PaperCity Magazine

April 2017 - Houston

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81 I n the age of Internet startups, the acquisition of an 87-year- old artisanal plaster company seems an unlikely investment for a pair of Dallas Highland Park High School grads. But recently, Mark Marynick, 33, and Porter Fuqua, 30, inked a deal to buy historic Dallas- based Casci Plaster. Buying Casci was a weighted investment — they've taken on the task of caring for an important part of Texas' architectural and design heritage. On a recent afternoon, Marynick, dressed in jeans and neon-orange Nikes, and Fuqua, in khakis and button-down shirt, escort a visitor through Casci's massive warehouse. It's a froth of white, with an inventory of more than 4,000 cast stone and plaster molds for cornices, brackets, corbels, mantels, and other decorative elements, some designs dating to the 1930s. Among them are columns from the Texas School Book Depository; delicate butterfl ies, bees, and woodland creatures commissioned by the Fort Worth Botanic Garden; an ornate domed ceiling with a design that originated from the Palais Garnier in Paris. Casci's seven craftsmen, including foreman Jesus Garcia, who has worked at the fi rm for more than 22 years, are giving Marynick painstaking, hands-on lessons in the ancient craft. Casci's specialized tools come from Italy, many dating to the early 1900s, and workers still use the same techniques that craftsmen have used for centuries in Europe to make plaster — a mixture of gypsum, hemp, and water. In the late 1970s, Casci stopped using traditional animal fat molds in favor of modern silicone AN 87-YEAR-OLD HERITAGE WORKROOM GETS A NEW LIFE. THE DIE IS CAST BY REBECCA SHERMAN. PHOTOGRAPHY PÄR BENGTSSON. The workshop at Casci Plaster

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