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Laurie (1978)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Laurie Wheatley prepares his backyard to begin a life-size sculpture of a shipyard welder. He begins to build a full-size maquette. Having completed the framework, he applies layers of clay, working from a photograph and a smaller, plaster maquette. Working carefully by hand, he builds up and shapes the figure. Gradually, the form and features become apparent. Laurie moves on to the fine detail of the face and hands.

The figure is finally ready for moulding. Having prepared the figure for moulding, Laurie begins to apply the wet plaster by hand, carefully splashing it over the whole surface of the figure. With the aid of an assistant, he then applies the outer framework of the mould. Once the plaster has set, they begin to split the mould, lifting the sections away carefully from the clay figure beneath. Having removed one side of the mould, Laurie pulls the clay away from the other side, section by section. After this, he cleans the inside surfaces of the mould before coating them with a layer of shellac. Laurie follows this with a layer of plaster, liberally applied with a brush. With an assistant, a layer of sackcloth is then laid over the wet plaster. This is bound to central steel supports with more rolled sacking, soaked in plaster, and more plaster and sacking applied over the whole interior surface.

After more drying time, Laurie removes the outer plaster mould with hammer and chisel, revealing the plaster figure beneath. Having mixed a dark, bronze-like paint, Laurie applies this to the figure, working until he achieves a satisfactory finish. Laurie inspects and admires the finished figure before disappearing into his workshop.