Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fuck yeah studio!


I spent all day today (for a value of today that includes being up till six, sleeping for two hours in the morning, training for three on the trapeze, and collapsing for a little bit after that) cleaning the garage so I could work in my screenprinting studio again. And it is beeeeeutiful. All sexy and organized and full of shelving!

I even coated a screen for one of my jobs to see if my emulsion from a month ago is still good. Here's hoping- I'd love to put some of tomorrow towards printing some real work again.

Here, look at it again! Love it with your eyes! Be full of delicious anticipation for the art that is going to come out of this space! (I have been doing a lot of that part).

Art space!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Naked people Friday!

Not my best depictions of naked people this Friday, but I still dragged my ass out of bed this morning and made it to the studio with a few hours to spend on drawing. The first pose was frustrating as hell, and it didn't really mesh well for the rest of the session but I just focussed in on shading and worked it the best I could.

The little hand drawing says "can't draw today. bad hand!" I thought chastising it might help.

When I get blocked doing figure studies, I generally just zero in on one part, but the hands were coming pretty well so I sketched out some of the figure too. She's holding a mannequin head, so I decided to leave her real head out to balance it.

Last half hour pose, and I didn't trust myself to make it a single good piece, so I split it up into three. The yellow one is the most life-like, but the blue was the most fun.

Better stuff next week, hopefully!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Oh, I heart it so.

I've been making leetle enamel samples for the past week, all with drilled holes for potential jump-ring necklace attachment. One of my classmates has been making these gorgeous luminescent pieces with layers of transparent enamel, which encouraged me to try firing with less enamel.

The PROBLEM with enamel samples is they're so deceptively easy. I get lured away from my projects by the kiln to slap a couple of layers on a scrap of copper in the morning, and the next thing I know the studio's closing and all I have to show for it is these little glass bits and pieces looking up at me all innocently from my desk, next to the work I was supposed to be doing all day.

The back of the above, rocking two layers of transparent turquoise and starting to develop firescale because I really should have used more counter.

I was a little annoyed by my lack of foresight with the other skull (absence of jump ring for awesome jewelry purposes), so I decided to do a cloisonne one using my silver wire. Unfortunately, I put it in the wrong kiln without thinking and melted silver all over the damn piece. I cleaned it up a little yesterday, but it still looks wonky and matte.

Cloisonne-thulhu. The old ones made me do it.

This was the most obnoxious, finicky piece to finish, which is appropriate I suppose. All those little tentacles are hell to wetpack, but I did like leaving it textured a bit instead of all glossy.

This is one I did for my friend Wes, who runs the circus barn where I train. The text is from a tattoo he has that I've always loved.

And the back, with his name on it so I wouldn't be tempted to keep it for myself. I want to make a few more pieces to give away to my friends, particularly the circus folks I train with who I can really easily imagine translating into enamel art, personality wise.

One last one, a tiny ouroboros that I made with Shira in mind. I'm really pleased with how I got the cloisonne to spill over the edge of the metal and still be able to hold enamel.

More sexy glass metal to come! I've got another month in the studio if anyone wants to commission an enameled piece. Text (like the fuck love make art piece) is particularly easy to make happen, cloisonne is much more complicated and labor intensive. Let me make your ideas into artstuffs!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Artificial Tears- Final

Done! Enameled seven times, affixed with broken glass, stuck on a styrofoam head, critiqued and worn by half my classmates, and DONE. I used acrylic paint (thanks to Erin having some to lend me) on the chain to get the color to match, but everything else is enamel. Or broken glass. Or something in-between.

I'm really happy with how it hangs on the face- I made the teardrops out of 10 gauge metal with loads of enamel to get them heavy enough to draw the chain down and keep the cheek pieces anchored.

Side view with the tear drops. I had to sacrifice the articulation on the original hanging tears on the cheek pieces, so I liked the fact that the tear drops by the ears swung.

I'm exhausted from trying to knock out my research paper (on facial jewelry), hence the brevity. With luck I'll have some time to shoot myself wearing the piece and articulate more thoughts on the piece then.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Figure drawing Fridays would be more alliterative, but most of you reading this probably know by now that I'll take any excuse to talk about naaaaaked people. That I get to draw. Naaaaaaked!

I managed to roll my ass out of bed by 10AM today, so I caught two hours of figure studies this morning. The model was good, and inexplicably wearing make-up, which struck me as a bit funny. I grabbed my 24 pack of prisma nupastels before leaving the house meaning I had allll the colors ever to work with; so, of course, I started with grey. (Can you tell I threw that chair in at the last minute? It is physically improbable to the point of collapse, unlike its real life counterpart.)

Shading! Where the hell did THAT come from? Apparently my ability to produce tone developed when I wasn't looking, because this was a 15 minute pose and I managed to squeeze a lot of color gradation into it. She had great proportions to play with, too, which I couldn't resist exaggerating with her face and hand.

This was the hour long pose, which I split into 2 sketches. The top one is dedicated to my friend Jason, who was on the other side of the room doing these great exaggerated comic-style drawings that I snuck a look at during the break. I want to challenge myself to break style more during figure sessions and play around some with other techniques.

This one's my favorite- something about the model said "pink", so I ran with it. 20 minutes, and huge pile of pastel dust when I was done getting those dark tones.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cloisonné Pear and Skull

If I kept going with the "enameling is my new significant other" metaphor, cloisonne would be that hot thing they do with their tongue. Or in less sexy metaphorical terms, cloisonne is the technique of melting thin metal strips into enamel to create boundaries (check it out!) that you can then wetpack with enamel. I'm a little in love with it right now.

These were my first two cloisonne tests from today- I've been dying to try it out, but I've been intimidated by the process. I even have silver cloisonne wire to work with, although I did these with thin strips of 22 gauge copper for testing purposes.

Skull! I had this design banging around my sketchbook from last term, and it seemed simple enough to fashion out of thin metal. Gave myself a nice slice with the metal when I was trying to straighten it out with my thumb, which'll show me to use my meat implements on metalstuffs. I spent the rest of studio time trying to keep glass dust and shards from breaching my usually awesome bodily defenses that keep that shit on the outside. Not even my ninja bandaids were up to the challenge :(

This was a fun abstract piece that I decided looked like a pear once I was done. I love how enamel gives me license to play with colors abstractly- I used citroen yellow and olive cuz they spoke to me from the enamel cabinet. I roughly enameled a jump ring to the top of it after I accidentally closed the drilled hole, which I'm going to have to get more careful about.

The back- straight transparent olive enamel on metal, no flux. I've been getting into utilizing the backs of pieces to experiment with colors I'd want on the front and I've been getting some interesting results.

In conclusion, cloisonne and I are going to need some "alone time" with the kiln over the next week. Awwww yeah.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Anti-VD Heart piece

Slightly belated, I know, but I spent Valentines day being unbelievably romantical, which is so completely out of character for me I never got around to posting my yearly anti-VD art piece. This year I was experimenting with enameling, and was shooting to do a stamped letters under transparent enamel heart. That...obviously did not happen. And hence the recent obsession with making technical samples before slapping enamel on projects.

The good thing that came out of this project was that I learned a hell of a lot about wetpacking and manipulating wet enamel. I redid the lettering about 10 times before I was satisfied, and by then I felt I really had a good handle on the process. It still feels unfinished to me, and I'd like to enamel a thick chain of some sort to the spiky handles when I have some time to kill in the studio.

This is the back- I used clear flux as counter enamel, which is what I really should have done to preserve the original stamped text in the first place. C'est la vie.

Mistakes are learning!

Friday, February 12, 2010



I love figure drawing. Loooove it. But, thanks to Evergreen's wonky budget cuts and my schedule (namely, the only offered figure session is the morning after Designated Drinking With my Circus People night), I haven't been able to do it since....jesus. Last year.

Well, this morning I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, fought the hangover demons (and WON. for the morning, anyways), dredged up some newsprint and my dust-collecting chalk pastels, and went in. I only caught the last hour, but I was rewarded for my efforts by this great model- good proportions, solid poses, didn't spend the entire time with his hand on his dick. Which is a thing I've noticed with almost every male bodied model I've drawn. Don't get me wrong, if my genitals were external, I'd feel a little vulnerable being scrutinized by a room full of people too, but occasionally it'd be nice to see some poses that didn't revolve around "INSTINCTIVE PROTECTION OF REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS".


The only spot open when I showed was the unenviable foreshortened top-of-head-tips-of-toes angle, but eventually I maneuvered around to get him from the side. I only had an hour to play with, so I think I put 20 minutes or so into this one.

Now that I realized how much I miss staring at naked people while clutching pastels I'm going to kick my ass into going to the rest of the sessions this term, hangover or no.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New old posters!

Nnrgh. My studio time has been EATEN for the past two days by a poster contest for the circus group I run. Making large scale poster art is so very anti-metalworking brain for me, it's been a struggle to get anywhere on my Artificial Tears piece. On the plus side, I made a kickin' poster that I'll try to photograph sometime tomorrow, but damn, it ate my life this week.

But! I do have art to blog aboot, although it's already appeared once here. I have a few Skül! posters left over from Christmas that I'm trying to get rid of. They're on my etsy all kinds of marked down because I want them OUT before I do another run of that print. So if anyone saw these when I first put them up and hungered for a delicious ink-skull of their own- have at it.

Here are the four remnants of my pre-holiday printing frenzy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Work-in-Progress Sundays: Artificial Tears

This is the piece I was doing all those blue enamel samples for. It's very much in-progress, but I thought I'd toss up some shots of how it's going. I'm still working out some design aspects of it, which is why I haven't enameled any of it yet. (Planning and thinking before rushing ahead- I'm learning!)

I like the look of it thus far, but I'm debating adding little droplets with jump rings to the bottom of the wavy pieces. I put one on the far right to see how it looked (you can see it more in the picture below). One of the nice things about enamel is that I can cover any holes I drill, so I can do a fair amount of physically designing before I fire the piece.

I'm not thrilled with how it hangs on my face, and I'm considering attaching a chain to the nose chain that would go up and over my head, then attach to the two side chains in the back. I'm tempted to get all chain-design happy like I did with my last mask, but I also want to make sure this piece stands on its own apart from that one. I also need a new MANNEQUIN or other cunning display method, which is why I'm saving this one for next weeks critique as opposed to showing it this week. Time to whack the idea tree again.

Feedback, particularly on the hanging tear drops, gratefully appreciated.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Science by fire- orange enamels

One of the cool things about enameling is how you can manipulate the texture through firing time. Over-fired pieces get an "orange peel" texture (check it out!), which can be good or bad, depending on what you're going for. In this case, I was going for Science, so it's all good. I used orange enamel because I've been dying to see what it looked like, and I harbor a slightly paranoid distrust of the existing enamel samples in the studio.

This was one of my first solder experiments I did last term, so it's fitting that I effectively destroyed it to experiment with enamel now. I cleverly forgot about how the kiln melts solder like marshmallows in a microwave, but I managed to remember as soon as I peeked in and saw the piece collapsing. You don't really learn things until you fuck 'em up anyways.

In the spirit of "it's already fucked, let's fuck with it", I sprinkled on a little flux, and painted some heat resistant liquid on the solder joint, but no dice- it still melted like fondue. But now I know!

It's a good thing I did this one before I went on to destroy this piece, which was next on the enameling chopping block. I'm still eyeing it for potential, but I think it'll escape the kiln this time around.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Enamel samples- bloo

I did a series of blue enamel samples on scrap copper to test out colors for a piece idea I'm currently fooling around with (working title- artificial tears). I'm usually crap about testing things out well in advance to making a piece, so these little pieces of glass with the enamel number and color dutifully recorded in sharpie on the back are kind of a big deal for me.

Turquoise, 326

All of these are transparent, because I'm still experimenting to understand the properties of transparent enamel. My first piece using transparent enamel completely covered up the liver of sulfur etched text, and I am going to find out why. With SCIENCE.

Blue bluebell

I overfired this one deliberately, since it was starting to look clearer the longer I left it in the kiln. And I wound up with firescale in the middle (?!). MORE SCIENCE IS NECESSARY.

Cascade, 2510

This one was also overfired, resulting in the blackened edge. But it's also the prettiest out of all the samples.

Cadmium Blue, 321

This one was fired perfectly, so I had to crack the glass at one point so the others didn't get jealous. Also I wanted to see what happened.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

East of the Sun, West of the Moon Enameled Bird Piece

Enameling metal is my new significant other.

A little bit about this fresh love of my life. Enameling is the FREAKISHLY COOL process of firing glass to metal. You can do seriously awesome things with it (you can also make godawful kitchy crap, but we're going to avoid that.) It appeals to me because you can add deep, rich, textured color to metal, it's a deceptively simple process with huge amounts of potential, and it takes about 1/5 of the time as anything else in the metal studio.

The really nice part of enameling for me is that it's a perfect side project. I can fire up the kiln, do a bunch of test pieces, and not waste too much time away from anything big I happen to be avoiding. And I wind up with all these bright, shiny, colorful pieces of metal on my desk to toy with!

This is the first serious piece I did using enamel. I had a pierced strip of copper that I was trying to make into a collar with a bird suspended over the throat left over from last term. The bird is suspended by a little jump ring, as you can see from the movement. Not firing enamel over the hole for the jump ring was hell and a half, and I wound up covering the bird's hole (snerk), so the jump ring is just bent into the divot that the enamel left.

This is the other side of the piece- it's got a slight curve to it so it stands up independently. This was the only decent shot I got of the white side, because the glass reflects light so glossily. I might try to take a few others to do it justice. Enameling metal requires using both sides of the piece so that it's equally weighted and doesn't crack the glass, which I was deliberately designing for.

The title refers to one of my favorite fairy tales, because of the whole White Bear, black night, transformation bit. God, I love that story. I wanted the piece to evoke a fanciful, storytale, shadowbox without being too blatant about it, and it think it's my favorite thing I've done so far this term.

(You really have to hold it and watch the little bird twist and turn from black to white to appreciate how much I'm in love with it.)