Month: June 2014

final submission

i had palpitations when i went into the studio early in the week and saw how much effort everyone was taking to arrange their spaces, final show style. it hadn’t occurred to me that we should be doing anything along those lines. i was still at the making stage, just hoping to have finished work to present and i decided it was a better use of my remaining time to keep working in that direction.

i did make an effort to present my work gallery-style, with mounted statements, separately from the background material/samples. the layout isn’t quite how i envisaged but i hope it encourages the viewer to investigate the work without being overwhelmed by the additional supporting content. the biggest thing bugging me about it is the ugly, ugly black speaker cable running to the radio. on reflection i wish i’d investigated wireless audio setups, but as i had to keep the ipod external for switching on and off it would never be perfect in that respect.

i also attempted to lay out the background work in relation to the final pieces – here you see the radio research behind the work. i wasn’t sure whether it was okay to use a poem (not mine) as my statement for this piece, but it was written by a friend as a response to my initial ideas, a loose kind of collaboration, and it explains the piece much better than i could.

i wanted to present my ideas sheets next to the medal because this is my least complete work and i feel it needs the additional background information to convey the intent of the piece (whereas i feel the intent is visible in the work for my raw & readymade projects, which pleases me immensely). i decided to present the book with the box lid open for the assessment as i didn’t want any confusion over whether the book was supposed to be read or merely looked at.

i decided to go for “less is more” in the way of supporting work, hoping to keep a clean/clear presentation. my sketchbook is particularly bare/poor for the first term raw & readymade brief because i really hadn’t figured how to make the format work for me – i rarely enjoy drawing and the blank page intimidates me. over the year i developed a practice of starting each project with a new, thin, book and using it as a combined sketchbook, journal and sample book. this scrap-book approach is one i’ll continue with as once i’d figured it out it worked really well for me in my field projects.

crystal radio

chuffed with this tbf 🙂

there hasn’t been much in the way of project development since my formative assessment – all my efforts have been going into getting the thing made. little did i imagine how much time it would take in illustrator and on the cutter to turn out a case that matched the one in my imagination. this is pretty close.

i had hoped to include a more responsive audio element to the work – that by moving around the piece viewers could “tune in” to different voices/languages. but given the amount of time i devoted to the case , and my lack of experience with electronics and no time to learn, i had to have a plan b, which is to use a simple ipod/speaker set up in the base. it turns out that the easiest way by far to get a radio shaped object to play sounds is not to take it apart in the first place. who knew?

i’m pretty happy with the cityscape itself. i had to edit potential elements to fit the small case size, and i wanted to leave space around the buildings to enable viewing from different angles and to see the beautiful circuit boards underneath. so it’s rather on the minimalist side, but i’m happy with the soviet-bloc/retro-futurist vibe.

the best bit by far is obviously the trees 😀 they really bring the model to life. i’ve had a positive response to the piece so far, hopefully tonight i can tweak the oh-so-wonky tower and add my little people.


the resin casting blues

got them too 😀

the resin cast of my medal that i was hoping to present at the assessment is beyond rescue. the basic cast was pretty sound – much better than i was expecting from my first ever cast in my first ever 2-part mould. i realise this is a process that most makers on the course would be familiar with from foundation and/or first year, but it was totally new to me and took a lot of getting my head around.

when it clicked i was a bit *woah* about the possibilities it opens up – any analogue method of making reproductions presses my buttons.

despite my sampling the cast didn’t come out as i’d expected. all my previous samples had been made with open silicone cake moulds, which dried to a fine consistency where it touched the mould. the cast was much more pebbly in texture (perhaps due to the granular finish on the printed medal), the brasso i’d been using to finish my samples just couldn’t touch it. the finish was so rough the piece barely looked translucent so i figured best skip straight to a finishing coat of resin.

the problems with this being a) it curing in time for the assessment (my samples have taken 36-48 hours to even begin to cure to the surface despite added gentle heat) and b) the effect of an additional coat obscuring the text around the edges, that i’d been really pleased to be able to cast (not perfect but legible). when i went ahead it was visible that the resin was cloudy to the centre, something i’ve not experienced before. maybe it isn’t fully cured or a difference between casting in a 2-part mould to an open one?

more expected, i got a couple of large bubbles, under the worm and another terminal one right at the top of the mould between the pouring and air escape tubes. also as expected the fragile letter sections of the mould have come away in places, so i’d need to make a new mould to attempt casting again (although i could run more experiments with the first mould).

i think my biggest problem has been the time taken for the epoxy resin to gel and cure – at least 6 hours for the former and 48+ hours for the latter. it doesn’t allow for the gradual manipulation you can do with a faster setting mix. still, i do like some the effects i’ve managed to achieve in my samples, so i think (resin) casting is something i’d be interested in revisiting at some point.

the laser cutter blues

man i’ve got ’em bad.

the past few weeks have been an essential lesson in time management – don’t try to do *anything* in the workshops in the last 2 weeks before a deadline. cos every other bugger is doing the same and you’l never get it done in time.

it would be easy to put the blame on the laser cutter fairies who spirited one of the machines off to the new build, leaving just the one to take the strain of summer deadlines. eventually the remaining one gave up the ghost – cue everyone having to run up to llandaff doing their cutting. but things break, are busy, that’s how things are, so having a schedule, and building wiggle time into the end of that is pretty essential, especially – note to self – with a *big* final show deadline.

i’d hoped to get some covers etched/cut for the limited edition element of i am safe, so that i could run up a sample to go along with my submission. steve did offer to cut them for me during a break but the machine’s been going constantly all week, with everyone else trying to hit their deadlines.

the covers would have been experimental because i haven’t etched plywood on the cutter before. i hoped to achieve a gradient of depth/darkness to the etching by using lines which grey out towards one side. all fine lines including the text would be cut out. i adapted the text (courier) to work as a stencil, without losing the inners of a and e.

i’m disappointed not to be able to show the edition alongside the original, but i feel i really should pursue the idea if not in this project then next year. short runs of artist’s books (as author or as maker/in collaboration) seems to be a very useful avenue for me to explore.