This foam has been in my studio for years, and was employed to protect some fragile items we sent to Nigel to be photographed. Some time later this image arrived amongst the Queer Tools, as Nigel had decided it was equally special. It has become one of my favourite images, reminding me how often the simple & commonplace are ignored. Familiarity surely nurtures indifference more successfully than it breeds contempt?
When I was young this type of foam, usually dark grey, was to be found in interesting places; within protective cases for cameras and musical instruments, in the baffles of loudspeaker cabinets or used for soundproofing in music studios, or perhaps the engine bay of a noisy vehicle. We use it for packaging; upholstery test rigs; and recently for a deluxe cutlery drawer, beautifully flocked by Thomas and Vines. We’d buy it from Pentonville Rubber where they sell everything like this. Many times I’ve idly thunk… ‘how do they make this stuff?’, but never properly investigated it. Nigel’s photograph demanded I get off my arss and find out…although Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau enabled this to be a figure of speech rather than a physical act. A few moments research revealed that profiled or convoluted foam is produced by a beautiful and ingenious process on some fantastic machines – you can see some here.
QT 006 Convoluted foam, manufactured & processed in UK.