Lifecasting: The Materials and Process

Life casting - Artists hands, bronze

When making a lifecast sculpture, the McLeods use molds to create a 3-dimensional replica of a model, who could be either human or animal. Lifecasting is a complex process—the model must be present for molds to be created in person around whichever element of the body is being sculpted. After the initial time investment for molding and live sitting, the rewards of the final sculpture are great: the degree of fine detail and accuracy offered by lifecasting is unmatched in other representational sculptural processes.

Because of the complexity of the process, it’s much more common with lifecasting to cast a poetic moment in relation to the body. For example, a woman’s pregnancy, or even the negative space between two clasped hands, rather than an entire figure. The intimacy afforded by such an accurate representation infuses a lifecast piece with unmatched sentimental value for the model, as well as for the recipient of such a commission.

You could describe lifecasting as a “photographic” sculptural medium because it offers such a direct replication of the subject, but it also offers a wide range of opportunity for creative intervention. Once the mold has been made from the model, there is an extraordinary variety of media that can be used to cast the final piece. You could cast the final sculpture in metals such as heirloom quality bronze, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, or glass. For something novel, you could even cast it in silicon, soap, chocolate, or even ice, for special events. Once a mould is produced, the possibilities are endless.

Whether you are interested in commissioning a pregnancy portrait of a belly, capturing the handprints of a child or grandparent, or casting a portrait of your pet, lifecasting offers preternatural accuracy and a poetic encapsulation of a moment in time. The McLeods have wide experience in lifecasting and commissioned portraits, and would love to work with you to realize your vision with lifecasting. Contact us today for a consultation.