21 April 2010

2 steps forward..... 2 steps back.

I've been working on that wooden knot all week. Today's work centered around un-doing the work of the prevous two days. How's that for awesomesauce?

Curiously, I find I am OK with this, for a couple of very specific reasons. First, knowing how to correct screw ups is a valuable skill. Especially if one can correct them to the point of hiding all evidence of said screw ups. In this case, it's not a perfect cover up, but it's certainly going to be close enough for government work. And I don't go through life pretending screw ups don't happen, I'd rather know how to cope, than not.

Second, I shot myself in the foot by being hasty about what I was doing, and it cost me in time, effort, and result. Which means this time spent putting things back on track is also time I can spend figuring out a suitable course correction. Don't know if I'll actually learn any valuable lessons in patience, but it seems possible, and it seems like I can be happy with the outcome of this project. Historically, getting pissy and abandoning stuff when I screw up is my M.O.

So, no picture today, you can see yesterday's picture for a peek at what it will (once again) look like by the time I stop working on it today.

20 April 2010

Still going, and hopefully going somewhere else, too.

Still working on this. I did most of the shaping and rough sanding over the weekend. Now I need to get busy with the drill, wooden pegs, and wood glue, and get it assembled.

Or, wait, maybe the 2nd sanding comes after the pegs are fitted, but before the wood glue.

Man, I don't know. Can you believe I do my own taxes, and can't even figure out the order of operations for a simple woodworking project?

I did learn that I probably want to spring for a shop vac one of these days. A little one.

In the spirit of collecting moral support, I want to share another project I'm working on. It's not quite as concrete as what's in the picture here. I'm applying for a studio space in a local art-in-residence program. You don't speak German, and this is not posted in English this year, so I'll just tell you the deal... it's rent-free studio space for up to a year, there are 8 studios on the 5th floor of the building in the picture. The 6th floor has live-in studios for 4 artists, as well. I hope to do work I can't really do at home (glass, metal, larger scale...) and interact with other artists, maybe get some shows and contacts and possibly collaborative projects out of it. Assuming I get the studio. The application is due by 31 May, so I'm hustling now to get a suitable portfolio and statement together. Thought I'd missed the deadline for this year. I don't know if they extended it, or if I was just confused, or what. Not going to waste time worrying about that.

I admit, I felt much more hopeful about this before I knew how many people applied last year. I'm sure it's even more this year. I'm just not a competitive person. Probably what I need to keep in mind is that I don't need to be cooler than everyone who applies. I just need to be cooler than enough of them to get a spot.

Also, in the course of digging up the necessary info about this artist in residence thing, I also discovered that this city has some great resources for artists. I am going on Thursday afternoon to find out what exactly I'm allowed to do legally (given my resident and work status here), and what my obligations are in terms of taxes, etc. Good info, and they provide it at no cost. Even if I find out that I can't do anything, at least I won't be out any money for the info, and will not be stuck wondering what the deal is and how to find out for sure.

On the hoop

I don't have an explanation for what this 'is' -- what is it for, where is it going.... I just was seized with the urge to line out a design in needle & thread on cloth, and so I have. It's not *quite* done, maybe one more hour of stabbery. And then.... what? I don't know. Maybe I'll frame it. Or sew it onto something else.

The fabric is something like muslin, but stretchier than I expected. Which is to say, it probably is not muslin. This is what I get for buying scrap fabrics. It's lighter and smoother than the linen I'd been using, and it's not a bad choice, although it is basically see-through. I have been basically doing double-sided stitching (where it looks the same on the top and underneath) because the dark purple thread would make the top look kind of discolored in places.

If you have a use for this, let me know.

2nd storage crate, done.

Here you see the finished crate, as well as the sketch from my sketch book about how I wanted it to look. It's not quite as depth-y as I'd considered, but that's OK. I like the flat, graphic style, too. There are a few things I'd do differently if I were to do this again.

For one thing, the blue paint was not waterproof. Cannot explain it. The white, black, and red were all waterproof, and they all came from the same pack of paint. I was also going for a 'distressed' look for the black upper/background area, but instead got 'splotchy'... ahh well. I think I lost patience when the blue paint turned on me, and I just kinda wanted the project to go away. Ended up having to roll some sealant over this, and it picked up blue paint. Irritating!

But I'm not doing this again. I'm going to do one of the other two crates awaiting decoration. I think the next one is going to be a stenciled repeater pattern. With metallic accents and racing stripe.

Last sketch for today, I promise.

I know. Way more sketches than anyone cares to see. I like to post them here because occasionally I read back through my blog and see how things have change / stayed the same. Sometimes blogging is more like journalling, I guess.

More from the sketchbook

From the sketchbook

In no particular order, some sketches from recent times.

15 April 2010

Progress continues!

MacBook for size reference!

I finished cutting out the individual pieces of this today. As of this moment, the plan is to shape and refine the blocks a bit before affixing them to something else. Probably another piece of wood, if I had to make a random guess. Most likely use the Dremel and other things to do the shaping. Haven't decided yet about finishing. Since it's plywood, there isn't going to be a lot of point in highlighting the wood's natural beauty, so paint might be the order of the day. If I really feel like doing a LOT of sanding, I might go for some glossy lacquer type thing.

And, yeah, before you sharp-eyed folks even ask, it is the same knot as on that painting from a couple of months back. I really like this one.

14 April 2010

New saw, new project, new hopes and dreams.

New saw showed up yesterday, new project started today. I'm having fun, and looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I don't know why, but it really amuses me that the saw has a pictogram of a person reading a book. This must be my saw....

ETA - already had to play a round of Digging Through The Vacuum Bag To Find That Piece I Didn't Mean To Suck Up But Did. I hope I don't have to play THAT game again any time soon. Yech.

08 April 2010

new toy!

I tried a smallish, probably too-complicated design with my shiny new pack of Pentel Fabric Fun wax dye sticks. It's like a pastel that can be used on fabric, and set into the fiber with a hot iron.

Predictably, they are inclined to be a little muddy in application, especially as they are *very* soft, and can't hold a point at all. So... any amount of precision I want has to be attainable with a tip the size of a pencil eraser. On the other hand, it sets REALLY fast, almost unbelievably fast, and does not bleed at all. And blending is pretty easy.

I tried to make transfers a couple of different ways, but it seems to resist that very capably. I suspect it sort of collapses on itself when it gets heated, so instead of transferring, I just ended up with a few little pills of color and a largely-unmarked cloth. Ahh, well. Will be working with shielding when I am ready to try again. Probably need to put the colors first and the black on top, which is the opposite of how I normally work.

Also on the worktop -

Painting the panels for another storage crate. Thinking I might use this one for paper... This has reached that stage where I hate it, and if I look directly into the abyss, I'll just paint over it and start again. However, I'm NOT looking into the abyss, I'm just filling in the lines with the paint as planned. There is still hope for this.

There are a couple of problems, though -- the paint is not holding its pigment. Surpassing strange, given that it's friggin' acrylic paint. So I'm going to have to put a sealer coat over this when it is done, and possibly the one I finished a while back, as well. Ahh, well. So much for quick & easy. Another problem is that there are a couple of 'sides' of the design that for some reason weren't colored in, and I'm not sure why, or what color to use, and I am limited by how much of these colors I have left. Oh well, not the end of the world. This will be happy when it is over.

... and then you threw an octopus at my window.

Been working on a variety of things, none of which are complete. Possibly as a consequence of multi-tasking? But paint has to dry, dammit! Here's one avenue I've been treading... dabbling in a combo of ink and watercolor that has been entertaining me.

Basically, the technique is to draw some lines/forms in non-waterproof ink, and then fill or not-fill the spaces with watercolor paint, which draws in some of the ink. It's a little blurrier than I'd like in some places, but some bits of it work quite well, I think. The top one is smallish, maybe a 5"x7" paper, and the top one is like a page of notebook paper size. I think I'll have more use for this technique in the future, I find it both satisfying to do as well as pleasing to have done. These are good things.