End of Year Round up

So it’s Boxing Day and for some reason I find myself sat at my computer doing a bit of research.  I wanted to just work out what I had done and what I plan to do in the next few months for my PhD, so I can start to get on with it.  This will hopefully make up part of a plan that I can follow.

I’ve managed to finish 3 items.  I’ve finished them so much so that I have photographed them.  I have managed to interview one of the participants about their finished piece.  I need to interview the other 2 participants.

From this first stage of making I have discovered a number of things.  Some of it I wrote in my post about the rolling pin but it applies to all the pieces.  I seemed to ‘know’ when something in the process was wrong or right.  Materials, techniques etc.  Even when I should be making.  This is something that I will take forward to the next ‘batch of objects’.

The next objects that are already underway but yet to complete are:

Bag, Bottle, Brass shoes and watch.  The shoes and watch are objects that I will be relying on someone else to help me make the metal frame so it’s hard to make sure I find the right person to do it, that I build a relationship with them and then am happy with the process.  I also have to find funds to do these bits too!!!

I have then got the larger objects to finish.

Rucksack, trainers and toilet dolly.  As it happens my last piece to finish and cast was the trunk in my MA collection.  I think it is just the sheer volume of the object that I am casting and also because it is a new technique again.  Casting onto a fabric is a bit of a funny process and so all these objects do that to some degree.  You have to make sure the fabric weave is sealed so the silicone doesn’t got through it and embed itself in the fibres so i need to do some patch tests of barriers on fabrics and things like that.  Then hopefully they will all work!!!

Having spoken to my supervisor I also need to get my reading done but I find this hard whilst i’m making.  It appears to be more of a reflective process rather than a combo at certain points.

I keep having feelings that I am doing OK but then the written side I panic I’m getting behind with.  It’s quite hard to manage with everything else I need to do.  I think the quicker the making is done then I can prioritise the reading and writing.

In the new year I have three consecutive days of ‘getting on with it’.  I’m going to sit down and really sort things out.  Pull out all the paper work, get some spider diagrams underway and streamline what I have got into some kind of order.  I’ve already cleared my wall infant of my desk to start pinning up different things.

Happy Christmas!!!!!

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Further Thoughts rolling pin

Having completed the rolling pin for a few days, I’ve had the chance to show the finished item to a few people.  I myself have come to the conclusion, but also with responses from others that the ‘strap’ is not right or doesn’t fit in.  The idea of this was to get my leather work into the piece but there was no real reason for it apart from being a design feature. I therefore feel that having tried these bits, they can now be removed from the finished piece.  Responses were that they didn’t fit or that it had the feeling that it was a bondage rolling pin and why does it need the leather work….  It’s a good few points that I have had chance to contemplate and I am going to change.

ROLLING PIN 2

Rolling pin complete

There are a number of elements I want to discuss as part of the rolling-pin piece that I managed to complete yesterday.  This piece has required the most support from other people, although all pieces have had an input from people I know.  This piece required learning from others, developing new techniques and chosing between techniques that seemed right or wrong.  It also involved a lot of experimentation to see what I actually wanted to create in the end.  I also wasn’t really sure what the end product would be like even though I knew what I wanted to create from the initial design.

The rolling-pin journey saw me learning new skills such as 3D studio max back in the summer.  This was because I initially wanted to create a rolling pin that would print the hand written recipe into the dough of the actual recipe.  With the help of specialists in this area I managed to create a section of rolling pin that was printed on a 3D printer to use on the dough.  Although this was not my initial design idea, I always wanted an element of 3D text within the design.  For a while after I had done this I was really excited about how it could be rolled into the dough, however it did not fully feel like my work.

I had gotten people to help me and because my knowledge of the computer programme was limited I would have had to settle with what was produced for me.  I lost all creative control and therefore I didn’t feel like I was transmitting the story as the maker into the piece.  I got swept up in the novelty that the finished piece would be able to be used on the actual dough to create the ginger bread.

However going back to my initial design idea of the rolling-pin I wanted to have the handwriting of the person around the rolling pin embedded within the silicone, so the writing was not a physical, present element but a ghostly impression wrapped round the rolling pin, telling the story of what the rolling pin would have made when it was used.

Collection 6 clean

As I was in the studio, trying to use the 3D software a colleague of mine was using the UV printer.  Just as a offchance I ended up watching the process and thought nothing of it.  Walking back to the car that evening I suddenly worked out how I could produce the cylinder component of my original design.  I wouldn’t have to use the 3D software and get help, I could 3D print the words, wrap it round a centre core and then have an outer tube to pour the silicone between.  I emailed my colleague who asked me to come along the following monday with hos students so I could see how to do it myself.  Much like the creation of the actual rolling-pin using the lathe and being taught to do that, I worked alongside students, was demonstrated the technique and then produced the file myself to be printed on the UV printer.  By printing onto acetate it meant that teh surface when the silicone was poured onto it would always be shiny.  We printed to a relied of 0.6mm.

IMG_4835From this, I worked with the 3D printer and technician, to produce an inner core tube that fitted exactly over the rolling-pin.  This felt OK as it was a part of the process and not a finished component.  The text was then wrapped around this with double-sided tape and then an outer tube with an 8mm gap was sourced and put around the outside leaving a cavity for the silicone to be poured.  I felt in my element, as I was back to working with techniques that I feel my expertise lie in and so as well as working out the process, when doing familiar tasks my mind was able to wander back to processing the story and thinking of the participants.

Having poured the silicone and with a lot of force and washing up liquid, the tube of silicone was set and complete with amazing accuracy and probably better than I’d hoped.  To be able to get it out of the mould was difficult requiring destroying the inner tube, however I was able to get the silicone out using tools that had been made especially for me to my specifications by my friend and blacksmith who lives over the road.  Without these tools the job would have been so much harder!

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The finsihed pieces…

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It has felt very much like co production throughout this piece, from the story-teller to the number of different people who have had an input or supported the making in one way or the other.  I am so happy my gut and head told me to create the piece that I had proposed and that I didn’t settle.  It feels with this research that I couldn’t settle anyway…. It has to be right…!