Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who wants to buy me a drying rack for Christmas?

(If you're still hoping to be at all surprised by what you get for Christmas, I highly suggest putting your hands over your eyes right about now)

About the drying rack- I kid, I'm building one out of cardboard and chewing gum. No one run out and buy me anything like this. Or this.

Being in full giftmas production mode has made the garage a leetle ridiculous. I worked in glorious technicolor all day, and I got great shades on some of the prints. Some less so (see the yellow orange misregistered one), but I'm overall happy with the results.

I particularly like this one And there are fewer imperfections than usual on it!

I'm increasingly strapped for time, leaving tomorrow morning and all, so I'm probably just going to hunt down some bleach and a toothbrush when I get to the East Coast to clean these up. And bring my makeshift tear down bar (metal ruler) and some erasers for backup. And hope I can find a big enough table to work on at home. AND find something huge to weight them down, because I decided to transport everything rolled up in my magical art tube.

I do love seeing all my work spread across the floor, though, especially with all the colors. It's like a morbid rainbow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Skül- now with more paper!

It's snowing like fuckery outside today, but I had the Job of Doom that I've been trying to finish for my client (the one that has thus far suffered from expired chemicals, broken hoses, and lately, overly thick emulsion application), so I put on everything warm I could find and went out to the meat freezer that is my studio in the winter. That screen YET AGAIN failed to work, but I decided not to let it get me down and pull a bunch of prints I'm planning to give to folks when I go home to the East Coast fer Christmas. (I'm making a bunch of other ones, so don't go thinking that y'all know what you're getting early or anything).

My very advanced drying techniques, in the absence of a drying rack, consists of clothespins and a string of prayer flags. I'm finding that, working in my grimy studio without a sink or wash-out booth, that the 15 minutes we spent on cleaning up messy prints in class is increasingly more valuable than all the time we discussed using the humongous expensive exposure unit. And if anyone has any tips for cleaning up imperfections on paper, I'd loooove to hear them.

I started out with the screens I've already had some success with making into prints (das fishy, and Le Pixelation de Psyche), but I wanted to experiment with a third, so I got out my Skül screen and figured I'd print large before tearing the paper down to see how it looked. And because I was getting tired of black on white, I threw in some blue ink.

I fucking love how it came out- the blue adds a hell of a lot to it that I didn't expect, and I wound up with this great graphic rock poster look. I've been using color very tentatively up till now because I associate it with having to be used in layers, but I forgot how dynamic a simple rainbow pull can be.

Freshly pulled glossy wet ink! You can just see the blue tones in this one, I let the black generally overwhelm it to keep it simple.

Next hurdle- figuring out how the hell I'm going to get all these across the country without damaging them anymore.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trio 'o Shirts

I pulled these three shirts while yelling along with Amanda Fucking Palmer in the garage today. It's a Christmas commission for an etsy client, who specified the metallic fade ink and the designs. The photography is a little quick 'n dirty, but she loved the shirts.

I love how the ink faded out because of the placement of the skull. I was going to get brave and test my new 16" squeegee on this, but I chickened out and used my old 6" one instead.

This is the top half of the modified mannequin Michael made (say that 3 times fast) who occasionally models shirts for me. I never caught her name while Michael was around, but I've been called her Simone in my head. Her bottom half is white plaster over gold paint- any suggestions? Michael? Name your creation?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dream of Trees

Screenprinting has been driving me crazy lately. Strike that- the incredibly bleak weather in the Pacific Northwest has been driving me crazy lately. But 3 weeks of it being too cold or wet to work in my garage studio hasn't been helping.

Paid commissions don't care what my levels of mental capacity are from day to day, of course. I've got two big jobs ("big" here is on a level corresponding to my one-person studio operations- three big jobs will pay my rent for a month) that I wanted to get done during my week off. I prepped, burned, and cursed out two screens for washing out COMPLETELY before I realized that all my fucking emulsion was expired.

There's nowhere to buy emulsion where I am, of course. I can drive an hour to Seattle and get shitty Speedball crap-in-a-can, or I can buy a new gallon online and wait two weeks- neither of which is an option for two jobs that need to be done by Friday.

The third option (according to the internet) is to overexpose my screens. I still have unpleasant memories of overexposing my first screens, but the internet apparently thinks that this is a wonderful idea. I have two freshly emulsed screens in my drying rack right now waiting to try this tomorrow, and if it doesn't work we're going to have to get REALLY creative.

Other things I've been waiting for with increasing frustration: American Apparel to stop making me jump through hoops to wholesale their clothes. I want to buy their stuff, I want to buy it cheaply, I want to put my shit on it and sell it. You'd think they'd want this too, but I'm in the middle of filling out my third resellers sales ID tax form for them this week.

Up top is a piece I forced myself to translated onto acetate because I haven't liked anything I've been able to make come out of my pencil in weeks. Below is the version I'm going to try to burn.

Someday I'll draw something that I actually want to see on a shirt. Someday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Warning- Gross-ass photographic proof of my life in the metal studio


Apologies for the radio silence, but I've been working on a big class project that's had me in the studio non-stop without a lot of time for fun side projects. As a result, my fingers are pretty lacerated and burned up on a regular basis- but being me, I'm mostly just morbidly fascinated and not really bothered or inconvenienced by it. I decided to document it a little- feel free to skip along to a less physically gross part of the internet any time now.

I'm used to burns from years of fire performance, but hot metal burns are a new experience. I'm treating the two little ones I've got with plenty of aloe and the usual stuff I rub on my fire burns- I'm interested to see how long they last and if they leave any sort of impression.

My thumb is particularly gross because it's in the direct line of fire from my jewelers saw when I cut jump rings. Also, metal dust has been collecting in my cuts, which then get liver of sulfur in them when I work with patinas. So I get these nice black lines all over the place.

I've always had a weird kind of fascination with my injuries, particularly when I get them from doing something I'm proud of (my black eye from a street show > my scraped knee from a botched head stand). Little injuries are like proof of something I did so hard it hurt- I'm fond of them the way I am of being sore from acrobatics every night. Anyone else ever feel like that?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New rings!

We've got this big assignment in class right now, which means I spend a lot of time getting frustrated and making rings in the studio. Rings are nice, tiny, easy things that let me practice soldering and play with patinas- they are an excellent distraction from trying to fit a godforsaken copper rose in a tiny bottle.

This one was the easiest, and actually is my favorite. Super simple wrap, although shaping it around the mandrel took some time to get perfect and I took some time to sand it smooth.

I like how it constrains my finger- it's like a little sheath.

Simple ring soldered shut, unfortunately too big for my thumb once I hammered it on the mandrel. Good practice though.

Aw, sweet, no? I wanted practice on hammering letters, so I put one of my favorite little stock phrases on it.

"Fuck love. Make art."

Heeee. I showed it to my friend Travis on the bus today, and he turned to me and said "You're very cynical, aren't you Mish?"

And here's the first ring I made out of my "frustration" series. Simple design, tried etching into it with little success (I wrote "serpentine" on it but it was too light for the patina to set in it).


Hee, I like using the macrofocus.

I'm going to keep playing with rings, they're like fun experiments that you can wear (and sell).

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.