Some background: there was a period at the beginning of the year when I was between OCA courses, waiting for the new Mixed Media for Textiles (MMT) to be finalised. I had a high level outline and draft reading list, so I started reading and experimenting. In early March I took an evening class in 3D printing, with the idea it was bound to be useful in MMT at some point. I’ve continued experimentation based on that class, often closely entwined with the MMT exercises. Eventually I decided there was sufficient mass and relevance to present it as an extension project.
Referring back to the course Introduction to this Part:
It’s not precisely surface distortion, where a previously flat surface is distorted. Instead with 3D printing I can directly create a distorted surface. As it happens this fits rather well with my textile interests, where I focus on creating fabrics with weaving and felting.
I’ve even been able to extend (!) sketchbook work, drawing with a 3D pen.
To see all blog posts which relate to this extension click here.
Some samples with particular interest or potential:
The resulting network of lines could be regarded as a new distorted surface, although a discontinuous one. In later sketchbook work I made a tracing of a different sample, then attempted to create a skin using rice paper. (16-May) The result for the plastic wasn’t exciting, but the paper cast had potential. My sample numbering system has fallen apart with the late addition of this extension. Not wanting to go back and renumber everything, “sidetrack p1-1” shows the control gained using kinetic sand as a mould. Again it could be argued that the bowl that results is not strictly a surface, however I think the human eye and mind will read it as such. There is a lot of potential here for both creating and embellishing distorted surfaces, although attachment to other materials remains a challenge. Sidetrack p1-3 (16-April) is more solid and introduces colour variety. There is definite potential here, although a thinner sample when tested proved quite brittle and broke up under only mild pressure.
Polymorph plastic is a very exciting material. It worked well with embossing (one of the formal exercises I didn’t attempt), although printing from the result didn’t go entirely smoothly.Sidetrack p1-13 (21-April) shows a version of linear accordion pleats (project 1, exercise 1) created from plastic pellets. This sample also shows the strong colour than can be achieved using disperse dyes on the plastic.
In a different sample adding glittery inclusions to the polymorph plastic also worked well. I ended that day’s work session with a list of more experiments I would like to make.3D software provides another way to create distorted surfaces. In sample p1-130 (9-May) the surface is virtual, but there is the potential to develop it and print it out as an object for its own sake, or as a mould to create further shapes in other materials.
Not all the virtual samples could be printed into physical form. Sample p131 views d and e would be challenging to produce. They do suggest possibilities in concealing and revealing meaning. Could one create a “forest” that reveals a text as you walk around it?Sample p1-132e (9-May) is pure fantasy – I don’t believe it could be printed and hold together as an object. It was created by a series of distortions of a plain virtual cube, to me a clear extension of the surface distortions of the course exercises. A final example of the potential available. This sample was included in a post on sketchbook work (16-May) and combines both polymorph plastic and drawing with the 3D pen. The base shape was formed from a flattened piece of melted plastic, and in terms of basic process is close to the crumpled paper exercises in project 1. There was very good adherence of the two forms of plastic. I wasn’t able to separate them in later manipulations.
There is a gap in what I am able to show here – a sample actually produced on a 3D printer. The one experiment I have, combining a lithophane drawing with felting (6-April), is an example of what not to do. The combination of materials and processes I chose whas not successful and there are no direct potential next steps from this. I remain convinced of the basic potential of combining 3D printing with textiles – but this particular attempt is a dead end.
T1-MMT-P1-p6 Personal extension project overview
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 6: Personal extension