In the Laboratory of Art


A few weeks ago I discovered that York College had an amazing – and unexpected – piece of equipment: a machine that lets you create your own bespoke ‘blister packs’.  Using heat and a vacuum pump, it essentially allows you to create a plastic mould around the shape of any small object.  While this is likely a very boring piece of machinery by most peoples’ standards, for me – with my art inspired by packaging design – it opens up lots of interesting opportunities for my practice.

I spent a few hours experimenting with the vacuum former yesterday, testing its limits and seeing just how big of an object I can seal into a ‘blister pack’.  Unfortunately it’s quite a small machine – not really of industrial scale – so I can’t be quite as ambitious as I would have liked with it.  Nevertheless it’s a real privilege to have access to a specialist machine like this at all: a reminder again just how valuable the AA2A program is.

Below are links to a couple of images of my experiments.  They aren’t much to look at: just some simple bowls and mugs I “blister packed”.  But they are quite exciting for me, as it’s been the first time I’ve been able to experiment for some time.  Over the last couple of years my practice has become a bit more refined & as a result I’ve approached projects using the same familiar set of techniques and skills.  But for this new project – in conjunction with York Art Gallery – I’m creating something quite different from anything I’ve ever done before.  As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be learning how to create ceramics – then figuring out how to merge them with cardboard.  Part of this ‘merging’ process will involve the vacuum-former, I expect (i.e. to package ceramics within cardboard) – while others parts will require me to design cardboard shapes to fit over ceramics, and vice versa.  It’s all quite new, and still a bit vague in my mind– but I suppose that’s the nature of art.  The goal is to innovate, and challenge yourself.  And – (hopefully) -  have a bit of fun along the way…

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