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.
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.
From 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!
The finsihed pieces…
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…!