Tuesday, December 15, 2015

RINGING CIRCLE by Ruby Wisniewski

My project began with a blurred idea about experimenting with making bells out of natural shapes, specifically trying to make bells out of flowers. I had difficulties making the small pieces that I was trying to cast, so I changed my plans. I kept my ideas about experimenting and sound.

Original idea for making bronze flower bells
Tibetan Singing Bowls
Looking into other forms of bells, I found out about the Tibetan Singing bowls. The traditional bowls are musical instruments used in meditative practices. They are played with the bowl resting on a surface as a padded mallet strikes the rim, causing the rim to vibrate and producing sound. The shape of the bowl allows the sound to resonate within it much like a bell does. I purposefully neglected to focus on the shape of the bowls that I made. Holding with a shape that made a workable noise, I was highly interested in experimenting with materials, and how varying materials change the sound of a given shape. So I made a bowl for each possible combination of the three metals commonly used at Alfred University’s National Casting Center.
Aluminum and Iron to poured to make one bowl

Close up of salt covered aluminum of an aluminum/bronze bowl
Iron and bronze have similar melting points, and can be poured together in a variety of ways. Aluminum has a much lower melting point, so it will ignite if poured directly with iron or bronze. In order to combine aluminum with iron or bronze, I made sand-molds that held the bowl sideways so the hotter metal could be poured in first until it reached a halfway point where it drained out of a spout through the side of the mold. The spout was then plugged and when the initial metal had cooled enough, the aluminum was poured into the mold.
The process for making the Iron/Aluminum bowl (wax pattern)

An Iron/Bronze mixed bowl, I poured Iron and Bronze simultaneously into the same pour cup.
Sound propagates differently in different metals. When a sound wave encounters an interface between two metals it creates multiple sound waves, many of which cancel each other out and dampening the sound. Additionally a thin layer of impurities likely formed between the metals that were poured separately. The best resonance was achieved when the bowls were made entirely of one metal, followed with a combination of bronze and iron poured simultaneously into the same mold.

Examples of three pouring methods from left: solid bronze, bronze and iron in the same pour-cup, and bronze and iron poured simultaneously into opposite sides.
The impurities between the iron and bronze of the simultaneous pour would have been hot enough to float to the top of the pour cup, while the others would have had time to cool perceptibly on the leading edges, causing a layer to be trapped. This layer could be responsible for refracting and deadening the sound, a similar effect to how a cracked glass or bell does not ring.  

Using a lathe and grinder to polish interior of bowls.
Traditionally, singing bowls were hand hammered, although they are made today using the more modern methods of sand casting and machine lathing. With my series I tried to leave the outside of the bowls as they were, lightly wire brushing them to remove the sand. I then polished the insides of the bowls using polishing disks and a lathe. I experimented with some patinas to lend a natural look to the bowls.

Drum circle for interacting with the project.
I decided that the piece relied on interaction, both auditory and tactile. I decided to create a drum circle with the bowls. They needed to be at a comfortable height so I made pedestals out of pieces of log, with the natural wood pedestals referencing the unworked exterior of the bowls and the drumming ring.

Central bowl with fiery center.
To feel like a proper drum circle I thought there must be a bright fiery center, so I made a large polished bronze bowl for the center of the circle. I filled it with candles, and surrounded it with candles that would reflect in the outside polished surface, representing a warm gathering. The limitations of the gallery space caused me to substitute candles for an open fire. The fire calls back to the process in which all of the bowls were made, born of fire in one cohesive effort, just as the drum circle itself recollects the community of the foundry.
Central bowl paying homage to the fires that made it.
From any seat in the circle one could reach and play at least five bowls, set in two concentric circles around the central bowl, with the drumsticks. The drumsticks were felt covered to enhance the sound quality. In all, the drum circle of bowls was designed to generate a sense of community centered on experimenting with the sounds of the bowls.
Work made during Junior Sculpture Foundry Fall '15 with Professor Coral Penelope Lambert

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Capturing Sound Frequenicies by Isaiah Palmeri

Please play the video at the end of this post very loudly to get the full effect !
The work I’ve done in foundry from the very beginning has come from an interest in the idea of a thought translated into an object. While I understand that this is just the nature of most art. I found an opportunity to try to literally do this with sound. This was inspired by videos I saw online where people used cornstarch and water to animate the cornstarch.
I did an initial test with an aluminum open face mold that had really no success trying to move the metal.

I then moved onto a series of test with the foundry wax on aluminum foil. The results from this were a bit more successful in that I got the wax to jump. I discovered that frequencies below 100 Htz and above 40 Htz produced the best results.

For the next set of tests with metal i used a larger amplifier and bigger speakers. While aluminum finally jiggled there were barely any noticeable changes in the other metals.
I went back to the wax and did another series of tests but this time on white paper.

I discovered that the paper suck to the wax in such a way that made the wax move without leaving the page.
I realized that for these images to really come to life I needed to add color. So I added food die.
Another series of test with metal produced a few more ripples and resulted in a series of metal discs. To me the surfaces of these discs provide a source of curiosity, there was the chance that they were altered by the sound to some degree.

In my final presentation I compiled a video of all the effects, pairing it with the installed work stations in the gallery. My hope was that the viewer drawn in by the video might discover the process through the display of the work station.

While my original ideas about capturing thoughts are not inherently present in the final work. I think that the idea of a moment being captured in metal and wax shows though in the final instillation


Work made during Junior Sculpture Foundry Fall '15 with Professor Coral Penelope Lambert

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SPACE + TIME by Corrine Chase

In the beginning of the semester, we were asked to put together a presentation of 5 slides and explain our overall interests in two or so words.  This was an incredibly difficult task.  
In order to come up with a solution to this prompt, I thought about the two major elements that are almost always necessary when creating an artwork and chose the words space and time. These words would be the main drive to all my following pieces in the semester.  

I first looked at Nancy Holt who was an obvious match in the broader literal definition of space and time.  The change in time and landscape worked hand in hand as the rotation of the planets and framing of the concrete channels in the space manipulated our shifting yet controlled perspectives.  The simplicity and beauty of the piece fascinated me.
From Nancy Holt’s piece, I then began to think about other ways that give us clues into the passage of time through a landscape.  This brought me to look at erosion occurring on rock formations which show how much power an element such as wind and water can have on a sturdy object over time.  These images show the remnants of an activity that occurs through cyclic repetitious movement.   
After exploring a bit through research and testing out the waters between concept and learning casting processes, I first started playing with smaller rock structures from a river.  In the first project I would build off a structure of a rock and only play with the word space.  
How can I manipulate space in the simplest terms?

I was inspired by how much I could learn about an object through navigating its surface with victory brown wax by manipulating its positive and negative space though forming the wax to the rock.  The structure did not inflict on the wholeness of the rock. It was additive and could be removed at any time.

This exploration informed my next piece where I collected peach pits from my mom’s peach tree.  I felt an intimate connection to these pits through the journey from our garden, to a paper bag lugged from a distance to school and the meat of the fruit into my body.

I am left with a solid core - another intricate structure this time small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.  By casting these, I am freezing them in their process to either grow or deteriorate and instead preserving the insides.  Through this process I was interested in the subtle connections between the peach and the body.  
My goal is to create a glass structure such as a simple dome to cover the pits and incase the pits within fresh peach without the original core so that we slowly see the peach deteriorate and the pit change color.  The bronze pit is permanent but the surface color will always be in flux through the deterioration and acidity of the peach within the metals pores.
Through this process, a new relationship is formed between objects.   
I then began casting other organic parts from trees such as bark, a stick, and a pod from a particular tree.  I was intrigued again with the idea of freezing these objects that have fallen off of a living form.  

Instead of decomposing or becoming lost under the forest floor, they are removed and cut off from their destined path and frozen in their current state.  

These works began to inform my new piece.  I began to pick up on elements such as time and preserving or building a relationship between internal and external structures.  

The peach pits are internal -- meat of the peach external

Bark -- external

rock and metal -- externally building a form that is molded to the rock (could resemble the growth of another organism.

I began to search within my immediate surroundings to see resemblance within the structures and themes I had been focusing on through my tests.   

How could I intimately connect the body within a landscape?  This lead me back to the rock formations.  I noticed that some of these eroded formations resembled imagery similar to that of cascading fabric.

This sparked random familiarity within mundane manmade materials.  These fragments could be pieces from a cascading dress or a curtain associated to a house, time and place, event or performance.  

Thinking about the repetitious movement of how these rocks become eroded, I began to build in a way that was sensitive to the idea of repetition through additive building.  I was creating in opposition of what naturally occurs when erosion takes place.  
Here, I imitated the gesture of the images of the rocks and molded fabric over the plasticine. 

This was part inspired by a Pakistani artist Naiza Khan who I discovered in my art history class.  I liked the idea of using a stiff permanent material such as metal to capture something so delicate and the way she exposes the human body within their culture.
At this moment in the process I set out again to search within my surroundings.  In the woods I became intrigued with observing lichen as well as other growths such as moss and fungus.  The Lichen seemed to be a perfect example of macro micro.  Far away it is a small speck that fades out of focus and contributes to a multitude of colors that become apart of the trees and landscape.  However, as one focuses up close within these structures, it is a landscape within itself.  The space it takes over as well as the space it creates within itself caught my interest.  I came back to the studio with a backpack full of moss and a sweater wrapped around my arm with bits of lichen carefully placed inside.
In addition to the fabric piece, I began to set up the lichen for centrifugal casting to see if I could capture the delicacy of these pieces.

I then went back to the bigger piece and placed the moss on the other side of my two part mold to further heighten the interior exterior surface of the object.  The inside of the corner is filled with fabric and the outside is covered in moss, a connection to the outside world.  The L shape of the object suggests this fabric belongs to the space of a room.

In it’s final state, the metal piece holds, contains, and retains space.  

There is an apparent tension in the divide between the inside and the outside by the two opposing organic forms which connect the interior and exterior world through material.  The cascading fabric has order to it by the way it is pulled by gravity.  The moss on the other side looks as if the sculpture has been uprooted.  By casting these forms, the original material looses its malleability and the sculpture turns into a permanent fragment.

To me, the most interesting thing about this piece was this direct divide and how it physically made me feel.  I set it up in the space so that it was on its side with the inside towards the window which made it feel like it was holding the light.  The back was left in shadows. 

In these Lichen images I attempted to produce a patina that resembled its natural coloring. 


As the semester ended, I felt it was an abrupt end to my discoveries.  I felt that through these processes in casting large and small pieces, I had just begun to hone into both concept and material and why I was creating these objects.  Had there been more time, I believe I would have started playing with blending the interior and exterior walls of the fragment by creating voids in the material as well as making a less constrictive space such as a corner.  This way I will have more movement which directs our own bodies to move around the piece in the space more freely while being able to look through the sculpture which frames our vision.  This idea would add more dynamics and allow a more playful interaction with the piece and consideration within its environment.  At different points of the day, the imagery through the voids would change.  This future object would also obscure what should be hidden and what is exposed.  It would lose the divide between elements related to that of the body and our environment.  In my next semester I would like to play with this idea.  

Here are more process photos:

Corrine Chase Fall 2015 Junior Foundry

Work made during Junior Sculpture Foundry Fall '15 with Professor Coral Penelope Lambert