Tuesday, June 30, 2009
SCULPTING / CARVING TIP: This one I learned from my scenic sculpting job: The easiest way to get your carved piece down to the approximate size is to cut all 3 profiles. I know this sounds kinda confusing, but let me explain. First you want to cutout or measure or plan out the Profile. This is the side view (the one that I did plan out). Next you need to cutout or measure or plan the Silhouette. I'm using the word silhouette to distinguish it from Profile, but the Silhouette would be the front view. Then you need to cutout or measure or plan the Aria View. This would be the top view. By cutting these 3 views straight through a solid shape, you get your shape plus some funky corners than need to be cut off.
EXAMPLE: Let's say you are going to carve a Head-shape out of a cube.
1. You would draw or plan out the profile of your head. This would include the side view of the face with the nose, chin, brow, and curve of the back of your head.
2. You would draw the Silhouette of you head. This would be the frontal view with the oval shape of the head, maybe ears, and jaw line to neck.
3. You would draw the Arial View of the head. What does the head look like from above looking straight down. This would include the circumference of the head and how far the nose sticks out from your face.
So that said, I didn't plan mine out that well. I only plotted out the Profile view, which meant I had SOOOOO much extra material laft over that I was cutting it down for hours. Next time I will definitely plan better before I cut the foam pieces, it is such a waste of material. I had to cut the "Width" of the fish down several inches. Wasted material is wasted money & time.
Glued foam ready to start to carve down. Compare this picture to the last one today and see how planning in advance can save you lots of time & material.
Starting to cut down. I was using my new scissors, which rock, but I might have a new tool to help speed up this carving phase for next time. I'll have to experiment with it, but could be awesome.
Starting to look kinda like a fish, huh? Still a little boxy shaped. I am always timid to cut so much material off, it's just foam!! I usually start by rounding off corners, then you can see the shape better. Once you don't have lots of sharp edges, you can start to see where material needs to be cut. Starting to define the tail, the nose, the mouth, the jaw. It gets easier & easier the more you cut off.
Almost ready to FELT!!! It's hard to see, but you can kinda see the placement of the eyes, the hollowed out mouth, the definition of the nose. I might fine tune the foam a little today, but overall I'm ready to felt over him.
Next comes the tricky part, I'm planning on wet-felting a white wool base felt over the foam. I'm still not quite sure how I'm going to do it without making a complete mess, but we'll see. I want a solid layer of white wool over the base so then I can continue to needle felt and sculpt over top of it.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Angler Fish: Day 1 & 2
Yep... doing another fish, not cause I am particularly partial to fish, but because they are so weird, especially the fish I'm doing. Look up "Angler Fish" and see what I mean.
This isn't a very good scan of my concept drawing (it looks better in real life, I'll have to fix it) but you can see where I'm going to eventually end up with my sculpture. I like to plan most everything out before I start. I'm planning on adding some electronic parts & LED lights to help illuminate the "fishing rod" part on his head.
I then took a B&W copy of the drawing and drew a scaled grid on top. This helped me plan out what sizes of foam I needed to cut for the solid foam base I am going to use. I wanted to make this guy big, so instead of felting a solid wool inside, I'm using a foam base, then felting over it. I think this process will let me make bigger projects.
Now I plotted all the different layers of foam I need to cut from the upholstery foam I got at Joann's. It's 1 inch foam, so that's why the grid was helpful to see the layers.
I'm very excited about the new scissors I bought. They are the spring-loaded kind that cut through the foam like butter. They will hopefully help with hand fatigue and blister forming.
All the different layers ready to glue together. I also used the drawing to help plot out where I needed to glue the pieces. They aren't all lined up on top of each other. So I measured where the layers fell & marked them so that gluing is easy.
You can see where I traced the next layer on for placement. This also helps with where to put the glue, helps keep mess to a minimum. I then used some "Felt Glue" in the central area of the layer. This way it is enough to tack the foam together, but not enough to get in the way when carving the foam down. Once it's covered in Felted Wool, it won't come apart.
Since the foam was a little warpy, I used an old belt as a Ratchet Strap to help keep contact while the glue dried. I then set it outside and let it dry over night.
So there is the first couple of days of work on the Angler Fish. He doesn't even resemble a Fish yet, but hopefully tomorrow I will have some pictures that will help! Next step is to carve down the foam into the basic shape of the fish... then... felting time!!!
Friday, June 26, 2009
First this week to pass away, was Ed McMahon. So sad, he had such a rough time the past couple years. He was the oldest of the 3, so the least surprising. He reminded me of a Dick Clarke or Ryan Seacrest, had his hand in so many projects. An overall entertainer & Host.
Next was Farra Fawcett. A little bit before my time, but an inspiration to every little girl non-the-less. She was beautiful and courageously fought a long and tiring battle with cancer. She was 62, gone way before her time.
And finally, the MOST SHOCKING!! Michael Jackson. Man this is crazy... I remember one day when I was really little, maybe like 5, my family and I were driving down the highyway the day of the Michael Jackson Concert in Dallas. This was in the mid 80's, at the height of his solo career. Anyways, we saw a limo and started waving out the window... I swear this happened.... Then a white sparkly glove waved ou the window!!!! It might just the dream of a little girl, but ask my mom!!!
The irony of yesterday's tragic death of the King of Pop, was that I happened to have an appointment at the UCLA campus, where they took Michael Jackson for medical care. There were tons of helecopters flying around. Then on the way home, we saw a street off of Sunset that was completely blocked off with Crime Scene Tape & Police Officers & Media Vans. We figured that must have been where he lived. Crazy, I had never been to UCLA before that, but the street with the Crime Scene was just blocks from the campus. As crazy & funky as we thought Michael Jackson was, he will be remembered for his amazing influence on Popular Music.
The Entertainment Industry has had a rough week, and the world is mourning the loss of these amazing people.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
If you don't know what a Kindle is & you love to read, then you are missing out! It's an electronic reading gadgit that allows you to download 1000's of book directly to the device. It has it's own WiFi, so you don't have to connect it to your computer, and all of the books are pretty much under $10. It's about the size of a TV Guide magazine, which is great because when I was flying home, my carry-on bag was so heavy cause I felt the need to take 4 books on the plane with me. I've only downloaded one book so far, Aesop's Fables, but I'm sure it'll be stashed in my bag wherever I go!!!
So after a great vacation, I woke up today ready to get back to business. Unfortunately I also woke up to some customer service problems. I got an email from a customer who said that she never recieved her package. Of course it had to be a package I sent to an overseas Military Base, which was the first time I had to fill out a Customs form. I checked on her Delivery Confirmation & USPS said they had no further information. GRRRR.... I emailed her back, said I would look into it, and refund her purchase & send her a replacement for free. I think I handled it pretty well, it was bound to happen, but based on the number of items I've sold, I figured it wouldn't happen so soon. If anyone has any further advice please let me know.
Well... Back to work... Back to eating healthy... Back to Crafting... Back to trying to exercise... Back to real life...
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Found this interesting bit of historic trivial in one of my many Felting Books. I love Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (I've read it over & over). I think the quirky & whimsical adventures that Alice go on are amazing. I am always so envious of any artist who can create & articulate a new and imaginative world all their own. I just don't think I'm that creative!!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hatter is a fictional character initially encountered at a tea party in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and later again as "Hatta" in the story's sequel, Through the Looking Glass. He is popularly referred to as the "Mad Hatter," but is never called by this name in Carroll's book- although the Cheshire Cat
does warn Alice that he is mad, and the Hatter's eccentric behavior
supports this. (Likewise, the chapter in which he first appears, "A Mad
Tea-Party", is often called "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party")....
The name 'Mad Hatter' was undoubtedly inspired by the phrase "as mad as
a hatter". There is some confusion as to the origins of this phrase. Mercury
was used in the process of curing felt used in some hats. It was
impossible for hatters to avoid inhaling the mercury fumes given off
during the hat making process. Hatters and mill workers often suffered
mercury poisoning as residual mercury vapor caused neurological damage
including confused speech and distorted vision. It was not unusual then
for hatters to appear disturbed or mentally confused, many died early
as a result of mercury poisoning...
Pretty funny huh? They said this is one theory as to the origin of the Mad Hatter. I am truly thankful that I live in an OSHA world. Yea safety regulations!!!
Then maybe I could come up with some truly unique ideas. Granted, I would be probably be delusional and think they were real, but it is the price you pay for TRUE GENIUS!!!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Southern California is a little different. Make no mistake, it gets HOT in the summer! My mom came to visit me a couple of years ago in July & it was the hottest summer ever recorded. It was 126˚ one day. The biggest difference is the hummidity! 126˚ is hot no matter what, but usually you can sit in the shade and it's a slight relief. When it's 110˚ with 90% hummidity, there is no escape!!!
I hope everyone enjoys the last week of Spring! Summer is here to stay!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
All Kool-Aid Dye Colors!!
**Remember - You can mix the colored powder of Kool-Aid to make custom colors!!!
Monday, June 8, 2009
These are the supplies you need to make your own shipping boxes. I use old cardboard boxes, a ruler, a mat knife, and some clear packing tape.
So I measure & cut the 6 sizes of the box to whatever I need. Think back to high school geometry class & you'll get the idea. You'll need 3 sets of 2 same sized sides. i.e. - a cube would be (6) sides that are all the same size. A box that is 3"x4"x5" would need (2)- 3"x4" sides (2)4"x5" sides and (2)3"x5" sides. Then layout the sides as shown to make the box. I tape the insides together with a small piece of tape so that it will stay together easier. *Be sure to turn the cardboard "inside out" this will give you a nice clean new box!
Now is the tricky part. You'll need to tape all the edges of the box on the outside. This will seal the box against moisture & hold it together. It's kinda tricky, but you'll get better with practice! Just fold it up and tape the whole seam! I leave the top open so that I can pack all the goodies in!
Besides the item, I put in some extra goodies. I always hand write a Thank You/Invoice note, put some business cards in, a couple of origami chickens, and hopefully soon I will get some postcards printed & add in a couple of those! I love getting promo materials in the packages that I order, it can help showcase other items you offer.
In goes the item & promo materials. I like to wrap everything in bright tissue paper. This is usually also recycled. I'd like to think people appreciate the effort that goes into using recycled packaging materials. It looks nice when it's all said & done, so I don't worry about using "used" stuff.
Here we go!!! It looks nice. I print out the address labels & hand write the shipping info on. Some people might go with more "professional" printed invoices, address labels, brand new shipping boxes, etc. BUT I try and stay true to the feel of Etsy. When you order an item from me, you are ordering something that is handmade with love. I think making and recycling my own shipping supplies just emphasizes the care I put into all my work!!
**Note - I make very few sales on Etsy as of now. This is how I can afford the time to make custom sized boxes. I'm sure this practice would change DRASTICALLY if I were a power seller, which hopefully someday I will be!! HAHA!!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
na na na na na na...
It's my birthday too, yea.....
Yea! This is my final blog post before I head down to Dallas to visit my family for a couple of weeks! I'm going to put my shop in "Vacation Mode" while I'm gone, but I have written some future blog posts for while I'm gone. That way you won't forget about me while I'm MIA.
I also might post a couple of blog posts via my new iPhone!! I haven't tried it yet, but it is completely possible, so can't wait! I love my new iPhone! I checked my email this morning & email my aunt back! CRAZY! I'm such a geek, I'm all like "how did I ever get alng with out this!" I can also Twitter, & Facebook, & check my shop, it's insane! Anywho, I'm just really excited! I love Lance, he is the best ever! THANX BABY!!
So gotta go get the house all in order, buy cat food, & pack for my trip. Then maybe we will stuff ourselves silly at Soup Plantation! (All you can eat salad & soup place!)
Here are a couple of pictures of me as a kid! I was pretty cute, whatever happened?!?!? Hope everybody has a great couple of weeks! And I'll be back to making & posting & twittering & etc, soon enough!!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Friday - Went to the UCLA - MFA Open Studios. It was interesting. There was quite alot of really bad paintings, some over-my-head conceptual art, & a few very impressive sculptors. That's last part is what I was excited about. Wasn't impressed overall, but all of the sculptors were very talented & working on some very ambitious work. So I think I'm going to make an appointment with the Admissions Office & see where it goes from there. Applications are due in December, so I have some time to work on some mega awesome pieces. This means I'm probably going to work less on small affordable felted items & focus on my larger super-awesome sculptures. I'll keep you posted!!
Saturday - Lance took the day off so we could go to the Hawaiian Festival. It was a blast!! We ate crappy & spent too much money, but it was fun! I got a beautiful flowy embroidered shirt, a couple of coconut shell bracelets, & a new Plumeria Plant. I love plumeria flowers (the kind that small leis are made from). We also got to see some amazing dancers!! Lance is almost smiling in the picture!! HAHA!!
Sunday - Finished some Felted Balls that I've been working on. Made these for a girlfriend who I've know since Kindergarten. I couldn't make it to her baby shower, & she asked me to make her some felted balls for baby, so I made these. I know she probably wanted just some plain felt balls with a couple jingle bells in them, but it's me, I can't make plain felted balls! I had to put some design, color theory, & texture into them. Hopefully she will love them!!!
Today - Well tomorrow is my Birthday, then I'm leaving on vacation to visit my family in Dallas for a couple weeks on Wednesday, so today we are going to go run some errands & get my IPHONE!!! Yea! I'm excited!! Busy, Busy.....