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May 2018 - Week 5: Toothpaste, Soap, Markalade, PhD Dinner, & an Art-Experience Dance-Party

I tried a new method of making markalade (which took longer than expected). I may not have added enough sugar, or maybe I added too much water. I'm sure it will set OK though, as I persisted with the cooking until I could get the mixture to gel on a cold plate.

3 good size jars of markalade.

28/5/2018 - Monday

I went to the Uni in the morning with Deniz while she returned equipment. We then went to the innovation campus to see if she could borrow some equipment from there but Glenn wasn't in. We went and grabbed some breakfast and took it down near the lighthouse where we sat and the grass overlooking the beach while we ate.


I dropped Deniz off and went and worked at the Uni in the studio until it was time to go to my meeting at 1 pm.


I had my meeting with Jo and Andrew. It went well though I need to elaborate my argument better in my writing. I need to start putting a chapter together about the Situationists and their context in the 1960s.


Rod came over to visit and we finalised plans to make soap together on Thursday.


29/5/2018 - Tuesday

I went to the op shop to try to find a sweat shirt, or some other warm top that would be suitable for painting. (I'm enjoying the painting and am probably just looking for something to paint... rather than having any actual need for more warm clothing).

Activated charcoal as a black colouring and for teeth whitening.

I went and bought some activated charcoal to make black soap and also to test as a teeth whitening agent. Unfortunately, the bulk store didn't have any and everywhere else I looked used plastic packaging.


30/5/2018 - Wednesday

I made some more toothpaste (I'm getting close to running out). I used 40 grams of coconut oil and 60 grams of bicarb soda. I melted the oil before adding the bicarb. After stirring and mixing them together, I added 5 drops of tea-tree oil (it has antiseptic qualities) and 25 drops of peppermint oil for flavour.


Left: The ingredients assembled for making toothpaste. Right: The finished toothpaste.

I also made a batch of soap using coconut and rice bran oil (again... it's a cheap recipe) so I could test the charcoal. I combined a heaped teaspoon of charcoal with a tablespoon of oil that I removed from the oil mixture. I made the distilled water and lye solution and added it to the oils when it cooled to 70 degrees.


Left: Coconut and rice bran oil before heating. Right: Adding the last of the caustic soda (lye) to the distilled water.

I heated the coconut and rice bran oils to 70 degrees and combined them with the lye solution with a spoon until I reached trace, then added the charcoal mixture and a bit of red which I swirled with a small stick. It's a pity I couldn't just leave the mixture to set like that because it made a nice pattern. This was lost however when I poured the mixture into a couple of milk cartons (I still have quite a few from over a year ago when I was still drinking milk). It will be interesting to see how the colours end up. Hopefully they haven't just mixed into a murky colour.


Left: The moulds before insulating in towels. Right: The moulds securely wrapped in two towels.

31/5/2018 - Thursday

I made a batch of markalade by boiling whole oranges before removing the insides. I didn't know how much fruit I was using though so didn't really know how much sugar to add. I gave it my best guess and hoped for the best. As it turned out, I ended up having to cook the mixture far too long. This may have been because there wasn't enough sugar. I also added pectin to help the gelling process along.


Left: 7 oranges in the pan. Right: A plate holds the oranges underwater and a lid keeps the heat in.

I grated the peels for cooking into the markalade.

One grated orange peel done.

I scraped out the insides and removed the skins once cooked.

The pile of discarded orange peel and pith.

I left a lot of the inner material in this time (I could've strained it).

Ready for bringing to the boil to add sugar.

Left: Ready for bringing to the boil to add sugar. Right: The markalade is finally gelling on a cold plate.

The markalade has not really set properly, so in the next couple of days I should empty the jars and cook the mixture for a bit longer.


1/6/2018 - Friday

I unmoulded the charcoal soap and cut it into various shapes and sizes.

Two blocks of soap after removal from their 1 litre milk carton mold.

Bars of soap after cutting the blocks.

I went for a lunch with Deniz at the Uni at met Sam, a prospective Creative Arts Research Masters candidate. She is a mature age student within a decade of my age and we hit it off really well.


I went for dinner with my fellow PhD cohort (we started together 18 months ago). We are all so busy it is the first time we have met socially off campus. We met at The Brewery for pre-dinner drinks before enjoying Thai food at a nearby restaurant. This was a great social evening.


My PhD cohort from left: Misty, Shelley, Fiona, (Sharnie's son Remy), Sharnie (standing), John, Me, and Mai.

2/6/2018 - Saturday

I went to Dad's for lunch and had a visit from Rob and Jason about an hour after I got back home.


I cut Noah's block of soap that we made two weeks ago. (I was saving it for him to cut himself but I figured it needed to be cut to help it cure as quickly as possible.

I went to Desiree's dinner party at night. This was organised as an art experience dance party and was a great success.


Everyone got wrapped in cling wrap (not very eco-friendly) to restrict movement which created a whole new physical experience/perspective as well as crazy fun.


Left Top: pre-wrap dancing. Left: Legs wrapped in plastic. Right: arms wrapped in plastic.



Left: Groin wrapping. Top: Torso wrapping. Above: Host wrapping.

We also did some collaborative drawing after dinner. We folded sheets of paper into 3 sections and each added some drawing in a section. This section connected to the previously completed section. The drawings were of figures and we each worked on either top, middle, or bottom. There were some good results (I forgot to take pictures).


3/6/2018 - Sunday

I made a pea soup in the morning. It was ready to have for lunch and will last a few days.

veggies for pea soup

Left: Veggies ready for making pea soup. Right: A bowl of pea soup ready to eat.

I optimised images and updated my draft journal ready for publication tomorrow.


Noah came and collected his half of the red, white and plain soap that we made a couple of weeks ago. It was funny because I ended up cutting his block up yesterday because he hadn't collected it yet. It was like some sort of 6th sense trigger hahaha.


I should've done writing (a chapter about the Situationists) but felt the need to do some creative practice. Accordingly, I did a bit of digital detournement. I'm working on The American Declaration of Independence. If I can, I would like to put this work in the upcoming Project Members Winter Show 2018. The call has already been put out so I'd better be quick.

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© 2018 by Mark Richardson. 

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