Before I started experimenting with latex I did my research into some other practitioners that use latex. I was very interested in learning about latex and fashion and jewellery so I did went into Pinterest and put together a board of ideas and artist who have used latex.

https://pin.it/sxbm7imjorgr7y

I really enjoyed seeing the different ways that I can use latex. From delicate items of clothing to sculptures and jewellery. I was also very happy to see my previous tutors work Colette Paterson, she makes jewellery and scarfs with latex. I love how Collette has made her work look so fresh and contemporary. I was very inspired by Colette’s work, the texture, the colours and the repetitive shapes but as she says with absence of placelessness.

I began this exercise by researching what can be made with latex as I have never used this method before. I had no idea of what to expect. I carefully researched how to use it and downloaded some instructions on how to be safe. I quickly discovered that the smell is very strong so having a mask and having a lot of ventilation is very important. I looked around the house to see what surfaces I could use. After looking around I decided to use my sons lego. I thought lego might work well with latex as it is plastic and it’s not porous so the latex liquid would not be adsorbed but would set on the surface and dry. I kept going back and applying layers. I decided eight layers was strong enough to be able to peel the latex back. My first attempts where sticking on the sides so I learnt that talk powder works well to avoid sides sticking together.

I enjoy the flexibility of this rubbery material. I don’t enjoy the smell it is very overpowering. I think latex works well to pick up the detail of a surface. I enjoy how in this sample you can even read the small print “lego” (image below).

I experimented dyeing the latex with ink to see the results. The ink covered the latex well and depending on how many coats of ink I can determine the opaqueness of the colour. I like the original skin colour of the latex even if at times it does look creepy.

I drew an illustration on my iPad to imagine how I would use this sample if I was to use it for fashion. Rubbery leggings and a skin hugging turtle neck why not? I also think that on a bigger scale this sample would work well for a rubber floor in a children’s playroom (just some ideas at this point). I have noticed that when doing experimental samples i still find myself imagining it as a final item, why is that? I get excited and want to fly before I can walk.

I carried own experimenting: this time using some of the holes in my latex to insert straws in different sizes. This didn’t come out looking very nice but gave me the idea that maybe I could use long pieces of rubber to create a prickly or 3D effect on the surface of a latex textile.

I then went further and added some string and ink in between the layers of latex to create a more interesting texture. In the sample below I still achieved to mould the surface of the lego but it is not as pronounced as the other samples. The string adds movement and interest it also makes the latex stronger.

Painting the latex through the layers means that the colour is not even but I like that! It almost looks like the paint is moving in between the layers, its been trapped so its more concentrated in some areas making uneven patches. I enjoy this sample, I like the doddles the string creates adding movement to the sample. I might go back to this sample and think about composition a bit more. Maybe taking my tutors advice and thinking about composition and areas of business and quiet.

I experimented with the composition of the doodled string changing the rhythm and direction, this time the doddle going in a diagonal direction, the effect is more controlled but I am not sure it adds much more interest to the sample.

I experimented with another composition. I think this composition works but I am not convinced at the moment that it is worth me executing at this point. I might come back to these ideas at a latter stage.

I also experimented with threading string and orange thread creating random bunches. I enjoy the random combination of materials. The rubber is sticky and the string is dry and course. Visually this sample is not pretty but I still find it interesting and I don’t really know why.

Below: I dyed one of my samples magenta to see what it would look like. I like it! I like how some of the holes have broken and others haven’t this creates a more uneven, interesting texture.

Conclusion

I enjoy working with latex. I can see that I can make my own mould from latex. The latex picks up the detail of a surface well. The only snug is that it’s time consuming as I have to wait for the layers to dry: this also is a positive as it enables me to stop and reflect on what I am doing. The negatives are that the smell is very strong, even with all my windows open. I am a total beginner in using latex but on the whole I think using this material has been a success.

I looked at my decanter and liked the surface pattern of the glass so I decided to cast it in latex. The result is a very pretty one. After doing my first sample I decided to take my idea further and added glitter In between the layers, just to experiment. I used yellow purple and pink trying to create a delicate and magical effect. I like this sample I wondered what it would be like as a big piece. If I could make a big piece it could be cut to make a chocker. I don’t really know how I would use this piece but for now do I have to? It is quite nice just to experiment and see where these samples take me without having a preconceived idea of what they should be for.

I went back and carried own more experiments with lego. I wondered what it would be like to make a thinner layer of latex. I was left curious and wanting to achieve a thinner layer of skin with a gentle feel to the latex. In my previous attempt the look of latex was sexier and I really wanted to get away from that feel. I experimented with glue glitter to see if I could achieve a translucent look. I couldn’t help but to take it further and design a jacket.

I called it a unicorn jacket as the colours remind me of something magical. I enjoy this ‘almost’ second layer of skin and the end result is less gruesome than that of my previous attempts.