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Get to Know a PlanetSoho Member Business: Mold Making & Casting Chicago

When Renee Prisble started Mold Making & Casting Chicago (MMCC), she knew how to make molds and casts out of many kinds of materials, and she knew how to teach people to make molds and casts—after all, she has taught the craft at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for three years. But she didn’t know much about running a small business.

Renee started MMCC because she wanted to share the art of mold making with a wider audience.

“I really enjoy teaching Mold Making and Casting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; it’s one of my favorite classes that I teach,” she says. “Since undergrad, my mind has just loved the ‘inside out, outside in’ way of thinking that mold making is. I guess although I always have so much more to learn, I felt like I could finally help other people with my mold making skills.”

Renee originally envisioned MMCC as a way of assisting other artists by helping them plan projects or by guiding them step-by-step through completion. And she does often do consultations and one-on-one or small-group classes. But as her practice has grown, she has increasingly started working with people who want her to make casts of their bodies, especially pregnant women and women with breast cancer.

“These clients are really fun to work with and tap into an inherent concept associated with mold making, which is memory,” she explains. “Molds and casts are three-dimensional memories.”

She continues, “In my class I introduce this idea to my students using images of fossils, which are the earth’s very own castings or organic materials, and of the plaster casts from Pompeii, capturing a whole society frozen in an unfortunate moment.”

Renee uses many different materials in her mold making and casting projects, and teaches others to work with plaster, paper, plastic, rubber, wax, and even foundry.

“The goal of mold making is to find the right materials to execute the desired result. There are some materials that play well together and there are others that do not,” says Renee. “The whole discipline is understanding many different materials and how they interact with each other, and then often experimenting beyond what I know.”

MMCC allows Renee to do the work she loves and share it with others. But she wasn’t so clear about the busywork of running a business, so she started using PlanetSoho to help with the day-to-day tasks. She says she loves PlanetSoho because it’s “really easy to use!” and it has helped her figure out how to run MMCC.

“I am so very new to running a business that actually just seeing the structure of estimating and invoicing has helped me understand that I need lots of organization and record keeping for this to work,” she explains.

Renee is looking forward to slowly growing MMCC, continuing to teach at SAIC, and starting a new pottery project in the near future. As she expands her artistic and teaching offerings, PlanetSoho will be there to guide her through the business management process, so she has more time to focus on her creativity.


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