Monday, June 19, 2017

EPOXY ... Installation-in-progress, Week Six

 (Above:  One of the circles/orbs ... with epoxy poured over it and with a new hanging device.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Last Friday afternoon, I returned to CMFA (Columbia Music Festival Association) and collected seventeen circles/orbs from my public installation-in-progress.  I stapled yellow signs to the wall reading:  Installation-in-Progess.  The missing orbs will be returning!  This weekend I'm experimenting with epoxy.  If successful, the orbs will have a shiny, reflective surface.  Come back to see!

 (Above:  How the installation looked today.)

The photo above shows how the installation looks now.  From this distance, nothing much has changed.  But it is different! The epoxy experiment was a SUCCESS.  Thus, seventeen of the circles/orbs are covered in epoxy and have new hanging devices.  Sixteen others have been removed and are now waiting to have epoxy poured over them!  The yellow signs have been updated ... saying that more epoxy is coming!  So, what did this week's work involve?

 (Above:  The circles/orbs ... drying after an application of Golden's GAC 400, a fabric stiffener.)

Knowing that epoxy is poured in a liquid form, I wanted to prevent it from totally oozing into the porous textile surface.  A coat of Golden's GAC 400 was applied and allowed to dry.  This is a polymer emulsion formulated to "stiffen fabric".  For good measure (and because I had a half gallon on hand), I then applied a coat of Golden's GAC 200.  (Use the same link as above.)  GAC 200 is the hardest, least flexible polymer emulsion available.  I knew it would increase the fabric's stiffness while sealing the surface very, very well.  Once finally dry, I cut 2-ply gold or silver metallic paper to back each orb.  I did this to some of the orbs in "Week Three".  Now ... all the orbs are going to have this shiny backing.

(Above:  Homemade epoxy pouring station.)

While waiting for the circles/orbs to dry, I built an epoxy pouring station.  It is simply four pieces of wood screwed into a square.  This square went inside a large plastic bag (sort of like a dry cleaner's bag).  On the top of the square is an old picture frame.  Holes were drilled into all four sides.  Wire was woven through all the holes.  This contraption allowed me to pour epoxy over the circles/orbs and "catch" the excess on the plastic bag.  When a puddle formed on the plastic bag, I simply lifted the frame and smeared the front of an orb in the solution ... preventing a lot of waste.  When finished, I threw out the sticky plastic bag.  Simple clean-up!
 (Above:  Me in my tyvek suit ... ready to pour epoxy.)

Pouring epoxy requires planning.  There's only about twenty-minutes of "open time" before the epoxy begins to harden.  First, the two solutions are vigorously mixed for three minutes.  My husband Steve times this.  Then, pour!  As each orb was finished, I handed it to Steve who took it to the prepared drying area inside the garage.

 (Above:  Using a propane torch on the epoxy-poured orbs in order to eliminate bubbles.)

The photo above shows the table inside the garage.  We had it prepared before we started.  It was covered in paper.  We had plenty of wooden blocks ready.  (Extra blocks can be seen on the right, in the corner of the table.)  These blocks are important.  Why?  Well, if we had laid the circles/orbs down directly on the paper, they would be firmly attached to that paper.  Epoxy is very, very sticky.  Therefore, each orb is sitting on a block, slightly above the paper.  Excess epoxy dripped onto the paper ... which was thrown out after everything dried.

(Above:  Detail of the propane torch eliminating bubbles in the epoxy.)

Within ten minutes of the pouring, air bubbles created while mixing the epoxy become visible and start to rise to the surface.  The quickest and best way to eliminate these bubbles is to use a small propane torch.  Trapped bubbles react to the torch's rich carbon dioxide exhaust. It is fun to do!

(Above:  Pieces of 2" x 2" wood, painted white and drilled with a hole.)

Next, I cut a 2" x 2" piece of lumber into small sections.  I drilled holes in the middle of one side and painted them white.

 (Above:  The new, wooden hanging devices being glued to the reverse of the circles/orbs.)

These wooden blocks were then glued to the reverse of the circles/orbs.

 (Above:  Testing the new hanging device.)

Before gluing everything, I taped one of the blocks to the back of one of the circles/orbs and hung it on the wall.  I had to make sure it was going to work!  A single 1 1/2" nail was hammered into the wall.  The block's drilled hole fit nicely over the nail!  Voila!

The orbs stay flat and parallel to the wall.  They cast nice shadows too.  Next week I might use only a 1" thick block ... varying the distance from the wall.  Please notice the shiny reflection of the epoxy on this circle/orb!
 (Above:  One of the circles/orbs hanging at CMFA.)

Finally, I took the seventeen circles/orbs back to CMFA and rehung the installation-in-progress.

I updated the yellow signs ... to say more epoxy is coming!

It is difficult from me to capture a good photo of the different surfaces.  In the photo above, however, it is obvious which orb is covered in epoxy.

I really like the results.  Of course, if there is time after all the orbs are coated, I might pour more epoxy over some of them.  The additional epoxy would fill all the holes and be really, really a smooth, reflective surface.  Time will tell.


pat arndt said...

Thank you for the details!! I love your whole process. Making art, so exciting to see new ways or old ways applied to new!!

Norma Schlager said...

Talk about dedication to your art!! These are incredible and I loved seeing your process. It must be stunning in person.

Yael said...

Wow! Okay! But what will you do with the comet?