Final Project : Crochet Casting

For my final project I thought it would be interesting to use what I had learned with the fabric casting and translate that into something with yarn and crochet. I decided that I would use the crochet as both the exterior formwork for a column and as the column itself. Instead of just doing one test with a single material, I decided to use a variety of crocheting mediums as well as a few non traditional materials.

The materials: Thick fluffy yarn, really thin yarn, paracord, plastic “gardening string”, plastic coated wire. Each material was crocheted using a hook that worked best with the thickness of the material, which affected the size of the openings in the finished “fabric”

Before committing to the process of crocheting a whole bunch of tubes, I made a couple of small test pieces in a few of the materials, and tested them to see if they would actually absorb the concrete slurry like I though they would. Using the same mixture as we did for the fifth assignment, I tried my best to thoroughly soak the crochet with the slurry and then left it to dry overnight.

Test Pieces_Final Project

The end result of the test made it clear that if I wanted the fabric to maintain the open weave look after it had been impregnated with concrete then I would need to use either a bigger hook or a larger stitch or both. So I ended up using a triple stitch instead of a double stitch, which makes the holes larger.

For the filled columns, each material was crocheted into two tubes of the same width and height, using the same triple stitch. One of the crocheted tubes was lined with a thin stretchy material that was filled with the same mixture as we used for the fourth assignment, then hung from the bottom of one of the tables in the workroom. Each of the five columns was filled with approximately the same amount of concrete.

The hollow columns were attached to a cardboard ring, dunked into a bucket of the slurry mix from the fifth assignment, and then hung to dry so that they would maintain the tube shape.

Final Project_Proccess

Three days later, I collected the pieces and removed the cardboard formwork and zip ties before photographing the final results.


The results: While the some of the filled columns didn’t turn quite as upright as a expected, overall I think this was a good experiment. All four of the tubes are capable of supporting their own weight and are not a brittle as I was expecting. I think this was because I did not use any aggregate and made sure to thoroughly coat as much of the tube as I could with the mixture before hanging it to dry. The solid columns, turned out about as I expected; the three with the more rigid form-works of plastic coated wire, plastic garden string, and paracord were the most well contained columns, while the two I made with yarn were more like blobs than columns. However, had I increased the amount of concrete that I put in the more stretchy formwork, I probably could have achieved a similar column size as those in the more rigid form-works.

Assignment 5


Material : Cardstock paper

So to make my paper formwork, I found some geometric shape patterns online and used a thicker paper to make the forms with tape holding everything together. Because I did my assignment a little later than everyone else, I was able to read about other peoples experiences with the slurry mixture and adjust the amount of water I used so that it was more liquidy.

However, although the mixture was pretty thin, it clearly did not reach all the way through aggregate. The concrete only reached about halfway through on each of them. I’m thinking that it was because the aggregate I used was too small.

Assignment 4 – Impressions and Jigging


Impressions :

After following the concrete mixture given to us, we used a 10×10 mold filled with various sizes of beads to create different dimples on the surface of the concrete. The fabric we used was very thin but didn’t have any stretch in it which might be why the impressions are not as well defined as we would have hoped. The concrete was still very damp feeling when we took it out of the mold two days later but fortunately didn’t crack which is more than can be said for our second cast.


Jigging :

Our second casing method involved jigging and neither of us were super sure of how to do that. We ended up sewing large washers through the fabric and around wooden skewers that were laid across the top of the mold and then poured the concrete over that. We had doubled the amount of concrete we mixed because the mold was twice as large but it ended up being too much and did not sink down and settle as much as we expected it to. Unfortunately, when we went to take it out of the mold, we discovered that it had cracked all the way through on one side. This is probably due to us having had to add water in to the mixture in order to get it to the right consistency as well as the surface tension in the concrete at that point. There is also a very brittle “shell” on the fabric side of the concrete which just crumbles off whenever you touch it.

Concrete traces

Group 9, Assignment 03

We are interested in the pictures on the given assignment papers—-the study of splashes. Cause it’s really intriguing what will happen when we don’t shape the concrete by mould or hand, but just enter different projectiles into amorphous concrete to see the unexpected effects. We choose to use different kinds of projectiles (big/small, plastic/metal, sphere/annulus) and test them with different fluid concretes (with different masses of water).


(Except water, we used the basic mix from the assignment.)

Text 1-①, 11:30, 0.100+0.030 kg water

At first, we made the default mix and drilled it for a while, but the degree of fluidity was not enough. Then we added 0.030 kg water and put it in the container cause it was so stiff that hardly flow itself, and we pressed it to flat. When we dropped stuffs, most of them were on the surface of the concrete, even can not leave traces.


Text 2-③, 11:40, 0.130×2=0.260 kg water

To the second experiment, we doubled the water to make it more obvious. But it seemed too fluid this time (almost water-like) that we can pour it to the container easily. When dropping stuffs, many of them submerged to the inside and cannot be seen anymore.


Text 3-②, 11:50, (0.130+0.260)/2=0.195 kg water

To the third experiment, cause we cannot see obvious splashes or traces in the first and third ones (we guessed that water was too little and much respectively), we averaged these two and made water 0.195 kg. And this time, stuffs were half sunk to the concrete but still no splashes.



In order to observe the traces, we used pinchers to get stuffs out of concrete. Obviously it destroyed the patterns a little. As a wrap-up, the depths of traces differ due to the degree of fluidity, the strength and the height we dropped and the mass of the stuff. But we still don’t know why there are no splashes like the given pictures.


Assignment 2 | Group 9


Group 9 – Melia Barnes, Wu Yue

Mix 1 :  8 parts Sand

Mix 2 :  0.9 parts Water

Mix 3, 4, 5 :  3.5% Pigment

With the exception of a few miscalculations in the beginning, the casting process went smoothly for us. The first mix turned out more like wet gravel and sand as opposed to concrete, so no matter how many times we hit it against the table it wouldn’t settle smoothly against the bottom. The second mix was obviously too watery but we are hoping that it is able to set enough to take it out of the mold without breaking it.

The third and fourth mixes went well. The concrete turned out really pigmented and when we were finished our hands and the spoon we were mixing with looked like we hand lost a fight with a smurf. However, when we got to the black pigment we discovered that the mix was much dryer than the other colored mixes . We were worried that it wouldn’t set correctly, so we added a very small amount of water to it before pouring it into the mold.

Water Castings: Fourteen Pieces


Artist: Matthew Barney, 2014

Material: Bronze

Process: Clay silt casting?

Barney created these sculptures using a process he developed in which molten bronze is poured into a pit of bentonite clay silt. When the bronze comes into contact with the moisture in the clay silt, the metal evaporates the water and finds its way into the spaces between the pieces of clay, hardening and resulting in abstract forms. The pieces apparently relate to a six hour film the artist created, but I can’t confirm that fact because there was no way I was going to spend six hours watching a silent art film.

I stumbled across this installation as I was looking into water casting and found it interesting even though the name ended up being misleading. The final products reminded me of the pieces that have been created by pouring metal into ant hills and hornets nests.

Nahuku/Thurston Lava Tube


Found throughout the Big Island of Hawaii, lava tubes and caves are perfect examples of how nature forms itself. Lava caves like the one in the picture above are formed when a river of lava gradually builds solid walls and a ceiling as it is flowing. When the lava flow stops and the last of it passes downhill and into the ocean, a tube/cave is left. These caves can be a few feet high and only yards long, or they can stretch for miles with high ceilings.

Having explored some of these myself, I find it fascinating how the lava cools around itself and forms these kind of gravity defying spaces that create networks of tunnels under the surface of the islands.

Water Casting

Typically used for jewelry making, water casting is a process where molten metal (mostly silver, bronze, or pewter ) is dropped into water. The metal then takes form as it sinks to the bottom and cools into a organic shape. Different temperatures of water, depths, and additives will affect the form the metal takes, as will the temperature of the metal itself and the height from which it is dropped. I found this to be a really interesting casting process because it takes the form away from the process and allows the metal to shape itself naturally. The concept of somehow doing this with a more fluid material – like concrete – that takes more time to set is intriguing.