Wednesday, December 31, 2008

grocery bag sculpture made of friendly plastic

For my final sculpture class project I decided to do something big with friendly plastic. I created an all plastic shopping bag.

This is one of the largest art projects I've done with friendly plastic. I used a real grocery bag as my model, but I created a support for the plastic out of a metal mesh used for sculpting with papier mache and plaster. I raided one of my tupperware bins of bits, leftover offcuts from past friendly plastic projects, many of which were "snappers".

Oh how I hate the snapper.

As the plastic ages it gets brittle and just trying to cut it makes it crumble. That's just one dilemma to using this plastic. The second is it goes from not melted to melted in a flash, and when it does melt, it flows like oil. Liquid. Very very hard to control. Impossible, so you need it to go where you want it to be from the outset. I never use the snappers for any main item. I save it for large pieces where I use it as filler only. And for this it is fine, provided you don't have to bend the object you've created. So long as it's stable and not moving you are okay to use it.

What I learned while doing this project is that friendly plastic melts (D'OH!) and so it went through the metal grid I got as a support. Go figure. Never foresaw this!

I bent the wire mesh to be the exact size and shape of the paper bag and then I unfolded it and laid it out as flat as I could. I took my heat gun and started melting plastic onto the mesh... and immediately saw it run through, so I lined up the inner paper bag with the mesh to catch the overflow, thereby giving something for the snapper plastic to adhere to instead of my floor and simultaneouly gluing the paper bag to the wire mesh to the plastic.

BTW, here's a tip: friendly plastic makes an excellent durable glue if warm temperature is not a factor. We fixed our deadbolt with it and it held for years, actually it was still working when we moved away, and someone I know fixed their pool ladder with it. Many uses for friendly plastic for sure. But I digress.

So the other thing that happened which I didn't anticipate is I got a much more varied and interesting surface that was slightly dangerous.

My sculpture was called Surprise! and I positioned a lamp inside of it with tissue paper hiding the lightbulb so it looked like whatever was in the bag was glowing. If you touched the bag, and everyone wanted to touch it cause it was softly glowing, and the surface was so rich and varied with friendly plastic, so shiny, add to this that people never know what this material is and are very curious, well if they touched it the metal edges were sharp! Beware!

So while it was inviting, all glowy and shiny, there was danger and this is what I think of surprises btw. Not every surprise we get is a good one.

Here's what my final installation looked like with the lights off ...

and on....


Stewart said...

That is really cool. It reminds me of the purse i made out of all ducktape!!! I don't know what happened to it. But it was Awesome!!!! LOL!

redcatdance said...

Thanks Stewart. Did you ever see the book Ductagami? Lots of duct tape projects in there. Thanks for the comment.

Liz said...

What a great idea, I bet it was fun to do (besides the snappers). Did you surprise yourself with some of the great designs that appeared when using up your leftover bits and pieces on such a scale. Have you tried writing with permanent pens on your FP and then using them in projects like this - secret messages to be found by curious eyes.

Liz said...

Hi again, you inspired me! I have just posted a bit on my blog about how I recyle my scraps of FP.
Love the light idea by the way.

redcatdance said...

Hi Liz. Thanks for the nice comments and great that it inspired you! My scuplture teacher asked me if I had ever considered using fp as a paint, like actually moving it on a surface to paint something with. I am working on that right now. It'd be a bit like encaustic painting -- the pigmented wax used for centuries in art. She was very taken with the colours and the surface. There is much to explore with this material for sure and a bucket of leftovers is a great way to do it.

BTW I never thought of it like recycling--I suppose it is! I can't bear to throw my bits out. I must have three plastic bins of bits now... I am sure they are all snappers and "vintage" for sure!

面对面视频斗地主 said...

After reading the information, I may have different views, but I do think this is good BLOG!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this - making a FP blog is a great idea!

I will put it on my to do list.

And the best, I think, is that you also talk about what is difficult - knowledge sharing is wonderful!

What would have khappende if you used a plastic bag, and melted the FP directly on to that, and then stiffened it up with an inside brace?

I wonder about the handles - would it be possible to make the handles in FP as well?

All the best from Denmark!

redcatdance said...

Hello anonymous:

Thanks for your comments.

Yes the handles could have easily be made from the plastic but it was important for this piece to have the feeling of a paper bag to it so I made those handles for it from paper.

I don't know what would have happened if I had melted the fp onto the plastic bag. Depends how sturdy the plastic was I guess. And it may not have needed the metal brace either. The brace was overkill but I didn't know that when I was making this. Now I do :) said...

I will pass on your article introduced to my other friends, because really good!
Other Net