Part 3, Assignment 3, Project 1, Molding from a Surface, first attempts.

This project is all about exploring the ways a surface texture can be captured by molding materials which can be pressed into or onto the surface.  I used two materials: Sculptamold and Claydium (air drying clay).  Click on the links to find out more about them.

My first attempts at molding using Sculptamold,  did not work very well.  I had ambitions of making an impression of a knitted baby boot and a pair of earrings.  I had also missed the point about using Sculptamold as a molding material and went straight into an attempt at Casting.  Anyway, it was a useful learning experience, and I have used Sculptamold very successfully in a later experiment which will have a post all of its own.

I think I made the mixture too liquid, rather like porridge, so there was no chance of creating an impression of the baby boot.  I tried pressing in various bits and pieces but gave up in frustration!    To be honest I found it more interesting to pull the almost dry Sculptamold apart and examine how it dried slowly from the outside inwards.  In fact, it is a very slow drying material if left in air, and needs to be put either in bright sunshine or a low oven.  I also tried soaking the semi-dry Sculptamold in water and discovered it is possible to make the porridge again, so it is re-usable.  Slowly I learned that by using less water, and by mixing it well with my hands, it became smoother.

There is very little evidence left of these early experiments and I’m not sure how enlightened my tutor or the assessors would be to receive samples of crumpled Sculptamold anyway … however I think I learned useful things.  Here are some photos of the baby boot and earrings.


Molding using Claydium.  Next I moved on to another product, Claydium, which is a nylon reinforced, air-dry clay).

Thoughts: I was surprised at the success of these first samples.  I thought the clay would stick to the surfaces too much, be difficult to remove.  I also predicted the impressions would be rather faint, but the results are very crisp, even with soft embroidery cotton from the coiled pot and the grass.  The effect of knitting, even weave and lace was very effectively caught.  This was enjoyable, easy to work the clay in my fingers, very quick to make experimental samples.  I could sand the edges of the lace block after 90 minutes.  For future samples I would cut out the blocks more carefully.  I would also experiment with colouring the clay.  The surface could be painted once molded, but I think you would lose the crisp patterns so colouring  beforehand is probably a better plan.  Here are some photos of my best samples as they came off the materials.

Claydium pressed into knitted dishcloth cotton


Claydium pressed onto rough hessian fabric
Claydium pressed into a small, coiled pot
Claydium pressed onto a scrap of vintage cotton lace
Claydium impressed with dried grass/cereal


Fresh plant material pressed into the Claydium keeps looking fairly fresh – something to remember for future ideas, perhaps.

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