As I Adapt, Demiurge Resident - Amber Cobb
Demiurge recently hosted artist Amber Cobb at our Denver studio as the first artist awarded the Demiurge Sculptural Fabrication Residency. Amber was at Demiurge to collaborate on the planning and fabrication of her piece, As I Adapt. As I Adapt is a fine concrete casting of a full-size mattress and box spring. The complex nature of casting a piece of this scale requires precise timing and diligence throughout each phase of the process. Demiurge worked with Amber to strategically plan each step of the mold making and casting process along with the necessary logistics to transport the large piece.
Creating oversize castings is time and resource intensive, and Demiurge was excited to host and have a resident with such a difficult fabrication process. After preparing the mattress for mold-making by sealing the fabric, the mold rubber was applied. The first coats were several layers of a less viscous brushable two part urethane rubber, followed by thickened coats of the same rubber applied until a sufficient wall thickness was achieved.
The inner urethane rubber mold was then structurally reinforced with an expanding polyurethane foam inside a reinforced mother mold box. With the mold cured and properly supported, the original mattress was removed and the mold cleaned, and prepared for casting.
With the mold finished, the project team could now focus on preparing for a concrete pour. The reinforcing bar and metal hardware mat were prepared and dry-fit within the mold, as was a large wooden box essential to making the piece a lightweight concrete shell instead of a solid casting. Integrated with these support structures were detailed connections designed to facilitate the safe and efficient transport and loading of this work.
With the support and reinforcing structures complete and dry-fit, we were ready to pour the concrete. A special blend of fortifier, Portland cement, and fine aggregate was used to ensure the piece had a high cured strength while retaining the fine level of detail on the completed piece.
The casting process is rarely simple or quick and having a thorough understanding of materials is crucial for creating a piece of this complexity. Demiurge prides itself on not only having a comprehensive understanding with a multitude of materials but what often sets us apart is our ability to adapt these materials to suit a creative concept.
"Concrete is a rigid material utilized to create foundation and stability. The most admirable quality of the material is its ability to absorb the surrounding elements. It endures the harshest conditions by slowly adapting to rising and cooling temperatures. The mattress is at once a haven and a place of repressed anxiety. When we lay down to rest we are at our most vulnerable state: exposed, unguarded, and defenseless to the world. In a form of altered consciousness we lay ourselves bare. While awake we are rendered resilient. Through alternating states of awareness and slumber we are tempered to the world."