Posted on January 23, 2015
Over the years I've created a lot of wood serving dishes and bowls and have a particular liking for simple organic shapes. With wood, the nature of the material plays an important role in the 'likability' of an item ... and the ability to capitalise on the attributes of the material contributes to the success of the piece.
When it comes to creating original shapes ('patterns') for replication in resin however, often a bowl or dish which looks fantastic as a wooden item looks characterless or just plain wrong in a different material like resin. Wood is organic … it has (or has had) a life … and it is very much an important part of the character of a piece of work. Grain, colour, texture as well as irregularities and features all combine to create the language that wood speaks.
Resin … our artificial variety … is modern and man-made. Even so-called bio-resins are still artificial manufacturing products. Their strengths include … strength (!!) , colour, moldability and replicability … qualities (except maybe for strength) mostly not exhibited by wood.
So, when designing work for creation in resin there are a whole different range of qualities to consider. In fact, the creation process with resin involves a lot more actual 'designing' than is employed when creating with wood.
When I make works in wood I'm influenced and constrained to a large degree by the material itself … how big the piece of wood is … the positions of any areas of damage … how to monopolise on the areas and incorporate them into the work as 'features' ... the way the grain runs … and the overall shape all help determine what looks best for that particular piece of wood. For the most part though, the creation process with wood is an intuitive one.
Alternately, when considering creating an object in resin, the design process starts with nothing and is really only limited by some logistics of size and molding processes … and how simple or complicated I want the project to become. Material choices like colour become an important part of the process and it is … arguably … colour that is one of resin's most important and endearing properties. Creating results which can be compared with glass, resin provides the ability to render vast combinations of colour and texture and can be hybridised with embedments, inlays and modified by a whole range of post-process treatments.
So far, most of my resin work is centred around simple forms … letting the colour do the talking while presenting a simple organic form which is pleasing. The possibilities to extend on this are endless.
When asked by a customer a little while back "what is it that I like about working with resin", I replied it's the freedom and flexibility to do and create anything I can think of … it's like walking out into the middle of a remote featureless desert and saying "okay, which way do I go now".