The Laboratory for Plaster primarily works with the sculpting, moulding and casting of plaster, but students will also work with concrete and explore mural techniques such as mosaics and fresco painting. Students will be taught how to create rubber or plaster moulds of objects and figures; this may include moulds taken after works sculpted by the student themselves.
Casting may be done in plaster or concrete, and the same moulds can also be used for lost-wax casting (cire perdure) in bronze. Furthermore, the teaching includes traditional plasterer’s methods, such as how to create crisply finished figures by means of zinc templates.
The Academy still owns a substantial segment of its old collection of plaster casts; this collection clearly demonstrates the great importance that sculptors have long attributed to casts after older sculptures.