What are Test Cups?
Test Cups are a series of coat hooks and cupboard door handles that use the natural process of metal patination to create beautifully coloured objects. They are hand made, meaning each one is unique. And because they are cast with metal powder, Test Cups will buff and polish the more you use them.
How are Test Cups made?
Test Cups are objects made from Jesmonite, mixed with metal powders such as copper, brass and iron, and cast at an angle in paper cups. The surface of each piece is patterned using a variety of traditional patination techniques.
Once the metal and Jesmonite mixture has set, I tear off the paper cup mould and begin the process of patinatin. Some are soaked in copper sulphate, some in Tabasco sauce, others are dipped in malt vinegar and still others are covered in silver nitrate. The cast objects are fully submerged or dipped in varying levels of the liquids to create a layered effect or even soaked and wrapped in plastic to dry to create a more mottled pattern.
These compounds react with the metal in the mixture, changing the colour of the object and forming patterns over the surface. The patination process means that no two objects are the same.
They are designed to be really easy to put up. Just drill a hole where you want them to go. If they’re going into concrete, fit a rawl plug. Otherwise just screw them in.
The process of making means that the patterns that form are organic and haphazard. And because of the metal added to the mixture, the objects will be buffed and polished over time and the more they are used.
As a designer I like to experiment with the way materials behave when treated in different ways. As I’m working with materials, I look for interesting results: colours and patterns that I want to explore further.
I wanted to experiment with patination, a technique that has been used by sculptors for thousands of years. It’s the process of applying a reactive chemical to the surface of a metal causing it to corrode and form a new layer. This layer often has a colour. It also protects the surface of the metal. That’s exactly what’s going on when you see a green, copper roof.
Because of the colourful surface, I wanted to shape to be simple. Making the objects, I created a jig to cast the cup an angle.
Test Cups are made from a mixture of Jesmonite, a plaster-resin composite, and metal powders brass, copper and iron. Coat hooks are cast in medium sized paper cups. They weigh roughly 400g and are cast with 6cm, stainless steel screws. Cupboard handles are cast in small, espresso sized paper cups. They weigh 100g and are cast using 2.5cm stainless steel screws. All items are shipped with everything you need to put the Test Cups up.
You can choose from the following finishes.
UPDATE: You can now also choose a new finish 'Oxidised Iron' pictured below.
Why do I need funding?
As a recent graduate of furniture design, I have spent 6 months developing this product. Having graduated, I plan to set up my own design studio. Test Cups are my first product and Kickstarter will give me the capital I need to produce the first batch.
All the money raised in this campaign will go towards buying the equipment and materials I need to make Test Cups, and renting a space to make them. By pledging your support, you will be helping me take the first steps in my career.
A thousand thank yous!
The Cass Starters project
This project is part of the Cass Starters collective crowd funding initiative. The aim is to bring together the enthusiasm of young creative graduates with the infrastructure and support of The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University.
Cass Starters recognises the power of working together!
Individually, we have limited brand name power but collectively, we have plenty of ambition, skill, and creative energy. Most significantly, we share a strong social network - a solid culture of support and collaboration, which we have cultivated during our time studying together.
All this, coupled with support from The Cass and designer Peter Marigold, our tutor in our last year.
Watch the video we made about the collective project and check out the other three Cass Starter campaigns by following the links below.
Risks and challenges
I have been working to develop Test Cups for several months and have resolved all of the problems to make sure that I am ready to start production as soon as the kickstarter campaign has finished.
I have already sold some prototypes that are already in use, so I know they work.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)