Friday, December 07, 2007

Casting Completed

Bronze is heated and poured into the hollow molds suspended over a bed of sand. The sand helps prevent molten spills from running amok if a piece is cracked. The pieces are then cooled prior to removal of the shell from the bronze cast sculpture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Burnt Out

After cleaning up any exterior casting that might contaminate the inner shell by scraping it with handtools and discarding it, the molds are ready for burnout. The furnace is heated up for about(15 minutes and then the sculptures are placed inside. Next, the shell and its interiors of wax (or other materials such as twigs, skewers or styrofoam) are heated beyond thier melting point to flow freely from the molds and fall into the large metal basin of water beneath the inferno. Done successfully this will leave behind intact hollow shells.

Flaming wax remnants are scooped out of the Metal basin so as to prevent buildup and possible flareups. The really cool outfit is an added bonus. Next burnout I will remember to get a picture of myself to add to the collection.

The near finished lost wax shell is removed from the furnace after it has baked for 30 or so minutes. Before moving, it is allowed to cool off so it is no longer red hot but instead resembles spent ash. The lost wax cast is placed in the cooling rack where it awaits vaccuming and final cleanup with an air hose. Compressed air will be shot up through the cavities and remove sediment that might affect the final appearance of the sculptures once the molten bronze is poured into them and then cooled.

Next week - casting on thursday. Pictures to follow.

Crafty templates for those with free time to spare.

Because i do not have enough to do right now I was thinking i would create an interesting winter themed christmas card slash notice of change of address to send out this week. I am pondering using an interesting template from a site like the following.

Monday, November 19, 2007

On a side note

It will seem rather odd in retrospect to pop into this tiny parcel of my universe and see no reflection on day to day life as it is taking place at this moment - it is because of this that i make note of today as being one of the most amazing moments in my life. Just as tom couch jumped on oprah so does my heart leap about with silly love infused gleefulness. I am incredibly excited and thus far succeeding at not letting myself rein in the emotional bliss. I am living the dream - only it is a reality greater than i would ever have imagined. one day and a half until i hold in my hand the keys to our new home. Chaotic bliss is a wonderful theme.

Ready to proceed to the "lost wax" step in lost wax bronzecasting.

Tomorrow I am all set for burnout of my pieces. After several weeks of repetitive slurry dipping then rolling in the sand my pieces have gained enough weight and substance to move on to their next positions. First, they will be placed in an enclosed firepit then be toasted at extreme temperatures so as to lose their internal mass and become hollow forms. I have been told that it takes about 30-45 minutes for the wax and other debris to burn out.

Next week the hollow molds will be set to hang in midair while molten bronze is poured into their empty shells. Once it cools the exterior sand and solidified slurry will be gently chipped away with hammers and chisels so as to reveal the near final subjects of my affection.

The raw metal will be ugly and deformed in appearance i expect. It is only after the pieces have all their superfluos bits sawed off, are sandblasted and filed down that we will be able to see whether they are a success.

Seventh dip in the slurry

Layering the shell onto the wax sculptures

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pets & Earthquakes

My 7 year old Maine Coone, "Steve The Cat", attempted to alert me of the earthquake repeatedly in the ten minutes prior. I came home from working out just after 730 and went directly to the shower and change. Normally when i leave the shower, Stevie jumps in to play with the watertap and chase drips, instead - he followed me. Normally he has 4 things he demands of us vocally or with intense "follow me" body language and directives like nudging with his head and leading by walking a few feet until we follow along while directing us with the odd vocalization or meaow.

These four things are:

- to follow him to his food dish and to correct whatever dilemma he seems to believe needs correcting in regards to the fullness of said dish
- open a door for him to enter or exit or just stare out of momentarily while considering whether to enter or exit
- to pick him up to cuddle
- to turn on the faucet.

Just after 8 pm i had exhausted each of these options. I had tried to coax him into the tub to play with water while he just stood on his rear legs and stretched up to tap my elbows with his paws instead.

It was after dark so i never concede and let him out to play at night so that wasnt an option.

He responded to being picked up with a quick cuddle and then leaped out of my lap and persisted in the follow me directives of nudging mine and my partners legs as we sat at our desks in the office and tapping our arms with his paw.

When i attempted to follow him he went only so far as the hallway but showed no interest in going down the stairs to his food dish. As a rule, we never walk ahead of him or beside him for fear of being tripped - my family and I always follow behind instead - but tonight Stevie the cat wasnt going anywhere for us to follow him to.

This led me back to thinking he wanted water not food and i resumed trying to get him in the tub before standing finally in the hallway between bathroom and office. I stood there chatting with my other half - talking about the cats' odd behavior, mildly exasperated at how to entertain my darling goofy cat while he rubbed against my legs.

It was while i stood there in the doorway with my cat rubbing against my ankles that the room began to roll like a wave beneath my feet. He scooted under a table and while I shouted in sudden comprehension "earthquake!", my sweetheart ran into the doorway to stand with me.

In the silence following the tremor I succeeded in finding Stevie while he catnapped under the kitchen table downstairs. Seeing the logic in this I joined him for a few minutes of ear scratching and fed him a handful of kitty treats and apologized for being too dense to understand what he was telling us all along.

Slurry Dipping ( not to be confused with skinny dipping)

Today i did something unusual. Instead of wasting time wasting time - I moved forward and returned to the studio this afternoon to finish two of my sculptures and get them on their way.

A Frog in Toads Clothing & Voodoo are now safe on their way to that strange land where finished projects go. With a little luck and perseverence they will actually complete their journey and evolve from their wax forms into solid masses of bronze.

At some point in the future I am going to come up with some meaningful allusion to satisfy others when they ask why i created each of these items, but atm the fact is i made them for me myself and i.

I have no expectation of making my first bronze sculpture and its being a work of art. Rather, its expected and anticipated that any initial creations are more liable to be a laughed at pieces of crap that others mock with the expectation that you expect to be mocked and are also already in on the mocking and self torturous mind games of low self esteem.

I decided not to fall into that mangled mess of self loathing and disinterest that comes with belittling my own handiwork and so i struck out to make what i enjoy.

I have made 2 items which i expect might make it past the "buried in a cardboard box" stage of evolution. My frog will always be a frog to me, for i can see within his princely heart that he isnt a toad at all no matter what others say. And Voodoo has camouflaged himself so well that others believe he is an edible cookie rather than a symbol of energy and confidence. So be it. Fact is - i anticipate having Voodoo and Frog in toads clothing find places in my home and because of that I sculpted outside the box.

Today, frog and voodoo both found themselves raised in stature. They were elevated above wax cups on waxen rods that will form a series of channels. I then scurried on over to the lab and cleaned them each with dishsoap , airdried them - with would you have guessed it? - Air. Next, I sprayed them with car wax or its equivalent then dried them again with the airhose.

Finally i Dipped each wax sculpture into a large caked tub filled with a lovely yellow slurry. Thus began the process of creating their first coat of their future outer shell. Each sculptue will be dipped repeatedly and slowly over a period days or weeks, depending on how often i get over there to do it. The great part is they are at least on the way. Now i have to start on another project... this time something filled with empathy and emotion that counters the happy bits i have already made.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wax & Wood Clay Sculptures

The initial project i am working on can be a sculpture no greater than 5 inches. Easier said than done. After working through several initial concepts i finally created a frog out of woodclay to my satisfaction. I then molded a second frog out of wax. It seemed a lot easier to create the wax toad after i had worked with the prototype. Initially i wanted it to be smooth - but i have now texturized the wax frog so it looks quite cool. Better pictures to follow soon.

This week I will be setting up pour cups and attaching them to the frogs. Then they will be immersed in a fine sand like substance to build up an exterior casing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are you anybodys favorite person?

Every once in a while i am caught offguard by an idea or the execution of an idea that has the potential to be something astounding. One example of this is, "Are you anybodys favorite person?" a question posed by mememolly as video commentary on youtube, the week of sept 16th 2007.

This video prompted me to think back to my interactions with others over the years and of the many opportunities i had to let those around me know how and why they were so important. It also prompted a sense of sadness for the fact that i have fewer opportunities now than i did then to interact with others and share those beliefs. Not necessarily because they are less deserving now than they were then of friendship and empathatic encouragements - then because i am now so far out of reach.

I can say with success that 3 years ago, others did know that they were my favorites.
Today i think they might not have any lingering awareness that i care though, when opportnity allows, i still try to step forward and assure tham that their friendships are still valued. Without the day to day interactions, the regularly scheduled opportunities to share in each others day to day lives - the sense of precedence and priority seems to have faded. Time seems to have eroded the confidence that knowledge brings.

I choose to believe that everyone i connected with in TSO knows that they were important to me and that although i have one favorite person, one favorite family - i also have my favorite community.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Adventures in Metal Sculpting

Wednesday will be day three - and thus far i have yet to experience any true sense of dread. Perhaps it is yet to come. Theoretically - a course in metal sculpting should not be that far out of my realm of comfort considering where my past activities have led me. I should feel confident what with welding and aircraft maintenance courses not that many years behind me....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creating new memories

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free! I was daydreaming a little too much today... and decided to create a dream sequence to splice into life.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Fine Silver Jewelry

Here are several of my current jewelry designs in process. Using PMC or Precious Metal Clay, I have begun sculpting several jewelry items. The clay can be sculpted by itself or manipulated using stamps, molds and other shaping tools. Once formed- the pieces are fired and the clay burns off while the silver particles embedded within it become compressed together and form the solid sculptural item.

Molds can be made out of mixing (bellacold in this case) molding compound together and then pressing found items like shells, coins or small toys of interest into the molding compound and allowing it to set. The mold can then be used in one of several ways.

Cork clay was compressed into the mold then allowed to dry before removing it, Then allowed to dry over 24 hrs to completely dry it out before i then painted thinned out silver clay paste onto the surface, letting it dry repeatedly in between coats. The more coats the greater the strength when the cork clay burns out in the kiln. This method leaves me with a hollow shell.

The butterfly at top right has a cork center and consists of 3-5 layers of paste thus far. The butterfly on the top left has been fired, leaving its center hollow and a few small occlusions which i have now filled with clay and intend on firing again next monday. This will help to correct any weaknesses in the piece.

As is the case with the dragonfly and leaf - PMC clay can be rolled out thinly and then pressed into the mold so as to gain as much detail as possible. Letting it set until quite dry before removing,then sanding lightly to remove imperfections in the surface.

The tardis and dragonfly with leaf were made by pressing clay directly into a mold while the butterfly and the second dragonfly, along with the beads of varying shapes were crafted from cork clay forms.

Narrative through use of imagery, 2006

A tendency towards accepting nothing less than perfection neatly guarantees perpetual failure. To me, no item of artwork is ever quite complete.

There just comes a moment when i no longer resume working on it and my interests lean in some other direction than the one they had currently been invested in.

Projects remain unfinished and incomplete, often disposed of haphazardly some time down the road when I no longer feel attached enough to it "to bother."

Usually when i finish working on a project - it no longer exists in my mind. It is this flaw which i hope to erase through use of this blog.

Through documenting the process and conclusion I hope to find closure.
At best, i may finally enter my comfort zone and begin to feel able to accept myself as an artist.

At the very least i will have a record of the artwork which I have invested my time on over the years.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this video is worth that times ten

For Beeker.

A thousand words....

Why am I finally joining the Blogosphere after years of reluctance?

I commonly find myself gathering images, stories and ideas which relate to those around me - it is a natural tendency of mine. I am easily mesmerized in research, seemingly regardless of the topic, as i find satisfaction in pursuing each individual new idea. Whenever a friend or family member, (or stranger in distress) finds themself asking how, who, or why - I enthusiastically jump in to work with them to determine those answers. I get excited by the network of ideas that following up on each concept can evoke. Put simply enough, I like to think. This is a dorky response in many ways, yet for me it is as accurate of a reasoning as I can conceive of at this time. I find that I succeed in finding items of interest to an eclectic audience.

I have created and destroyed numerous websites over the past 13 years, never content with the topic or focus; uncertain of the audience that I seek to reach. Unsatisfied with the limitations that I placed upon myself I would cease and desist, only to begin the cycle some time later, yet again.

I like to think. I live for it in fact. The result of this is that my thoughts remain diversified in their focus and intent. While i failed in my first attempts at maintaining a website, namely due to a lack of focus, I believe that my thought process lends itself readily to the current environment provided by keeping a Blog.

Arrikas Ego Trip, the first website I created, back in the early days of the internet is hereby reincarnated in blog form. My primary goal is an experiment of sorts - to sieze the opportunity to document my thought process and share with the community. To seek out, my thousand words.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007