Biomimicry Samples

beetle sketch

beetle sketch

During my research i had become really intrigued with beetles and their carapace, particularly Tortoise Beetles because of the transparency of their carapace.

Used as protection, i started to explore protection and how it could relate to my work. Instead of the obvious physical protection I started to think about mental protection, protection from our daily lives and the things that affect our happiness.

I thought alot about the carapce and the strength of the external shell. Having used resin for a previous project I remembered I had bought my materials for that project from a fibreglass supplier. Full of excitement I decided that this was definately something I wanted to experiment with. Having looked online I couldn’t find any reference to anyone having done this before, even more of an incentive…

I bought some fibre mat / fibre tissue as well as some resin and hardener from Halfords. I also bought a facemask and gloves (I had goggles at home) for protection as this is all quite dangerous stuff to use.

When completely protected I cut some sample strips and stitched them with various yarns and threads to test what the outcome would look like as well as whether the resin would effect or dissolve any of the materials.

I used vaseline on the outside of plant pots as my testing mold, the vaseline would ensure that the fibreglass wouldn’t adhere to the plantpot. With some samples I added a few drops of green dynaflow fabric paint to the resin to colour it.

stitched fibreglass
Stitched Fibreglass with rubber, acrylic yarn and cotton yarn.

I also tried using some gold leaf to add the metalic nature of the beetles I had found…

Stiched fibreglass
stitched fibreglass with rubber, acrylic yearn and knotted cotton, gold leaf.
stitched fibreglass
stitched fibreglass with mixture of cotton and synthetic sewing threads, gold leaf.

Some samples were curved over the plantpot and some were curved within the plantpot. I wanted to see the difference in texture and finish from both situations.

stitched fibreglass
stitched fibreglass as above but placed facedown for a smooth finish

Later I created a sample without any fibreglass using just the resin on fabric to see what would happen.

polyester resin on fabric
Resin on sheer synthetic fabric no fibreglass added.

I was please that this one held it’s shape well but it was too floppy for what I was looking for.

Overall I am really pleased with these samples, I find fibreglass really exciting, with enormous possibilities. Stitching it creates some exciting textures and finishes and I would like to take this further by trying this technique with different fabrics perhaps knitting and shaping it for a sculptural piece. Perhaps lace as this would juxtapose the delicate nature of lace with the extreme hardness of the fibreglass.

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