Monday, 19 June 2017

BXL photographic archive #0127

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows Flexographic printing.

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--1618

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 16 June 2017

Horners collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics houses two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Worshipful Company of Horners.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.


Designer : Unknown

Manufacturer : Unknown


Date : 1910 (circa)
 
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

MoDiP closed

The museum will be closed all day Tuesday 13th June and will reopen on Wednesday 14th June.

If you need any assistance contact us on modip@aub.ac.uk

Monday, 12 June 2017

A different view #55

There are many ways to look at the objects in the MoDiP collection.  With this series of posts I want to highlight the interesting views of objects that we may ordinarily miss.  These include the underside of an object, the surface pattern, or traces of manufacturing processes.


Title: Lizard effect umbrella handle
Designer: Unknown
Manufacturer: Unknown
Object number: PHSL : 258


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 9 June 2017

Guess the object

MoDiP has the kind of collection that you may think you are very familiar with. We have objects which we all use every day, and some pieces which are more unusual.

By looking at this distorted image are you able to guess what the object is? What do you think it could be used for?


Post your answer in the comments below or to find the answer click here and you will be taken to the MoDiP catalogue.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 5 June 2017

BXL photographic archive #0126

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a visit to a doll factory.

To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--1432

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 2 June 2017

PHS collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics houses two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Plastics Historical Society.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.

Designer : Unknown
Manufacturer : Unknown
Date : 1930 - 1939 (circa)


Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bank Holiday Closure

MoDiP, along with the rest of the AUB campus, will be closed on Monday 29th of May and will reopen Tuesday 30th May.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Adrian Finn - Project overview


I am a third year Architecture student at AUB, and have been given the opportunity to promote the Museum of Design in Plastics. My project with MoDiP seeks to explore and revive the connection between plastic products and their source – the fossil.
As a student of Architecture I like to produce work that is more conceptual – something that gives the viewer a narrative or idea, and hopefully evokes emotion or thought. I want to juxtapose the ‘synthetic’ portrayal of plastics today against the aesthetics and properties of fossils.


In the last blog post, I stated that I would have to learn a new 3D modelling program, and learn how to 3D print. The former was actually unnecessary – a program that I am already familiar with, SketchUp, can be used for 3D printing when various plug-ins are installed for it. Learning how to 3D print, however, has been a very interesting and informative journey. This blog post will be heavily condensed for your convenience – the journey towards the final piece has been very long and arduous!


To 3D print something, you must have your chosen object as a digital 3D object. I used SketchUp to make an ammonite from scratch. This way, I would be crafting an entirely original product, using my skills in digital modelling to make up for my inexperience in manual modelling. 



SketchUp modelling, Adrian Finn, 2017
The image below is of my first ever 3D print. As you can see, the quality of the print overall is low. The tentacles did not print as I intended, which caused the lower part of the object to print incorrectly. A couple of prints similar to this helped me to conclude two major points in the design: aesthetically, the ammonite needed a shell which looked more like an ammonite and less like a snail. Practically, the ammonite would have to be printed in separate parts and assembled.

First 3D print, Adrian Finn, 2017

Around this time, I was very fortunate to be loaned a 3D printer to take home over the Easter holidays. I’d like to thank the AUB Interior Design staff for their continued help (and patience!) with me turning up daily with new models to print, and all of the questions that needed answering to constantly improve my skills over time. 

The model kept improving over time, with many prototype prints and tests being conducted from home. Many adjustments were made as I had to work out how pieces would fit together. As well as this, I had to design the components to be printable – the digital object couldn’t have gaps in its surface, and each piece had to be designed in such a way that meant a printer could generate it from top to bottom.

3D printing at home.
Digital modelling, Adrian Finn, 2017

A program called Cura, distributed by the same company that produces the printers I was using (Ultimaker), takes the 3D file you make and simulates how your model will look on the printer. You can then change settings to control how the printer prints, and to what level of quality you would like.


Using the Cura software
3D printing in action.

After many iterations of the ammonite, and lots of time carefully gluing delicate pieces together, I was finally satisfied with a final product. However, I wasn’t happy with the printing standard achievable with the university printers. I took my model to a professional 3D print studio in Southbourne called The 3D Print House, where I could have my digital creation printed to a professional quality.


The 3D Print House, Southbourne

Here I met Mike Beaman, who explained to me a lot behind the process of 3D printing. He advised that I print with the ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic, as it is a plastic derived from crude oil. This information was essential to my project’s core concept, and truly helps the project to express the message behind it.

With two ammonites collected from the 3D printers, and one printed with the university’s resources, I was close to having the final trio of works. One was being primed for painting by the talented Zoe Benham, and the other two were assembled (one has been caught in the act of attacking Poole civilians… on a scale model produced by myself last year):



The black ABS model. The colour finish reflects crude oil.
The white ABS model, primed for Acrylic paint.
The purple PLA model. PLA is a plastic derived from vegetable oil.

For the white ammonite, I wanted Zoe Benham, a third year AUB Textiles student, to paint the model with acrylic paint to highlight and celebrate the versatility of plastic as an outlet for creativity. Zoe had been following the project closely throughout, and was aware of the brief. I was curious to see how she would interpret my work. 

And finally, here we have the final pieces of the MoDiP Student Creative project: 


PLA Ammonite, Adrian Finn, 2017
ABS Ammonite, Adrian Finn, 2017
ABS Ammonite, Adrian Finn in collaboration with Zoe Benham, 2017

Zoe’s interpretation of the brief was stunning. Detailed photos show her use of fluorescent acrylic paint, the layering of paint to give a texture to the shell, and the change in technique of how the paint is applied.



ABS Ammonite, Adrian Finn in collaboration with Zoe Benham, 2017

I would like to thank the MoDiP staff for making this project possible through funding and support for the Student Creative scheme; the 3D Print House for their services and advice; Zoe Benham for producing a beautiful finish to the last ammonite; the Interior Design staff for putting up with my constant badgering for help.

Ammonites, Adrian Finn, 2017
The work has been displayed in the AUB library
 
If you are interested in keeping up to date with my work, and seeing how 3D printing influenced my Final Major Project, please visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AdrianFinnCreative/

A professional portfolio will follow soon, so watch that space!

Thanks for reading!

Adrian Finn
Student Creative
BA (Hons) Achitecture

Monday, 22 May 2017

BXL photographic archive #0125

In 2010, MoDiP was donated a large archive of images relating to a single company. Bakelite Xylonite Ltd, also known as British Xylonite Ltd or BXL, was possibly one of the first British firms to successfully manufacture a plastics material in commercial quantities. The company was established in 1875 and after a long history went into liquidation in the late 2000s. The images we have in the collection are concentrated around the 1960s through to the 1980s and show us glimpses of the manufacturing process, products and the company’s employees during this time. We plan to share an image each week to give a flavour of the archive. If you want to see more you can view the whole collection on our website.

This week’s image shows a cable coating machine.
To get a better view of the image and find out more have a look at it on our website http://www.modip.ac.uk/artefact/bxl--0413

We are still working on the documentation of the archive, some of the images we know more about than others. It would be fantastic if we could fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge, if you know anything about the company or specific images it would be good to hear from you.
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Friday, 19 May 2017

Horners collection

The Museum of Design in Plastics houses two collections alongside our own.  One of these collections is that of the Worshipful Company of Horners.   

Here I will highlight just one of the objects in the collection.



Designer : Unknown
Manufacturer : Unknown for Unknown
Date : 1850 (circa)
 
Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rebecca Smith - Project Overview


To conclude what has been a fantastic project with MoDiP, this brief overview highlights what has worked well, what skills have been learnt and how the collection at MoDiP will influence future work. The opportunity to become a student creative has allowed me to express ideas in a material way that I may not have otherwise had the chance to pursue. Using the collection as a source of inspiration, a series of lampshades were produced using architectural materials The aim of this project was to test how successful architectural materials can mirror the fluidity and flexibility achieved in plastics, and whether fine detail, texture and flexibility could be achieved to a high standard. 


Materials are a very influential element with architecture, in particular how their form and shape can adapt, and how they dictate the evolution of a design. Architectural materials such as concrete or steel are often associated with being strong and bulky, used on a large scale. The work carried out in this project explores the versatility of each material, testing their ability to mimic results achieved within plastics.

The lampshades chosen each had a unique geometry and curvature which allowed the project to look at materials fragility and longevity, something that would be useful when exploring materials in personal design work.

The project evolved from an initial response of six lampshades to seven, and the chosen materials changed regularly. This freedom allowed a deep analysis of what materials worked and how they could be refined. A string element within this project was research by making, without the tangible hands on approach, the final outcome could not have been achieved. 


The three metal lampshades all had to be connected differently because of the nature of the metal, the copper was riveted, the steel spot welded and the brass was sewn together through holes. This added depth to the work and created some fantastic results. 



Brass, Steel, and Copper shades, Rebecca Smith, 2017

The veneer lampshade was surprisingly quick to make once a couple of tests had been done with paper. The veneer suited the curvature the shade was trying to achieve and attention to detail was needed for details such as the finals on the stand which were done on a lathe. 

Veneer shade and detail, Rebecca Smith, 2017

 The glass lampshade required more testing because of its fragility. With help from local Glass sculptor, Rebecca Newnham, a design was drawn and then petals cut from sheet glass. These were carefully placed in to a slumped mould and then fired in the kiln. This allowed the glass to slowly curve to the mould and fuse with the other petals. 

Glass shade and detail, Rebecca Smith, 2017

The concrete lampshade was the most enjoyable as it was the best material to experiment with texture. A number of shades were made, some used leaves as reliefs, another had different mixes of concrete and to change its colour and another had gold leaf set within the mould. This did not come out as expected so a new approach was needed. The concrete mould was covered with Vaseline to act as a release agent, and when it had cured, had left lots of little grooves and recesses in the concrete. These were then filled with gold leaf and the entire underside of the shade was also covered in gold leaf to help the light reflect downwards. 


Concrete shade and detail, Rebecca Smith, 2017

The last shade to be made was the fabric one. This was one of the hardest ones to make as fabric does not naturally have rigidity. Using a pleating technique, folds were ironed in and then sewn. Cuts were made at regular intervals and then ironed into position. A frame was made to hold the shade in place and was attached by hand sewing. 


Fabric shade and detail, Rebecca Smith, 2017

The MoDiP collection was a fantastic source of inspiration and provided the starting point for the project’s narrative. Plastics are renowned for their durability and longevity, however, the nature in which a product is designed determines how delicate it can become, and this added another layer to the project.
 

This residency has developed skills in making, strengthened a knowledge of materials and instilled an appreciation for design in plastics. Plastics were previously taken for granted and were seen as a cheap alternative to handcrafted materials. This opinion has now been replaced with a respect for the versatility, complexity and beauty they can achieve. The project has been thoroughly enjoyable and will be an invaluable experience when conducting research in the future.


Rebecca Smith
BA Hons Architecture Part 1
Student creative 2017