T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Review

The rhythm of work has changed during this assignment. Rather than the rush and buzz of one sample leading to new questions and new samples in quick succession, both molding and casting took time to set up a sample, and casting in particular required time before the results could be seen. There were more technical constraints in the materials – change proportions too far or misjudge temperatures and the sample might crumble or refuse to set.

I responded in two main ways. Having identified huge potential in early trials of my initial materials I chose to concentrate on exploring them in more depth. Other materials such as silicone and papier mâché remained in the cupboard, to be explored another day. My second response was to slow down even further, to spend time thinking about results with sketchbook work, deciding which ideas to take forward, trying to make each sample respond to different questions.

My results include some strong samples and of course some failures. Of great interest to me is the potential for combinations of materials, either in the actual making or in display groupings.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills
My four chosen materials provided a wide range of properties and potential, as well as combining in exciting ways.

Sample p3-12

Sample p3-12

I had already experimented with polymorph, a thermoplastic, in a sidetrack during assignment 1 (21-April-2015) and it has appeared in a number of samples since. In this assignment I was able to push it further, finding new ways to melt and form it as a molding material, and to embellish it with heat tools and stitch.

ComposiMold, a pliable, reusable material fairly new to the market, is rich with potential. I poured and brushed it, stitched into it and embellished with heat tools and a 3D plastic pen. I identified a number of possible constraints – heat, humidity, longer term stability. Lacing through holes was the most successful join with polymorph, but the “failures” were interesting in their own right. The two materials, one more glossy and clear, the other opaque, both responding to heat, work well at a similar scale and are an effective combination as seen in sample p3-12 (1-September-2015).

Sample p3-51

Sample p3-51

Plaster and an eco resin (intended for laminating rather than casting) proved another exciting combination. Once again there are contrasts in transparency and reflective properties. Sample p3-51 (26-September-2015) is in my view the single most successful response to the brief of exploring the interior space of a vessel.

Sample p3-46 side view

Sample p3-46 side view

A failure of casting using plastic ziplock bags (samples p3-33 and p3-35) led to the observation of dribbles of resin, and in turn to one of the most dramatic samples, organza embedded in resin (p3-46, 23-September-2015). The textile itself had previously appeared in a number of samples – distorted with a heat gun in sample p1-75 (21-April-2015) and joined in sample p2-28 (17-June-2015). I think the current sample is one of the most powerful produced in this assignment, presenting textile in an exciting and novel way.
Quality of outcome
I continue to use this blog to communicate all aspects of my work on this course, including research, making, recording, sketching, sorting and reflecting. All samples and sketchbook work are photographed and presented.

Taking my use of technology further I set up a new pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/mixed-media-for-textiles-assignment-3/. This does not include any commentary but gives a quick visual overview of all samples and easy access to the original blog posts with more information. I found this very useful, particularly while Sorting but also as a quick way to refer back to previous work, so created boards for assignments 1 (here) and 2 (here).

In feedback my tutor has recommended that I continue to develop the language I use to discuss my work. In assignment 2 I experimented with a number of different “voices”, which felt stilted and also overly formal, not modern. In this assignment I have tried to develop in a more natural way, just slightly more objective and more open. I have attempted to be more consciously aware of the language used by artists during my research and general viewing and to adopt scraps of phrasing that seemed appropriate to my own work. If I have been successful specific instances should be virtually undetectable other than as part of a general slight improvement.

As for the actual samples I believe I been able to address the course requirements with some interesting and exciting results.

Demonstration of creativity

Sample p3-11 Inside out

Sample p3-11 Inside out

I enjoy the exploratory sampling approach encouraged by this course. The attractive little bowl of sample p3-11 (26-August-2015) grew from an observation of ComposiMold in sample p3-8. In turn it led to p3-25 (6-September-2015) – itself a rather disappointing result, intended to capture the space of a mug as a variant to the successful p2-70.

I certainly have the sense of developing an approach, a process, that will support ongoing creative exploration and expression. It is incredibly satisfying to bring forward ideas from previous experience. There have been failures – sample p3-52 (26-September-2015) was a truly awful attempt to use the crumpled paper of assignment 1 as a source of embedding in plaster (lesson – respect the short pot-life of plaster). In the same work session sample p3-51 was an exciting success, bringing forward the wrapping and tying of assignment 2. This was the last major cast of the assignment and I threw ideas at it. From my notes at the time: “I had no idea if this combination could work, which seemed a good reason to try.” I am very pleased by the outcome of the risk taken, but I am also confident that I would have been pleased with a failure which answered some of my questions and suggested new ones.

Sample p3-53 stage 5 view 2

Sample p3-53 stage 5 view 2

In sample p3-53 (1-October-2015) I look risk one step further by exploring breakage of a cast. This has echoes of past samples (the broken mug of p2-72, 22-July-2015), and also with my research. I was surprised by the strength of the cast – it was repeatedly thrown, not dropped, on a concrete floor.

Although I make my samples with care and thought, this sense of pushing to or beyond a boundary, not just the acceptance but almost the seeking of failure or at least a precarious edge is a recurring theme. One of my most interesting molding samples, p3-12 (photograph above) is a “failed” join. The exciting sculpture of p3-51 is a little rough – I love that uneven edge sloping down, the vitality and honesty of the broken shards of resin with occasional drips of plaster (it’s taken me this long to recognise the phallic reference). It provides drama and movement – the moment just before, or just after…

As in the last assignment I created a pinterest board of artwork using molding and casting (link). I was also given permission by a number of artists to use their images in my posts.

Samples p3-41 and p3-47

Samples p3-41 and p3-47

Sample p3-47 (26-September-2015) was very heavily influenced by the work of Rebecca Fairley, my tutor, to the extent that although I love my result I feel it is too derivative to pursue. On reflection now, perhaps breaking and reassembling a series of such samples would make them more my own. Using the resin to embed the fragments or as a kind of mortar could be interesting. Another clear influence was Giulio Paolini in the breaking of sample p3-53.

Other than this my focus was on exploring properties of my particular materials. Any other influences were more my own previous samples, for example the reappearance of corrugated cardboard in samples p3-77 and p3-78, and large bubblewrap in p3-23 (all 6-September-2015).

I would like to make special mention in this review of my sketching. I used sketching as a way of stepping back from sampling to review and plan (for example 29-August-2015) and in research responding to tutor feedback (4-September-2015). Inspired by other OCA students I extended my range of media and drawing surfaces (14-September-2015). I also spent a day with a fellow student with the specific aim of working more freely and on a much larger scale than I have ever used before (28-September-2015). I am pleased with my ongoing progress in this area.

I was thrilled to get a very positive response from my tutor for my last assignment (my reflection on that 29-August-2015). I have tried to continue and build on that result, but as mentioned at the beginning of this review I have been conscious of a different rhythm in my work in this assignment. I have found molding and casting absorbing, fascinating. I have found materials and methods that I think will be important in my work in the future. There has been a shift in my thinking. I am proud of my work. It pleases me. I spent a huge amount of time Sorting because I enjoyed handling the samples, rearranging them, thinking about the possibilities they contain. I am looking forward to my tutor’s experienced, objective feedback and to her guidance, but for the first time – and this is very new and fragile – I have a sense of accomplishment independent of this.

T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Review
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting

6 Responses to “T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Review”

  1. 1 JulieB October 17, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Really interesting experiments and development, Judy; that sense of accomplishment must be so rewarding – hard earned. I love the balance you seem to achieve between systematic experimentation and creative fluidity in your approach.

  2. 2 fibresofbeing October 17, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Julie. It’s a work in progress – but I can see there _is_ progress, and it feels great. I get a lot of inspiration from the impressive work you and others in ATV are doing.

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