Archive for April 10th, 2015

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e1 Fusing plastic – second session

My previous session (8-April-2015) gave some basic familiarity with the idea of fusing layers of plastic to create a material suitable for stitching or other uses. Time to go a bit further.

Sample p1-25. Three layers of carrier bag, 1 layer fruit bag mesh, 1 layer clear polythene (perhaps – I really don’t know my plastics.) Very roughly 16 x 21 cm

Sample p1-25.

Sample p1-25.


Sample p1-25.

Sample p1-25.


Nice gridded texture. Polythene on front worked well – forms a seal, holds things in. I like the combination of bag pattern and mesh.
Minor distortion in mesh. Can I take advantage of that?

Sample p1-26. The same layer sequence, in an improvised anchoring system.

Sample p1-26.

Sample p1-26.


Sample p1-26.

Sample p1-26.


Sample p1-26.

Sample p1-26.


Some distortion of grid. Might be able to get more with an assistant to hold things.
Good “frill” effect at the end. Some distortion of the base – it will be interesting to see if the bond holds over time.
I can image a form of clothing -say a skirt, with frill and openness at the hemline.

Sample p1-27. Bubble wrap (quite small, thin bubbles) sandwiched between single sheets of carrier bag.

Sample p1-27.

Sample p1-27.


The bubble wrap has been hanging around a while and must have been more popped than I realised. I only heard one pop while ironing – thought it was more pressure than heat – but there is definitely a spacing in the pattern embossed on the surface. Could something be done with that?
The other side:
Sample p1-27.

Sample p1-27.


You might be able to see some cracking in the white of the plastic. It seems to be cosmetic only. Heat? Stretching as the bubble expanded?

Sample p1-28. I found some fresh bubble wrap and pierced some holes (dots of colour to make it clearer).

Sample p1-28.

Sample p1-28.


Hmm – did that without thinking which side will show best. The more bubbly side is up in the photo.
A single layer of bag either side – black so my dots wouldn’t show.
Sample p1-28.

Sample p1-28.


Not good definition on this side.
Sample p1-28.

Sample p1-28.


The photo is tricky, but there is definitely contrast in texture on the other side – unfortunately the writing is mirrored!
A closeup to show the contrast, which I think is very effective.
Sample p1-28.

Sample p1-28.

Sample p1-29. A different approach to texture. I have a plastic grid, which I’ll protect with baking paper. Then a rather crispy carrier bag with spots (to go with the square grid) and four layers of the standard carrier bag.

Sample p1-29.

Sample p1-29.


The flaw in the plan soon became obvious! I couldn’t iron both sides and keep the grid in place.
A metal grid would be a better idea, carrying the heat through.
As it was –
Sample p1-29.

Sample p1-29.


blah!

Sample p1-30. Going back to a previous idea.
This time a hessian grid – quite soft and open, from a garden supplies store. A thin pink plastic one side (I think it was a hotel laundry bag) and two layers of carrier bag on the other.

Sample p1-30.

Sample p1-30.


Interesting things happened while ironing!
Sample p1-30.

Sample p1-30.


Some nice embossing on the carrier bag side. I’d like to try distorting the grid of that open weave. The other side –
Sample p1-30.

Sample p1-30.


Basically no adhesion of the plastic, which distorted and went lacey in an intriguing way.

Sample p1-31. Following up the weave distortion idea, I cut a new piece of hessian and pulled it around.

Sample p1-31.

Sample p1-31.


I chose two layers of carrier bag on one side, one on the other to see if the embossing differs.
Sample p1-31.

Sample p1-31.


How disappointing!
Sample p1-31.

Sample p1-31.


Marginally less disappointing (a vanishingly small margin!)
Sample p1-31.

Sample p1-31.


Backlighting helps. Colour in the plastic could be good too.

Sample p1-32. Returning to that thin pink plastic, I decided to pre-shrink it. (I haven’t been keeping track of dimensions and shrinkage, as it seemed pretty uniform for everything else, but the cutting mat is shown here)

Sample p1-32.

Sample p1-32.


Sample p1-32.

Sample p1-32.


Not promising, but for the sake of the experiment I kept going, with a single layer of clear polythene each side.
Sample p1-32.

Sample p1-32.


Not easy to back light well, but this could actually have promise! Flat on the table it was very drab.

Sample p1-33. More trapping in polythene. A test of thicker materials some – game counters.

Sample p1-33.

Sample p1-33.


The day is getting old so I decided to push a bit harder – counters, feathers and rubber bands between single sheets of thin polythene.
Sample p1-33.

Sample p1-33.


It looks a bit like a bad shower curtain, but it survived!

Sample p1-34. For this I have to backtrack to work done at the beginning of the day, when I was collecting plastics together.
I wanted to make a woven mat of plastic filament to trap between plastic layers. Experimenting with short lengths I realised the filament was too inflexible and too set in a slight curve to manage. I tried pre-shaping parts, using the 3D pen. This is back to accordion pleats, introducing flexibility of a sort.

Sample p1-34a and b.

Sample p1-34a and b.


Initial positioning:
Sample p1-34c.

Sample p1-34c.


It might look a bit crazy, but I am an absolute believer in this. Not the detail, but the overall idea of using the knowledge and skills and techniques from one area and trying to apply them in another. I think that’s the way to develop one’s own work – bring all of your history to bear on the present, not to stifle things but to take them further, in your own direction.
Plus look at the surface distortion! Can I stabilise, perhaps add a surface skin to this?
I picked out the supports and wriggled things around.
Sample p1-34d.

Sample p1-34d.


Not flat, not hugely 3D. I love the way it’s hard to follow a line – a combination of order and chaos – but I also wonder about mixing colours.
Surely I can “trap” this somehow.
It intrigues me.
After consideration, I decided another colour would make the structure clearer.
Sample p1-34e.

Sample p1-34e.


Sample p1-34e.

Sample p1-34e.


At the end of the day I brought out this weaving and ironed it between 1 layer of white carrier bag and 1 layer clear polythene.
Sample p1-34f.

Sample p1-34f.


Another idea that “needs more development”. It stabilised things, but flattened them. No point in that!

(Sidetrack) Sample p1-35. Disappointed, it was time for something completely different.
I went back to the crumpling exercise, using baking paper.

Sample p1-35.

Sample p1-35.


Can I record that in plastic?
Sample p1-35.

Sample p1-35.


Not that way. The hot filament just skidded across the paper, not taking on any of the distortion.

Sidetrack Sample p1-36. Could I support the filament better? I filled a tray with damp sand and pressed the paper shape into it.

Sample p1-36.

Sample p1-36.


Sample p1-36.

Sample p1-36.


The hot filament still came out too quickly, even at the slowest setting, and didn’t settle into the shapes in the sand.
Sample p1-36.

Sample p1-36.


It was a plastic shape, but didn’t tell the story of the paper.

Sidetrack Sample p1-37. Another attempt in the sand tray. I tried to build up a base grid of contour lines, which later lines could attach to and stay in place.

Sample p1-37.

Sample p1-37.


Very approximate.
Sample p1-37.

Sample p1-37.


Not what I was looking for.

Total sidetrack. I needed to build skill with the 3D pen.
fuse_plastic_40
Lots of “not what I was looking for”.
Youtube had the answer. I had been extruding the hot filament constantly. It was going all over the place while still pliable and not holding shapes as I wanted. On the videos people just paused the stream briefly while a short section of filament cooled. A little more, then pause. and again. A lot more control.
I made myself a name plate.
fuse_plastic_41
All of this was build 3D, not flat and assembled. It was either attached to the worksurface or I was holding the work in my hand. I only worked on the flat when putting the letters together.
fuse_plastic_48
fuse_plastic_42
Not a thing of beauty, not well controlled – but with at least some control, and Proper (in my mind) 3D.

Sidetrack Sample p1-38. Back to crumpled paper.

Sample p1-38.

Sample p1-38.


Sample p1-38.

Sample p1-38.


The lines follow the contours of the paper. I am ridiculously pleased.
Sample p1-38.

Sample p1-38.


Sample p1-38.

Sample p1-38.


Sample p1-38.

Sample p1-38.


It’s wobbly and a bit frail, but it was what I was looking for.
Why am I so pleased?
Because I didn’t find it easy but I got there.
Because it’s a fairly accurate record. It goes back to my attraction to traces, memories, shadows.
Because I see it as a new form of sketchbook work (and I need to do more of that). I felt just as conscious and observant and absorbed by the shape as I would be if sketching on paper. I learnt more about the shape, examining it closely as I moved the pen around.
I like the thing itself. There’s a squiggly, lacey, delicate air about it. It almost looks beaded. The shape is interesting and the shadows cast add complexity.

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e1 Fusing plastic – second session
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 3: Heating and fusing
Exercise 1: Fusing plastic


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