Silicone is a relatively modern material that is at once liquid and solid, soft and firm. Made from silica - sand - as its core ingredient, it is a rubber, it is resilient and rebounds. Through adapted processes with an extrusion or caulking gun, I squeeze, squash and draw with it. Because of these unique properties, I feel I can capture the spontaneous moments of making as still tangibly present in the finished work.
In the art world it is used behind the scenes for the preparatory processes of mould-making - Its unique properties of setting, taking a detailed impression, grabbing and yet being flexible and non-stick, have made it ideal. In building trades, in various grades it is available as a tubed material to fill gaps and seal building materials ranging from low-end DIY offerings to specialist high-end formulas.
The silicone I choose to work with most often is low odour, conservation grade silicone with UV filters. When extruding with it, it immediately starts to cure (‘room temperature vulcanising’ is the official term) and if I want to take any secondary steps with it, I have to move quick before it has started to skin over. Some of the pieces, especially those with a built up density such as the 'Slabbs' sculptural series, end up taking a couple of months to fully cure as the time it takes for the air to reach deep into the silicone slows. Equally, with the table-top sculpture ‘After Party’, the silicone that had been squashed under the beer bottles was a slim amount in depth, but had very little exposure at the edges to any air - it took 6 weeks.
I have done several sculptures that are cured ‘unattached’. This means there was a surface in contact with the silicone as it cured, which was later removed. I have really enjoyed this aspect of the work’s development so far. Knowing when to remove any objects or surfaces in contact with the silicone can be difficult to gauge and has resulted in a few failures, but also some pleasing successes to build on going forward.