elenahpowell

wee small hours / wax of varying states of glass-ness

In Camp 21 - Cultybraggan, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling on December 2, 2013 at 11:02 pm

There’s a lot to write about. I’m not sure I’ll fit it all in, but we’ll see. I’ve not been very good at writing this year have I? Makes sense though, when you live alone there’s a lot of time for writing (and it’s less weird to stay in the study for twelve hours, or something similarly stupid, when there’s only an empty flat). I don’t know what I’m talking about, oh dear.

Friday I stayed awake all night – for the sake of art. But really I’ve probably stayed awake all night for the sake of art before, but staying awake all night in a gallery is quite bizarre. It’s impossible to sleep surrounded by art-things, especially Insomnia Drawings (there’s a weird guilt – how could you sleep when they exist because of not-sleeping?), impossible to sleep in a gallery because…they’re places where you go to feel all awake and inspired and ‘I wanna go make work now!’, or hopefully. Poetry and readings and music and I have no idea what else, I wrote and drew a lot and watched cars go by and stared at drawings and it all merged into this continuous THING. Which was great, there was whisky and tea and croissants, so what’s not to like? But it’s completely ruined my sleeping. I spent Saturday completely out of it and slightly hysterical watching films on the couch, possibly dozed off, saw it was 4 and dark and immediately assumed it was 4am and I’d slept for hours and hours. Nope. If only. Maybe I’ll sleep properly tonight. I stupidly wrote my evaluation for the last project on Saturday afternoon, it probably makes no sense but it seemed like a great idea at the time.

So some sketchbook pages. There’s a picture of me writing on the Fruitmarket page, which was a bit disconcerting to see. I write a load of nonsense in the night. They gave us a red pen and books and a pink notebook! Couldn’t contain my excitement. My seminar notebook is full of circles like that, only thing I can draw when listening to things.

11168752765_56736e944e_o

11168758605_07f29e90a9_o

11168940673_6e978073b6_h

P1010271

So that was that.

The glass wax. In varying states of glass-ness. Started on Friday with a kinda mucky melting-pot-thing which was terrifying because I’m not exactly good with hot things that might catch fire or something awful, but it melted and I didn’t burn myself – or set fire to things. But the wax got contaminated from the murkiness of it all, and it’s very hard to not get air bubbles in. Glass wax sets amazingly quickly – even when it’s fairly thick it doesn’t take long. So as soon as it comes off/out of the heat it starts solidifying, which makes pouring/ladling…hard.

It’s quite hard to describe because I’ve never seen anything like it. The only wax I’ve used before is for batik and that’s just hot and wax-y. But this stuff is strange. It melts a 115C, but pours at 120-140C, there doesn’t appear to be any useful information on it beyond that anywhere. It’s used in films and whatever as glass to be broken, it shatters easily, very brittle. Even when it’s melted it’s possible to handle (obviously not in the pot, but once it’s been taken out), it can be shaped around things before it sets, squished about. Before it melts fully you can pull a blob out and make beautiful thin threads with it, kind of like dental floss or icicles. It dries clear – when uncontaminated – and smooth and shiny, it sticks to everything. It’s pretty nice really, albeit difficult to work with in some ways.

Anyway. That happened. Some murky wax coated/set/cast/embedded objects. I was meant to be doing cubes of them, but they came out too perfect. Apart from the imperfection of the colour/air bubbles, but y’know. So I was dipping things straight in instead, and using the threads of it.

In it’s magic-crystal-esque normal state

IMG_9280

Objects waiting to be waxed. They’re and odd combination of things – things I don’t like, things I love, things found and things bought, things I’d like to get rid of and things I’m entirely indifferent about. And some things that I’d expect to feel something about but don’t. None of that made sense did it?

P1010128

Objects in cube moulds

P1010159

P1010164

A very waxy spoon.

P1010140

P1010137

I got annoyed with a cube and tried to see if I could get the objects out (I could), it was amazing to smash up. Seeing as it’s special effects stuff it crunches/breaks in a very satisfying way and without much effort. I keep breaking/throwing things…

P1010237

P1010166

The hotter the wax the thinner the thread you can pull from it, and as long as it stays warm you can manipulated it however. Which is how I managed to get it into the jar. The other bit is a piece of glass that was wrapped once the wax was cooling, so it’s thicker and less move-able, so it breaks off incredibly easily. But I kind of like the fragility of them, I’ve broken so many of them. Really beautiful things have been destroyed by putting it down onto the desk or something.

P1010204

P1010207

P1010174

And then I started gluing stuff, ‘cos why not. And suspending things in water and sticking teeth in jars. Again, why not? I love those types of jars, they’re great. The sand is sand I picked up when I walked north in April. The shell is from a beach in Berwick somewhere. I like sticking everything together, they were kept quite separate in my room. But in the list form and as wax-things everything is just there and it doesn’t matter so much anymore. It’s nice.

P1010218

P1010240

P1010244

I bought a wax melting thing on Friday, came on Saturday, so I was using that today. It has a temperature control (but no temperatures, just numbers…it goes to 135C so you can kind of guess though), it’s shallower but having less sides means I can’t burn myself all the way up my arm. It works anyway, I was using that today and the glass came out clear and lovely. I didn’t pour anything, I’m guessing that to not have the air bubbles you’d have to pour like you would with resin (so tip the whole pot from a few cms above the mould and at an angle I think, I don’t know might have made that up, I read something about some special pouring technique with resin). But the things I want to pour into now are quite small, bottles and tins and what have you. So it’s easier to grab it and stick it in by hand/bradle/ladle/stick. I’m kinda happy anyway, although it’s the sort of happy where it’s ‘I’m starting to get fed up with working on this, I just want to play with wax and make thread but I can’t exhibit bits of shit thread I’ve made because they’re impossible to keep whole’. But there we go.

P1010333

P1010332

P1010383

P1010380

P1010351

P1010331

P1010347

P1010366

P1010350

P1010342

P1010343

P1010340

P1010337

 

I don’t know what I’m doing with them, or why anymore. They’re objects that stand out for some reason, and I’m either protecting and preserving them or making them completely useless. Or just playing with them. All of the above. I…I just want to handle them I think, to ‘know’ them all again. Because I decided to keep them for a reason, but keeping them for so long I don’t know why anymore. I’m talking crap again. I’ll sleep soon, promise. Not knowing is good and all that, but hard to justify for actually talking about what you’ve done…

But that’s those. I bought a spice rack for them last week, I’ve been keeping objects on it in the studio and rearranging things on it as I make them. Nice to have around. I’m backing it with graph paper at the moment.

IMG_9361

IMG_9364

P1010084

P1010118

P1010131

P1010282

P1010335

 

Ehm what else. There was a castle trip this afternoon for Cultybraggan stuff (a free castle trip, might I add). Which was good, I hadn’t been before. But kinda just wanted to be in the studio so didn’t stay overly long, some interesting bits and pieces (weird uniforms, nice posters, good quotes) but I’m not really a huge military kinda person so hard to stay overly interested in killing people and guns and whatever else. Some bits I’ll probably end up using, not quite sure where that work is going. Maybe I’ll write about that tomorrow, got caught up ins ewing things the other day and morse code and survival. Bit strange. Good views up that castle though… you can see our studio.

P1010325

P1010305

P1010315

P1010312

 

I think that’s everything, oh dear this is long. There’s another out of site project thing, but I think doing two is probably too many, and it’s Wed-Fri, I have exhibition set up on Thursday and I’m in the shop Friday. It’s all mapping and everything exciting like that, so annoying. Hm. Mid-session review a week on Thursday, no idea how I’ll show things for that but it can’t go any worse than the last one, and exhibition on Thursday… Stuff to do. Fake bacon to think about eating.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: