Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Research: Glue Materials Tests
Still feeling that we hadn’t gotten the stiffness we wanted and needed for a theatrical production, we did two independent experiments involving mixed materials. For one, we used our second solution glues (the 75% glue mixture) with a double layer of gauze, hoping that we could add some strength to our most workable material. In the end, though, we still had more glue than fabric, which did not bode well for a painted mask, let alone one what would have to hold up through multiple outdoor stage performances. This led us to discard the gauze as a candidate.
Next we mixed a solution of 45% water, 45% flour, and 10% white glue in hopes that the glues would mix well and exhibit a sort of hybrid vigor. This experiment succeeded beautifully, giving us one of our three glues that made it to our final round of testing.
Our three finalists were the white glue/wheat paste blend, the 75% white glue solution, and the 66% flour wheat paste solution. We used these glues with both the cotton crepe and the muslin, stretched over a lifesize plaster cast of our own faces. (We used the plaster gauze casts, described earlier, as molds for plaster of Paris to create positives of the faces.)
Our first contestant, the white glue, stretched well and held its detail, but was not as sturdy as we liked. Again, the cotton crepe proved more workable than the muslin, although by now were able to minimize the effect of the extra fabric by folding it under the chin. (Picture 2)
The second, the 66% wheat paste concentration, was difficult to spread and took a long time to dry; one of our samples was removed too early and the glue contracted (Picture 3). In addition, it dried very brittle.
The white glue/wheat paste blend, however, was thin enough to soak the fabric in and had the sturdiness of the wheat paste without being brittle. The cotton was our winning fabric—the weave as midway between the loose gauze and the relatively thick muslin, making it easy to stretch, and it absorbed the glue best. (Picture 4) This will be our material for our next round of experiments—finding a mask shape conducive to speaking in the Greek theater. For these, we have the perfect laboratory: the R-MWC Dell, a proportionally authentic Greek theater.