Wax Casts

Photographs, river project, Videos, Work in Progress

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Photos of the wax casting process- melting the wax in a saucepan before leaving it to cool to pouring temperature (the wax needs to be cool enough that it coats the side of the pan), then pouring into the secured moulds, including the larger brick mould, before de-moulding and removing excess wax/working the details back in.

Video of two wax casts, fresh from the mould- you can see that there is excess wax that needs to be removed, and some of the details need to be worked back in to the casts.

Video made up of a clip showing the second, larger batch, of wax casts fresh from the moulds, followed by a clip of me working on one of these casts to remove excess wax and work a hole back into the cast to mimic the original bone. The final photo is of the wax cast from the previous clip next to the original bone I cast it from- you can see that I have worked some of the details lost during the hot rubber mould process back into the wax cast.

The two clips in this video show the first hollow wax cast of the brick I found on the river, and the second cast next to the original brick- you can see how the hot rubber mould picked up most of the detail from the brick, and how that has translated to the wax casts. You might notice some lines on the casts- this is because to make a hollow cast you need to pour in the wax slowly and roll the mould gently around to ensure the wax coats the mould properly- I did this too slowly so there are lines visible. Next time I use the mould I will be careful to pour the wax faster to avoid this happening- I may melt these two casts down and redo them.  The brick casts need to be hollow as to make a solid bronze of that size would be too costly, and too heavy. I will either have to leave the hole in the bottom, or weld a small piece of metal over the hole, but this is something I will tackle when I get to that stage.

Unfortunately this was all I was able to get done before the workshops closed for the break, but I am looking forward to getting back into the foundry/plaster room and continuing my work! The plan is to make at least two of each bone in wax, and then make at 2 – 4 large moulds to go into the kiln and then be poured, as I want a copy of each bone in aluminium and in bronze. I have also been shown a material called glass wax, which is used in the film industry to make objects that mimic glass, and if  I can afford it I would like to experiment with this medium as well, as it will give me another material and colour to analyse.

Unknown Landscapes/ Impromptu Pop up Show

Exhibitions, Photographs, river project, Videos

The above video is of my “Unknown Landscapes” piece in the end of term pop up exhibition ‘Impromptu’ held in uni, with work from both first and second year students. I wasn’t involved in the set up of the exhibition so I had no idea the video works would be displayed like this, with each screen slightly delayed from the previous screen to create this effect- but I really like it and think it is really effective in showing off my work!

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The images show my work at different stages on the screens, as well as shots of my classmates’ work. The exhibition was small but well curated and I feel that all the pieces worked well together in the space, despite being very different.

BISCUIT Projected

Exhibitions, Group Project, Videos

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Our short film inspired by Jess Thom, BISCUIT, was projected onto the new hall of residence next to Camberwell College of Arts for the official opening night of the new building! This means it was potentially seen by everyone in attendance, including Jess Thom, the Dean of Camberwell, and Grayson Perry! The photo was taken by Jonathan and sent to our group, as we weren’t aware that it was happening on the night. There was no sound due to it being projected, but I’m very proud that our work was shown to such a large audience!

BISCUIT – A group project led by Jess Thom

Group Project, Videos

This project was part of the 10 day low residency, where the online students joined us in London, and ran for one day. We started this project with an introduction and talk by Jess Thom, the artist behind https://www.touretteshero.com/ .

She spoke to us about Tourettes Hero, and also about her daily life living with Tourettes Syndrome, and then asked us to group up and create a video per group, inspired by her website, tics, and work. I was put into a group with Justin Lee Vervin, Paola Pinna, and Steph Bebbington, and together we created this piece.

We were initially interested in one particular tic that Jess displayed whilst talking to us- the word “Biscuit” often shouted. I had made notes of some of the verbal tics Jess had displayed during her talk and we used those as a starting point. After discussing our ideas we came up with a rough plan, and the first thing we did was to record ourselves with a sound recorder saying the word “Biscuit” over and over in various tones and differing volumes, to create the soundtrack for our video. Justin then took this recording and spent the day mixing it to create the sound you can hear in the video. Whilst he was doing this, Paola and I went on an adventure- we went into Sainsburys to take photos of objects mentioned in Jess’ verbal tics, such as sausages, different kinds of biscuit, pencils, and other things. We got told off by staff, after multiple attempts, and then decided to try our luck in the corner shop opposite uni. We then sent our photos on to Steph, who digitally manipulated the images via Photoshop, alongside other royalty-free images she had found whilst we were out taking the photos. We also typed up the word “Biscuit” as well as “risk it” “fuck it” “is it” and “fist it” as when we listened to the sound we recorded we could hear those word too (also “fuck it” was another verbal tic of Jess’). Paola then printed those out and collaged, sprayed, and wrote on the print outs. She then photographed these and sent them on to me.

My main role in the project, aside from being recorded with the rest of the group, and taking photos for the video, was to collate all the images, and later the sound, into the video above using Premier Pro, as I was the only one in the group with experience of this programme.

Overall I really enjoyed this project and am very proud of the finished piece- we worked well as a group and managed to combine our individual talents into a well thought out and put together video. I would have liked the video to be longer, but we had to finish it in the day we were given, and due to how long editing takes I did the best I could in the time we had. Also I feel the video could have lost impact and felt too repetitive if it were much longer, so it was probably for the best!

Foundry Work: Burn out

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

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I haven’t updated in a while, as I have been busy physically making work in the foundry this term, which takes up a lot of my physical and mental energy- it is a very hands on, time consuming process, and at the time of writing this I have no finished pieces, as my first mould did not work.

The photos above show the process of making the mould.

  1. The bones were first pressed into clay, which then had plaster poured over the top of it. This photo shows the second stage, where the clay has been removed and cleaned away, to reveal the bones embedded into the plaster
  2. The next stage was to join each of the bones together with soft wax sausages, moulded by hand- this would later become the channels that the metal ran through
  3. The soft wax sausages then needed larger hard wax tubes attached, using hot knives heated over a Bunsen burner to melt and attach them- the top tubes would become channels for the hot metal to run through, and the bottom ones were for ventilation. The wax and bones then needed to be de-greased so that the grog (a special mix of plaster) would stick to it
  4. I then began layering on the grog, carefully over the wax and bones, so as not to damage or dislodge them, extending the wax tubes at the top of the mould as I did so
  5. This photo shows the additional wax tubes added as I applied grog- the joins on the wax tubes were wrapped with the soft wax to strengthen them
  6. Another stage in the grog process
  7. At this point the mould was stood upright, using more grog, onto the board I was working on, and the wax tubes further extended
  8. Once it was upright I then needed to build soft wax around a paper cup, to create the funnel for the top of the mold, which was then attached to the wax tubes. I added more grog as I went along for support, as the wax tubes were very fragile, and the cup was heavy from the added wax
  9. I then made a cylinder out of plastic using plastic sheeting and duct tape, to fit around the mould. To keep it in place I used fabric dipped in plaster to create a band around the middle of the mould, about halfway up (for support) and more of the fabric dipped in plaster around the bottom (to seal the plastic to the board)
  10. The next stage was to make the second coat grog mix (it is made with ludo instead of fine casting plaster) and carefully fill the cylinder to the top with this mix. This had to be done slowly, in stages, to prevent the heavy mixture from damaging the rest of the mould, and also to make sure it was completely filled.
  11. Once it was set Becky (the technician) removed the plastic layer, and covered the outside in fabric dipped in plaster to make a sturdy outer layer, and the mould was then fired in the kiln at a very high temperature to melt the wax and burn out the bone fragments. This photo shows the mould once it had been filled with molten bronze and left to set

The video above shows the pouring process in the foundry, done by Becky and another technician. My mould is the middle one!

12. This photo shows Becky removing the outer layer from my mould
13. We then began to smash my mould open (carefully) to see if it had worked
14. This photo shows the broken mould- you can see the metal has filled the cup and the top of the wax channels, but stops at the bones
15. The fragments of bone in my hand- this mould failed as the kiln did not get hot enough to burn the bones out, meaning the metal had nowhere to go.

I was very disappointed that this mould failed, but it was an experiment, and myself and Becky realised that the kiln was not going to be able to reach the kind of temperature we needed without it breaking my mould. This mould took me nearly two months to complete, as I had to wait between each step to check with Becky that I was doing it right, and to ask what the next stage was, as it was my first time doing this, but I am already halfway on the shell mould. This is because once you know what you are doing it is much easier to just get on and do it, which I will continue to do! Also I have only been in the foundry 3 days a week, as Wednesdays it shuts at 12.30 and I struggle to get in early enough, and Fridays it is shut. Going forwards I plan to finish the shell burn out mould (hopefully it will work) and also continue making wax versions of some of my bigger bones, to make into a mould. My next post will show the process of making a hot rubber mould, and waxes from that!

Unknown Landscapes

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

 

Shot with a macro lens on a DSLR camera, closeups of bones found along the river, using a moving light source to illuminate the bones. If anyone would like to create some sound to go with this video then please contact me! I have little experience in sound art and music, and would love to have some accompanying sound.

I am actually very pleased with how this work turned out, as it was only my second time using a macro lens, and I feel I captured the beauty and detail in the bones perfectly through this medium. For such a simple experiment I think I have created one of my favourite pieces of work, and I would like to explore this further in the future. My only regret is that currently the video has no sound, and I feel it could be greatly enhanced by it. I might go back to the spots where I found the bones along the river and record some of the sounds- I could then layer these sounds with the video and play around with it.