Archive for the '3.2 Casting' Category

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Sample development

From the beginning of this project I have been looking forward to this development technique and wondering if I could carry it through. My inspiration is L’altra figura by Giulio Paolini which I have seen and enjoyed very much at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/349.1987.a-c/). It always gets a reaction from new viewers when on display in the Entrance Court. Two plaster casts of a Roman copy of an earlier Hellenistic bust look down from their plinths at the shattered remnants of a third bust.

Sample p3-50

Sample p3-50

I selected sample p3-50 for the experiment. It is one of the larger samples and the embedded rope could result in interesting interactions. Deciding not to be tentative, to go for a strong result, I threw the sample with some force from above my head down onto the concrete floor. The sample was strong enough to survive a series of such throws, as seen below.
Sample p3-53 a

Sample p3-53 stage 1

Sample p3-53 b

Sample p3-53 stage 2

Sample p3-53 c

Sample p3-53 stage 3

Sample p3-53 d

Sample p3-53 stage 4

Sample p3-53 e

Sample p3-53 stage 5


I like this result very much indeed, in all its stages, and as a series even more. Textures, lines, fragility, boundaries, willfully disobeying (breaking!) rules…

There is a sense of discovery, perhaps titillation, in peeping at what was hidden, at what is revealed.

Sample p3-53 stage 3 detail

Sample p3-53 stage 3 detail

As hoped the rope acted as reinforcement. It also created weak points and stresses in the breaking plaster, strongly influencing the results of the successive impacts. The fibres of the sisal hold on to broken fragments of plaster, keeping them part of the whole even as they break away.

Sample p3-53 stage 4 view 2

Sample p3-53 stage 4 view 2

The original sample showed an interesting combination of materials but was unexciting overall. The developed sample shows the materials interacting in a very direct and dynamic way. It is physically much larger, the central piece itself and even more the fragments spread around. It is also more three dimensional, with pieces sitting askew and raising the sample from the surface.

Sample p3-53 stage 5 view 2

Sample p3-53 stage 5 view 2

Some of the individual fragments show molding of the rope, a rather nice link back to the first project of this assignment. More generally the grainy surface of the broken areas of plaster contrasts pleasingly with the original smooth surface.

Sample p3-53 fragment

Sample p3-53 fragment

A further development would be to add video of the moments of impact and breaking of the plaster. This thought came after the action, and I suspect would need special high-speed filming to be effective.

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Sample development
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
Sample development

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting with plaster

Coming towards the end of Casting I felt I’d done some interesting exploration in new-to-me materials and some of the samples showed promise for future development. However I hadn’t followed up any of the ideas or inspiration from my research at the beginning of the assignment. I wanted to work at a slightly larger scale, and I also wanted to go a little further with the sense of substance and formality that I found in my initial plaster samples (p3-35 and p3-36, 14-September-2015).

Sample p3-47
The first sample attempted was inspired by the work of Rebecca Fairley (my tutor, my research posted 16-August-2015), in particular the texture and wisps of fibre that attracted me so much.

Sample p3-47

Sample p3-47

Sample p3-47 preparation

Sample p3-47 preparation

Sample p3-47 detail - wisps?

Sample p3-47 detail – wisps?

Some machine-knit fabric from a cardigan (op-shop find) was used to line a plastic tub. Plaster was poured directly onto the knit. There was almost no penetration of the plaster through the knit. It was easy to pull the fabric away with only minor damage to the plaster surface.

The resulting cast is around 14.5 cm square and 2.5 cm high. The photograph above was taken in raking light to emphasise the texture created. The cardigan had a high waist formed with heavy woven ribbon, which created the band seen in the cast.

This sample is very attractive. There is a variety of texture contained in a not quite rigid framework of lines. At a distance there is a strong overall structure, with a lot of interest and detail revealed with closer examination. There is an overall blueish colouring to the plaster due to capture of fibres from the dark navy knit, but you have to look very carefully indeed to see the individual fibres. This sample suggests a lot of potential, my only concern being that it is too directly derivative of the source inspiration.

Sample p3-48
I wanted to follow with a sample more personal to me, so I chose a woven cloth (commercial furnishing fabric – I couldn’t bring myself to use handwoven on an early sample). This sample also brought in the idea from the course notes of influencing the shape of the cast by placing the vessel on a found object.

Sample p3-48 detail

Sample p3-48 detail

Sample p3-48 preparation

Sample p3-48 preparation

Sample p3-48

Sample p3-48

The found object is a child’s toy, a plastic grid that expands into a sphere. I lined this with heavy plastic and then the woven fabric. I adjusted the manufacturer’s recommended water to plaster ratio, reducing the amount of water. I thought a less liquid mix would reduce leakage through the fabric.

When setting up the sample I hadn’t considered the issue of getting the solid plaster out of the sphere, but it was easy to disconnect some of the plastic struts. The fabric came away from the plaster easily. Possibly it had some kind of finish applied during manufacture. Certainly there was no apparent penetration of the material.

There is a delicate overall texture to the finished sample reflecting the plain weave fabric. This results in a very soft response to lighting, quite matte. Combined with the soft undulations from the open sphere vessel the cast looks just like a draped piece of cloth – in fact my partner mistook it for cloth when he first saw it. There is something so gentle and understated about this sample. It has greater mass than the others, being 20 cm wide at the largest point and rising up to 6 cm above the work surface (it’s not actually 6 cm thick, but the base is uneven).

I like the idea of exploiting the trompe l’oeil effect. Could a lace appearance be created? It might be difficult to control penetration by the plaster into an actual lacy (with holes) fabric, but perhaps there are embossed materials that would work, or the lace could be adhered to a backing fabric. Knitted fabrics with runs from dropped stitches could be amusing too – fragility in plaster.

Sample p3-49
This is the result of poor workmanship, not the sample intended.

Sample p3-49

Sample p3-49

Sample p3-49 detail

Sample p3-49 detail

At the beginning of the work session I had prepared for four samples. Unfamiliar with weights of plaster powder for volumes of casts my initial batch mixed was only enough for the first sample (p3-47). I doubled the amount of powder but reduced volume of water in the second batch, which turned out only enough for the second sample (p3-48). I tried to repeat for a third batch, but I couldn’t get a smooth paste. I kept mixing and it only got lumpier. Suddenly it was setting in the mixing bowl. Perhaps I could still use it to cast the grip of my hands (thinking of Alwar Balasubramaniam’s Nothing from my hands, see 13-June-2014). No, it was as if the plaster had curdled. It was crumbling in my hands.

Possible causes:
* I wasn’t following the manufacturer’s recommended ratios;
* I was mixing multiple batches using the same tools, scraping but not cleaning them;
* I was mixing too long. The supplier’s website faq warns that overmixing will cause the plaster to setup more quickly, often before you can pour it into molds.

At this point I took a break and did some clean up.

Sample p3-50

Sample p3-50 detail

Sample p3-50 detail

Sample p3-50

Sample p3-50

My original plan was to play with the visual difficulty with determining if shadow lines are from an indentation or a mound. I was going to use a bed of kinetic sand and make some indentations using a very nice sisal rope, then cover with thin plastic and pour in plaster. Basically an extension of the texturing of p3-40 and the visual challenge in the photo of p3-38. While making preparations I decided this was too close a repetition, and partial embedding of the rope might be more interesting.

I like the combination of materials very much. There seems to be a natural simplicity in them both which creates a link, while the textures contrast. The areas where the clean rope peeps through small windows in the plaster is most effective as the natures of the two materials are clearly evident. The areas of plaster which are textured by rope just beneath the surface I find less interesting.

Sample p3-51
This was planned as the final cast sample and I just threw ideas at it.
* alter the internal volume of a vessel by ties;
* embed resin in plaster, a reverse of embedding plaster in resin in sample p3-39;
* mold with a vessel used out of its normal orientation, to disguise the source;
* create a cast with a void.

I had no idea if this combination could work, which seemed a good reason to try.

Sample p3-51

Sample p3-51


 
Can you identify the vessel?
 

In the photos above the cast is supported in the front plate of an old speaker.

Sample p3-51 preparation

Sample p3-51 preparation

Sample p3-51 full view

Sample p3-51 full view

The vessel was a cut-down plastic 2 litre orange juice container. It was tied with light rope and supported mouth down in a tub. Shards of resin were placed inside, then plaster added.

The next morning I faced the puzzle of de-molding a cast with a void. It took an stubborn hour, but I was able to snip the plastic away in small pieces, spiraling down the handle.

I think this sample is very strong. The shape is complex with a series of flowing lines. There are areas of smooth, simple, solid plaster, then glints of light from the shards of resin. The main protruding shard brings movement and a focal point. There is something new, something of interest, at every angle.

The knob formed by the neck of the container was an unexpected bonus. I thought the cast would have no natural base, which would be interesting in itself. Instead the knob acts as a stable anchor to position the cast, and I think the sample is stronger through having that simplification of shape and distance from the original purpose of the vessel.

Sample p3-52
There was a little plaster left in the mixing bowl, so on the spur of the moment I attempted an idea that had been cut earlier. This links back to assignment 1 and the crumpling of paper. Could crumpled paper be captured, strengthened, made permanent, with the use of plaster?

Sample p3-52

Sample p3-52

Unfortunately this sample doesn’t answer that question. By the time I scurried around, found and crumpled some paper, the plaster was well into setting. The result is unstable and flaky.

However I think it is quite photogenic.

It looks good, but is effectively unpresentable. Even if exhibited in a glass dome vibrations from passersby would dislodge more fragments.

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting with plaster
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
Casting with plaster

T1-MMT-P3-p2 More casting with resin

Sample p3-33

Sample p3-33

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

Sample p3-38

Sample p3-38

Sample p3-38 in progress

Sample p3-38 in progress

Sample p3-38 group shot

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

Sample p3-39

Sample p3-39

Sample p3-39 with p3-35

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

Sample p3-40 backlit, sketch 20150922d behind

Sample p3-40 backlit, sketch 20150922d behind

Sample p3-40 preparation

Sample p3-40 preparation

Sample p3-40 sand molded side

Sample p3-40 sand molded side

Sample p3-40 surface raised by fabric

Sample p3-40 surface raised by fabric

Sample p3-40 over patterned cloth

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

Sample p3-41

Sample p3-41

Sample p3-41 preparation

Sample p3-41 preparation

Sample p3-41 with p3-33 and p3-34

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?

Sample p3-42

Sample p3-42

Sample p3-42

Meri Ishida Pappagallo neclace and earrings

Meri Ishida
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.

Sample p3-43

Sample p3-43

Sample p3-43

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

Sample p3-44

Sample p3-44

Sample p3-44 in progress

Sample p3-44 in progress

Sample p3-44 view 2

Sample p3-44 view 2

Sample p3-44 drip pool

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

Sample p3-45

Sample p3-45

Sample p3-45 in progress

Sample p3-45 in progress

Sample p3-45 balanced against sample p3-33

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

Sample p3-46

Sample p3-46

Sample p3-46 preparation

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

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

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

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

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

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

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Holiday sketchbook

Last week I was away on the south coast for a few days of relaxation. Naturally the new drawing materials came with me. The holiday was great. The sketching was fun and absorbing – until I looked at the results and wondered what I’ve been doing the past few years. In the spirit of recording and reflecting on failures as well as success…

sketch_20150922aI can’t complain about inspiration, waking up to that view (actually that’s one small part of the 180 degree views from ocean front and right, across bay, to mountains not seen here on left).

sketch 20150922a

sketch 20150922a

Working on colour matching, drawing on my android tablet. Looking across the bay towards the mountains at dusk. No detail, just light airbrushing, but I was pretty happy with the colours, especially the transition from mountain to sky.

sketch 20150922b

sketch 20150922b

Wax crayons on A3 cartridge paper. Not too bad, focusing on colour mixing, texture, two particular trees against the background of smaller, barer trees just to the left of the photo above. There’s some movement in the main trees, and the rhythm of the other tree trunks. My idea was to apply a wash for background glimpses of sea, sky and land.

sketch 20150922c

sketch 20150922c

Applying a wash was not the right choice of technique over water soluble crayon. Or rather, I should have used different crayons for the original drawing. Some mildly interesting water marks, but basically a blurry mess.

sketch 20150922d

sketch 20150922d

Trying to get some value out of the previous disaster, I put on lots of colour that may or may not have been in the ocean, and tried moving the colour around and creating texture. Looking for a positive, maybe this could be used as a background sometime. Perhaps I could collage some tissue over first.

sketch 20150922e

sketch 20150922e

The markings of the fish on the dinner menu reminded me of that rhythm of tree trunks, so I tried using that as my base. The idea of the fish (at a different scale!) swimming in the ocean behind seemed a nice touch. Realising the strong original design would want to take over I used oil pastels, hoping for decent coverage. I think it nearly, nearly works – but doesn’t work. I felt my observational skills were improving, it was an absorbing problem, I’m really liking working with the oil pastels – so if I focus on the process and not the outcome, OK.

sketch 20150922f

sketch 20150922f

An unfinished sketch of a banksia pod, this time in the water resistant wax pastels. Obviously I was just mucking around with colour. I was planning to do more and finish with another attempt at a wash, but ran out of time. Just as well, while there was still some life and movement and lightness to it. The lower right area where I worked more has gone very dull and bland.

sketch 20150922g

sketch 20150922g

Naturally I was also thinking about the next round of casting samples, making quick notes and sketches as ideas came. I’ve been home a couple of days and have attempted a few of them. More on that in another post.

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Holiday sketchbook
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
Holiday sketchbook

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting sketchbook

Attempts continue to expand my range of mediums when sketching. Inspired by fellow OCA student Sally Harrison (link to just one of her exciting posts) I’ve acquired a range of oil pastels, water-resistant wax pastels, and water-soluble wax pastels, all from Caran D’Ache. Together with my existing Conté crayons that should give me lots of drawing options.

sketch 20150914a

sketch 20150914a

Above are first baby steps with all four mediums, on pastel paper. I started with the nice line from the 3D pen on sample p3-26. The oil pastel is particularly luscious, so I continued with that looking at the bubble-wrap based sample p2-23 (on the left in blues). Liking very much the quality of lines I was getting, I tried a more blended approach still with oil, looking at sample p3-25. All samples are from 6-September-2015.

sketch_20150914 b

sketch_20150914 b

The second sketch continues with the oil pastels, my new tool of choice. Wanting to extend my repertoire of drawing base this is A3 kraft paper, an old favourite but varied given previous use as a drop cloth in other sketching, followed by a rough coat of gesso. The sketch itself was thinking about future molding options – this is a computer motherboard, and I’m wondering about its use to create surface design on a molding sample. Doing the sketch I became more aware of all the colours used on the board – on first glance it looks drab, but there is a lot going on!

sketch_20150914 c

sketch_20150914 c

Going a step further, and still within my recurring computer component theme, the base here is cut from the box of a graphics board. Glossy and dark, I wondered if any of the new mediums could handle it. The wax pastels gave a lively line and clung to the difficult surface well, but didn’t have enough coverage to cope with the busy printed design. Back to the oil pastels. The subject above was a piece of bubble wrap draped on my worktable. It’s on the “definite” list for future molding sampling.

sketch 20150914 d

sketch 20150914 d

Back with wax pastels, this is looking at sample p3-33. I thought the finer, still lively lines would suit the delicate energy of the sample. The base is a toned gray sketching paper and my focus was reflected light. The paper was a poor choice, looking dull and drab rather than the bright sparkle of the sample. I’m also not taking advantage of the properties of my new mediums, so will need to start experimenting with layering washes.

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting sketchbook
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
Casting sketchbook

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting – glorious failure

Project 2 involves casting the internal space of a vessel. I wanted to try casting with both clear and opaque materials.

I heard about a great clear bio resin from eggpicnic (9-August-2015). Entropy Resins (entropyresins.com/) make a number of epoxy resins that have green credentials based on production techniques (less energy and produce less harmful byproducts) and content (waste products from other industry, a percentage of renewable plant-based carbon rather than petroleum based carbon). Plus the word was that bio resins have much reduced odor. In Australia the best sources seem to be surfboard shops. A mix of errors made by me and the supplier left me with Super Sap BRT (specially formulated for white surfboard lamination) instead of the intended Super Sap CCR (designed for casting and embedding). Never mind, I’m not generally using any materials as the manufacturer expected.

Following my research of artists for this assignment concrete looked a very attractive choice, but given this is short term, small scale, home based use I chose to go for plaster instead – moulding (casting) plaster from Aldax.

Plan for first samples

Plan for first samples

The plan for initial samples was focused on learning basic mixing and handling of the materials. They would be placed in a ziplock sandwich bag and suspended with two ties. Unsure about releasing the resin and plaster from their molds, I wanted to trial a simple release agent – vaseline. So I started with resin and two plastic bags, one with interior smeared with vaseline, the other plain plastic. Mixing, placing in the bags and hanging to set went smoothly.

Initial resin - bag failed

Initial resin – bag failed

Within five minutes both bags had failed. One bag was suspended over a bucket, which caught the escaping material. The second was over the worktable, with just two layers of newsprint for protection.

Was it weight, perhaps heat from the exothermic setting (the product I initially wanted had slow cure speeds and low exothermic temperatures more suitable for casting), stresses caused by the ties, something else??? Mixing up the plaster I chose a less ambitious manipulation, simply laying the bags of material across a raised level on the table. Then I pretended to be patient for a couple of hours while resin and plaster hardened.

Initial resin - bucket remnants

Initial resin – bucket remnants

On the right the resin bag with no added release agent, complete with bulk of the resin from the bucket (last used when indigo dyeing and not rinsed since).

Sample p3-33 bucket remains - detail

Sample p3-33 bucket remains – detail

Sample p3-33 bucket remains

Sample p3-33 bucket remains

The indigo-contaminated pool of resin had separated easily from the bucket and at the detail level is really rather lovely. There are bubbles and bits of dried leaves as well as the indigo blue. The top surface is glossy, the bottom a soft sheen from the bucket (and perhaps dirt!). This suggests all sorts of potential for colouring, texturing and patterning – perhaps in a more controlled manner.

The plastic bag separated quite easily on the more exposed areas, but was sometimes caught in the creases of the highly molded areas. I was able to remove all the obvious plastic (this is the sample with no release agent). A small piece of the suspending string also remains caught.

Sample p3-33

Sample p3-33

The final shape is complex and engaging. Is it an elephant, a yawning camel? The photographs were taken soon after demolding. Later in the day the cloudiness of the thicker areas has reduced. It will be interesting to do another comparison in a week, when the resin should be fully cured. Although not intended the resin has captured the moments just after failure of the plastic, and the combination of mass and delicacy with just a little dynamic movement is effective.

Sample p3-34

Sample p3-34

Sample p3-34

The second resin sample is more reminiscent of a scuttling insect. Possibly more material was lost, or there was less in the bag, as there is definitely less material included.

Sample p3-34 Paper remains

Sample p3-34 Paper remains

The spilt material is thoroughly bonded to the newspaper that covered the worktable. Soaking in water and rubbing have had little effect. I wonder what effect the resin would have on crumpled paper.

At some stage I should try drilling into this material. It could be useful to be able to stitch or tie to create a join. Perhaps this is a way of manipulating / preparing text or imagery for incorporation in a larger work.

Samples p3-33 and p3-34

Samples p3-33 and p3-34

Although this sampling entirely failed in terms of the original intention, it has resulted in some very interesting and unusual shapes. They are much more delicate and detailed than I had imagined in researching and preparing for this project. The amended manipulation of the plaster samples was more as I anticipated.

Sample p3-35

Sample p3-35

Sample p3-35

Sample p3-35 alternate view

Sample p3-35 alternate view

No release agent was used with this sample, but the plastic separated from the set plaster with no difficulty. Shaping and interest was created by lifting the central area of the plaster with a support during the setting time.

Very thin sheets of plaster stretched up the sides of the plastic bag. Much of this has broken off, but a delicate edge remains. This contrasts with the heavier bulk at each side, the sense of weight increased by the folding around the corners of the original bag. The surface of the plaster is smooth and shines where it touched the plastic, also adding to the gravity and a certain formality in the cast.

Sample p3-36

Sample p3-36

Sample p3-36

There are slight differences in the second plaster sample. The sandwich bag mold had been smeared with vaseline before casting – a release agent that wasn’t needed. It impacted the surface finish of the plaster, which is textured and rough rather than smooth and polished in appearance. There were lots of small, irregular pieces of plaster caught on the sides of the plastic rather large flat thin sheets.
Samples p3-35 and p3-36

Samples p3-35 and p3-36

With both samples the nature of the original container is apparent. The bottom fold of the plastic bag has left a clear line. The corners have left easily understood folds. That’s not necessarily a bad (or good) thing, but I would like to develop some alternatives.

Sample p3-37

Sample p3-37

Sample p3-37?

There were a few dregs of resin left in the mixing container, so some quick experiments were added to the plan.

Could kinetic sand (16-April-2015) be used as a mold for resin? This could give a lot of flexibility and avoid constraints of fixed molds. Answer: no, at least not when used as I did with no lining. The resin seeped into the sand. It didn’t harden it, but substantially reduced its flow characteristics.

Could resin be used as a coating on an object, like a stiff varnish, without fully embedding the object? Answer: inconclusive. I dribbled on the last of the resin and spread it across the surface of the leaf with my mixing stick. More seeped underneath than I realised, so there is more embedding than intended. Some embossed markings from the container – recycling and manufacturer information – were captured in the resin. That’s a good reminder to be very conscious of all elements of a make-shift mold. A different technique might give the effect I was looking for – suspend the object and apply resin on all sides. A dribble might form, but that could probably be removed discretely.

What would my wooden mixing stick look like if entirely covered in resin? Answer: a varnished wooden mixing stick.

Glorious?
Within minutes of setting them up my resin samples looked like a messy failure. When those complex shapes appeared from the ruins they seemed glorious, triumphant or even phoenix-like.

I’ve been working on this post a couple of days, and in my mind a question mark has appeared. Glorious? Complex, yes. They grab my eye and I pause to try to make sense of them, as if I should recognise them somehow. Interesting, but I’m not convinced they have potential – or not direct potential. They are so fussy and intricate. I don’t think the shapes would work scaled up. They would have to be simplified and that free, chaotic, dynamic look would be hard to retain. They are frivolous, showy. They defy gravity, even while gravity had such a direct impact on their shaping. I couldn’t see them building into something real, something beyond a sample.

I had reached that conclusion, then turned around to look once more at the offending samples… and saw something else.

Samples p3-34 and p3-36

Samples p3-34 and p3-36

The overall shape of these two samples is similar – long, low, with a lifted bridge-like section in the middle. As the maker I know that gravity was involved in both in quite different ways. Sample p3-34 was made the other way up, and the “bridge” formed because resin flowed out and the level of material was lower. Sample p3-36 “defied” gravity, with extra support placed under the middle.

Still, there is a visual link and I think they look good together. Light is reflected, light is absorbed. There are sharp lines and smooth curves. There is softness and hardness and variation in texture.

Sample p3-12

Sample p3-12

I look back at the “failed join” of sample p3-12 (1-September-2015). In fact all four materials – resin, plaster, composimold, polymorph – look good together. Each offers something different in appearance and properties to the mix. Interesting…

T1-MMT-P3-p2 Casting – glorious failure
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 2: Casting the internal space of a vessel
Casting – glorious failure


Instagram

Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

Calendar of Posts

May 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives

Categories