Ferrocement was the medium chosen by sculptor Frederic A. Nassaux for creation of the white danseuse Isadora. This composite material gave him plasticity without the massive weight of conventionally cast concrete. It also enabled the artist to work directly in the permanent material of the sculpture, rather than preparing a mold in which the figure would be cast. The work is hollow, and with ferrocement it was possible to leave open some of the receding surfaces to provide an expression of lightness appropriate to the figure. Basic outlines of the figure were first drawn with 1/4-inch mild steel rods. Then forms were defined with layers of galvanized "chicken wire" mesh before the white portland cement mortar was troweled into place.
MIXING THE MORTAR
Equal volumes of white portland cement and white silica sand were mixed with water to give a water-cement ratio of 0.4 or less. An air-entraining admixture was used to improve durability, and a water-reducing plasticizing agent was added to get a workable material while keeping the water-cement ratio low.