Project 10 – Stage 4 Experimentation

All along I’ve had the idea of adding texture in some form to the layers on my sugar processing machine.

Last year Isobel Hall came to Australia and taught extensively. She uses a great deal of molding paste in her work and Helen MacRitchie also incorporates various molding mediums into her pieces very successfully.  So I decided to have a go, as can be seen from the finished samples in my Project 10 Stage 3 post 16/11/2012.
Using a metal stencil template and a palette knife, with both oven-bake paper and fabric taped down, I applied the paste over my chosen designs.

It took a few attempts to get the quantity of paste right and I quickly learned to lift the stencil upright from one end then remove it entirely.  This minimised the ‘smudging’ of the design.  The results  have come out quite well.

This particular medium dries very rubbery so I wondered if I could fill small molds, wait until dry and then remove it to get some stand-alone dimensional shapes.

These Cedar Canyon templates have been worth their weight in gold and I’ve used them extensively for printing, stamping and stencilling.  I’ve got a good array and several shapes looked promising.

What a mistake!!!

I thought as the medium is rubbery and the template is plastic my motifs would pop straight out but there were one or two things I hadn’t taken into consideration.

The template is rigid plastic so I couldn’t apply any pressure from the underside to push the pieces out.  In addition, where the medium was thinnest at the edges it simply crumbled away when I tried to remove it.  Finally, I honestly didn’t think a release agent would be necessary when using a plastic template.  I mean, what sticks to plastic?  I can tell you now that molding pastes stick hard and fast to this surface.  It took three days using a variety of implements – both wet and dry – which hopefully haven’t damaged the plastic surfaces, to remove every last trace of medium.

While working my felt at the weekend and cutting, painting and preparing my machine base yesterday I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate my molding paste stencilled motifs.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t.  Despite all the work I’ve done and the initial ideas I had I’ve realised that they aren’t going to work for me.

I had two very clear objectives when I started this project, the first being that my focus was to  be on circular shapes including cogs.  The circles on the felt backgrounds are based on lollypops, the  shapes on the machine represent wheels and cogs.  The second is that I am at heart a fabric and thread person and I want my major piece of work for this course to reflect that love.  I can’t ‘see’  in my head these molded patterns integrated into my work.

It’s been an interesting experience and I have plenty of samples available for future use but not for this assignment.  Time to refocus and get back on track.


About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in Assignment 5: A piece of my own, Project 10, Textiles 1: A Creative Approach. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Project 10 – Stage 4 Experimentation

  1. Nola says:

    I’m with you, Claire! Modelling paste motifs are fun but, when it comes time to use them, it just doesn’t work for me.

    I like the way this is progressing!

    • Claire B says:

      Hi Nola, isn’t it strange how some things just seem to gel together and others look great as samples but don’t integrate well into a finished piece. I know people who use modelling paste so well but I think my strengths lie elsewhere.

  2. Jane B says:

    i have used it in the clear plastic stamps – and you need to make the sides nice & thick, then you peel the plastic back from the molding paste. pity i didn’t tell you that before you did your work … and we have cogs …

  3. Claire B says:

    Hi Jane, I understand Isobel Hall uses the rubber embossing mats and builds up the molding paste in layers until it is quite thick (and yes, you are right, she also ensures she builds the edges to a decent depth). Then she does exactly as you have, she peels away the embossing mat getting a wonderfully dimensional stand alone piece.
    I have some of those embossing mats but maybe not the patterns I was after for this project. Worth trying again in the future though.
    I’ve seen some lovely bracelets made by Isobel using this system.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s