Friday, October 30, 2009

Zanni Collar

Threw this together in the metal studio today for my Hallowe'en costume. I'm going as (or at least invoking the spirit of) the Zanni from the Commedia dell'arte tradition. Every year all I really want is an excuse to wear all my metal jangly costume crap on Hallowe'en- last year I was a Sky Pirate, this year, I'll be a Zanni until I get too tired of explaining my costume to people and start telling them I'm an Acrobatical Moon Kitten from the Post-Apocalyptic Cirktacular World of Tomorrow.

Although I did this quick 'n dirty (I only had three hours in the studio today), it was a good chance to try out a technique for threading ribbon through metal to make an easy collar. I've been thinking in terms of output since I was contacted for a big fancy vendor fair I could make good money at, and this is a design I'll be using more.

I also made some fun discoveries about liver of sulfur, namely, using a lot less of it than I have been. I got a fun bit of rainbow tint going on in this when I dipped it lightly in a very diluted patina. I also fucked up and got some irregular spotting from my overly-fast sanding job because I didn't hammer it flat before I went to town with the flex shaft, but for fast and dirty, I like this piece.

Mandatory self-indulgent model shots!

Time to costume up for the Renegade Circus show tonight! I'm kinda curious if anyone else in the circus community will get the commedia dell'arte reference, but I think I've delved just a titch too obscure this time. Ah well. Everyone gets Acrobatical Moon Kittens, though.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fisheh Shirt

Screenprinting in cold weather SUCKS. Half the fun of screenprinting is getting to splash around lots of water when I clean out my screens. It becomes the exact opposite of fun when I'm working with cold, congealed inks that clog up my screen and take twice as long to wash out using cold water. Luckily, Michael left their coffee maker for heating liver of sulfur in the garage, so I've been heating water that way, but it still bites (and continues to take twice the time).

So the very self-motivated reason I finally got around to slapping that fish on a shirt was because I couldn't find anything to go with my new black pants when I was getting dressed this morning. That new Ryonet ink Chriset gave me is REALLY thick, so I thinned it down with silkscreening medium first and it flowed a lot better. I need to get fuckloads of medium if I'm going to keep using it, though.

Here's the newsprint test run I did last night in a fit of creative frustration (I haven't screenprinted anything in weeks because it's COLD and I'm a WIMP and I work in the studio all the time now anyways). I kind of like the halo of what I assume to be oil seeping into the newsprint, so I think I'll print a series on more absorbent paper and experiment with some color elements to make the fish more interesting. I'm really proud of this design because it's the first thing resembling concrete digital design work I've screenprinted and that is kind of cool.

I'm going to throw this on because it'll be done drying by the time I finish writing and get my ass to the metal studio, where I should have been hours ago instead of reading Amanda Fucking Palmer's blog. My performance and art brains always fight on Thursdays when the studio opens late and I run circus open studio at night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Transient Mode- Home

Just a little tag I sawed out the other day. It was meant to be a ring, but I haven't figured out how to keep the metal from warping when I hammer letters into it. Possibly less aggressive hammering is in order.

The text, as any Antioch kid will recognize, is taken from the iconic "TRANSIENT MODE-HOME" inscribed over the student union. I used ferric nitrate to kind of match the color of the student union- now that I think about it, I could probably get the whole piece blue/green and blacken out the letters with liver of sulfur to evoke the original better.

(I think we all remember this).

A fair number of people who went to Antioch keep these words close to them- mostly in tattoo form, which was almost as common as the circle-square-A when I went there. I still want to complete this as a ring, but for this first one I might just make it into a little necklace.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marquis de Sade collar

One of these days I'll stop using that Marquis de Sade quote as my fall-back inspiration, but for this collar I threw together in class over the past 2 days, I think it's fairly appropriate. One of my classmates made this bad-ASS pierced animal skull choker for our cold joining sample and it made it realize that I all I want in life (or at least in metal shop) is to make huge, constraining, mildly uncomfortable pseudo-BDSM-esque collars.

I had a much easier time with the jump rings and I actually spent most of our class discussion quietly joining them into a chain with pliers- like knitting, but sooo much cooler. I also used a patina for the first time! And it promptly rubbed off all over my neck as soon as I put it on. But it looks hella cool.

I did liver of sulfur on the plates, and ferric nitrate on the jump rings, which was an exciting experiment in making tiny things very hot very quickly

I don't have much artistic thought to attach to this piece- I like collars, I like collars I put on myself, I like making impractical accessories. This was mostly a practice run to get a feel for this shape and size on my neck.

Slightly shaky shot of the back of my neck- the chain holds it on pretty nicely, despite a very simplified clasp. The bright spots up at the top are my nape piercing.

Whee collars! Next step- fixing the patina so it doesn't turn my neck black and blue (not that that's weird, but with acro training I don't need any extra bruising in odd places).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sun Owl Mask

My cold joining technical sample for class- flanges, rivets, and jump rings integrated into a single piece.

I like the overall finished piece- but the technical aspect of it is pretty fucking awful. I made the painfully uninformed error of making my flanges out of brass and trying to attach them to copper- of course the copper bent as soon as I applied pressure, and I wound up just soldering the failed flanges together. Stupid flanges.

The rivets were equally barely saved by the skin of my fingers. Even with large gauge wire I couldn't get the ends flat and most of them bent on the back. Sawing tiny bits of wire was an exercise in frustration, too. And I learned real quickly that once one attempted rivet breaks off, you're going to have to get hella creative about fixing the piece. The only thing that really worked was the jump rings, and I feel like you have to be pretty inept to fuck up jump rings.

But enough kvetching about the process- I brought it home and took a mini-photo-shoot while thinking about my concept and where I can take this idea.

I'm attracted to the tension between the vulnerability I feel under a mask and its intended role as a protective item.

There's also the aspect of the mask taking on the qualities of the being it represents- this one started to look like an owl about half way through, and I started shaping the nose piece to reflect that.

I threaded some satin ribbon I had through it to juxtapose with the sharp edges (and it is sharp, I'm deriving a lot of joy from filing things to a point right now) to play with that protection/vulnerable angle.

I want to keep deliberately incorporating the means of attachment to the face into the design.

I also want to work with seamlessly integrating pieces into the existing shape of my body.

Creating an emotion to wear clearly and broadcast in metal.

And allowing art to speak through my body.

I'm still feeling out where I want to take some of these ideas, but I have a much better idea of what my medium is capable after doing this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sun Eye

My second technical sample for class- soldering a ring to a sheet of metal. You can just see the ring under the larger sawn-off bit of pipe I soldered around it.

The soldering is pretty shitacular (and oh god, when I tried to sand off the excess I nearly dislodged the thin gauge ring so I barely cleaned up the pipe part because I sure as hell didn't want to try to solder THAT mess all over again), but I had fun sawing it out and sanding the points real f'n sharp.

I also had a rough time shining it up because it's all weird angles. I want to do patinas soooo badly, I can't freaking wait to start them next week. I'd also like to figure out some way to attach it to my head a bit more permanently. Drilling a hole and using elastic isn't complicated or weird enough for me- any ideas?

I've had eye and face accouterments rolling around in my art-brain since I started metal working- the impracticality and costuming-like aspects appeals to me along with the artistic implications of disguise, hiding, ect. I started work on a mask today that'll incorporate all my cold joining technical assignments with flanges that attach the eyes to a nose piece, rivets creating movable accents on the top and sides, and jump rings dangling tears from the bottom. Here's hoping I don't nearly kill myself on the drill doing it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fisheh and business update!

I feel inadequate posting without some sort of pictoral image included, and since I don't have shots of my metal creation from today (a sort of copper monocle/spyglass eye piece), you get the fisheh I'm working to make into my next shirt design. I'm doing a lot with animal skeleton imagery right now, one because it's almost Hallowe'en, and two because it SELLS (see previous post, re DELICIOUS MONEY.)

I got a mixed bag in terms of printing jobs today- a client dropped off two shirts for me to do for her this morning, and I fucked up the second one (never put the screen back down after printing! Bad!). Luckily, I have a similar shirt in stock I can offer her, but I'm kicking myself for such a simple mess-up. I'd go out a buy an exact replacement but- with my Friend and Local Non-profit Discount- that'd run me exactly what I charged her for the job.

But in AWESOME news, I went over to Chriset's house today to talk about printing labels for her handmade bags, and she traded me SIX quarts of Ryonet Textile Ink for the job. White! Jet Black! Scarlet Red! Lemon Yellow! Royal Blue! Chriset volunteers at the Oly Free Store, where she scored the ink, and I asked her to keep her eyes out for any screens that wander in. I LOVE the free store.

In other awesome news, I ran into Kimya Dawson at Chriset's house, and we got to talking about how she wants to learn how to use some screenprinting equipment she bought. I gave her my contact info and told her I'd give her any of my excess photo emulsion chemicals- christ, it's the least I can offer her for that straight month I spent with her music in my ears music non-stop.

Final thought- I NEED MORE SCREENS POSTHASTE. Jesus. I either need to make more DIY ones myself, or start scouring Craigslist and Ebay for used cheap ones. TOO MUCH ART FOR MY SIX MEASLY SCREENS TO HANDLE.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I can has free market economy?

I admit it- I've been spending inordinate amounts of time working on screenprinting and typography jobs for clients and equally ridiculous amounts of time inventing new ways to take people's money in exchange for my art. Tweaking designs in Gimp. Prepping screens. Haggling to get the best price for my time and artistic energy. Giving discounts to friends and non-profits GOUGING EVERYONE WHO COMES WITHIN REACH OF MY GREEDY MAELSTROM OF SWEET SWEET EXCHANGE OF MY TIME AND ENERGY FOR THEIR COLD HARD CASH OH YES YES YES GIVE IT TO ME BABY.


So before anyone accuses me of creating art for my own sick capitalist gain, I would like to say- yes. God yes. I hereby brand myself before anyone else gets around to it. Dibs!

But yes, I've been doing all commissioned work lately and I loooove it. Nothing I can make public right now, but I'm starting to get more comfortable with Gimp and Photoshop for cleaning up logos and mocking up designs for folks. Most of the jobs have been for friends or local nonprofits, and those that haven't I've been able to pull out my shameless street performer mojo to make sure people know exactly how much my work is worth.

Here's to the system!

(If you couldn't tell, btw, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek under that radical queer Bash Back! bandanna. Just so ya know.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Massively Impractical Ring of Fire!

I made a highly impractical ring today! If you look closely, you can see my incredibly inexpert silver soldering, but it hasn't fallen apart yet, so I consider that a bonus. I've been playing around with this idea of putting two wings on either side of a ring, but when I finished sawing it looked more like a plume of flame, so I'm running with that idea instead.

The circular part was a class assignment to solder a ring, which took fer-frickin-ever for my first try manipulating large gauge copper wire. Filing it flat took ages, and now I have fresh knowledge of the healing powers of silver solder.

I am terrifically excited for when we start patinas- doing everything in light salmon colored copper is getting old fast. I liked this ring better when it was all dusty and fire rough, pre-shining and cleaning up.