Revisiting Mouldable Polymers

Aims: To cast the internal space of a balloon with Polydoh granules.

Why did I select this material/process/approach? This was a spur of the moment, intuitive decision. I had been thinking about the balloon/plaster/volcanic eruption episode- which isn’t something I will forget in a hurry! I simply thought dry granules would be easier to pour into a balloon that wet plaster. I had no idea what would happen but was fairly confident that the balloon would withstand the hot water because of previous experimentation vulcanising latex.

The importance of the above description of what I was thinking is that it clearly illustrates my changing approach to sampling as guided by my tutor. I have a sense that I am beginning to understand the importance of sampling without a clear picture of the result in my head beforehand. This willingness to ‘play’, without fear of ‘wasting materials’ or ‘messing up’ has been the crucial learning for me in Part 3.

With that said, I find myself wondering if the next question matters more or less? It seems rather a strange paradox that the less I worry about the final result (or success) of the sample, the more important my discoveries are.

Degree of success: What worked/What didn’t? Why?

As recorded in my sketchbook, some methods worked better than others. I felt the samples were most successful when viewed close up under a very strong backlight:

Did I discover anything new or unexpected? It was all new and unexpected! I began to draw some of the samples using familiar media with the inclusion of correction fluid, inspired by Rachel Whiteread:

In the spirit of trying new things, I opened a tin of Inktense blocks that I brought ages ago and never got round to trying… and WOW! I love them!

The blocks felt quite familiar, they are shaped like oil pastels which I love drawing with and they can be manipulated with water like the pencils I am comfortable with. I was really impressed with how the colours pop but most of all like the way I can draw on top of each layer once it has dried, watercolour pencils just won’t allow that. I felt the blocks encouraged me to be a bit looser in my drawing style and to leave the sketches rather more unrefined than I would normally. Having said that, after exploring the inside of the Polydoh shapes by casting their internal space in silicone, I tried a more finished drawing:


How could I use this sample/technique/material/research in the future? For the first time, I began to appreciate the positive effect working in mixed media is having on my drawing. Drawing is one of my strengths and something I really enjoy, finding a new medium that suits me has been exciting. It feels incredibly freeing.


How does my learning relate to tutor feedback/personal development? Cari has encouraged me to include more drawing in my sketchbooks. We have discussed ways to refine my practice to prevent narrative and duplication of information between the sketchbook and blog. The purpose of this was to increase the time I had to make and draw. I am now beginning to feel the benefits of this and appreciate the relationship between drawing and making.

What do I want/need to do next? I want to draw with Inktense blocks for ever!


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