Projects 2010 > Sculpting with Scent > Journal
Warning: this post may not be interesting unless you’re really interested in moldable, low odourant materials that are inert at a wide range around room temperature. However, if this sort of thing floats your boat then it’s going to be a pretty racy read.
So. For the benefit of prototyping tactile scent objects I’ve been on the hunt for materials that are easy to work with, cheap and readily available – sort of the opposite of smart materials. Dumb materials if you like. The specific properties I need are these:
• Low or no odour
• Able to retain scent accurately and for long periods of time
• Easily moldable or can be worked into specific shapes
• Inert at room temperature +/- 20ºC
• Interesting tactile properties
Wax is very easy to mold but normally it has the wrong sort of properties – it’s too soft at room temperature and has a distinctive waxy smell. I’m trying three types of ‘engineered’ wax which are more-or-less odourless and hard at room temperature: encaustic wax, dye-concentrated wax block and dye-concentrated wax chips.
Felt can be hard enough to turn on a lathe or soft enough to be sewn. It’s resilient, able to be compressed and released thousands of times without deformity and highly absorbent, able to retain many times its weight in fluids. It’s also made of wool so it’s a renewable resource.
Air-drying modelling clay made from 95% natural substances. Particularly break-resistant after hardening.
Can be perfumed and good tactile qualities
Versatile and moldable material which can be perfumed. Can also be sanded or machined into shape after casting.
We’re going to try all of these materials with strong and weak scents in different concentrations to assess their suitability.