Sand-cast Plaster & Ferrocement

Sand-cast plaster is a technique Jon learned from Constantino Nivola, an Italian sculptor-in-residence at Harvard's Carpenter Center in 1970. Nivola used this technique for a large bas relief commissioned for the Olivetti showroom in New York City, now installed (with minor painting assistance from Jon) in Harvard's Science Center. The painted wood inserts fill voids from a balcony in the original installation.

For his 1973 senior thesis project, Jon created a series of sculptures in the round using the same technique, applying sand on top of wet plaster to texture faces left exposed by the casting process. Full results may be seen on the Shows page.

1973, untitled, sand-cast plaster, ~15"h x 30"w x 10"d

1973, untitled, sand-cast plaster, ~20"h x 24"w x 8"d

1973, untitled, sand-cast plaster, ~40"h x 28"w x 15"d

1973, untitled, sand-cast plaster, ~30"h x 18"w x 12"d

1973, untitled, sand-cast plaster, ~30"h x 18"w x 10"d

A few years later and back in the Boston area, Jon adopted the technique of ferrocement, constructing an armature of heavy wire mesh and then coating it with cement for durable outdoor sculptures.

Four, 1976, ferrocement, ~20"h x42"w x 30"d

Standing Figure, 1976, ferrocement, ~72"h x 20"w x 16"d

Jon continued this technique at a somewhat larger scale in Madison, Wisconsin, while adapting the armatures themselves (steel rod or tubing covered by wire mesh) as sculptures in their own right, from tabletop pieces to full walkthrough scale. See the mesh page for pictures.

Landscape - Mountains, 1980, ferrocement, ~48"h x 108"w x 30"d

Landscape - Mountains