In answer to some real physical issues and intrigued by the visual possibilities, I have been experimenting with plastic as a medium for making chains. Acrylic plastic is tough and I have found that it stands up well to the jostling to which these chains tend to be subjected.
As a matter of aesthetic choice I have tended to make the chain links rectangular and with flat sides – a design that is also easily fabricated. In some instances I have made chains using opaque plastic in available colors and finishes. But more I have customized clear stock with a number of different results.
The first image shows a simple assemblage of links whose colors and textures are derived from interference paints which I squeeze between clear sheets, which are then pulled apart. Once dry, these sheets are glued to a wooden framework.
This chain is made up of colors and transparencies that have come my way. The black link displays a beveling on the edges that I first thought super, but has turned out more or less superfluous.
Another view of the same piece. Like most chains, these enjoy some degree of freedom while made up of rigidly controlled units. I’m of two or more minds about this characteristic. The drape-ability is at its best in the mirrored chains where formal arrangements are almost lost in reflections.
In this series the links are square and around six to nine inches on a side. This scale is something of a sweet spot in regard to the capabilities of my tools, the amount of materials required and handling and display of the product.
I’m lucky to have access to mirrored plastic. The image above is a heavily beveled chain of a thicker grade of mirrored stock, glued to the framework with solvent cement. The cement distresses the mirror finish – an effect that I like.
This is a merging of the distressed mirror chain and another put together with acrylic medium, which does not attack the finish and allows for a hard shine.
Another view of the same combined chains.
Who knows how long this love affair with dazzle and flash will last. In earlier posts I have talked about what I see as many meanings and dimensions in the chain motif and I am hoping that the look that is being generated here will eventually lead to a sense of depth that is more than of the surface alone.