Blowing Lac into free shapes
Lac can be blown to a variety thicknesses and shapes through different techniques. Here are few blowing possibilities to create free organic shapes.
A lot of blowing techniques from glass and sugar can be borrowed in Lac. The elasticity of the material allows it to stretch by the force of the air and reach different forms and shapes.
One of the most surprising and very affective blowing tools in Lac is the bike pump.
To blow Lac with the bike pump you would like to first create a pinch ball; after melting down the material you can gather some and use the rolling pin to flatten it into about one centimetre thick round sheet.
Bring the edges together while pushing the middle part away to create a hollow ball shape. Then try to stretch a ‘neck’ from the ball that can later be fit in the opening of the bike pump.
Make sure the pinch ball is warm, you can always re-heat it with the heat gun. Then place the ‘neck’ of the pinch ball on the bike pump’s opening and squeeze it tight together, so no air will run away. Slowly start to pump it, while making sure that the air spreads equally in the material.
The air will always aim to the hottest or thinnest part of the shape. You can use that knowledge to manipulate the it with warming up and cooling down parts while blowing and ‘play’ with the growth of the object.
While blowing lac you can reach very light thicknesses, in that state the material is more golden and reflects well with light, but it's very fragile! You can also keep it thicker, then the colour will be more brownish-amber and the shape will be much stronger.
Another blowing tool is the metal straw, or any tube. In this technique you can either use the tube itself to gather the material or using again the pinch ball method. While gathering the material with the tube you would like to centre it by rolling against a metal surface.
Then you can start blowing slowly, by first ‘trapping’ and air bubble inside the material that can gradually grow.
You can use different tools to stretch and manipulate and sculpt the shape while blowing. Have a look at the research collaborators section to get inspiration.
To blow wider surfaces you can use a jig that connects to the bike pump.
In this method you will roll a lac sheet in the width of your jig and lay it on top.
Then lay the metal frame and start blowing. Make sure that the sheet is heated up evenly for a well spread shape.
You can also blow lac using the ‘sugar blowing pump’
In that case it is recommended to use the pinch ball method.
Lac blowing is a very new found technique and there is much more tools and techniques to discover. Feel free to use the knowledge and share your own input!