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- "Regolith Impressionism" - having just completed the first painting in over four years, we plan to try several more, both "impressionist" and "abstract" works
- "Canvas" Variations we intend to try:
- Painting on unglazed terra cotta, background first, in normal fashion
- Painting mold-poured concrete objects
- RATIONALE &emdash; simple unglazed ceramics and concrete may be available as "canvas" substitutes earlier than transparent glass panes
- Painting the interior of a glass jar pre-etched with hydrofluoric acid, rinsed and dried.
- Carefully paint the inside surface - trying a number of methods to control the results
- OR just letting it happen (serendipitous abstracts).
- RATIONALE &emdash; IF any foods are shipped to the outpost or settlement in glass jars (a big IF!) these jars could be pre-etched on the interior surface and thus provide a salvageable canvas for lunar artists, using simply different shades of regolith soils. CONTROL will be the problem
OTHER ART PROJECTS in the works
- Hair Painting - we've been collecting our own hair clippings (many shades of gray) and those of a black friend, to try to render a moonscape or two (black for the sky, of course) held in place in a glass pane sandwich. Hair clippings are a potential art & craft source for any outpost or settlement, right from the outset, without waiting for regolith processing to begin. Hair has been used as an art and craft medium in the past, if rarely, especially in the creation of mementos honoring a departed loved one. The precedents and potential are there.
- Cassein-based Paints - we've learned recently, that an option to using sodium silicate as a vehicle for metal oxide powder pigments, we could use a roué prepared from powdered milk and hot water. We're anxious to try this, perhaps painting on unglazed terra cotta. Powdered milk is a likely item in an outpost pantry. This might prove to be a suitable "art du jours" (temporary art) medium suitable for developing artistic expression and talent in frontier children
CRAFT PROJECT in Definition Phase
- Sulfur-Fiberglass Composites - we've written about the possibility of molten sulfur impregnated fiberglass composites as a potentially useful material on the Moon [MMM # 65. May '93, p. 6, "MoonWood: Fiberglass Sulfur Composites: Devil Magic with Yellow Brimstone Stuff"]. Sulfur is reasonably abundant on the Moon, as are the makings of fiberglass or glass fibers. Sulfur impregnated fabrics are impervious to water, but to our knowledge, fiberglass has not been tried as the fabric.
- We have a good supply of both fiberglass and sulfur on hand
- We have a propane torch. Sulfur melts at 119° C (246° F &emdash; not far above the boiling point of water), is odorless, nontoxic, and a nonconducting.
- First we want to make sure we have all necessary apparatus for conducting safe experiments
- We plan to first render a simple "block" of impregnated layers of fiberglass
- We'll try next cast an object from a batch of sulfur pre-mixed with chopped glass fibers
- Then comes product testing and refining
- can the stuff be drilled, shaped, or carved?
- or does it works better to mold the composite into the desired shape in the process of pouring a pre-mixed batch?
- do impact tests, to determine fragility. We expect considerable impact-resistence.
- try various types of coatings
- try doping the sulfur powder with various metal oxide pigments (e.g. ferric oxide rust, chromium oxide green, titanium dioxide white, manganese dioxide black) to see the effects on the color of the final product
- Possible test objects depending upon the range of visual characteristics that can be achieved, the range of successful fabrication methods, and performance:
- a paperweight
- a lamp base
- Sulfur-Fiberglass composites may be one of several valid media for Lunan Sculptors, by molding, at least, if carving proves impractical. If the composite is machinable, i.e. if it can be drilled, sawn, carved &emdash; and we are not at all confident that it can - we may have something that can also serve other craft needs. We are anxious to see the results.
- For external use on the Moon, we'd have to find some dopant that would raise the melting point of the sulfur enough so that the object would not soften and slump in the mid-dayspan sun.
CRAFT PROJECT IDEAS ALERT
- In the early period, before mining and processing get into full swing, the main source of art and craft stuffs will probably be shipping containers and paraphernalia - leading to an "Art Cargo Period" if you will.
- Glass bootles are a possibility (thus the Bottle Painting Project), but probably less likely than plastic.
- Whatever the materials chosen for shipping and packing containers and paraphernalia, we could try to be ready with field-tested suggestions that might prove helpful to pioneers with a yearning to express themselves creatively.
We will report here on results as we have them.
414-342-0705 (Peter Kokh)