This silicone rubber fish sculpture uses an unusual construction technique. Most of it was done by extruding lines of aluminum-colored silicone in air! It's like 3-D drawing. The material is light-weight and basically unbreakable.
I love the see-through potential of this technique, allowing suggestions of internal anatomy. Now I can make my own fossils!
A fish swimming in the air is like a fish swimming in water. Hanging, as a means of display also eliminates the need for bases and dedicated floor space.
This piece has a temporary string support now. It is also set up with a socket through the center of the body so it can be mounted on a base with a vertical rebar as a stand. That way, it can also be displayed in more conventional show settings someday.
This could have lots of applications in education; such as biological models, architectural models, or really far-out art projects.
Step 1: Armatures
Sculpture armatures are like skeletons upon which other materials are built up. In this case, there is a wire running through the spine of the fish, and some smaller ones in the fins to help keep them in position. Since the silicone is soft and flexible, gravity can make things sag. If you don't want it to sag, it needs to be thick enough to resist sagging, or have reinforcement.
Since I was developing the technique as I went along, I didn't really know what I was doing and had to do a lot of adapting -- which was fun. This armature, a simple line through the spine, was not ideally shaped for positioning in space. Ideally, an armature should have three attachment points, not in the same line. Three points define a plane. By adjusting the positions of the three points with adjustable lengths of string from overhead, you can position the plane, and your work, in any position.
A universal armature might be something like three wires radiating out from a central point, each wire with an eye at the end for attaching strings. When the sculpture is completed, you can cut off any extruding armature wires and patch the spots with more silicone.
If you want to keep everything flexible and rubbery in the finished piece, you can use string in an armature, instead of wire, attaching the string ends to a temporary, rigid external armature that is cut off later.