T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – first session

Starting a new exercise, creating surface distortions using a heat gun.

Sample p1-50. Started very simply, with some coloured carrier bag.

Sample p1-50 Before

Sample p1-50 Before


The table top is covered with loose left-over tiles from a bathroom renovation. They protect the surface and could also be useful in indicating scale.
I aimed at fairly steady heat, seeing how far I could go.
Sample p1-50 After

Sample p1-50 After


Quite a way.
It was difficult to keep the plastic straight, given it was in a hot breeze.

Sample p1-51. Looking for more control. Can I shape the plastic over a mould?
Kinetic sand, turned out from a plastic tub. I’m confident the heat won’t hurt it, or at least not cause it to act in an unstable way, having seen in a video a man use it as a mould for molten aluminium.
Two layers of carrier bag over, with a little more sand at the corners in an attempt to manage flipping up.

Sample p1-51 Before

Sample p1-51 Before


Sample p1-51a. I only nudged the corners once or twice – the shrinking of the plastic was generally strong enought to pull it in.
Sample p1-51a Turned out

Sample p1-51a Turned out


Sample p1-51b. After taking it off the mould I still had unshrunk areas at the corners, plus the layers hadn’t fused in the centre (the base of my new bowl).
I attempted some fine-tuning, freehand.
Sample p1-51b Fine-tuned

Sample p1-51b Fine-tuned


The corners are more integrated, but there wasn’t enough plastic left in the centre to support the extra shrinkage. The layers are now pretty well fused, but holes are appearing.
Can I push that?
Sample p1-51c. It doesn’t really fit the mould any more, but I put it back on to provide some resistance to shrinking, thinking that would encourage holes.
Sample p1-51c Back on mould

Sample p1-51 Back on mould


Sample p1-51c end

Sample p1-51c end


A couple more small holes, but it was mostly the existing ones getting bigger. Perhaps where the layers had already fused there was too much strength, and only the weak points responded.

Sample p1-52. Now looking to create holes, how about a single layer, with blobs of sand scattered to stop flipping and to force uneven shrinkage.

Sample p1-52 Before

Sample p1-52 Before


Sample p1-52 During

Sample p1-52 During


After the first round of heating. Some of the sand blew/slid around. You can tell I’m right-handed.
Sample p1-52a. Some more heating
Sample p1-52a Front

Sample p1-52a Front


Sample p1-52a Reverse

Sample p1-52a Reverse


After shaking the sand off you can see bubbles of undistorted plastic that had been covered. The weight of the sand dots possibly wasn’t enough to stop movement and force holes, but enough to give protection to areas.
How will it respond to heating?
Sample p1-52b. For no particular reason I decided to heat from the reverse side. Nothing much interesting so I did some more from the front.
Sample p1-52b

Sample p1-52b


Seriously uninteresting.

Sample p1-53. Similar idea, but “cheat” by cutting some starter holes.

Sample p1-53 Before

Sample p1-53 Before


Just a little sand in the corners to discourage flipping.
Sample p1-53 During

Sample p1-53 During


Part way through. Always the question of how far to take it, but I might as well keep going and see what happens.
Sample p1-53 After

Sample p1-53 After


I tried to be very conscious of the direction of blowing, working to lift up and “blow out” weak points. At times the plastic stuck slightly to the tiles, which challenged the plan, but I do have a piece of plastic that looks damaged but is actually quite strong.

Sample p1-54 A change of track, wanting to let go of control. I’ve already seen this US postal bag shrink (Sample p1-39). What about a larger piece, which includes some holes cut for the ties and a thicker seam area in the middle?

Sample p1-54 Before

Sample p1-54 Before


Sample p1-54 After

Sample p1-54 After


Lots of shrinkage and surface distortion.
Sample p1-54 Closeup

Sample p1-54 Closeup


Under the light there is a look of icy crystals.
Sample p1-54 Backlit

Sample p1-54 Backlit


Back-lit it looks like an island terrain.
It’s got a little flexibility – I suppose like the crumpled paper – but I wouldn’t want to try stitching through it.

Sample p1-55. A square of foam stuff, used for packing pieces of fruit (it might have been a sleeve for a nashi pear).

Sample p1-55 Before

Sample p1-55 Before


Sample p1-55 After

Sample p1-55 After


Sample p1-55 Backlit

Sample p1-55 Backlit


This changed very quickly, and there is a little discolouration in spots so I wouldn’t want to take it further. I also wouldn’t want to, as it is very nice like this. There is lots of distortion, lots of variation in the size of the grid, it will stretch and move, and is soft enough for easy stitching.

Sample p1-56. A square of bubble wrap.

Sample p1-56 Before

Sample p1-56 Before


Sample p1-56 After

Sample p1-56 After


Unexciting.

Sample p1-57. Some fragments of plastic filament on a layer of carrier bag. I thought everything would blow away, so I put another layer of bag on top and weighed it down.

Sample p1-57 Before - first layer

Sample p1-57 Before – first layer


Sample p1-57 Before - ready to go

Sample p1-57 Before – ready to go


Sample p1-57 During

Sample p1-57 During


Sand and plastic was sliding around, but there is some very interesting surface distortion going on.
Sample p1-57 After

Sample p1-57 After


Sample p1-57 Detail

Sample p1-57 Detail


Sample p1-57 Backlit

Sample p1-57 Backlit


Speechless!
Wonderful!
There’s contortion – trapped, struggling.
There’s sinister visceral wriggling.
There are hidden surprises, a party or fireworks. Or a machine that’s bursting apart. That last photo makes me think of a scroll of glyphs, a story of a journey.

Definitely ideas that could be explored further.

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – first session
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 3: Heating and fusing
Exercise 2: Using a heat gun

4 Responses to “T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – first session”


  1. 1 Yvonne April 19, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Interesting results. But is there any danger from fumes from the plastics?

  2. 2 fibresofbeing April 20, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I think there could be. I work in a very well ventilated area, don’t stand right over the work and don’t heat to the point it burns or blackens. I don’t get to the higher temperatures which I’ve read are an issue.
    I wouldn’t do it if I had a history of respiratory troubles, and I’ve been watching myself for any reactions – breathing trouble, headaches, bad throat…
    Is that enough? I don’t know.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – second session | Fibres of Being Trackback on April 20, 2015 at 7:26 pm
  2. 2 T1-MMT-P1 Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on May 23, 2015 at 7:47 pm

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