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Reflectory Commentary

After the last tutor report I decided to re-evaluate how I work. It was suggested that smaller regular posts should be created on the blog, which has been addressed. Also not to add irrelevant material to the work,which has helped me to focus on the task in hand and not to get distracted.

Research has been informative to my work enabling exploration of ideas that weren’t considered (techniques/materials/etc) and underpinning reasons why an artist works. Which makes me think why do I want to create a piece of art, and for what purpose?

By adhering to the brief, there was more clarity in how to tackle each process and requirement clearly. There is also a realisation why the work didn’t connect with the windows in the last assignment, and feel my work has evolved immensely because of this.

The range of materials used was varied and adapted well to the techniques used. Quality varied from good (plaster) to not so good (polymer pellets), as is explained in the blog. This quality aided the working process allowing exploration of different compositions, with good results.

The samples made translated well into drawings and generated ideas for future consideration. There was an advisory on using different media for drawing and feel that this has been useful, especially with the pastels, that gave an earthy ‘texture’ to the pictures, similar to the clay.

I gave a lot of thought to how presentation in my work could be improved, with pop out booklets, e.g. inspired from the folding section. I felt this enabled me to work on a smaller scale as opposed to larger scale. I felt this was my strongest assignment, in terms of quality and knowledge and how I have applied them to produce some exciting samples. I have a new confidence in my work and feel able to experiment freely, especially with the plaster.

These samples have helped to organize my thoughts and produce, what I feel is a more comprehensive sketchbook lacking in previous assignments. The experiments has allowed more clarity in my work and enabled me to pursue, convey my ideas and thought processes better. And as a result I feel more competent in my ability, rather than focusing on the samples that didn’t work.

I have also gained new insight into contemporary artists, rather than my preference to the decorative arts. I feel there is a simplicity in  this, that would allow work to be done quickly. I have found in my sampling that also simple designs have been effective, especially the balloon bowl, which I am immensely proud of.


Moulding the internal space – Casting from a balloon

Casting with a balloon was a revelation after researching.

  1.  felt the possibilities were endless.

My first attempt looked like a lemon, which was unintentional. However because it was familiar, I felt it was successful and aided the process of further exploration. My working process was rather messy at first but improved as I experimented further. When photographing i used the background of the worktop, which gave a very different feel when a plain background was applied.


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I wanted to create negative space as well as positive, so decided to create a bowl. A Balloon was covered in plaster and I made the mistake, one not allowing it to dry and two by not controlling the air when deflating. This resulted in an explosion of plaster. Undeterred by this, further thought was given to this and redone with controlled deflation. The broken pieces were attached whilst wet and proved to be very effective in the final outcome. I am pleased with the result, but it is very fragile. This could be alleviated by using porcelain and then firing.

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Taking inspiration from a previous exercise I had decided to wrap a balloon. The Shapes were created by tying rope hessian around the outside of the balloon and left to set. The smoothness of the surface felt very tactile. There were defined ‘divisions’ on the samples adding visual impact. Overall very successful.

I wasn’t sure how this would work, but the results surpassed my expectations. It was like opening a present, not quite sure what you would get. I photographed the samples, which all looked very different, but each had a quality of its own with one being almost luminescent.


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Moulding the internal space – bag casting

Bag casting revealed some interesting shapes and marks. I particularly like the casting that resembles a sack. By using a finishing plaster the surface was very different to plaster of Paris and not so defined. However, it produced a textural surface, that was rough to touch in comparison with the smooth plaster of Paris. The first attempt was too wet and took a while to cure. However further attempts used less water to achieve a quicker drying time, allowing manipulation of the bag to get the shape required.

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The bag at the bottom was a remnant of a previous plaster sample that went wrong. I had squeezed it out and left it. But when I went to throw away, the bag had set and was somewhat intriguing, so decided to put it on here. Overall a successful outcome.

Molding the internal space – containers

Various containers from sweet, cake or food packaging showed interesting markings and configurations. I was surprised by the variety and effects they showed.

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Adding scrim to the plaster gives an organic feel which makes it softer and warmer in contrast to the coldness of the plaster

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plaster poured into wax wasn’t  very inspiring.

Coins embedded into the plaster produced a clean sample and gave me further ideas of  making a large scale torso covered in coins.

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I was pleased with the composition of this but the wood did not release       to create the hole I had envisaged, however it still worked well.

The cake tray produced a few samples which could stacked into a tower. The lines are quite defined, so add an extra dimensional quality.

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By adding nail varnish, the surface of the plaster was broken and has an almost marbled effect. I had tried coloured paint, but it was very muted and spoilt the overall effect.

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Further experiments


Pen holder


cake tray


food container


sweet tray

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Assignment 3 Project two Casting the internal space of a vessel

I like the unpredictable nature and fluidity of plaster, which has allowed me to be more spontaneous. The plaster finds its own level due to the nature of it, which is difficult to control and causes problems when trying to create different levels.
Foil was used to cast into, but found it would not release and stuck in the crevices of the plaster. This was annoying, however on reflection looked like veins of ore within rock. Pearl beads were added, giving it a surreal feel. This was the best sample created and something that could be worked on. The quality was good with no air bubbles and overall responded well to being poured into the foil ‘mold’.

Further exploration of this

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I was very pleased with this samples and the photograph compliments it, due in part to the reflection on the foil. This needs exploring further, by possibly changed the depths and size.

I was inspired by Silvia Krupinska an artist who uses real pearls for her work. But she also creates sculpture using pearl dust.
However, this seems sacrificial to change what is already beautiful. She harvests the pearls herself, so there is a connection to the natural world, which I find with a lot of artists. Her sculptures show us a glimpse of the underwater world that is secret and dark at the same time.

I had the idea of adding pearls before I discovered her work and felt the connection immediately. They give a surreal look which resembles bubbles and reflect light, which contrasts well with the Matt of the plaster.

Problems were encountered, when using a food container to cast. By using wood to create a hole I hadn’t considered whether it would release or not, unfortunately it didn’t. This spoiled the overall idea, despite this it was an interesting contrast in composition.

A Rennie box was used to cast one sample. I wanted to introduce metallic beads into the piece and the box allowed me to pour small amounts of plaster and beads at various intervals, between the plaster.
Heat was evident from the plaster, and when cured, it was clear that plaster had been absorbed through the card. But by introducing water and rubbing the paper successfully removed it and needs consideration in future projects. The results surpassed what was imagined. The plaster was the main focus, with glimpses of the beads. Once cast it was extremely hard and managed to hold the beads in place. The surface was smooth with ridges where the beads peered out. I was extremely pleased with this.

I am aware I am a messy worker and need to be more methodical in my approach.

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Adding scrim to the plaster gives an organic feel which makes it softer and warmer in contrast to the coldness of the plaster.


By adding nail varnish, the surface of the plaster was broken and has an almost marbled effect. I had tried coloured paint, but it was very muted and spoilt the overall effect.

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The cake tray produced a few samples which could stacked into a tower. The lines are quite defined, so add an extra dimensional quality.

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sweet trays



meat tray



cake tray


Pen tray



Molding from a surface – Polymer pellets

Polymer pellets


My first attempt to use the polymer pellets was very disappointing. I attempted to make impressions on the polymer after it was cured, but this hardly dented the surface.

The polymer was not easy to use. A bowl was filled with hot water and the pellets were added. The pellets were agitated with a fork, and started to go opaque gathering together. It was a quick process that required quick manipulation to allow it to work.

By not mixing properly, it resulted in a fragile rice like effect. However, the sample below created a bowl which when dried was solid. I attempted to add beads to the polymer, but it would not hold the beads and they kept falling out.

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By adding a button, I was quite happy with the results and reminded me of a starfish and its tiny tube feet.

Embedding a buckle was more successful than the beads as this was due to the surface area. And possibly because I was beginning to get the idea of how it worked.

Adding zip ties was not very successful, although it embedded into the polymer, it still looked like zip ties and had no real features, so was disappointing.