Cast paper sculpture has been around since the 1950s, originating in Mexico. It should in no way be confused with papier-mâché’. The two mediums are completely different. In cast paper sculpture, the Eckmans first mix an acid-free paper pulp in the studio (“hydro-pulper” from two raw stocks, cotton and abaca). Then, the pulp is cast into silicone rubber molds taken from original sculptures created by Allen and Patty.
The paper is then pressed under vacuum pressure—or by hand—in the mold, where most of the water is extracted at the same time. The drying process is completed by evaporation while the paper is still in the mold. After the dry and hard casts are removed from the molds, the exclusive process of chasing, cast additions, cast alterations, sculpting in paper and detailing begins.
It takes a great amount of time and experience to create each piece. Some works are so painstakingly detailed; they can take many months to complete. The cast paper process is similar to the cast bronze method in many ways. Of course, the finished cast paper product is white, lightweight, and can have an enormous amount of detail due to its properties and the artists’ own inventiveness.
The Eckmans are the inventors of this process. Eckman Method® of Cast Paper Sculpture is a proprietary trademark. Since 1988, Patty and Allen have developed and perfected the medium of cast paper far beyond any other artists in the world. Their work is considered by many critics to be the premier of the industry. Since the paper is acid-free, the sculptures are all museum quality.