I’m sorry that the blogs for this part of MMT have mostly been pages from my sketchbook but I’ve been on a tight deadline (I want a good 12 months to finish Ideas & Processes and I’ll have done 3 years of Level 1 in March) and because I’m not going to send all of my work for assignment I’ve had to be more visual and explicit in my sketchbook.
This blog covers the work I’ve done with plaster and Polyfilla. This just leaves me with the resin samples to write up and the selecting for assessment. I’m really hoping to have the package on its way tomorrow or Wednesday morning at the latest.
There was quite a lot of left over Paperclay so I made some small pods of clay mixed with different elements.
I used some nice additions like this yellow thread and the shaping has been made with the top of a coat hanger.
I also tried some silk tops and some angelina fibres.
I continued with some other pleasing threaded bits of silk fibres and some snipped up lemon bags. The red one looked lovely until I photographed it and it started to look like a bald man’s comb over.
Then I did some pretty gross ones with hair and feathers.
Then to make the hair one even worse I painted it rose gold, just to prove you can polish a turd.
As I had with the Polymer Clay I decided to be a little more playful with my second go with the Paperclay.
I picked out the print textures that I liked best and tried some repeat pressings, some twisting and some more considered trapping of fabric.
I had quite a bit of clay left so I tried making some more specific items; some beads, a linear thread twist and a vase like shape. I don’t think they were very successful and I was happier with the tiles.
These little tiles were easily glued to a scrim background and they took paint very well.
The square tile made a nice little piece.
But the vase was a sad mess.
I discovered that working with clay requires even more forethought than working with fabric. It pays to make holes for stitching and adding wires or threads to make it easier to attach the modelled pieces to a background.
One of the hardest things I’ve found about working with clay has been trying to stop the end result looking like some odd or unpleasant. Like food or mud. Small tiles that can be made into bigger compositions seem to be the best use for it so far.
I didn’t want to abandon the Polymer Clay without trying a few more ways of using it. I started very like before and perfected a way to make the surface of the clay very smooth.
They turned out a little bit more organic and relaxed.
Once they had been baked I decided to stay with the more relaxed approach and painted the little tiles.
The dried tiles are really quite nice, I’m not totally sure what I’d use these pieces for. They could be wrapped or glued onto a felt back ground.
To start with I had a quick play with Papier-mâché, I liked the results but I didn’t find it was very useful for recording the textures of a surface.
It’s very tactile process and a lovely way to test your abilities to work with colour but it didn’t really meet the brief so I set it aside.
Following on from this I bought some Polymer Clay and some paper clay. They work in a very similar way but have very different qualities and textures.
The Polymer clay was cold and preferred to be rolled out. It had to be treated with quite a bit of force. I tested taking pressing of lots of different surfaces in a quite methodical way, well for me anyway.
Some objects worked better than others and I’ve actually started to quite like them, but as you can see from my sketchbook pages I really didn’t like my first encounter with the Polymer clay.
I liked the paper clay lots more than the Polymer Clay, it was easier to manipulate and felt more natural.
It was easier to add additional elements like scrim.
I worked a number of mini samples using the collection of textures from the objects I have cluttering my work tables.
I then tested different paints to colour the samples. This was very successful in giving me lots of material to sort and select from.
My sketchbook page was a lot more positive.
For me, getting the exercises done for this part of MMT has been done in record time, that was my intention but I’m still doubting myself and whether I have done enough.
I’ve gathered all the samples together. This time I’m submitting my assignment the proper way, I’m going to do some considered selecting and only send the very best (of what I’ve done) to my tutor.
There’s a couple of batches of little blocks strung together, lots of painted ’tiles’, some scrunchy experiments, and some resin and pasted castings. Let’s be honest this has to be enough!
There are some little interesting pieces that could be developed, the majority are ‘failures’ and that has been an interesting experiment. Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of failures but usually I can rework them or repurpose them.
Or, I’ve been working in a comfortable technique that I’ve been able to force into some semblance of effective if not wholly successful. I’ve never done something where I’ve had so little control over the finished sample. With Molding you have a little more control, you can rub away the pressing but Casting is almost totally hands off after the preparation work.
You can prepare like crazy, fill a bag or tub with lots of interesting elements but there is no guarantee that the plaster won’t totally cover the elements or the resin won’t twist or obscure the little additions that you so carefully added.
There is a pull to work harder and to test an idea again and again, changing small actions to see if I can create different results. But I’m not going to go down that path. This exercise was about sampling not resolving. I will come back to these mediums, I’ve loved the plaster of Paris and I didn’t even block the drains like I did with much embarrassment when I was a kid.
For now this is enough, I’m going to do the selecting, the displaying and the blogging and get the assignment submitted. I’m looking forward to the printing part of MMT which probably means it’s going to be the most frustrating of the lot.