"But Bags, why would you make a Manta Ray out of Burlap?" you ask? Well, for one I loved the Visual Style of the Movie 9 and I love Manta Rays. Why not fuse the two together?
The Story goes something like this:
One of my strongest areas as an artist is as a Sculptor, and I tend to produce work that relates to toys, either by making toys, or exploring the shapes of said toys. During my intermediate Sculpture class last fall I did an entire series of pieces themed to Nerf Guns, with the highlight revolving around Mantas.
As an abstract object, the Manta Ray is quite visually interesting, and I set out to fabricate unique takes on them with different textures and materials, many of them failed miserably. This eventually lead me to Resin and Burlap forming what I like to call the Stitchmanta.
First off with any Resin/Fiberglass project if you want to match the shape of an object you need a mold or basic form to make sure the floppy resin soaked fabric will stay in that shape while it cures. Sadly, the only stock manta shell I had handy was already in a poor state, thus I did the only thing I could.
Make a new one out of Sheet Acrylic.
Using a Template I traced from the half of a stock manta I then set to work matching the curve. I did this by hand with a Heat gun and a lot of patience. From there I had to make quite a few more:
^most of these didn't survive the fist batch of Resin Work due to miscalculations on my part about protecting the "forms" from the resin, the ones I'm currently using are mostly Solid Blue actually.
Anyway, From there I was ready to build up my Structure Material which for these, was Burlap.
Using the same paper template I made the plastic forms from, I cut out pieces of burlap and sewed them together, I also used some other Tchotchkies made of brass to add some additional flair.
After they're stitched together I hand painted on some "stock manta ray-esque" stripes with India ink.
The Next step was the process of laying down the resin, I used Polyester laminating Resin for the primary coats and fished it with a layer of Finishing Resin to force the whole thing to Kick.
I don't have any pictures of this process, since resin is nasty stuff and not good to keep a camera near. Its also not something your friends want to stand close to you doing and shoot pictures of. Like I was saying earlier due to some poor planning on my part about half my "forms" fused to these prototypes and failed miserably.
Only One of the burlap ones survived after I'd made a lot of changes to improve the way I was laying down the resin and also because I reinforced it from behind with a layer of Fiberglass, which is what I intend to do with All my future ones, the final result after some sanding and a layer of clear coat is what you see at the start of this thread.
Since the end of that quarter I've been wanting to revisit this project and make more, but right after I finally finished up the "survivor" my College Banned the use of Resin, (because stupid people work in it without a respirator, and that supposedly can give you brain cancer and a lot of other horrible diseases) Thus, I've been biding my time for an opportunity and I finally have one.
My Grandfather Makes large scale RC airplanes, and works with fiberglass from time to time. I'm scheduling a week with him where I can go up to his workshop and do a few batches of these badboys, Naturally I'll be selling them.
In Preparation, I picked up a bunch more burlap and the other materials I needed, and even Custom Dyed some additional colors:
See you guys in my trading thread for these.
Edited by baghead, 27 July 2010 - 10:55 PM.