Making the Heart Model Plaster Slip Mould

A trip to the plaster room to mould the foam heart model. We have produced a plaster cast which went well with little difficulty. A few things we could have done differently however include:

  • Remembering not to make too much plaster – this led to our mould being pretty heavy and quite unwieldy to work with.
  • Make a mould with a flat bottom so that pouring in slip and leaving to set is easier, we have to wedge the mould up with clay to keep it upright.
  • Maybe put in two access holes, so that the air can circulate through the mould pushing the liquid slip out and not forming a vacuum which sucks in the clay walls collapsing the clay cast.

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Psychogeography – Where Psychology and Geography Collide.

Before beginning to create my own psychgeography maps from which to take inspiration for works from I began with some research into what psychogeography is, where it came from and its who its practitioners are. I am currently reading the book ‘Psycogeography’ by Merlin Coverley which is an introduction to psychogeography and an analysis of its key figures and their works.

I shall present my notes as they are recorded in my sketch book.

  • Psychogeography  has resisted definition through a shifting series of interwoven themes – constantly reshaped by practitioners.
  • It is a literary movement, a political strategy, a series of new age ideas, a set of avant-garde practises and much more.
  • The bigger more well known names associated with it are: Guy Debord and the Situationist’s, Iain Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd, Stewart Home, Will Self.
  • Origins – Paris, 1950’s by the Lettrist group a forerunner of the Situatuionists International.
  • Under Guy Debord it was a tool attempting to transform urban life, firstly for aesthetic purposes then increasingly as time went on for political ends.
  • Debord’s oft-repeated definition ‘ The study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’
  • Psychogeography – Where geography and psychology collide.
  • psychogeography – Explaining behavioural impact of urban place.
  • Situationists adopted a rigorous and scientific approach.
  • Surrealists used a more playful and subjective approach and methods.
  • Amongst the melange of ideas, events and identities predominant characteristics can be recognised:
  1. The act of walking.
  2. Political opposition to authority/ political radicalism.
  3. Playful sense of provocation and trickery.
  4. Search for new ways of apprehending the urban environment
  5. Overcoming banalisation.
  • The literary tradition of London writing as a precursor to psychogeography including writers such as Defoe, de Quincey, Robert Louis Steverson  and Arthur Machen. A uniformly dark picture of the city. 
  • Sinclair and Ackroyd tend (particularly representative of this) to dramatise the city (mostly London) as a place of dark imaginings.
  • Most contemporary psychogeography approximates more to form of local history than to any geographical investigation.
  • Iain Sinclair said ‘ William Blake is ‘the Godfather of psychogeography’ with his emphasis on the imaginative reconstruction of the city (London) : the transformation of familiar landscapes/ cityscapes of his own time and place into a transcendent image of the eternal city.

Glaze Room Induction by Matt

Glaze room induction covered the health and safety points to remember when working with glazes, the making and mixing of glazes. Also how to use the spray booths and how to adjust the air gun nozzles, power and medium intake should we need too. Wear an apron and keep a respirator handy. Always test glazes or slips before applying. Most general rules, guidelines and information can be found in my ‘The City’ sketchbook, Matt also stated that he would send out an email with more information which I shall update to this post at a later date. If I find myself in the glaze room alot I may consider putting together my own glaze making, mixing and applying kit. Test examples of different glaze recipes can be found in  the glaze room, recipes can be found in the library and on the internet, if stuck ask Matt for advice.

The spraying of the glaze technique would be suitable for the heart slip casts I am making with my field group, there are going to be around 10-15 (?) to spray and we also feel it is important to get them glazed efficiently and consistently. Once the glaze is on we should be able to experiment with lasertran on the objects themselves.

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Group Tutorial

In discussion we talked about the preference of ensuring we make an object as opposed to just presenting an idea or concept. Was decided that the heart as an object would be a great outcome for the group.

Everyone’s favoured method for making the heart would be to slip cast a model. Its a good and fast way to produce a larger number quite quickly giving us the opportunity to play around with design and surface design more, allowing room for more development if it is needed. I am very happy about this as it gives us the chance to perhaps develop the idea object in a very physical making sense rather an all on paper.

We also discussed the possibilities of surface design on the ceramic hearts using lasertran. I have a glaze room induction today at 02:00 with Matt the tech-dem, I will talk to him about the possibilities of lasertran and how to proceed with those.

Also after chatting about it we decided to continue with the idea of producing a film. Its a great way to document and maybe even explore the theme further or could even be inspiration for a future project I or we should ever want to explore the medium of film. This video will include the smashing, uploading and should present the hearts in the context of the city.

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Tutorial with Zoe and PsychoGeography

If I am to be totally honest I have sort of rejected my personal field project slightly over the last two weeks, this is due to being away for a week during family difficulties and concentrating on the group work aspect to the brief.

Today’s tutorial with Zoe cleared up some of the concerns as to what my project is about, after describing my ideas and research so far we were able to devise a plan of action for me to be getting on with, the conversation reminded me that I need to get MAKING to develop the concept further. So less sitting around thinking more doing! A more detailed post about the ideas and concept behind the migration theme will follow (hopefully Wednesday!), for now my way into addressing my ideas and getting into the making shall hopefully stem from PsychoGeography as  suggested by Zoe. I am hoping that psycho geog’ maps that I am going to create will fuel the  idea spark into a brighter more defined physical idea.

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Wire Frame Heart Skin Finished

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Whilst this was drying I was considering whether to mod rock over it in a thick layer which I could then go over with sandpaper to achieve a finer smoother surface.


Laser Cutter Induction

Today I had my laser cutter induction session with Mike the tech dem’ teaching Ian Cooke (Illustration) and myself. We discussed the implications and uses of laser cutting, suitable materials, potential problems and tricky things to look out for whilst using the laser cutter.

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The laser cutter uses vector line files made in Corel Draw, I have no experience of using Corel Draw so I shall have to make time to learn the programs features and what I can create in Corel draw, creating vector lines and raster images is simple enough however. I discussed the possibility of importing Pepakura files into Corel Draw with Mike, he thought it should be fine but warned me that file corruption can occur when swapping a 3-D file between different programmes and also that not all file types will work with Corel Draw.

I’m really excited about using the laser cutter with Pepakura files, this will allow for really fast sculpture/ model/ object prototyping etc. Much less use of a scalpel and using lots of ink! Model making is no potentially cheaper and faster!

I’m really keen to get making with the laser cutter right away so I am going to cut out Pepakura parts for a heart to use for the field brief. Also considering using 123D Make.