6. Textile as Scaffold#


from Fabricademy lecture:#

Design a mold (either a positive or negative mold).#

Create your textile composite.#

Additionally, as a group, experiment with the following techniques: concrete casting, textile & wood, and crystals.#

Introduction: Humanity’s addiction to mining#

“SOCAR Oil Fields #3” Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006 by Edward Burtynsky | “Silver Lake Operations #1” Lake Lefroy, Western Australia, 2007 by Edward Burtynsky

It seems like wherever I go, mines have played a discrete role in my life. A major player in the cultural mileu yet somehow never directly addressed. Mining in one form or another, has permeated through all the communities I’ve lived in.

The destructive legacy of mining is not unique to my home of Canada of course. It’s a worldwide obsession.

When I was 12 years old, my family moved way WAY up north to Yellowknife, Canada. Kind of a cute name for a city, right? Yellowknife is the capital city of the Northwest Territories and has a small population (20,000). In one way or another almost everything could be traced back to the industry built from one single mine - Diavik Diamond Mine, owned by the multinational mining corporation Rio Tinto.

Mining diamonds is big business and this small community was pumping out money.

My family moved again when I was a teenager, this time to Edmonton, Alberta.

A city dripping in oil money. A city in the heart of high stakes hyper-extraction.

The 142,200 square kilometres of oil fields are collectively known as the Alberta Tar Sands. It is one of the largest oil operations in the world.

Diavik Diamond Mine, Northwest Territories, 220 km south of the Arctic Circle | Alberta Tar Sands, Alberta, Canada

I don’t why I was shocked to find that mining non-renewable resources happened in other countries, but I was. I’ve seen iron-ore mines in Swaziland, quarries in Peru, salt and emerald mines in Colombia.

There is virtually no corner of the world where mining has not touched.

We are stripping the land on a global scale.

I don’t think anyone has done a better job of capturing the broadest collection of scars on the land than Edward Burtynsky. His aerial photography evokes terror of mass scale and mass production, through documenting the age of the anthropocene. How we have horribly transformed the natural landscape through our human impact.

“Oil Fields #19ab” Belridge, California, USA, 2003 by Edward Burtynsky | “Oil Fields #27” Bakersfield, California, USA, 2004 by Edward Burtynsky

Through my fabric composite work and molding, I express a social commentary on our addiction to non-renewable resources.

The history of mining is synonymous with exploitation - of people and the land. Deadly working conditions, slavery, environmental destruction.

It is also synonymous with our addiction to consume. To symbolize this I layered colourful (scrap) fabric with resin to make a fabric composite that resembled jawbreaker candy.

B. Composite fossil block bowl#

Candy coloured fabric layers, fossil design includes nautilus shells and plesiosaurus fossil

Step 1: Design bowl in Rhino#

Step 2: Gather materials#

I collected fabric scraps that were damaged, with burn marks from the laser cutter, glue marks, dirt marks, or stains, and layered them like a jawbreaker candy. The white fabric I used was my leftover fabric from my prototype garment in Week 3!

The bottom and top layers of the fabric block are wood. The wood came from scrap wood in the lab that we (Anastasia) cut into 30x30cm pieces.

I used SuperSap CLV Epoxy resin.

Step 3: Prepare your work station OUTDOORS#

- Fabric block
- Resin and Hardener
- Containers for mixing (that you don’t mind ruining, the epoxy ruins it)
- Wooden sticks for mixing the resin
- Sheet to cover the table (working with resin gets messy)
- Tape measurer
- 4 clamps
- Scale (for measuring the resin:hardener)
- Cloth (to wipe your hands)
- Brush or something to apply the resin to your fabric

Step 4: Apply resin#

Step 5: Let dry for 12 hours#

Step 6: Remove clamps carefully, and extract your fabric composite#

Step 7: Cut block#

Step 8: Mill the block#

Horizontal roughing on left, Horizontal finishing and parallel finishing on right

Notes on improvements#

To achieve the “jawbreaker” design I envisioned, I had to work within my limiting factors:
- The colours of fabric scraps available
- The quantity of fabric scraps available

This is part of sustainable fashion: you have to work with what you have and “make it work”. There were enough solid colour fabrics, although they weren’t bright colours like I wanted or of the same tone.

As I was using fabric, I had to use A LOT of fabric since once the fabric was compressed, its height decreased by half.

In the end, I only used 2 wood layers because we did end up having enough fabric. All that was required was a change in technique. We realized we didn’t have to find scraps that were perfectly 30x30, if they were smaller than this or cut at weird angles, we patched them together to make a 30x30 square layer.

Also I had many issues with the fabric. The layers in the textile composite that were made of neoprene took SO MUCH resin.

The textile block in total required 3 bottles of resin, 3 bottles of the hardener, BUT it was only enough for half of the height we needed (3cm). This means my bowl did not end up being the proper height.

C. CNC Milling#

Highland Valley #8, Teck Cominco, Open Pit Copper Mine, Logan Lake, British Columbia, Canada, 2008 | Replica mold, created in Rhino

Step 1: Design open pit mine in Rhino#

Each student was given a wooden block 30x30x6cm. The Rhino design needed to be based off these dimensions.

Limiting parameters:
- Size of object (300x300x60 mm)
- Max height of CNC Milling machine (100 mm)

View on Sketchfab

Step 2: Transfer Rhino file to RhinoCAM#

Connect to RhinoCAM (Command: RhinoCAM will load the plug-in)

Important reminders before you get started:
- RhinoCAM doesn’t read solids, it only reads surfaces from a birds-eye perspective
- Always save before you simulate (“post”) your design because the RhinoCAM program often crashes at this point
- Remember thin tools can’t go fast and are more fragile and prone to break
- You CAN switch tools midway
- We do the Horizontal Roughing, then Horizontal Finishing, and then with the same tool, some more detailed finishing called Parallel Finishing.

RhinoCAM - Create a stock to simulate what the mold will look like (Select your mold, go to “Stock” —> “Stock from selection”)
- Go to “Set Port Processor Options”: select ShopBot

Horizontal Roughing:
(“Program”—> “Machining Operations” —> “3 Axis Operation” —> “Horizontal Roughing” —> a screen will pop up, and you need to define everything in ALL of the tabs.
- Select the bounding box layer, move the bottom line of this box up to the top and choose 3 axis operation again
- Go into “Horizontal Roughing” select your tool. If your tool isn’t in the existing list, you can add it. You’ll need to measure all the specs it requires. (I used 10 bp)
- Go to “Feed/Speed” - 2 speeds - speed of drill bit, and speed of the movement. Speed 15000 RPM, choose CW or CCW
- “Clearance Plane” - make absolute value= 5
- Go to “Cut Parameters” —> “Step over control” distance = 8, choose your cut pattern, object parameters “Stock” = 1.5 mm
- Go to “Cut Levels” - Step down = 50, distance = 5
- Post it (your G-code will pop up)

Horizontal Finishing:
same steps as above, choose parameters as needed

Step 3: CNC Milling#

D. Crystallization#

In order to grow crystals successfully, the crystals need to have a structure to “crystallize” onto.

I used pipe cleaner as my structure of choice, and shaped them into glasses.

We followed the alum recipe that was referred to in the Crystallization Lecture


Step 1: Creating a saturated solution#

Add water to a pot and bring it to a boil. Once the water has boiled, lower the heat and begin adding in alum. Stir constantly. Add alum little by little, until no more alum dissolves when you’re stirring. This is the point of a saturated solution.

From left to right: alum in its original solid form; mixing the solid alum into hot water to saturate the solution; pouring the solution onto pipe cleaners via a coffee filter; crystal solution sitting overnight to let crystals grow.

Pouring the saturated solution onto our objects

Step 2: Applying solution to framework#

Hold a coffee filter over the object you want to crystallize. Slowly pour the solution through a coffee filter. The filter catches any pieces that didn’t dissolve or “impurities”.

It’s VERY important you wear gloves and keep your hands away from the solution. Any contact can risk contaminating the solution and crystals won’t grow.

Once your structure is fully submerged, cover it and let it sit on a flat surface overnight. The next day, you should have crystals.

Step 3: Remove from crystal bath#

Carefully remove your structure from the solution with sterile tweezers. Let your crystal object dry.

Additionally, once the crystals were dry, I applied a silicate coating called Ecoclay. This was to give the crystals some protection against the elements so they wouldn’t be exposed to pollutants in the air that could potentially changed the crystals colour over time.

Unfortunately, the Ecoclay stained the crystals yellow because it wasn’t a clear coating. It didn’t look very nice in the end, but now I know for next time to either use a clear coat or no coating at all.

Before and after Ecoclay applied