Old hand at casting hands

UPON entering artist Michelle Lim's home studio in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, one cannot help but marvel at the sculptures of hands and feet displayed on a shelf and walls. 

The three dimensional (3D) masterpieces are incredibly real and life-like, capturing every wrinkle, crease and fine line. 

Looking at the cast of a mother's hand gripping her young daughter's definitely leaves one with a warm feeling. 

“This is my hand holding my little daughter Chantelle's hand when she was six last year,” said Lim, 41, proudly. 

She said she started doing 3D hands and feet casting as a hobby about 11 years ago when she made a cast of her one-year-old nephew’s foot. Since then, she had created many hand and feet casts of family members and friends. 

Artist Michelle Lim loves playing with hands.She studies them.Every wrinkle,crease or line gets her attention.Enter her home studio in Penang's Tanjung Bungah and you will know why.

Lim said she liked making the sculptures because she would not only see but could almost feel the hands and feet of her loved ones. 

“They are unique and lasting keepsakes,” she said. 

Lim said each cast was indivi- dually handcrafted to capture every tiny crease and wrinkle right down to the toenails and finger- nails.  

She added that the mould was made of stone powder and “something from Michelle Lim's secret recipe”, depending on the skin texture. 

“It takes one to three minutes to make the mould of the hand or foot and several days for the cast to be dried,” she said. 

After that, the sculpture has to be “cleaned” with a sculpturing tool before it is sprayed with acrylic stone paint. 

Lastly, the cast is mounted on frames and sometimes, with metal plates engraved with a poem, sentimental messages or relevant details such as age and name. 

“Each casting is specially designed to the individual’s requirements, de-pending on the occasion such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and friendship,” said Lim. 

Her creations included a cast of a piano teacher's hands on a keyboard and another of an artist's hand holding a paintbrush. 

People began commissioning her to make the casts when they got to know about her creations by word of mouth and she turned it into a business a year ago. 

Lim's oldest client was a 91-year-old woman who wanted a cast of her hand while the youngest was a three-month-old baby who did a foot cast. 

“We are always fascinated by our little one's hands and feet but before long, we find it hard to remember just how small and cute they really are,” she said. 

Lim planned to introduce hand and foot imprints as souvenirs for tourists visiting Penang. 

Besides 3D casting, Lim said she had also done various artworks such as woodcarving, glass sculpturing, stone art, ostrich eggshell painting as well as using recyclables to create art pieces. 

“I like to create things since young. It gives me a sense of satisfaction when I look at the finished art work,” said Lim, a diploma holder in interior design. 

Those interested in Lim’s 3D casts can contact her at 012-5117773 or 04-8997371 or e-mail cherish2 moments@yahoo.com  

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