String Things


Sarah Hirschman
M.Arch. 2011

I was excited this week to not make something that looked like a lobster. I was going to make a candelabra, but alas! Technology (ShopBot computer login confusion) and the long weekend got in the way of that dream...


First I thought it might be nice to have a simple structure that held up a lot of material. I cut out a pattern for ribs on the lasercutter (here's the file) with 1/8" yellow plexi - my favorite.


Then I wove between the ribs with pink lanyard (also my favorite). I had thought that I could weave in the other direction using some kind of alternate material that might have a casting medium in it. Turns out my strings were too close together and this was almost impssible.

So I used a piece of felt I had in my studio, soaked it in resin that I was already working with, and sat it into the bowl form. I had thought that it might come out afterwards, since the bowl form was made out of non-porous materials, but this is not the case. This bowl isn't winning any beauty contests!


SO! I have this big lobster mold that I made for the assignment two weeks ago, and I decided to play with that again, using resin-and-dye-soaked string.


I made the technique up, but basically I made sure to get cotton/hemp string so that it would be super-absorbant. The resin cures in about twenty minutes, and gets a little gel-like after 12, so I was quick in dipping, stirring, and pulling the string out, making sure to squeegee it between my fingers on the way out.


One half all strung up.


Two half string-lobsters waiting to be united...



L: "You complete me"

R: "I'm afraid not"


I waited until the two halves had hardened well - about four hours, since the small amount of material that's in the string takes longer than the mass of material left over in the cup, which hardens much sooner.


This lobster's already caught in a net. I actually like the way this guy looks better than the foam ones, since he's got a little more personality, and the medium seems to suggest something less toy-like than the squishy foam. Also, you'll notice that since I didn't try very hard to get the lego-like plugs to show up here, they didn't. The beauty of a selective medium like string.