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History of Plaster

Where has it come from?
What is it usually used for?
What is it like as a medium?

Plaster can be used in a decorative way to create moulding and decorative relief designs. 

The process of creating plasterwork, called plastering or rendering, has been used in building construction for centuries.

Plaster decoration was widely used in Europe in the Middle Ages where, from the mid-13th century, gypsum was used for internal and external plaster.

The plaster is manufactured as a dry powder and is mixed with water to form a stiff but workable paste immediately before it is applied to the surface. The reaction with water liberates heat through crystallisation and the hydrated plaster then hardens.


Plaster can be relatively easily worked with metal tools or even sandpaper, and can be moulded, either on site or to make pre-formed sections in advance, which are put in place with adhesive. Plaster is not a strong material; it is suitable for finishing, rather than load-bearing, and when thickly applied for decoration may require a hidden supporting framework, usually in metal.

Clay Plaster 

Clay plaster is a mixture of clay, sand and water with the addition of plant fibres for tensile strength over wood lath.

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