Casting trainers and a whole lot of silicone!

The last few days have been really interesting and exciting with lots of highs and lows. The trainers were the one object I have been scared of producing as they are something that was out of my comfort zone and used about £200 worth of silicone which again made me worry about getting it “right”.

The beginning of the process went well, prepping the shoes ready to be cast. I filled in the majority of the trainer where the foot would go to stop it collapsing in under the weight of the silicone and capped with plasticine as this still allows the silicone to go off rather than stay sticky.

Gluing the shoes to the base of the box so they wouldn’t float in the silicone, I then created the box around and glued it into place. This left the shiny surface for the silicone to stick to but give a clear outer finish. I thought I was going to cast the piece over a few days but having spoken to the technician, he recommended me pouring it all in one day. This worried me as I haven’t worked in such a large scale. I ended up doing 4 pours, 3kg, 4kg, 1.5kg and 2kg. This allowed me to judge how much I needed and not over cater as its expensive stuff! It felt so good to have done the whole pour on one day. The box needed clamping to stop it bowing out under the weight and it worked well.

The next morning I came in and the block had cured! It was so heavy, but by carefully splitting down the glue on the box I peeled off the outer frame to reveal the block. Turning the block over to see the soles of the shoes revealed how much had soaked underneath and showed where I should cut back the silicone to. It quickly became apparent that I would need to chop out the shoes piece by piece rather than being able to pull them out. This is because of the type of textile that the trainers are made from stuck in different places due to it porous nature and texture. Some sections such as the laces were completely embedded and unfortunately in removing the shoes some of the laces pulled out the silicone and ripped. This annoyed me as I like to get a perfect mould, but the more I thought about this, the struggle is synonymous with the relationship (this piece was based around a story of lost love, a boyfriend who ended up completely disappearing when then relationship finished and that the end was hard and a struggle. Also where the elements had ripped, it resembles how the end of the relationship felt and that a piece is now missing and the participant feels she has lost a friend as well as he disconnected from all her social media and life. He was ripped out of her life.

Also the opacity was not as clear as I’d hoped. Probably because there was so much silicone. Until I get them fully out and clean it up I won’t know, but hopefully it will be more clear when I get them totally out and can finish the object.

The shoes are still being stubborn and taking a while to get out. Hopefully I will feel better about the piece when they are well and truly out!


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