Casting the Jawbone

Photographs, river project, Work in Progress

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Casting the jawbone raised a host of issues that I didn’t realise would be a problem, but hopefully it will work out in the end. Before we could make a hot rubber mould of the jawbone Becky (the technician) and I decided to make a plaster cast of the jaw, as we felt it would be too fragile to make a hot rubber mould from directly.

STEPS

  1. Before we could begin casting I had to fill in the holes in the jaw (where the rest of the teeth originally were) with soft wax, so that it would be easier to cast. I also used a little superglue to secure the two teeth- we were worried that they may have come out of the jaw when we de-moulded it, so this was a preventative measure.
  2. I then pressed the jaw carefully into some clay and built up clay walls around it, and then applied a few layers of vegetable oil to the jaw to help release it from the mould once the alginate had set
  3. I mixed up a small amount of quick set alginate which I poured into the clay mould and left to set
  4. Once this had set I carefully removed the clay and rinsed the jaw and alginate, before greasing it up with more oil, and building up clay walls around it
  5. Another batch of quick set alginate was then poured over this, and left to set
  6. The clay was then removed, and the two halves of the mould separated and the jaw carefully removed.
  7. After cleaning both halves of the mould I fit them together and secured them with elastic bands, and was then ready to pour fine casting plaster into it
  8. The first attempt didn’t work very well and only the thickest section of the jaw came out, so for the second attempt after pouring in the plaster I moved the mould around to encourage the plaster to flow through the whole mould
  9. Once I opened the mould up I realised one half had not worked out, and the other half, where all the detail was, was too thin- to fix this I cut up scrim and layered that and some more plaster on top of it until it was thicker and stronger
  10. I then de-moulded it and created a hot rubber mould from that plaster cast. Because the detail was lost on one side I decided to make a flat mould, rather than a round one that needed to be cut open, to save materials
  11. The final photo on the slideshow is of the original jaw, first failed plaster cast, second plaster cast, and de-moulded wax cast of the jaw- as you can see there are a lot of details that need to be worked back into the wax by hand, but I am confident that it is doable

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!

Low Residency- one day monoprinting workshop

river project, Work in Progress

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A one day monoprinting workshop during the Low Residency.
The photos above show the process of monoprinting- I started off with some large print outs of a few of the macro photos I took of the bones, and inked up a plate with a roller. To make the prints I put a sheet of paper down onto the inked up plate, with one of the print outs on top of that. I then carefully drew over the photo with a pencil, applying harder pressure to create a darker mark, and lighter pressure for lighter marks and shading. Unfortunately the first few attempts didn’t work so well, as the paper I had chosen to print on was too thick, so not a lot of the lighter details were picked up. I then experimented with different mark making techniques on the thick paper and also on newsprint, until I was happy.

The smaller print and ghost print* (rectangular shaped) were made by soaking the thicker paper in water and then making the prints, but due to the amount of detail I was trying to capture the paper dried before I finished the print, meaning it didn’t come out as well as I was hoping. I ran the plate through the press with the second soaked sheet any way, to make the ghost print (black print with white lines).

To make the larger, better print, and the ghost print made from that, I used newsprint, as it didn’t need to be soaked, and picked up even the lighter marks made on the paper. I spent about an hour and half on this print as I really wanted to capture all of the tiny details from the photograph, and overall I am pleased with how this came out! I then ran the plate through the press with a second sheet to get the ghost print. One of the issues with newsprint is how fragile it is, and also that it discolours over time, but this could work in my favour, as the gradual transition of the paper will mimic how bones discolour over time with age, which is quite beautiful.

For a one day project I am very pleased with how the prints came out, and I had fun with the process. I think based on these outcomes that the macro photos would look very beautiful if I photo etched them, so this is something I may consider doing in the future.

* a ghost print is a print made from the negative of the original print- in this case when you remove the sheet of paper from the inked up plate wherever you have made a mark the ink will have transferred to the paper, giving you a positive print. To make a negative you then run the plate through the press with another sheet of paper, and this gives you a negative or ‘ghost’ print.