Today we were challenged with making a selection of Russian Jewish wedding food (from the 1900s) for a scene in “Fiddler on the Roof” where the actors have to throw at each other. This meant that I got to use a new material called flex-foam – this is two chemicals that when they are poured together and exposed to air, expand to 7 times its original size. (Look at the video below to see it in action!)
When beginning a new project, I’ve already worked out a time frame within my mind, something like: ‘Step 1 should take me X amount of time, then Step 2 should bring me to this time which gives me Y amount of time to do Step 3’
And yet, every time I begin at CFT, I forget how long it actually takes to make something. Making these breads for example took me all day (10am-5pm) to create just 2 or 3 breads.
In order to make these breads you first have to mould the object into clay. This took me the better half of the morning considering I was just making a simple twisted bread shape. Then you have to pour plaster over the top to create the actual mould and leave this to set for over an hour. It’s around 2 o’clock in the afternoon when I pry the clay out of the plaster mould and clean it to allow it to dry (again). Then I used Vaseline on the inside and pour in the foam-flex which again takes another hour to set hard enough for me to pull it out of the mould.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about this, it’s just so different to what I’m used to when working with my own practice. I share a studio space with a painter; and I have watched him do several sketches for a painting, measure up the wood and canvas for the painting, then he puts the canvas together, primes it several times to give a solid background to paint. Then he paints a background, sketches his figures on top and finally he paints the figure. Just watching his process of working of thinking in stages and steps is very different to mine, which is more like… I make several sketches of ideas as and when they come to me, then come into the studio and take some of those sketches and bring them to life. But most of the time it’s me, working instinctively with my space and materials to gain some knowledge of what I want my work to do.
This longer, methodical process has me thinking… maybe I should think more strategically about my work and how it develops instead of being so loose with it. Maybe this would give it more structure?