I’ve been sitting on that title for a long time now. It makes me giggle.
At the very end of last semester, my dear friend Andrea – who is an art major – had a request for me.
She wanted me to help her papier mache her body, for art.
It was for an art final, and in context the idea is really super cool, but for the purposes here, all you need to know is that I was enlisted to help her papier mache a cast of her body. (Because when it’s your body, there’s only so much you can papier mache on your own, you know?)
So one day after dinner, we packed up the supplies – Elmers glue, many stolen newspapers, bowls of warm water, vaseline – and set up shop on the cold concrete floor of the art studio.
Andrea vaselined up (literally the most disgusting thing ever in the history of the world, but getting permanently papier-macheed seemed worse). We started with just a layer of water and newspaper in the hope that it would help it come off easier later.
We got a full paper layer on and were about to mix the glue when one of the art profs came in and inquired into our goings-on. When we told her, her face did not communicate a great enthusiasm.
“Papier mache can take over a day to fully dry,” she said. “Have you thought about using plaster instead?”
She then proceeded to show us how to use plaster bandages, which dry very quickly (and would thus not require Andrea to live on the art studio floor the whole night and more). Basically, she saved my dear good buddy from hypothermia, which was really rather kind.
So we disposed of the papier mache products, refilled the bowls with warm water (that cooled all too quickly), and started from square one with the plaster bandages.
First of all, it looked really freaking cool. Plaster? Very fun to apply!
To be the one to whom plaster is being adhered, however … not as joyful. I don’t know if you’re aware, but concrete floors are cold. And when you’re getting lukewarm water dripped onto you consistently for over an hour, that’s not exactly what the kids call comfortable.
It was not the best time for my buddy.
What was fun, however, was watching people walk into the art studio at various parts of this process. The looks on faces and the explanation never cheapened, my dudes, never cheapened.
We called in reinforcements – Andrea’s boyfriend and roommate – for plaster cast removal, which actually came off almost entirely in one piece. (And, I repeat, looked really freaking cool.)
Anyway. That’s when Andrea and I got plastered.
Thank you, and goodnight.