Thursday, 20 December 2012

Jewellery inductions, part two: Plastics

So, we had the second of our three days in the jewellery rooms at college this week.

Day two was plastics.  Specifically, acrylic, and vacuum form plastic.

I don't like the vacuum form.  Although I can see that it's very lightweight, (therefore good for millinery), and the process of shaping it over a mould is interesting, I just don't like the material.  It reminds me too much of packaging, I suppose, or of milk bottles or something like that.  I do quite like the matt side of the plastic (there are two sides, one matt, one shiny).  But not enough to get me past the fact I feel like there should be a milkshake inside it.

Vacuum formed plastic (high density polystyrene)

The flocking is interesting, but that reminds me too much of the Sylvanian Families bears I used to get from Fenwicks toy dept. in Newcastle, when I was a kid.
Vacuum formed face, after being flocked - ad the mdf mould that it was formed over (on the right)

The face mould was used to vacuum form these two pieces - using the different sides of the plastic - on side is shiny and one matt, and you can choose which to use.  I find the face in the matt a bit creepy, because it's a similar texture to skin. 

The acrylic, on the other hand, I love.  I really want to try to incorporate some of that somewhere in my final designs.  I think I like that there are more effects that you can get from it, and that you can polish it to a high shine.

I suppose I'm also coloured by the things I'm associating that with - I have a few vintage lucite reverse carved (intaglio) brooches.  And, of course, another name for acrylic is lucite...

A reverse carved lucite brooch
I love the way you can layer up the sheet acrylic, and drill into it and add acrylic rods of different colours, and the fact that you can use the laser cutter on it.  And that you can carve into it, and paint from behind (as in my brooches).

Layers of acrylic sheet laminated together to create a larger block

My laminated block of sheets, with short lengths of acrylic rod pushed into holes I drilled.

I also *really* like the acrylic rod - that you can put it in the oven and soften  it to make a shape, or that you can use it with a heat gun, to topically soften areas.  I found a few vintage pieces on google that must have used the same sort of process.

These would be sooooo easy to replicate for use as hat trimmings!  Or as the whole hat / headpiece, come to think of it.