Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Frequently asked questions

I did a little FAQ sheet so thought I could also post it here. I keep telling people the instructions are on the blog but you probably have to look through a bunch of posts to find them.

Basically, if you are using Knox, make it about six to eight times the strength listed on the packets. I'm currently using 3 ounces of gelatin per one cup of water. Let it bloom in cold water and then melt it in the microwave or stovetop. Pour it into dishes, in thin layers. Pry it out when it gels, and tear or cut it into pieces, or fold it, whatever suits your purposes. Let it continue to dry until it is fully dried, in a warm place. If it starts to mold, remelt it, brush it with bleach, or throw it out and start over.

And the FAQ's:

What is it?
Jell-O Art is made from gelatin, dye and water. It is air-dried and glued together with more gelatin. I don’t actually use Jell-O Brand gelatin but call it Jell-O Art because it comes from the Jell-O Art tradition.

Jell-O Art Tradition?
The Radar Angels have held an annual Jell-O Art Show for the past 23 years, right around April Fools Day at the Maude Kerns Art Gallery. I have exhibited every year and started making the dried gelatin about ten years ago. Celeste LeBlanc was the first artist to display dried gelatin. Yes, I am a Radar Angel, just not part of the performing “wing”. Google Gelatinaceae. I’ve also been blogging about it for years in the archives of divinetension@blogspot.com.
Can You Eat It? Every craft comes with an annoying question. The current answer is “Why would you want to?” It is technically edible except for the dye, which is toxic in its powdered form, though in such tiny amounts here that you would live. The gelatin itself is perfectly edible, so yeah, lost in the woods with your slug-on-a-stick, probably tastier than the live ones. No sugar or flavorings though. Bring your own salt.
It looks fragile. While the thinnest parts are indeed fragile, the thicker stuff is harder than nails. This is why people eat gelatin for stronger fingernails and hair. It is very hard to break, much more durable than say, glass, if you drop it. Plus, if it does break, it can be glued back together with molten gelatin, or sometimes just by getting the parts wet and pressing them back together. It is permanent although water will still melt it. I have ten-year-old Jell-O Art that looks new, or would if it were dusted.
What’s so great about it? It has a randomness that is just amazing, as it curls itself up and shapes itself while drying. It is practically weightless, so wearing it on your head it really easy and spectacular. It looks outrageous in sunlight. It’s something you never saw before! You need new brain pathways just to integrate the possibilities.
How do you make it? I tell all my secrets on my blog, Gelatinaceae@blogspot.com
Basically I pour it in thin layers, air dry, and then select pieces and glue them together with the gelatin. No other glues, coatings, or enhancers are used. Try it yourself with the Knox brand plain gelatin.
How can I get some? I’ve been selling it at the Saturday Market and Tuesday Market all season. I have a Facebook page under the name Gelatinaceae (https://www.facebook.com/jelloartandmore) and a website at http://www.gelatinaceae.com where I will have things for sale eventually.
You can get it at the Holiday Market, weekends until Christmas, space 218 right next to the south side doors. See you there!
P.S. If you make some, bring it and show me.