IT'S OKAY TO BLEED IF IT GETS ON YOUR FINGERS was one of my more technically challenging pieces, and it evolved quite a bit from the original design due to material behavior in initial tests. I've got a ton of in-progress pics.
When I was first envisioning this pice, I saw it as a 9' square platform, with clear letters serving as open containers. They would be filled with fake blood, and the viscosity of the corn syrup (principle ingredient in many fake-blood recipes) would create a surface-tension bubble above the container's surface. The rendering below shows the first conceptual draft.
|Sketchbook pages showing original explorations on left, |
to the final fabrication layout on right.
So to build this thing, I needed to find a suitable way to affordably fabricate clear dimensional letterforms at five inches deep. I decided to experiment with the traditional method of letter fabrication, vacuum-formed plastic. That meant I had to build a vacu-form table. I spoke with someone who had made their own table for advice on different construction methods and thermoplastics. I eventually modified a few different plans I found on the internet and added my own twist to some parts here and there.
|Notes working out dimensions of laminated MDF for letter patterns.|
The first thing I did was to make the letters. I laminated printed templates onto a board of MDF, and then laminated several MDF boards together to get the thickness I wanted.
|I only made as many letters as I needed to spell|
the phrase. Now I wish I had made all 26 letters
of the alphabet for future projects.
|The laminated letter blanks, ready to be hand-cut on the bandsaw.|
|And final letterforms. Chamfered at 3 degrees to suit the orientation of the original plans, |
where the opening would be up-facing, right reading. This ended up causing problems when
I reversed the orientation of the letters to hang from above.
|The final table is pretty simple.|
|In my workroom, with the shop-vac table and the heating |
element to soften the plastic.
|Underneath the table simple plumbing fittings and a ball valve control the suction.|
|Determining spacing and orientation of the letter patterns.|
|The heating element I had from my table-top silkscreen station.|
|Another view of the vacuum-forming setup.|
|These adjustable frame sets sit on top of the table|
and allow for flexibility in sizing and vent placement.
|This board sits between the table and frame and|
allows for selective hole placement without
permanently altering the table itself.
|Letters were traced on the platforms, then holes drilled selectively.|
Holes could be blocked off with tape if I didn't want to use them
on different letters.
|Simple shelf brackets were used as registration guides.|
|The original frames were made from aluminum C-Bar, which proved to be|
cumbersome and inefficient.
|The darting is visible here. Not the clean-edged look I wanted.|
|Note the Elvis cozy I got at Graceland when my band went on tour.|
|A letter after being vacuum formed, still on the table.|
|Early lighting tests using the fake blood.|
|Seeing how the fake blood flowed on the plastic.|
|The entire sentence spelled out in vacuum-formed plastic.|
|Detail of the letter G.|
|The final (partial) install of the word OKAY.|
After finishing the aluminum frames (welding aluminum is no easy task), due to space limitations in the ACA Gallery, I chose to select one word to show, "OKAY." Future installations will include the full sentence.