6. TEXTILE AS SCAFFOLD#
“A couturier must be an architect for the patrons, a sculptor for forms, a painter for color, a musician for harmony and a philosopher in the sense of measurement”. Cristóbal Balenciaga
He was called as “the architect of Haute Couture”, so he saw his trade, as an integral artist. He was a teacher with volumes and forms. “If the structure is good, you can build whatever it is,” he said again. For that reason, by controlling the whole process, rather than designing clothes, he built them … or deconstructed them. At the beginning of the assigment this week, it was automatic to relate it to Cristobal Balenciaga as the axis of inspiration, given that one of the most important premises to develop was: to give special importance to three-dimensional geometries; and this was what he did. This was the right moment to be able to really emphasize the millinery (from the initial point) and thus be able to create my own mold, having total freedom to create a support with which to later be able to experience the molding of different materials. One of my long-term goals is to be able to revalue an almost extinct trade, the traditional millinery, through new technologies, materials, techniques and thus bring it to a contemporary stage.
Creating 3D volume: millinery mold#
- I always start my first schemes by hand, trying to define how I want to see the volume and some dimensions to achieve a mold size M (57 cm in circumference).
- In Rhino: I start by locating the block that delimits my workspace (300 x 300 x 120 mm).
- In top view, I draw the main shape and then extrude it, achieving a solid volume; which then start to “sculpt” using the tool: Boolean operations, partition, difference, subtraction etc … to achieve a volume faceted and angled.
- Command Bounding box: enter the model within our block, to make sure we do not exceed our material limit.
- Important: always position the block at 0 (for correct reading of the machine).
- Pluggin Rhino CAM: creates the volume simulation adapted to the machine to be used, in this case Milling Machine. In this step we must configure in detail what type of travel, tool, distances and depths of milling will use the machine.
- In my case, SETUP:
- Horizontal Roughing (tool of greater diameter)
- Radial Machining / Finishing (tool change of smaller diameter)
Milling is the process of machining the use of rotary cutters to remove material from a workpiece by advancing (or feeding) in a direction at an angle to the axis of the tool.
- The softhwere of the machine reads the .gcode, previously generated by the Rhino CAM, establishing parameters in the X, Y & Z axes (always observing from the top view).
- It is important to secure the block (in this case fribrofacil) to the work table, for this purpose other wooden strips and a screwdriver were used; so that it does not move during the milling process.
- The machine positions the tool on axis 0 and from there the roughing path begins horizontally (with a depth of 6 mm Cut level).
- During the working time of the machine it is important to stay close by, in case of any malfunction or failure and thus be able to stop it.
- Once the first setup is finished, the machine stops only and manually the tool change (smaller diameter) is done for finishing in radial direction, with a lower step level. This process will result in an almost perfect finishing volume, leaving almost no traces of the initial devastated lines.
- The time it took the machine to mill this piece was 3:30 hs.
- The next step is to sandpaper the piece by hand.
- Then, with a manual punch, I made holes in the part of the hat brim, to allow the passage of air when it is used in the Vacuum machine.
- Finally, the piece is varnished and waxed to be waterproof and non-stick.
The kombucha (known as Manchurian mushroom, tea fungus or Chinese mushroom). These fungi and bacteria convert sugar (sucrose) into glucose and fructose and then into ethyl alcohol (potable), carbon dioxide (CO2) and acetic acid, all living in a symbiosis of mutual benefit, forming a body of liquid on the surface of the liquid. gelatinous appearance similar to a jellyfish. If the fungus receives food continuously, this process has no end, that is why the kombucha is called “the fungus of immortality.” . Formula for the growth of Kombucha:
- 1lt. of water
- 100 gr. of sugar
- 100 ml. of vinegar
- 2 units of green tea
A month ago, as a group, in the laboratory we started the growth of the Kombucha, in different containers, to then use this BIO-material in one of our projects. Fortunately, the Kombucha grew rapidly (during this period it was fed with fruit sugars) and we decided to remove it from its fertilization medium, wash it, dry it and use it as organic leather. This coincided temporarily with this assigment and we decided to dry a cut of it in the hat mold.
This is the result of Kombucha after several days of drying on the mold. The piece has a firm structure and the material has faithfully copied the shape, especially in the part of the helmet. The color is uniform and also has some transparency.
Molded in Leather#
After experimentation with the Kombucha and a natural drying system; I really wanted to try different materials and molding techniques on the shape. The chosen material was leather; There are ancestral background of how to work and mold it. After investigating the issue, perform testing of the material, its flexibility and subsequent hardening, apply the techniques of soaking and molding through vacuum.
Step by Step:
- 1 Stretch and flexibility test of the leather after soaking in cold and hot water. I could see that if you used very hot water, almost to the point of boiling, the material contracts quickly, leaving it rigid. Therefore it is advisable that it is at a point where, when we introduce the hand is bearable, and for a short time (2 minutes approx).
- 2 Cover the holes in the frame of the machine that exfoliated the support surface of my mold.
- 3 I soaked the leather in cold water for 2 hours, this gave it even more flexibility; then I submerged it in hot water (2 minutes) and began to stretch it, the material gave 3 centimeters in its radius approximately.
- 4 After squeezing and stretching the leather, I brushed it with abundant carpenter’s glue all over its surface, so that it would obtain greater rigidity.
- 5 The vacuum machine that I used, was built in the Lab, consists of a small wooden drawer and works connected with a vacuum cleaner of great power.
- 6 I turned on the machine and positioned the leather, arranging the folds equally.
- 7 At the same time that I kept the mold on the vacuum machine, I was drying it with a hot air gun, to accelerate the process.
- 8 Finally, place my mold with the already dry leather in a vacuum machine of greater dimension (since you can not put anything wet in it) and leave it for a period of one night.
The idea of creating a structure like scaffolding and that crystals can grow in it, was fascinating to me; It is like cultivating your own jewel. Following the line of creating objects that can be carried on the head, in Rhino I made a circular parametric drawing, which from lines of cut, can take the shape of the head. For this I used the wool felt as material and laser cut.
Crystal Alum / Process:
- Heat the water (enough to fill the container (s) to be used). It is not necessary to bring to a boil.
- Dissolve the alum rock, sufficient quantity until the solution is saturated (particles in the bottom without dissolving).
- Place the structure or element in which we want the crystals to grow, suspended inside the container.
- Pour the solution inside, using a paper filter.
- It is important not to touch the elements or the solution with our hands once these steps have been completed.
- Cover with a cloth and let the container rest.
- Depending on the saturation of the solution, the base structure and the size that we want, the crystals can take between 1 to 3 days to grow.
- Remove from the liquid medium and allow to dry.
This is the result after 3 days of rest. My wish is to continue experimenting with the crystallized felt through the parametric design, but adjusting the proportions for the fit in the head and the thickness of the material.