Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Student Creative - Fiona McTaggart


With time constraints and personal circumstances posing difficulties, this latter stage of the project has proved challenging. However, I have managed to produce a doll that I am relatively happy with. To improve the product I have:

  • ·         Simplified the design
  • ·         Varnished the model before setting it in silicone
  • ·         Used a slower setting resin
  • ·         Added colour with acrylic paint and then finally drawing inks


Resin figure

In making these adjustments I have managed to create a smoother finish with increased clarity and translucency. The simplification of the doll meant that any residual bubbles did not interfere with the texture of the doll and the varnished model allowed for the resin to set without leaving an opaque, matt surface quality. The slower setting resin also meant that there were less bubbles and the final choice of incorporating drawing inks instead of resin powder or acrylic paint, allowed for a subtle colour stain to the resin. If I had more time to refine this further, I would work on the design as I am still not entirely happy with the character design. 

Resin hearts

In terms of the interchangeable heart, I decided to use the original model in polymer clay rather than the resin cast. My reasons for this were that I felt the contrast between a delicately painted heart and the translucent figure brought the attention to the subtle differences in the healthy and diseased heart. I also really enjoyed painting the finer details. To make the doll functional, I inserted magnets into both hearts and the doll so that they were fixed securely, yet able to be interchanged.

With some further improvements with the character design, I hope to eventually introduce the doll to children with my son’s condition – Dilated Cardiomyopathy. It is my intention to approach Cardiomyopathy UK and Great Ormond Street charities to discuss the possibilities of its use. In the meantime, I have deliberated over whether to show my son, however feel that he is currently experiencing a period of very good health and I feel it is inappropriate to remind him of his condition. He is 4 and I believe is blissfully unaware that he has this threat. Long may this situation continue!

It has been a pleasure to engage with this brief and it has supported my studies in Illustration. Initially I was uncertain how to approach Illustration coming from a Fine Art background. I struggled to place myself within commercial practice. In doing this project, I now feel my place may reside within editorial illustration, creating art with conscience that informs and supports educational purpose. I would also like to make work in relation to my son’s condition. Working with 3D modelling processes was very interesting and I feel I learned a lot in a short space of time. There are still many considerations to be had before I could elevate my work to a professional level, however this is something I would like to explore in my ongoing studies.

Cardiomyopathy UK is a charity that has supported my family since my son’s diagnosis and moving forward I would like to contribute to their efforts. Through artistic practice I wish to support, comfort and educate young people about their heart condition. You can find out more about the charity  on their website: https://www.cardiomyopathy.org

Dedicated to my true superhero, Luka.

Fiona McTaggart, Student Creative.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Raw Materials: Plastics

MoDiP has been working closely with the Nunnery Gallery in preparation for their new exhibition entitled Raw Materials: Plastics. It is part of an ongoing research project through which they have been exploring the industrial heritage of the River Lea through a series of different materials. In 2017 the focus was wood, in 2018 it was textiles and this year it is plastics. MoDiP are delighted to have been asked to contribute by lending some objects, including one of my personal favourites – a Parkesine snooker ball dated to 1865.


Parkesine snooker ball, PHSL : PAR 119  Image credit: MoDiP

The exhibition tells the story of the early development of plastics in Britain, which centred around the Hackney Wick area, and features objects, photographs and archival material. It runs from 17/05/2019 – 25/08/2019 (Tuesdays to Sundays) at the Nunnery Gallery and has an accompanying events programme with talks, presentations and workshops.


One of the display cases with MoDiP’s Halex Table Tennis Balls (top right), AIBDC : 006191, and Xylonite hairbrush, hand mirror and dressing table tray (right), AIBDC : 006922.1-3.  Image credit: MoDiP
Katherine Pell, Museum Collections Officer.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

A.H.Woodfull

I have recently been cataloguing a collection of archival material which was given to us by the son of the late industrial designer and pioneer in the use of plastics materials in product design A.H (Woody) Woodfull.

The papers, which include a series of lecture notes, photographs, scrap books, and design drawings, are an insightful peek into the past. Born in 1912, at a time when materials such as Bakelite (phenol formaldehyde), the first wholly man-made plastic, had only been around for five years, Woodfull trained as a silversmith and studied product design. He was appointed as product designer to British Industrial Plastics (BIP) in 1934 and was appointed head of BIP’s newly formed Product Design Unit in 1951 until his retirement in 1970. Whilst there, the unit's Design Advisory Service provided design consultancy to companies developing products in plastics, with the aim of improving the public's perception of the quality of plastic products and increasing demand for BIP's materials. 



Image credit: MoDiP

Image credit: MoDiP

Image credit: MoDiP

Reading through and transcribing his lecture notes, which span a period of 20 years from 1948 to 1968, it is clear that Woodfull was a passionate advocate for the emerging role of the product designer within industry, and that the use of the right plastics materials for the right job was of the utmost importance. Indeed, he was quite vociferous in his condemnation of the use of poorly chosen materials to achieve a cheap, quick fix, product that wasn’t up to the job, resulting in the bad reputation of plastics. 


Image credit: MoDiP

It is hard to imagine a time when the use of plastics in product design was a relatively new phenomenon, but reading Woodfull’s words has been very enlightening. A leading exponent in designing for the material, Woodfull’s designs demonstrate an understanding of and a sympathy for the capabilities of the materials he was using. We have examples of his work in the MoDiP collections and with the receipt of this archival material, we now have an insight into the processes employed in their creation and production. 


Image credit: MoDiP

Image credit: MoDiP

Image credit: MoDiP

If you are interested in reading Woody’s words, and reading through the archival material, please contact a member of the MoDiP team.

Pam Langdown, (Documentation Officer)


Monday, 20 May 2019

Student Creative - Heida Jonsdottir


This project started out from the inspiration I got from a blue bowl that is in the MoDiP collection. The idea was to take the shapes from the bowl and make garments that would represent the feel and movement of the pattern in the bowl. I used Clo3D to make my final outcome for this project. Clo3D is a pattern cutting and virtual prototyping system that allows you to get the closest final outcome before manufacture begins. It reduces the waste of production since tests and fittings are done within the system instead of wasting paper and fabric to do so. After a lot of fabric testing for my garments I decided to use a printed fabric. The print came from the bowl that was my starting point for this project.  To see how my garments move around the body I made an animated video of models walking in them. This project was a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge in my field of interest and the feeling of seeing your work presented in a gallery is great. 









  

Heida Jonsdottir (Student Creative)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Eco-plastic Detective - part one

We are all too familiar with the impact that the thoughtless use and disposal of plastics can have on our environment – so I thought I would develop a project for schools, to help children become more informed about plastics, become familiar with different types of plastics they encounter on a daily basis, and to start to feel a bit more positive about what they can do to help.

I pitched my idea to Dorset’s Cultural Hub and was delighted to get funding - as well as schools signing up right from the start.

Image credit: MoDiP
The project consists of 3 detective-themed sessions based around MoDiP’s ‘Revolution’ exhibition https://www.modip.ac.uk/exhibitions/revolution-environmentally-conscious-design-plastics showcasing environmentally conscious design in plastics. 

There is a practical session where children use magnifying glasses to discover clues - namely the tiny, barely visible, markings on plastic packaging that they readily encounter on a daily basis which tell us what type of plastic material the packaging is made from.  A second session gets the children playing ISPY to spot objects in MoDiP’s exhibition, which highlight how plastics can be cleverly recycled and up-cycled. The third session lets the children handle the 'evidence', with objects from MoDiP’s handling collection, so they can decide for themselves whether plastics are the innocent or guilty party and how clever plastics can actually be in addressing environmental challenges.

Image credit: MoDiP
By the end of the project, 330 children will have had the Eco-plastic Detective sessions delivered either in schools or at MoDiP, and 150 children will have enjoyed the artist-led sessions - creating something both beautiful and useful to continue the ethos of the project.

The project was extremely lucky to have the artistic backing of Martin Brown, illustrator of Horrible Historieswho created Mo the MoDiP girl as a mascot for the project.  Mo can be spotted being an Eco-plastic Detective with an oversized magnifying glass, searching for the plastic recycling triangle at the base of a polyethylene terephthalate water bottle.

Image credit: MoDiP
The Eco-plastic Detective sessions are available to access and download for free here: https://www.modip.ac.uk/engagement/schools/eco-plastic-detective

So, the next time you watch Blue Planet and are filled with despair – why not turn detective, find out the facts, and start making more informed choices for a better future.

Julia Pulman, Museum Engagement Officer.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Lefkaxit

International Environmental Art Project between Lefkada Greece and Lymington UK 2019

Image credit: Trudi Lloyd Williams
For eleven years I have been raising awareness about plastic marine pollution with conservation and environmental groups including the Wildlife Trusts and National Parks. I recycle waste plastics creating sculptural installations and interventions in the public domain in places where people do not expect to encounter art, floating on, suspended over or adjacent to water. These installations engage with audiences and they become participants and go on their own journey about the art and its setting and particularly single-use plastics. 

I am currently working in Greece in the beautiful Ionian islands on a project called ‘Lefkaxit’ that links the two towns Lefkada Greece and Lymington UK through their marine heritage and significantly important wetlands and inshore waters. They share many aspects and in particular plastic marine pollution that affects their marine environment. https://www.trudilloydwilliams.co.uk/lefkaxit 



Weaving on a traditional loom
Image credit: Trudi Lloyd Williams
The island has a rich history in textile crafts, weaving and lace making. A local group of weavers ‘Figos’ have restored some of the old looms and are continuing this tradition. I saw the opportunity to work with these women and introduced them to Plarn - plastic yarn that we created out of waste plastic bottles. As sections of cloth were being woven, I sourced (from the island’s recycling centre Lefkogaia) waste plastic packaging, developing new fabrics and features that would work with the weavings. The sorted plastics were bonded, stitched, melted and shredded creating a translucent, durable fabric that the woven sections could be attached to. Plastic button features finished off the final fabric that was attached to a metal and wire suspended armature, that I created off site at my villa. 

Quilting and weaving the fabric
Image credit: Trudi Lloyd Williams 

I selected The Gyra, a beautiful wetlands where pink flamingos and other birds visit and live - which is overlooked by the town’s main street - to be the site of the installation. Negotiating permissions and other practical necessities proved very challenging, almost as challenging as the strong winds and adverse weather conditions which the work would have to survive in! 

A key part of the project was education. I created public participatory events including ‘Love My Gyra’, a beach clean around the lagoon with 70 volunteers removing 15 cubic meters of rubbish - mainly single-use plastics. 190 pupils from the island schools attended workshops, learning about plastic marine pollution and trying their hand at weaving Plarn on the old looms. In total 250 participants helped with the creation of Lefkaxit and after 6 months the installation was ready to install. The preparation of the site included erecting 2 solid wooden posts 4m tall with a complex suspension arrangement and an electrical supply for 2 floodlights and 4 spotlights. The Installation day was dry but with 30 knot winds and our delivery vehicle was a flat bed lorry with a crane! Negotiating the narrow lanes through the overgrown olive groves to the site was hair raising, but we were so happy when the sculpture neatly attached to the lines and was hoisted securely in place. 


Image credit: Trudi Lloyd Williams
The opening was a formal affair at the Cultural Centre with presentations and speeches by the Director of the National Park Amvrikikos, a couple of conservationists and my colleagues and I. Following this we visited the installation and many selfies were taken. I smiled as this was exactly what I was hoping for: people interacting with Lefkaxit, making their own journey. 

Since Lefkaxit has been installed a second Love My Gyra beach clean has happened and I have given talks about the project on the neighbouring island Corfu. Wherever I go on Lefkada people say “Ah! You are the lady with that plastic sculpture.” A conversation then follows about plastic marine pollution. A friend said to me recently, I arrived here in November and am now noticing a difference - I am not automatically offered a plastic bag and shops are selling reusable coffee cups.

 

Lefkaxit at sunset
Image credit: Trudi Lloyd Williams
Thousands of people including visitors, as the tourist season is beginning, pass by Lefkaxit each week, many interacting with it posing for photos and selfies. At night it is lit, and reflects the installation in the water, offering a different perspective and encouraging closer examination.

Trudi Lloyd Williams MA

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Student Creative - Animation team

Our Project aim: 3D print and construct a Zoetrope depicting characters individual modes of chaos, see our last two blog posts for our initial plan, and progression of work:

Post 1: http://museumofdesigninplastics.blogspot.com/2019/01/student-creative-animation-team.html

Post 2: http://museumofdesigninplastics.blogspot.com/2019/03/student-creative-animation-team.html

The Zoetrope Nears Completion – 3D Plastic Printing Begins



fig.1 – screen capture of virtual zoetrope with additional character animations from Joe Derrick and Sam Elphick

Having created our virtual zoetrope of characters exhibiting their own personal modes of chaos, the key step of moving through the screen into the 3rd dimension begins. A project such as this has only been made possible through the technological innovations of 3D plastic printing. The on-site printer at AUB is a ‘Selective laser Sintering’ (SLS) printer, using White Polyamide Powder and lasers to produce the models.

fig.2 – SLS printing technology. Source: https://3dinsider.com/3d-printer-types

The printed models are a robust white solid material. The plinths the models stand on have been designed to be able to be attached to a nut and bolt to hold them in place on the rotating zoetrope.

fig.3 – one ‘frame’ of the 3D animation 3D printed

fig.4 – the base of the ‘frame’ with hole designed to fit a nut and bolt

Construction requires a precision of planning and design of precisely where the frames must be placed to produce the illusion of smooth motion. We have used exported images from Autodesk Maya to take into Adobe Illustrator and from there laser-print plastic sheet guides for the plinths to make sure they are positioned in the correct place on the zoetrope.

Goals and Reality

As the project has progressed, the goals set out in our first blog post for this project had to be adapted to the feasibility of the project, in terms of person-hours available and cost of materials and processes.

We unfortunately had to drop the idea of a series of small animated models of objects from the MoDiP collection being destroyed and re-forming. However, objects from the MoDiP collection will be displayed in the exhibition for this project to clearly show the connection from one to the other. These are the objects which will be in the exhibition:

fig.5 – a) Milk Bottle, b) Quin Table Lamp, c) Action Man Figure, d) Amanda

fig.6 – Final Zoetrope

fig.7 – Display cases outside MoDiP containing the display

The zoetrope has been a long time coming and has finally arrived as a success! The intention of the project was to take animation out from behind the screen, which is what I can conclusively say we have done. The three characters on the turntable are illuminated by flashing L.E.D. lights which bring them to life when the table spins, each trapped in their own cycle of torment and hypnotically held in line with their peers experiencing the exact same fate but 1/16th of a second before and after.

Exhibition


figs.8 & 9 – Zoetrope display set up outside the museum

An exhibition is currently in three display cases outside MoDiP in the Arts University Bournemouth library from Tue 30 April to Fri 17 May. The display walks the viewer through the journey of the project from initial conception and inspiration from the MoDiP collection through to the final outcome using objects and images from each stage of the process.
The zoetrope itself can be seen in action on Friday 3rd May from 2pm, and on the mornings of Friday 10th and Friday 17th May.

The journey of this project has been a pleasure to undergo and has taught me and my teammates a huge amount about animation in and out of the screen, as well as the possibilities and creative potential held within the MoDiP collection.

Written by Jonny Strutt - Animation Team