Sometimes you are fortunate enough to get to make a piece of work that pushes and develops your practice as an artist. I had never done any casting or moulding before so I enlisted the help of Julia Barton - what she doesn’t know about it isn’t worth knowing. So I wanted to cast in wax and make multiples.
I needed to make a model, then make a mould of that model and then i could start casting. I went for silicone rubber. They guy at the chemical plant was really really helpful. Gave me a data sheet, went through volumes, masses, temperatures, hardeners, timings – I didn’t know I would need all that schoolboy chemistry and physics stuff again. Then it was the same thing with waxes about weight and hardness and how adding one affects the other.
First up is the modelling and prototyping – trying to make the thing you want to cast – with consideration for how you will get it out the mould once it’s cast.
This is not quite as easy as it sounds – particularly because the rough model prototype does not always bare a total resemblance to the object that comes out of the mould.
Then it was knowing that the sleeve had to be removable – that may seem obvious to you. I was on a steep learning curve. And then not forgetting to seal the base so all the silicone doesn’t run out the bottom and on to the studio floor.
Then there is the heating of the wax and the pouring, taking care not to burn anything or set anything accidentally on fire. No really, it’s not stressful at all – it’s great fun!
It’s been a great experience. Messing around trying to get the finish I want. Trying to cast and mould other objects. It’s such a versatile material – it’s like having a whole new world open up ready to explore.
I have more ideas i want to try. It forces me to be in the studio a lot – which is great too. It is where i am beginning to feel like i belong – up until now i had always had an uneasy relationship with my studio practice. Having a piece to make and having had the experience of talking to loads of people in scandinavia leading to me reflecting on my practice has all helped this feeling at home in the studio. I also think having a warm dry well lit studio helps. I can open the door on the warm summer days and I really appreciate that.