Wednesday, November 30, 2011

365 Day 334

Wednesday Morning Studio Time at Joan's

This morning Leann, Joan, and I met at Joan's house at 9 a.m. for some morning studio time -- that gave us one more hour to work. I am usually up and about in my house by 7:00 - 7:30 a.m., I'm just not dressed and ready to go anywhere. This morning I found I was having a wee bit of trouble getting interested in working on anything. I searched and searched for something to pack up and take over to Joan's. I finally settled on working on the ATCs I started last time. I could at least choose the background papers and glue them to the cards, and put a piece of paper on the back of the card...sheesh. I guess I realized today that I don't generally get project-ready until the afternoon or early evening.

Today Joan worked on a family tree quilt that she is making for a Christmas present.

Leann worked "small" today on the floor while Joan used the sewing machine when we first settled in. Leann usually sits on the sewing machine side of the table where I sit.

Today Leann was working on printing Chinese zodiac characters for an exchange she is in on.

One of the portraits on Joan's quilt is of the family's goat.
So cute!

Ha -- Leann flashing some of her mysterious hand signals.
(I said it was a gang sign, but she was actually telling Joan something about the way fibers go...some sewing thing...a foreign language to me.)

Joan laying out the material to cut for the transfers.

Leann putting a decorative edge on the print.

Joan transferring the portrait artwork onto fabric.

The cards I worked on.

I added the papers and glued the cheetah guys down, then added the paper to the back of the cards.

Back at home later in the day.

It cracked me up. This is the first notebook I grabbed. I opened it without looking and the FIRST phrase was about cheetahs. Synchronicity.

I keep several notebooks going filled with phrases I hear from tv, movies, books, magazines, commercials, misquoted conversation snippets, etc.

The cheetah phrase is part of a conversation between Josh Gates and a team member on the television show Destination Truth. The part I am using is: "Yeah they can attack -- they're cheetahs -- they can do anything! They can fly, they can read your mind, they can run 250,000 miles per hour!"

Every so often I go through the notebooks and choose random phrases and print them out with the Dymo label maker.

I am not fond of my handwriting and the label maker makes it so easy to add text to small format collages.

The cards with a few more collage elements added, plus the small pile of phrases I was choosing from.

The five completed Artist Trading Cards for the December exchange. The theme is Big Cats.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

365 Day 333

wow -- I can't believe that worked!

This guy started out as a Happy Hour cookies tin and an Atomic Fireball candy container. You can catch up with the original post here. I am beginning to consider these episodes as collaborations with some unseen artistic entity/force/(fill in the blank) because I certainly don't feel fully in charge of these ideas and would never come up with them on my own. Another example.

So I decided that while I was waiting to be shown what this guy is supposed to be, I would at least put the first layer of plaster cloth on him.

I knew I wanted to leave a part of the Happy Hour exposed.

As I was finishing up, another one of "those" episodes happened.

The horns/antlers piece from the other day is still not totally dry yet, but I had to attach it somehow. It came to me that I needed to move pretty quickly because the plaster cloth I had just applied to the creature was hardening and going to become brittle.

I tried masking tape. Horns/antlers were too heavy and wouldn't stick to the damp plaster cloth. I tried making a sort of sling with a long folded over strip of aluminum foil...the horns/antlers wouldn't balance.

Then it hit me...if I could put a hole in the side of the "head", maybe it would anchor the new appendage.

I drew an outline around the horns/antlers and tried to think of how to pierce the head. My drill would send it flying. The Dremel tool wasn't handy and I couldn't think what accessory to use with it.

I had just found my utility knife again that morning (funny how this stuff happens lately) and I figured if I could make a hole I could work it out...I just needed to make the hole, dammit.

So I actually grabbed a screwdriver first and pressed and twisted until I was through -- hoping against hope I would not crack off the plaster cloth. It worked! Then I used the utility knife and made "pie slices" in the Atomic Fireball plastic. Thank goodness the blade didn't slip. I crammed the first horns/antlers in and because of the tightness of the little slices of plastic and the angle of entry, it stayed in...amazing! I worked quickly and with my left hand I held the horns/antlers in place and with my right hand I worked the plaster cloth into the water, dragged it along the side of the water container to knock off the excess water and then applied and smoothed it to the area to hold the horns/antlers. I couldn't believe it was balancing and staying in...the plaster cloth was drying enough to secure it in place so I could repeat the process on the opposite side.

holding the head with my left hand

On the second one I had to be even more careful because the Atomic Fireball container was moving in and out with every push of the screwdriver and utility knife...and the plaster cloth was more brittle because it was just that little bit drier. I'm telling you -- I know how this sounds -- but it was like it wasn't totally me doing the work. It's not like I was possessed or anything, I knew what I was doing, I could see myself doing it -- but it was so not "me" know? Kinda trance-y but not...and the spur of the moment problem solving...yeah...who IS this???

look -- you can hardly tell where the hole was and where the horns/antlers begin

truly unbelievable to me that this worked

back view

I know the horns/antlers really ought to be on the top of the creature's head and the ears should go where the horns/antlers are...but when I tried to place them there they got too tangled up...this was the only configuration that worked...and I cannot believe it balances on its own.

another view

close up of exposed Happy Hour wording

Well...this guy is sitting quietly for now. I wonder what will come next.

I wonder what he will turn out to look like.

Monday, November 28, 2011

365 Day 332

one last Tooklet...for now

When I was making the Tooklets for the 7th Annual Holiday Art Market at Northville Art House, my sister Sue asked if I could make one for her to give to her friend as a gift. Of course I agreed.

That was before this thing with my hands started. Yesterday I played/worked with plaster cloth on three occasions...not one problem. Today, by the end of this doll, my fingertips are all numb again. I have been feeling quite a bit better so I thought I could do another few dolls.
Obviously, this is the kind of closed-hand action that is a problem for me.

I am pretty happy with this Tooklet. I think it is pretty darn cute.

And how about that camouflage tail -- or couldn't you see it?

I think this Tooklet might be a dancer.

I hope Sue is happy with this guy and I hope her friend likes it, too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

365 Day 331 -- part two

okay, but why???

Yes, more plaster cloth -- the 3rd dive into the wetness today!

I had to do another set of horns/antlers because:
  1. Yes, I am nuts
  2. I was on a roll
  3. I want to have a "spare set"
  4. I am not going to do any more of these any time soon
  5. When I am done with something, I am DONE with it and I needed to make another set before that happened

This set is smaller (as in shorter) than the other one, and because of that it took nearly twice as long to do.

taa-daaaaaaa (again)!

Okay. I'm done.

Now to fumigate for the invisible/nonexistent bugs.

a plaster cloth dog experiment

later that same night...

I started making this creature the night of the day that I was "guided" to start the Atomic Fireball/Happy Hour tin guy.

Besides the 365-creative-progress-report/daily-check-in-to-keep-myself-moving-forward thing, another purpose of this blog is as a place where I can show myself how I did something. Or to try things out and document how I did it so I can either repeat it or remember why it didn't work.

This guy started out as a Tootsie Roll container and a Twizzler container.

I am no longer using these empty Halloween candy containers for storage and they were in the recycle bin for Monday -- but I "needed" to rescue them.

In this position, this guy was looking like some sort of Hello Kitty creature or a robot head or something.

I taped it together...

...but there was the "problem" of the neck/lid on the Tootsie Roll this position this would be the back of the creature's head (which is how I was thinking about it).

Then I wondered if it would fit on a tomato cage because the neck was looking too tall to be something cute.

I turned it around and now that it was no longer going to be cute, I figured this could be the face part of the head and I could build something onto the nose area.

But what to use? How about that empty masking tape roll and the top of an Olay Cleansing Cloths box?

I taped it loosely to see if I liked it. It kinda looked like a dog to me.

So here comes the experimental part.

Instead of building the sides and underneath part of the muzzle/nose I decided to try to just make a "bridge" of masking tape and cover that with plaster cloth. Normally I would use wadded up paper balls and/or aluminum foil but I just wasn't feeling that ambitious.

I put two layers of tape all the way around and I was done for the night.

I noticed these aluminum foil ears sitting in the "save it for later pile" that I originally made for the goat-creature.

It's funny -- the goat-creature started out as a dog-like guy.

I lightly taped the ears onto the dog guy and was amused.

Now this was looking sort of beagle-y to me.

It also reminded me of...

 "Working Dog" tile.

Jump to tonight.

I had a block of time open...already did the daily blog post, did my household chores for the day, nothing on television right now...I decided to give it a try.

I carefully put on a few triangles of plaster cloth to anchor the tape "bridge" pieces together...

...then I put the guy up on the table upside down so I could work carefully on the underneath parts.

To my surprise -- the unsupported tape "bridge" was not collapsing! Huh...I wasn't really expecting that. Cool.

It's not like this area of the face is going to be weight bearing or like the piece will be picked up and carried around a lot by holding it there.

Still, I wanted to put a good three or four layers on in that area.

While the piece was upside down -- and since I was having some degree of success with the experiment so far -- I decided to go another step farther and try to make a totally unsupported area. There are a few places around the bottom of the Twizzler container where it doesn't touch the tomato cage.

This area will absolutely be covered by other things later on, so this is a "safe" place to experiment.

I turned it right side up again and covered the rest of the head and did one more layer on the topside muzzle/nose bridge areas.

The parts that were partially hardened seemed to be pretty sturdy. The plaster cloth went on quite

Underneath the chin and on the throat -- those areas seemed pretty solid, too. Very cool. So far.

So now I will leave this guy to dry for a day or two and then I will check on the hardness of the nose/muzzle bridge.

I sincerely doubt I will ever try this again in such a large area but I am sure it will come in handy in a pinch some time.

365 Day 331

a teensy bit of back story -- and -- a really great blog to go look at

Back on October 9th of this year my friend Andi came over to work on several of my weed beds (this particular one aka known earlier in the year as my lupines-near-the-mailbox area).

While Andi worked I hacked at the weed/bush/vine that has plagued me since I moved to Northville...the thing that I have started to call The Devil's Fingers because it is SO deeply rooted that we cannot remove it and it just keeps growing back no matter what I do to it.

As I was hacking at it and tossing the pieces onto the driveway I noticed that some of them looked kinda horns-y/antlers-y. I saved some of various sizes and put them in a pile on the porch thinking I would try and do something with them...most likely plaster cloth 'em.

These two were hacked and shaped to make a sort of a pair.

That night I had a fair amount of success with the first attempt at working with one of them. However, I really hated doing it because I was certain there were bugs inside of the wood and they would creep out and so I was extremely careful to cover up every possible "air hole" in the plaster.

Basically, I "felt" bugs on me while I worked with it (although I am pretty sure there really weren't any).

It has been in the "do something with it later pile" since then.

Back to present.

I have been thinking it would probably be a good idea to cover the partner piece. It is somewhat annoying to see the "do something with it later pile" mock me every time I walk by it (and I walk by it a LOT because I have to walk by it to get to the bathroom in my studio).

Okay. It has been pretty warm the last couple of days...relatively speaking. Warm enough that when I went out to the porch to retrieve the partner piece I started with the buggy feeling.

(I am still feeling itchy -- dry plaster cloth, dry!)

This is the first piece of plaster cloth in position.

I like how it looks like a patient getting a body cast.

Why yes, I DID lay down a fresh white plastic bag underneath the partner piece so I could watch for did you know?

And yes, I DID roll everything up -- EVERYTHING -- that was on the table and threw it all out...outside!

And I am STILL itching.


kinda pretty -- in a "forever" kinda way

the two partner pieces together

HEY -- I wonder if this guy that I was guided to start on the other night is supposed to be some sort of creature with horns/antlers? Maybe that is why the Atomic Fireballs container was placed in that position?


I was just now looking at my friend Lynn Krawcyzk's blog. Look at her post for today -- how cool and amazing! And this, too -- I love it when stuff like this happens!
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