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Learning from Mistakes

Hit and Miss

My practice and techniques evolved over time and along the way I had hits and misses. Sometimes the objects just ended up in the dumpsters, but in other occasions the unexpected results were actually nice surprises.

Unfortunately, in most of these cases the happy mistakes were impossible to reproduce. Mistakes are good because they force you to question yourself and your process, lead to new ideas or ways of making things, and just make you better.


Ten inch Cube

My first big concrete casting (big at the time). So what went wrong? I’d say almost everything. The mold was made in foamcore (foam board layered on both side with paper). I didn’t seal it so the paper sheets totally stuck to the concrete, making it almost impossible to clean. The concrete mix, I don’t remember the details but it was bad. Water separated and got partially sucked into the mold and leaked at joints, resulting in crumbling edges and weird uneven coloring. The mold was not braced properly, so it bulged, almost exploding. There were some hollow boxes inside the mold that were supposed to be voids, but these boxes imploded and got filled with concrete. I wanted to throw it away, but a collector friend stopped me in my tracks and brought it to his home. He said he’ll keep it safe and give it back to me one day when I change my mind about it.

Nine Inch Cube

On this one, I thought, “ok, I need a stronger, more sturdy box to hold the concrete.” So I made a plywood box. To seal it, I used shellac, which I was told was the perfect paint for this. Maybe it’s the paint, maybe I didn’t let it dry long enough. Result: the paint was transferred from the mold on the concrete. Interestingly, the paint was like tattooed on the concrete, impossible to remove. The way it was transferred was very interesting, it gave a feeling of age, like a decaying building. I tried many times to reproduce this effect by painting my molds but it never worked the same.

Vase

Not too much water I said? So that’s what I did here. But this time, it wasn’t enough so the concrete didn’t reach the bottom of the mold. But in this case, I found the result very nice. And since there was not a lot of water, the concrete is very strong and not brittle at all. This time I didn’t bother trying to reproduce it, knowing it would most likely fail

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