Week 17 of 48

May 31, 2010

Mold! This week is all about mold making—probably a boring topic for the majority of you, but I was pretty psyched to both start and finish this mold in the last few weeks so I am going to share the whole process whether you like it or not! Now that the mold is complete, several rounds of casts will probably be necessary before a successful cast emerges, but I am ready to work for it. Mold making is such a long process, what’s a few more days to perfect the casting process?

prepping the plaster diamond for round one of polyurethane

I didn't want a pour spout so in order to make the mold in the round without a support, I had to make half at a time...

flipped over and polyurethane on the top half

back to the bottom half, prepping for part one of the plaster mother mold

the hydrocal sets so quickly I could only do small sections at a time... this is only 2 sections out of 5 needed to complete each half of the mother mold

first half of mother mold done but look at the mess! fiberglass, hydrocal, plasticine, polyurethane, etc.

prepping for second half of mother mold... not very professional looking!

second half of mother mold done... looks pretty wonky, but I think it just might work...

easily the most bad ass mold I've made to date

Still not done! There is a whole other set of steps to opening up the mold and preparing it for its first cast

All the parts opened, cleaned and ready to go! Wish me luck...

I have officially survived my first month as a year-round staff member. Woohoo! It’s actually quite terrifying to think it is March… I’m not ready! What happened to February?! It flew by so fast I can only imagine that the rest of the year will go by equally, insanely fast. It feels like I haven’t gotten anything done yet, which is slightly disappointing, but then people keep telling me that the first month doesn’t count… Regardless of counting or not, I am still working on polishing off that diamond in order to make a mold of it and I started making molds of a bunch of smaller faceted forms. Oddly enough, I found some glass knobs (purely coincidental that the previous candy test pieces look like door knobs) that are perfect for the job on one of the antique chest-of-drawers in the office, so I am borrowing them for the week. I also started a new batch of grow-your-own crystals. The package claims they are aquamarine and the solution is certainly bright blue but we will see what it actually produces after a week or two. Already they are looking pretty fantastic, after less than 24 hours… Outside of the 3D world, I have given myself a juvenile drawing assignment of sorts. Realizing that I have a horrible relationship with drawing, which hasn’t always been the case, I am trying to draw every day. Initially I was supposed to start and finish a drawing a day, but I have already broken that rule so instead I am trying to just draw every day; either completing a drawing or adding to one I’ve already started. So far there have been some interesting results, though I think I will save sharing them for next week… Without further ado, this week’s photos:

mold making station

antique knobs and one fake acrylic one—so obvious which is which!

After about 18 hours, crystals were growing up the side of the container and out of the blue solution

these images don't do them justice—they are quite amazing looking

Oh! I listened to the new Knife album today not knowing it is an electro-opera that hasn’t been released on CD yet (only for download until tomorrow, March 1st). I had NO IDEA what I was listening to because it was so weird—I thought maybe I had downloaded the wrong content since I didn’t recognize any of the vocals. Over half way through I finally recognized some of it, so I looked it up to figure out what kind of crazy concept album it is and not only is it an opera, it is also based on Darwin’s, The Origin of Species, AND these illustrations are part of the album art:

how insane is that! fig l. is a diamond! life is so weird... illustration by Sara Hernandez

Untitled 10 (Things)

December 3, 2009

Yesterday was such a fun play day. Now that I have proved I can repeat successful casting results, it is time to play! I spent my entire studio day just having fun with the candy, trying all kinds of experiments and letting the candy take me places I never would have gone otherwise. It was such a relief after slaving over the mold, both the making of it and the repeat attempts at casting in it. And even though I have been working really consistently from day one, my studio finally looks like it has a lot more stuff in it thanks to yesterday’s experiments. But I’m going to be a horrible tease and not actually show them yet. To keep things slightly chronological, I’m going to share the candy making process and the first successful casts.

One batch of candy: sugar, corn syrup and a little water

Boiling sugar, this is the early boil stage, when it actually reaches temperature, it boils totally differently...

Candy ready for pouring, at about 300 degrees but no longer bubbly

The first successful cast. Totally ugly, heavy and dark, but it worked!!! This must have been the 4th or 5th cast of this same batch of candy...

Shattered candy from all the failed cast attempts

The first cast to work on the first try. Woohoo! This is the natural color of the candy: you can add baking soda to bleach it but it becomes more brittle.

I also had my first studio visit, with Sheila Pepe this morning. It was sort of my first official sculpture review ever! Never having taken a real sculpture class at RISD, my only experience was in a technical class that did not include much theory or criticism related to sculpture and the making of it. And although I have made a few sculptures and even shown them, there has not necessarily been much real discussion, especially not with professionals, about the end results or even the process. So good to finally have a real talk about what I am trying to do!! I had no idea what to expect so I am really happy with how it went.

Untitled 8 (Beautiful)

December 1, 2009

I finally had my first big breakthrough last night. I spent the first few days here making a rubber mold, messing it up, fixing it, making a mistake, inventing a new mold making technique to fix it, etc. etc. Once I finally got a functioning mold, I began trying to cast home made hard candy in it and wow has it been a challenge. When I did the smaller casts at home in the old My Little Pony molds, everything worked like a dream on the first try and it all seemed so simple. However, the change in scale to a kickball sized mold made a huge unexpected difference. Suddenly it was impossible to get an even coating of candy throughout the entire inner surface. With the first cast, I didn’t make the candy correctly and it never hardened properly. The second cast I poured the candy out when it was too hot, creating an incredibly thin shell, meaning it crumbled and shattered when I opened the mold. This trial and error system went on for several more casts, each time getting a little closer to a successful full cast, but each time shattering and crumbling in the end. Every time I tweaked something about how I ran the cast, it would come out slightly better and therefore encourage me to continue adjusting, thinking EVENTUALLY it had to work. Towards the end of the day yesterday, though, I was starting to think that I should stop forcing the candy to do what I want and maybe step back and spend some time learning what the candy wants to do instead. Even though I finally got a successful cast yesterday (by pouring the candy in, closing up the pour spout with some plasticine, and continuously rolling the mold for a good 2 hours while it cooled), it’s still ugly, too thick and not really what I was hoping for. At least now I know it is possible though and can continue to tweak my technique until I am a pro. It still seems like it might be a good idea to step back and just play with the candy for a day or two before pushing forward. I might find some nice effects that I wouldnt have found on my own.

Anyways, without further ado, some pictures. I have also been taking time lapse photography while working in the studio so I will post the first week of video soon…


Kickball covered in plasticine with pour spouts and dividers for 2 mold halves

plaster mother mold... I used cheap modeling plaster and it was a big mistake, next time it will be half ultracal, half modeling...


After mother mold, I opened up the plaster, pulled out all the plasticine and put the ball back in to pour the rubber

I totally f-ed up the rubber but sort of invented a new technique in my attempt to save it... will explain that more another time, but here is the completed mold with kickball model, rubber mold, and plaster mother mold

The mold all closed up and waiting for candy to be poured in...

the mold upside down over a pot to drain out extra candy-this didnt work but it might in the future...

Next time will be the candy half of the process…

Yesterdays Schedule: I’m actually really sick of writing about my schedule and you’re probably sick of reading it so no more of this…



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