Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now that I have a moment to breathe...

Okay. I will now explain the face.

As part of my theater coursework, I had to take a stage makeup course that focused on prosthetics; fake noses, eye bags, chins, etc. In order to fabricate such things, you have to have a plaster positive of your face first.

There's no way you can do this to yourself, this is a teamwork kind of project. You have to sit still, breathe shallowly, and NOT move for over an hour. Not the easiest thing. We used alginate for the first step. Alginate is that nasty stuff the dentist puts in that tray and shoves it in your mouth until you feel like you're going to gag/suffocate, and then when it's hard enough, he rips it out of your mouth and you're amazed he didn't rip out your teeth with it. The near suffocating sensation is still there, but it actually feels good on your face. You can opt to put straws in your nose, or you hold your breath, your teammate covers your nose with gunk and then you get one hard blow out of your nose to create noseholes in the gunk. The trick is to breathe in softly right afterwards so the gunk doesn't get sucked up your sinuses..

Once the alginate solidifies, wet plaster bandages are draped over the face until it's completely covered. Then you wait for the plaster bandages to harden and dry. Plaster bandages are interesting. They heat up as they dry. When the bandages are cool again, you know you're done. Then the fun part begins.

You bend forward holding the mold in your hands and you start scrunching up your face and wiggling your nose to detach your face from the mold. Beforehand you remembered to smear petroleum jelly over all facial hair and the hair along the edge of the face so the mold would detach. If you didn't, ouch, you hair stays in the mold. Once the face is out, the team has to work gently but quickly. Alginate shrinks. It has to be patted dry, your sweat doesn't mix with plaster, and plaster has to be gradually poured in and patted so the bubble float to the surface. The now filled mold sits in a nest of styrofoam peanuts or cotton while the plaster sets for a day or two. Coming out of the mold, your skin feels super soft.

Then you take the plaster cast out, and voila! You get to see all your imperfections in sharp detail. You can't see this in the photos, but I could pick out individual eyebrow hairs in the plaster. And some WERE actual eyebrow hairs.

My lips were kind of deformed in this casting. I was trying to stay too relaxed I guess, and the weight of all that stuff grabbed my bottom lip and pulled it down. I don't normally look that pouty.

So, now that the crows feet are starting to march across my face, I can always look back to when I was younger and had much smoother skin. Kinda creepy, but hey.


Elaine said...

Oh, that's so crazy! I don't think I would be NOT unable to move for an hour.. lol!

Don't forget to enter to win a tankini of your choice!

Pam said...

Claustrophobia! Anyone?
I wouldn't have made it. Did your grade depend on it?

Lourie said...

I could handle not moving for an hour, but to have that stuff covering my whole face, no. I am claustrophobic. I would be fighting a full scale panic attack.

mormonhermitmom said...

Oh yeah, my grade depended on it. And what's embarrassing is that the prof thought the team had squished my cast's nose until he tipped my head back and looked at my real nose. "Oh. I guess it's okay." Sheesh.

Sarah Bishop Jackson said...

What an ordeal for a grade. :) I don't know if I could have done it. But, got a mold of your face to pass down.

Andrew said...

He looked down his nose to look up yours? Well, talk about picking your friend's ... uh, never mind.