First casting results

This week (and the end of last) has been really exciting.  I have been in the studio for a few hours here and there and managed to remember how I make things which has been nice.

I wanted to begin creating the mould for the camera as having correspondence with the ‘story owner’ found out they hadn’t been well and as they are one of my older participants I wanted to get this created so I can show them the progress.  I have also set a date to see them so this has spurred me on.

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It has reminded me of all the different skills that I needed for casting and being a familiar technique, the smells and feeling of producing the work have all come flooding back to me.  I really really enjoy the process as once the object is in situ, pouring the silicone in is quite a timely process, methodical and calming.  It allows (as do a lot of the techniques i’ve used) to think about the making process but also the purpose for doing it. It also allows contemplation time for the next stages etc.  This camera, being quite a square piece required methodical measuring to create the right size mould.  It also couldn’t be too thick on the sides so it wouldn’t come out, or too thin that left the object too floppy.  I left about 1.5cm all the way around. img_2477

It is the first really ‘square’ object I have cast too so this proved assorts of challenges such as getting bubbles out from the underside, how I was going to get it out after it had been moulded and where would the silicone go inside the camera if it got in!?

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I poured the silicone in two ‘goes’ one the day before each other, the join cannot be seen and it allowed the camera (that started floating) to be anchored in for the second pour. Having left it overnight I came back to retrieve the next day to ‘de-mould’.

The process of de-moulding proved hard due to the 90 degree angles and the sticky out bits such as the knobs and lenses.  After a while of just pulling and de sticking from the object it was decided that the camera would have to be destroyed to extract it.

It took a few hours to carefully cut and bend the metal to come out without destroying the silicone.  Like a lot of my work an element did not want to budge and so it stayed in there.  Quite significantly, this ended up being the winding knob which would have allowed the camera to wind on.  I have decided to leave it in the piece for now.

I went to see the participant and she was thrilled at the design and the idea.  We discussed her story in parts again, but also talked about lots of other things.  I feel I have truly made a friend as well as working with someone as part of a project.

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Beginning to make memories visible

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Today has been a good day…

I wanted to get some reading done, however my brain wanted to get designing, so after a good session last week of analysing all the stories and creating a shortened version, with annotation about what I could possible make, I began drawing from these notes.

As I drew I visualised each of the people telling me the stories and each of the memories they told me.  I worked them into the drawings.  On a couple of occasions I actually stopped what I was doing and rang one participant to arrange a meet up and emailed another to do the same.  These are people who I have met through the project who have become friends.  Friends in the sense I have been over for coffee to their houses and been out for dinner.  It’s developed from a working friendship into a lasting one.

My other reasoning was one of my participants is an older lady who has not been in the best of health but told me the most magical of stories that I could have never imagined being told.  She sent me a letter to arrange a visit, but said she’d not been in the best of health and was on ‘borrowed time’.  I actually cried when I read the letter and I think that shows what kind of a bond I have made with some of the participants.  It makes thinking about the process and the people and their memories so much more in depth when designing and I am conscious I have to do the story/the memory and those involved the best I can.

I worked from my preliminary sketches as I drew up the ideas individually.  Seeing the items then take shape as a collection and what they stand for this evening made me smile.  Looking at the objects assembled together as above is like looking at a collection of friends and people I know.  I have a couple more to add to the line up but just wanted to write down my thoughts as they stand at this moment.

Looking forward to getting making!