say about your history? ...or place? ...or of loss? ...or of emptiness? Focus on the theme of memory (yes it is a broad theme!) and use one of the three approaches below to create your final artwork.


1. You will create 3 hollow forms and then arrange them in a composition together. 

You can arrange in a line or stack them. The result is much like a "still life" of YOU. In this case, choose objects to create the hollow castings that are meaningful to you and that you have some history with. 


2. Combine objects to create a personal narrative. 

You can combine the forms, and turn them into one object. If you want to use a figurative body part, this option is probably best. The same is true if you want to add mixed media (other materials). Combining, or creating hybrid forms allows you to create a type of narrative work. Various artists in the professional artist slideshow are taking this approach to the theme of memory. As the sculptor Leonardo Drew states about his art, "There is the artwork that you physically make, but there is also the journey that happens on the inside”. We imbue objects with meaning, and the viewer experiences something that is not always literal, but maybe more emotional, like poetry for example. Remember, you do not have to share more than you are comfortable with when we critique the artworks, either!


3. You can place your objects in a setting/site that gives them added context.

In visual art, we call this "site-specific" work. This is what the artist Mark Jenkins does with his artwork. You'll see a lot of examples of that in the slide show. In his case, by placing the hollow cast object in an environment, its connection to a specific site gives it more meaning. In these cases, the objects often work as social commentaries or become playful comments on how we occupy space in the world. Site specific work is also a great opportunity to play with the lightweight qualities of this technique.


If you have another approach you’d like to take with this theme, let me know.  I’m happy to discuss the possibility of your pushing the boundaries of this project creatively.


Option 1: paper mache over simple objects with vaseline, seran wrap, paper, adhesive

Option 2: clear packing tape over simple objects with vaseline, seran wrap, clear tape.


Tools: hot glue, scissors, exacto knife, stapler


We presented this project as a module over 4 weeks. Before the completed sculpture submission, we had weekly assignments: Q&A discussion, check-in with professor assignment of ideas & in-progress critique.


Support / Video Resources:


Theme of Memory & Inspirational Artists


Hollow Form Casting: 

Packing Tape 


Hollow Form Casting: 

Paper Mache



Mark Jenkins' packing tape sculpture

Leonardo Drew's cast paper installation

Do Ho Suh

Doris Salcedo

Kiki Smith paper works

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