New Making

Exploring Dialogues using Material Flexibility

In my task to explore hybrid materials, I decided to focus on making use of acrylic and string. My task explored the creation of hybrid materials whilst incorporate flexibility into a material which is normally rigid and fragile. I then built upon my previous sewing experiences and use sewing as a joining method to explore and experiment with.

I chose to work with acrylic due to its natural rigidity, and its ability to create contrast through laser cutting which incorporates flexibility into an otherwise brittle material. With laser cutting, I created living hinges which allows for a large variety of movement based on the selected cuts. Using the laser cutter also allowed me to create the necessary holes used for sewing which would normally be created by a leather punch.

I then began experimenting with combining the materials in unique and interesting ways which create intriguing dialogues between the duality of movement and constraints. I the first range of pieces which I produced had a limited the range of movement and the complexity was low. Hence I moved on to create pieces which incorporated more dynamic movement through a larger number of combined components. 

It proved to be a tricky process to sew the pieces together as the hinges had a natural tendency to lay flat, whereas I was attempting to restrict their movement by forcing them into odd shapes. It took many attempts of trial and error to create the desired stitching within the pieces, whilst ensuring that I do no exert too much pressure on the hinges.

I also created pieces which captured the movement of the hybrid materials and allow the user to understand the material’s flexibility simply through the material’s static shape. Therefore, I created this structure which is sewn to an acrylic base with a living hinge top piece which highlights the multi-directional flexibility of the hinges without requiring physical touch.

The exploration of Hybrid Materials over the past 6 weeks have been filled with my own almost child-like enthusiasm when I was able to interact with materials in ways I could not imagine. It has provided me with valuable experiences in research, brainstorming as well as hands on prototyping. Although the results of my Hybrid Materials do not currently have any real-life applications, the number of possibilities for further exploration seem endless and certainly could have real life applications in the near future.