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Scent Sculpture by Rachel Gorman


Scent Sculptures

Interaction Design

Creative Experimentation

Scent Design

Scent Sculptures ​was a week-long experimental project and hour-long installation that explored the relationship between tactility, form, color, light, and fragrance through a playful collection of irregular, ambiguous shapes. 

The series was presented in January 2023 to a room of 25 participants who I invited to interact with the pieces — touching, smelling, treasuring, or crushing the menu of ephemeral objects in front of them.

Questions under artistic consideration:

What is the relationship between color, scent, tactility, and form?

Can geometric, sculptural forms surprise and delight?

What types of shapes and textures invite interactivity?

What colors, scents, and movements suggest a sense of play?

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Creative Process

In order to create scent sculptures, I embarked on a series of experiments with materials, food dye, and essential oils to better understand how they interacted with one another and what kinds of results I could expect. I worked with homemade doughs, bioplastics, paper sculptures, and gelatin-based recipes, seeing how each responded to dye and how each held or released fragrance with touch and over time.

Once I settled on a recipe I felt I could rely on, I began experimenting with different molds and refrigeration methods, adding additional ingredients to boost visual impact. I also explored size, form, and time to figure out which forms held together best under what conditions and had the most potential for delightful, surprising interactive experiences.

In the end, the work culminated in a series of sculpted pieces, some more self-contained than others, presented as a menu of ephemeral, colorful collection on a single sheet of white paper for audiences to examine, touch, smell, squeeze, hold, admire, and crush. A group of 30 adults interacted with the collection for an hour, playing with the forms in both expected and totally surprising, interesting ways.

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