Week 33 of 48

September 20, 2010

I’m finally ready to share the next project. I’ve been focusing on rock candy and learning how to control the forms that it grows in. I can’t control the crystals themselves, except for when to take them out of the solution, but I’ve found that I can control the overall form by stiffening the knit first. I didn’t want to stiffen it with starch or any other product that is not sugar related, but after some experimentation, I figured out how to do it with the sugar solution itself. I’m skipping a set of experiments that came before this to get to the real meat of what I’m working on now. I’ve been lace-knitting large swathes of fabric using patterns I’ve created loosely based on a suit of armor. Once the piece is knit, I harden it over a dress form when necessary to gain the correct compound curves. In some ways, I think growing the suit of armor out of rock candy is as much an exercise in seeing what I can make the candy do as it is an object in its own right. I would like to eventually work a little more abstractly, but for now this is a good starting point. It will force me to learn how to assemble large pieces of candy together (and of course how to grow it), how to display the piece when it’s finished, and how different types of holes and knits will effect the overall composition. So without further ado…

the lace-knit piece, hardened over a dress form in the shape of half a breast plate

the same piece submerged in a fish tank of solution

the same piece submerged in a fish tank of solution

a close-up of the piece starting to grow crystals from the bottom up—where the denser solution sits

the second half of the breast plate, ready to be submerged

I tried this with cheese cloth as well but the thread is too fine to hold its shape once it's submerged—I love the way it looked though...

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