Encouraged by my earlier “failed” results, I decided to focus on casting with resin. I was interested in creating texture as well as volume by varying my molds. I was also interested in the thin sheets of dribbled resin in parts of sample p3-33. The cloudiness of the thicker areas hasn’t cleared – my working theory is that the centre hasn’t cured completely, as the product is intended for laminating not casting. Could I complete the embedding part of the project working thinly and in dribbles to make the most of my material?
Sample p3-38 in progress
Sample p3-38 group shot
Wanting to avoid sharp corners, so distinct in samples p3-35 and 36, I bundled up a sheet of large bubble wrap and hung it to create a round bottom (later to become the domed top).
I didn’t use any kind of release, and a lot of the inner plastic is still attached to the final cast. This combines with the internal cloudiness to create a dull surface.
It is difficult in the photograph above to determine if the circles are indented or protrude. In a second photograph I included samples p3-17 to 20 (1-September-2015) to bring some colour and light. I was also hoping for a clearer indication of the form of the cast, but it’s not effective.
Using a release agent such as vaseline may have provided a better result, with plastic only caught in crevices.
The shape overall is complex and intriguing. It fits comfortably in the palm of the hand, and calls out to be explored by touch and eye. The texture varies, smooth where formed around the dome of the bubbles, rippled in places where the bubbles had popped. This was a particularly large scale of bubble, around 4 cm across, and combined with the general deformation of the cast the mold used isn’t immediately obvious to the viewer. There are clusters of fine bubbles in the resin. While often seen as a flaw I find this breaks up the bulk and adds an extra level of detail and interest.
Sample p3-39 with p3-35
I thought it might be interesting to combine my two casting materials. This sample is shards of plaster embedded in resin.
The result is plain and boring. The simple shape, some old packaging, is bland. The shards of plaster are packed quite thickly and the result is an undifferentiated mass. A few corners of plaster break the surface and are quite hard. This suggests a possible treatment to strengthen and protect plaster. It could be interesting to pour resin over part of a plaster cast.
The photograph bringing the two casts together is effective. P3-39 is smaller – around 10.5 cm long compared to p3-35 at 16 cm – but the difference is reduced by their relative placement. Shapes are similar but different, and the shared material element also helps to create a conversation between the two pieces. Finally in this orientation, curved edge down, the irregular protrusions of p3-39 can be appreciated.
Sample p3-40 backlit, sketch 20150922d behind
Sample p3-40 preparation
Sample p3-40 sand molded side
Sample p3-40 surface raised by fabric
Sample p3-40 over patterned cloth
Sample p1-74, silver lamé distressed using a heat gun (21-April-2015
), is here embedded in a sheet of resin. Of the original sample I noted that although the texture was exciting its crunchy and fragile nature would make use very difficult. While Sorting for assignment 1 (23-May-2015
) I thought of stabilising it by fusing to organza, or perhaps fuse between layers of plastic.
To make the current sample I prepared a bed of kinetic sand with texture lines from a thick dowel. Two layers of thin plastic protected the sand. The silver lamé was placed on the plastic, then resin poured on. I chose to cover all the fabric with resin, but allowed some distorted areas to remain above the general surface level.
The resulting sheet is thick and quite inflexible. I would need to experiment with drilling if I wanted to stitch through it. The distressed, distorted surface of the lamé is clearly visible, but no longer fragile. The surface textures were difficult to photograph, but the textured sand left a pleasant, unobtrusive, general rippling of the surface. On the other side where parts of the fabric sit above the surface, the fabric is crisp and strong and from the right angle adds an extra level of interest.
The real potential here appears to be the broken visibility created. I played with a number of patterned fabrics. Larger patterns tend to become unreadable, but smaller patterns are concealed/revealed effectively. The standout combination was the top photograph, backlit and transforming an unsatisfactory sketch. In the right context this technique could be a very useful way of stabilising a fragile surface, and of creating a continuous surface with variable transparency.
Sample p3-41 preparation
Sample p3-41 with p3-33 and p3-34
This sample began with the idea of netting of a hammock creating texture in a mold. The photograph on the right shows the base setup – a mesh fruit bag was suspended over a bucket. The “structural” pop sticks act to spread out the ends. This structure was lined with orange plastic (off-cuts from the extended sample of assignment 1, 2-July-2015
The result is similar is size and general shape to sample p3-38 above, but where that was very complex this sample is deceptively simple. There is a gentle undulating irregularity in the overall shape, textured by a series of fine, parallel lines. The cross lines of the grid are almost imperceptible, except in two places where the orange plastic liner has caught in the crease.
Unlike the dulling effect of the plastic caught on substantial areas of p3-38, here the touch of colour adds a spark and vitality that lifts the sample from the ordinary. Cutting across the prevailing lines of the cast the orange fragments provide movement and a focal point. It brings to mind Chung-Im Kim’s work
Tumsae, seen recently in Wollongong (21-September-2015).
Photographed with earlier resin samples, an orange cast can be seen in the colour of the new piece. Possibly this has been transferred from the plastic – another property to explore?
Pappagallo necklace and earrings
Inspired by Meiri Ishida’s work, also seen in Wollongong, this sample was an attempt to harden synthetic felt without changing its visual appearance. The result is a flexible board that can, with some difficulty, be cut with scissors. I brushed the resin on, which roughened the surface, I also used too much, so there is a shiny plastic finish on part of the bottom surface. The felt used by Meiri Ishida was thicker. A lot of experimentation would be needed to get just the right balance of materials and to fine tune the application process.
Having a small amount of resin left over from other samples, I quickly picked some tiny flowers and fronds and set them in resin. The flowers are only partly covered. It will be interesting to see any changes in the materials over time.
Sample p3-44 in progress
Sample p3-44 view 2
Sample p3-44 drip pool
Sample p3-44 is the most direct application of the dribbling question posed at the beginning of this post. The base material is a small net I knotted in a cotton warp yarn some time ago.
I suspended the net over a plastic basket lined in thin plastic. Resin was rubbed on by (gloved) hand, three times with five minute breaks in between. I was hoping to create stalactites, as seen in samples p3-33 and 34. These didn’t form. Possibly I should have waited until the resin was less runny, possibly I should have a much shorter gap between suspended net and the base.
No stalactites formed, but little “dew drops” of resin sparkle along the net like spider webs on a misty morning. The net is stiff and holds its shape, but there is some bend flexibility. I haven’t pushed it to failure point.
Difficult to photograph, the effect is charming. It could make a sparkling statement if well-lit, and if hung could swing freely for extra interest. It could be interesting to do this treatment on net placed over a mould or suspended in a more complex arrangement.
Drips from the process gathered in a pool below, and I was able to separate most of it from the liner plastic in one piece. In the photograph the drip pool is shown with the lightfold I made in a recent workshop (19-September-2015), and if you click on the photo to make it larger you may be able to see the visual distortion caused by upstanding dribble lines.
Sample p3-45 in progress
Sample p3-45 balanced against sample p3-33
There were a number of goals with this sample:
* create a very thin sheet;
* use thread inclusions, only partially embedded;
* move into 3D – curve the sheet.
I used a thin plastic chopping board sheet – flexible but not floppy. A mix of cut threads was placed on the board (this can be seen in the background preparation photo of the next sample). Resin was gently dribbled over. There was no barrier – spread was controlled by volume of liquid resin. After perhaps 20 minutes I tied the board over a large pvc pipe to form the curve. The resin wasn’t as set as I hoped and there was slow dribbling down the sides. After curing overnight the resin could be removed from the plastic base.
When first removed the curve was sufficient to stand the sheet upright with no other support, but it isn’t stable over time. The underside, which was against the plastic board, is satin smooth with a frosted appearance from the very slight texture of the plastic. The upper side is glossy and rough with the texture of the threads. Most of the thread is darkened and glossy as if damp, but there are some sections untouched by resin and still soft and with some movement. I wasn’t able to piece it with an awl – another reminder to attempt drilling.
This sample is very pretty. The resin is thin and the threads seem to sit on the surface. It is particularly effective backlit (from either direction) or backed by a light coloured surface.
I see a lot of potential in this technique. It is very decorative, highly textured and responds well to lighting.
Sample p3-46 preparation
The idea for this sample came when I noticed a mixing stick left in the resin pot which had developed a little “foot”. Could I create an upright, self-supporting piece of resin covered fabric?
The fabric started as sample p1-75 (21-April-2015), heatgun treated crystal organza. At the time I noted variation in colour and transparency which could be useful. It appeared again as part of sample p2-28 (27-June-2015) in a hinge join experiment.
Sample p3-46 side view
For the current experiment the fabric was suspended above the worktable. A silk painting claw in one corner of fabric minimised the attachment point. The lower corner fell into a ring mold on the table.
Resin was gently dribbled onto the fabric. I ensured that all the fabric was covered, and any excess resin was held in the ring mold to form a base. Resin was applied three times with five minute breaks between.
I am thrilled by the result.
Sample p3-46 detail
The fabric is beautifully displayed. It is quite upright, firm and stable on its base. All the texture and variable transparency of the fabric has been retained. In the less dense areas warp and weft can still be distinguished by touch as well as sight. Although it is still, the sample looks dynamic. I particularly like the selvedge along one side, making the nature of the object quite clear.
This is very exciting. It provides an easy, stable way to create height with no external support required. There must be limitations in size (the sample is 17 cm high), weight of fabric and stability. I’ve been playing with lighting on both sides, with other samples, it always looks good.
resin group 1
I’ve been spending a lot of time arranging and rearranging my growing set of casting and molding samples. In the arrangement above three of my stars, samples p3-45, p3-46 and p3-33 work together to create a moment of delayed gratification – “this looks interesting… what’s that behind it?” I like the idea of not being obvious from every direction in an exhibition space.
resin group 2
More elements together. It’s not quite working, but I like the various heights achieved.
A low bookcase at one end of my worktable provides some space where I collect samples while working through an assignment.
Casting and molding group
Often as I walk past I pause, move something slightly, try a new combination. I think there’s some real promise in this set.
T1-MMT-P3-p2 More casting with resin
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
More casting with resin