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AP2: practical experimentation

Initial Ideas:

After the Reworlding exhibition had been taken down I found that I had large amounts of the scrap green upholstery fabric. I wanted to make use of this as I enjoy reusing materials as well as taking previous pieces of work and transforming them into new contexts or through different processes. I spent a period of time simply playing with the material, looking at the cut out shapes, its forms, how it can be brushed to form different textures and colour. I also started laying out these shapes and began to consider them as painting - possible canvas pieces.


Glass Terrazzo and laser cutting

  • Developing from AP1 I wanted to incorporate newer materials

  • After researching ancient construction processes I can across the process of glass terrazzo - developed in 18th century Venice and was originally the height of luxury adorning flooring.

  • I also made use of the laser cutter to cut out shapes based on the fragmented forms of found natural stone - linking to the sense of the architectural

  • This took a lot of planning, creating a mould, putting grease in the mould to allow it to open easily, measuring out equal quantities of mortar, plaster and pigment as well as the glass. I first mixed the pigment in with the binder and then added small amounts of the glass. While pouring I had to make sure not to knock the acrylic out of place. This did happen on one of my test where it became shifted in the mould.

  • Once this has set I was able to grind down the surface to reveal the glass layers, and polish it. This was a very lengthy process, I first used sandpaper but they became very worn out quickly. I ended up using an abrasive sponge and this worked much faster.

  • I also experimented with insetting different materials such as silicone, this was very exciting and something I want to continue further considering what different material combinations I can create.

  • After making previous sculptures, the hanging process has always been challenging. However, I was able to use a key eye hook which worked perfectly. I just had to drill a small circle and then using an epoxy resin set the hook in place. This is a much easier fixing as it allowed the sculptures to be hung just by a single screw.

Image transfers:

  • using more found concrete fragments - creating mould out of vinyl. This piece was interesting as it had a very noticeable bumpy texture.

  • I played with pigmenting the plaster to give a more yellow hue. It was quite a challenge to mix even quantities and guess how much the colour will fade when mixed with the plaster.

  • I then experimented with emulsion prints. I wanted to create a collaborative sculpture so incorporated some of the natural imagery taken by Hayley Salter for the Reworlding exhibition.

  • I used an acrylic matt medium and left the prints over night to set, then removing the paper layer with a sponge and sealing the final print with matt varnish.

Silver plating:

  • Much of my practice is informed by found objects. Over the module I have collected pieces of found concrete, which I see as remnants and artefacts from their previous home - such as pieces of broken debris from buildings.

  • When exploring this I wanted to make a replica. As such I used a dense vinyl, cutting it up into squares, melting it down in the melting pot, and pouring it into a mould made out of wooden boards.

  • For my first test I cast plaster into the mould. I was pleased with how much detail this picked up. However, it was hard to avoid bubbles and some areas where details were less evident.

  • After working with the technicians in the plaster workshop, I decided to test out a wax to see if this would pick up finer detail. The wax had to be heated up, wearing safety mittens when pouring it into the mould. This was much more detailed however it was very fragile and easily broke.

  • When thinking of objects and their value and ways of transforming objects I wanted to experiment with metal casting and had the idea to get the replica silver plated. After researching local foundry's I found that I had to cast the object in foundry wax as this is used as a mould and melts to allow the liquid metal to take its place. However, this would need to be cast in bronze and then silver plated which was very expensive.

  • I still made another cast in the foundry wax. However, this was a lot denser and took much longer to melt, requiring me to use a heat gun. The results were much better, picking up a great amount of detail and not having any significant bubbles.

  • After contacting the school of jewellery I learnt that the wax can be silver plated on its own, by coating it with a metallic spray paint and then putting it into a silver plating bath. For this, I took a dental tool to clean up any areas of the wax such as mould lines and the odd bubble.

  • I was incredibly pleased at the results of the silver plating. It is a very interesting material, with an inherent value but also paired with the textured surface, it had a very shifting colouration in response to light being cast on it.

Next Steps:

Since I had the piece silver plated I was planning ways of displaying it. I took a lot of inspiration from Victor Seawards minimal shelves and vitrines which he uses to display objects as artefacts.

Victor Seaward, shelf display, sculpture

  • I wanted to create a sense of importance for the object - display it in a clean and sophisticated way

  • consider different options in sketches such as box frames, or foam inserts

  • Eventually I settled on an oversized shelf that places the shard in the centre - this can then be spot-lit to create a sense of importance but also to exploit the reflective qualities in the material

  • I then wanted to use flocking to transform the texture of the shelf and also contrast with the very machanical, cold material of the sculpture

Shelf Making and Flocking

  • I created the shelf using 6 mm MDF, cutting on the bandsaw making sure to wear protective visors and using the push sticks to keep my hands safe.

  • I used a set of screws to fix the two pieces of board together using a butt joint. I wanted to hide the screws and did this by making my own filler out of sawdust and glue. After sanding this down it perfectly hid the screws.

  • This was also a great opportunity to learn a new process - using flocking for the first time

  • To do this, I created a test sample using wooden board, sectioning it off with masking tape. I put a watered down layer of PVA glue on and tested different colours and lengths of flock. Also combing two colours together. I had to make sure to place this inside a carboard box to prevent as many particles going into the air. We had to use masks and goggles to prevent any flock entering into the body. We also used the large extractor fan and had to wear ear defenders due to the loud noise.

  • It was interesting to see the different results of the flock. The black was very even and a short haired fibres so felt almost like velvet. Many of the colours such as blue and green looked very synthetic. In the end I chose to use the 10 mm white fibres as this looked the most natural but it was also interesting how it did not cover evenly and allowed some of the background to still be seen.

  • To create a stand for the sculpture, I bend some steel tubing, and spot welded a frame together. I originally panted this with emulsion but it did not stick, so had to sand down and re paint using a spray paint which stuck to the metal much more successfully and was also a very smooth finish.

  • The flocking was a very fast process as I had to cover a large surface area, we were able to paint the shelf in sections to allow for a more even coverage, taping off areas with masking tape that I did not want to cover in flock. - this is definitely a process I want to investigate further and include within my sculpture.



  • being trained to use the welder and grinder - testing on scraps and then gradually becoming more confident with the process and producing neater and more consistent weld. I found at first I was going to fast and in a straight line - later understood to go slowly and move weld left and right so that it build up a bead of weld.

  • I used to grinder to take down the raised areas of weld. On reflection it would have been better to of welded the back of the frame so that it would not be visible. I did this on the second frame which looked a lot cleaner. However, it meant that the window would not fit and the grinder was too large to fit into the corners. To fix this I used a Dremel to gently file and smooth the weld to give a flush surface.

  • The windows were found discarded shed windows which I was immediately attracted to due to their battered and fragmented form, cracked and pieced back together with aged masking tape. The discolouration and layers of dirt also was an interesting way of exploring materiality - with links to the urban

  • To hold the frames in place I used hot glue in spots across the frame and then ran a neat bead along all the back joins. This proved to be a very quick and successful adhesive and provided a small amount of flex.

  • When it came to hanging the works I wanted them to be flush to the wall but with no fixings on show. Initially, I wanted to use metal wire to hang in loops. For this I cut pieces of sheet steel and bent them at a 90 degree angle, drilling a small hole in the centre. I was then able to weld this to the top 3 corners. I had to constantly measure and grind the pieces down so that they would be small enough to be hidden inside the frame. However, when it came to adding the wire, it was very challenging to make it taught enough as well as it being very visible through the glass.

  • To fix this, I instead created my own French cleats by cutting a small piece of sheet steel, filing a line to bend it and bending them at a slight angle. I also drilled a hole for the fixing and countersunk this so that it will be flush. This worked perfectly, and simply held in place using gravity to counter the weight between the fixings.

  • Now that was done I tested displaying the works. I felt that they had no central point being a set of 2 so they seemed strange displayed next to each other. I hung them slighting out of line to create more of a central point, however, this felt gimmicky. I settled on using a corner wall, where I could separate the two pieces and create a dialogue between them.


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