Tony Cragg, Companions, 2008, fiberglass
Artist Tony Cragg is interested in the relationship between shapes and forms, while exploring different mediums. Companions is made entirely of fiberglass—a type of plastic. Do you know what the word companion means? A friend, someone you spend time with, a close connection between two or more things.
Think about the word “companions” while closely looking at the sculpture. Although the sculpture seems abstract at first, some suggest that Companions looks like a combination of tables, chairs or stools, and bowls or plates. The playful arrangement of these shapes perhaps relates to the conversations and interactions that happen at the universal “dinner table.” What do you see when you look at the sculpture?
When looking at Companions, at first glance, you may think that it’s all one color. However, if you look closely, you will notice that many different colors are speckled throughout the sculpture: light oranges, greens, yellows, and blues. You can achieve a similar effect by making marbled paper—a process that uses water and paint to create patterns that look like marble stone.
Understanding the science behind this process makes it even more fun! Because of the fats, proteins, and vitamins in milk, the paint is able to stay on the surface (unlike water, which the paint would mix into). Adding dish soap to the paint is an important step. The dish soap reacts with the fat in the milk, causing the paint to move and create interesting swirls and patterns.
Follow the steps below to make your own marbled Companions!
Companions print-out template (download here)
Paint (we used water color)
Milk (or milk substitute—we used oat milk)
Tray for milk (must fit paper print out)
Tray for water
1. Print out the template and check your paper to make sure it fits in your milk tray. We trimmed some of the excess space around Companions!
2. Pour the milk into the tray so that it forms an even layer.
3. Mix your paints! Choose whichever colors you would like. We chose yellow, orange, greens, and blues to match the colors in Companions. If preferable, you can place each color in a separate container.
4. Dish soap! Place a small dot of dish soap in each of the colors and mix.
5. Paint in the milk! This is the fun part. Place your brush in the paint and then dip into the milk. Repeat this process with each of your colors to create an interesting marble design. You can use the end of your paint brush, dragging it through the milk and paint to create even more interesting patterns!
6. Set up your water tray and something to place your wet paper on. Lay your Companions template face down onto your marble design. Remove and place in your water tray to gently take off the extra paint (you can do this in the sink).
7. Let the paper dry (you can place on top of paper towels). Once dry, you can cut it out the design and glue onto a clean piece of paper!
There are so many different patterns and designs you can create, depending on where you place the paint, the colors you choose, and the way you swirl the paint around in the tray! Feel free to try this over and over until you get a design you like. The fun part is experimenting! There are endless possibilities. Be sure to share your finished creation with us on Facebook or Instagram @northparkcenter. Enjoy!