“Molding” and “casting” can be used to describe a wide range of materials and processes.
At Bloom, a recent exhibition by members of Primrose Paper Arts, there were a number of works which could fit within my research area.
From the artist’s statement: “Bloom was a porous mass of iron and slag produced in the early smelters. My papers have been cast over the melted metal remains of a car burnt out in the dark of the night outside our studio at Primrose Park, and seedpods found after a bushfire in Victoria.”
This work appears to be a result of “casting” as used in the course notes. Paper pulp has been used to capture the texture of another surface.
The textures are varied with a combination of organic and geometric shapes. Containing this within the rectangular sheets the paper and then together in the larger frame provides a formality and order at contrast to the imagined chaos of a burnt-out car. The narrative as well as the irregular forms adds to the interest of the work.
The colours used in the paper have a subdued warmth and in the afternoon light held shadows that assisted the viewer to appreciate the quality of surface that had been created. The metallic overtones link to the back-story and the theme of the exhibition.
In a second work by Jill Elias some of the cotton paper had much greater depth, which I’ve attempted to capture in a side-view photograph. I believe these elements were cast/molded over seed-pods.
Using the lens of my current research the processes and differing results are interesting. However as an artwork I find this less successful than that shown previously. The individual elements seem too neatly placed, presented to our attention, rather than combined into a composition. The diagonal line of white is too orderly, too constrained, to add any dynamism to a static arrangement. The drama of the back-story has been stifled. Comparing the two works, Out of Ashes 1 could seem even more controlled, but there is a clear distinction between the molded paper and the subordinated mounting.
Thinking of possible applications in my course sampling, casting/molding paper can clearly be very effective in capturing surface texture and can adapt to unusual source materials. The soft textured surface created is very attractive. If multiple source pieces are used in a single page it could be very difficult to predict the positive and negative forms that will result from the combination given individual shapes and then the relief effect. Lighting could be significant.
These two forms by Rosemary Christmas are handmade paper pulp on a wire frame and were included in the Bloom exhibition.
I find them very engaging. Light brings out the deep folds of the underlying wire frame, with the inconsistent cover of the pulp creating deeper shadows emphasising the forms and volume. The plain white of the paper provides a dimension of simplicity. Placed side by side the two vessels combine and respond to each other in a more complex composition of echoing shapes and lines.
It would be easy when describing the works to use the terms “cast” and “molding”, and I probably would have used those terms in the past, but I don’t believe the processes used or the result fit within the assignment parameters. That doesn’t mean ruling this out as a line of investigation, but it would be a side track.
Eggpicnic and Future Nature
Future Nature is a project at the Australian Design Centre (ADC) in partnership with the nearby Australian Museum. It’s a mixture of art, science and design, exploring possible futures. Currently there are a number of designers in residence at ADC including Eggpicnic, Christopher Macaluso and Camila De Gregorio, with an exhibition opening 27 August. The ADC website promises that the resident artists will be “exposing their creative process as they design for the exhibition” and Christopher and Camila certainly lived up to that when I visited last week, being incredibly generous with their time, information, and general enthusiasm and interest.
The work table was an exciting jumble, but you may be able to see a number of examples of casting and molding.
For this project the duo are interested in bio-degradable containers and have been experimenting with different combinations of widely available ingredients. Given their inspiration at the Museum there is a strong scientific slant with petri dishes and lab beakers. The actual experimentation seems very open, with many of the base materials available at supermarkets. Cornstarch, salt and water were prominent, but peanut shells and Xanthorrea resin were also to be seen.
In theory I could create similar mixes as part of my course work, but I have concerns about longevity, quarantine and general practicality. Some of their samples were degrading, a couple had mold growing – not suitable for posting work to the UK for assessment next year. However the general approach of open-mindedness, risk-taking, and iterative experimentation was inspiring. They also shared information about resources, including www.instructables.com/ and a possible source for eco resin.
For the facade of this shopping centre / office block Marti wove ropes to create a work which became the pattern for silicon molds. Panels were cast using glassfibre reinforced concrete, as precast concrete and the associated support structure was estimated to be too heavy. There are photos of the original sculpture and the process of making mold and final cast at urbanartprojects.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/the-making-of-baroque-minimalism-dani-marti/. The end result takes my attention every time I walk past it, but given I’m a weaver perhaps a better indicator is how frequently I see people who have stopped to look at and touch the wall. I think there’s the surprise that it’s panels of concrete rather than individual possibly organic parts, but it also is simply very inviting to the touch. The molding and casting process was very effective in capturing the textures of the original sculpture.
From my research so far this process of making a mold and then taking a cast is very common. It’s not precisely covered in the course exercises, but there could be some wriggle room towards the end of the second project. Certainly I am keen to use textile techniques and particularly weaving as a source of texture and this work suggests one path towards that. I will need to consider my material choices carefully to keep options open.
For my response to a very different exhibition of work by Dani Marti see 22-October-2012.
T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Local Research
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting