3.2; Expanding Foam

Aims: To explore the performance and properties of Expanding Foam.

Degree of success: What worked/What didn’t? Why? I tried about six methods for casting with this unfamiliar material and two were successful in that that hold the potential for future developments.

Even though I classified the above samples as ‘failures’ in truth they were as useful as the ‘successes’ below. I learned about the performance of the foam from each attempt and carried this knowledge forward to the next sample. This very act of investigative play shows me how much I have learned about the creative process during Part 3.

Sample properties: Look/Feel. Structure/texture/colour.

SAMPLE ONE: The foam has extruded through the lacy apertures, like whipped cream.

Photographed from above this distorts the floral motifs in a similar way to my manipulations in Part One: Cutting Holes, where I used shadow to alter existing patterns:

From a more sideways perspective the height can be appreciated.


How does this relate to my contextual research? Had I selected black lace the colour contrast would have been greater but I was glad that I chose the neutral colour because I think I have avoided some of the sexual connotations of lingerie and whipped cream! Jeff Muhs work awoke feminist principles I never knew I had. Although the only readings of his work I could find were positive saying that he: celebrates the strength of the female form by translating it into a durable material like concreate, I disagree. The deliberate, albeit aesthetically clever, restraint and constriction of the material by provocative garments such as a corset or a Jimmy Choo, to almost comic proportions feels disrespectful. I get a very definite ‘sex sells’ vibe from the work, which I was keen to avoid in my choice of materials.

If I have misread Muhs intentions, I apologise, I am only now beginning to write about work that displeases me. It feels disrespectful to criticise another persons work; responding to work that elicits a more complex response than “wow, that’s pretty” is new to me. I am actually in awe of his sculptures because they forced me to think beyond the surface, beyond decorative qualities and think about how I felt in relation to the work.

Sample properties: Look/Feel. Structure/texture/colour. Expanding foam challenges the boundaries of the crochet sphere. The irregular protrusions appear at regular intervals, a balance has been achieved between perfection and imperfection.


Did I feel comfortable with the materials/techniques? Was there anything I particularly enjoyed? I became very immersed in the whole ‘play session.’ Even when it seemed like I wasn’t going to achieve anything I could use, I was still enjoying the experience.

How could I use this sample/technique/material/research in the future? Drawing unlocked the potential of the samples. In addition to my favourite watercolour pencils, I have used pen, correction fluid, inktense blocks and acrylic paints, varying the methods of application to explore the marks I can make.

I am coming to the end of Part 3 having learned to be more receptive to Mixed Media, seeing the positive effects it is having on my drawing.

What do I want/need to do next? Time to review what I’ve made so far and begin the Selection Process!


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