The making of a Modern Fossil; jesmonite poured into brass shim moulds

I did some experiments creating the shapes that would be attached at each junction of the metal framework of my work for the 7 Bridges public Art project, ‘Modern Fossil‘.  By pouring jesmonite into test moulds, I could see:

  • would my moulds – lengths of very thin sheet metal slotted into slits cut into foamboard – actually work?
  • How securely anything embedded into the jesmonite would be
  • How thick did I need to make the shapes so as not to break; it was to be mounted outdoors on a railway bridge, so needed to be durable
  • What would the result be like with an acid etch on the surface on the cast shapes?

Once  I was happy with the results, I had to create the metal lengths that would be embedded into the fossils (see my metalwork process done at the fab London Sculpture Workshop). I then worked out the sizes and shapes of each fossil ‘cell’ according to the junction of where it sat and made the moulds.

Before pouring, I had to glue ‘spacers’ that would create holes in the back that I could attach bolts into. I had to work quite quickly –  pouring the mix, then sticking the tubes in – as the jesmonite sets pretty quickly. It’s one of the bonuses of using it over concrete. It is more expensive, but it’s great to work with.

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