Moving right along…

I have all of the mosaic work done, except for the rest of the little faces. Once those are done, then I can mount it in a frame, I’m leaning towards oak, as oak is tough, sturdy stuff that grows all over the place, like people.

Oak is a beautiful wood, one that is fine grained, which is what makes it a hardwood, and that makes it tough.

Today I spent working on the little faces. I have all of the male faces done, now I just need to finish the female faces.

I do each one separately, each is about an inch and a half high. I like to do them in clay, because the wax is hard to detail like the clay.

The clay lovingly accepts the strokes from my tools, my fingertips. The clay takes one twist to completely change the entire face; a twisted lip, an eyebrow raised, all of these change the little faces and make them individual.

After each is done in the cast glass, then I’ll glue them to their spot on the tree. Someday I’m going to fire these little clay heads, in my ceramic kiln, to keep them safer.

For now, here’s images of today’s little faces. Clay female faces for the Tree

Some of the little clay female faces for the Tree.

The next step is to wait for these to dry out a bit, then to cover them in latex mold material. After the mold is made, then I’ll fill them with the brown casting wax. Then those go into the glass casting mold material.

Once the plaster hardens, I put these in a convection oven and melt out the wax, leaving the mold for the glass. The glass, in big chunks, goes into the space and at the end of all of this, we get glass heads, like so, see pic below.

Tomorrow I have three of these little ladies left to do, as well as the latex on the clay faces from today.

After that, then the braces across the back. I’ll be putting three across and one long down, to remove a slight bow from the glass. Glass is pretty heavy; it accumulates weight as we go and with the addition of the grout, it gets really heavy.

I’m looking forward to getting it in a frame, so I can get the backlighting done. These look pretty without light, but it’s the light through the glass, making the little flaws as part of the design, that sends these into the realm of art. The backlighting makes it or breaks it.

I’ll post the pics of it lit as soon as I get the piece with lights behind it. I’m a real fan of the LED lights. I like the pure blue quality of the light, the way it illuminates the glass without influencing the glass.

The color of the back lighting affects the color of the glass. A yellow light, the warm light, is useful for some glass, but for the mosaics with a lot of different colors and ranges of warm and cool color, the cool, white light LED’s are best.

They are more of a sun type light, which is really the best light, for color clarity, as long as its not too bright.

I also like the fact that the LED’s are dimmable, they are compact, and they last for years. I also like that they stay cool, so I don’t have to worry about heat. The pieces don’t get hot, so they stay safe, as well.

Safety means a lot to me, because people see these, and they are often compelled to touch them. They often extend their arms, with wide eyes and one finger outstretched to touch the piece. It’s like they just can’t help themselves, the light and the glass call to be touched. I feel that since I know that, it’s my responsibility to make the piece as safe as one can make a piece of art made out of broken glass.

 

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It’s been awhile…but I’ve been busy as HELL!

ImageHere’s what’s been going on:

The lights on the polar needed adjustment, so that took a couple of trips and a total replacement of the internal lighting. I took out the LED ropes and replaced them with LED strips, with all kinds of colors, dimming, and a remote to control it all! The bear looks great, the staff at the hotel told me that they had the bear Seahawk green for the Super bowl.

The staff is happy, and best yet, the buyer is happy. Happy enough, that he asked about us speaking about art in a few months. This is the satisfied feeling of a job well done, and a customer made happy!

I really do believe that the job is NOT done until the collector who commissioned the piece is happy. It was no trouble to me to do what had to be done to make this piece of art perfect for the collector.

Next, we had a funeral to attend. My brother-in-law, a complex relationship, died of cancer last month. He was a vet, Navy, and was cremated. We went to Reno, Nevada, for his flag folding and his celebration of life. One thing, that we hadn’t thought of, came to bite us, metaphorically speaking. Dogs are not allowed, not even in the car, in the VA Cemetery. I am not complaining, just that it meant that I stayed out while my husband went in. The dogs and I found a shady spot and spent the ceremony there.

Reno is the most boring city I have ever been to. My heart was broken when I went to the skybridge deal that connects the casinos, and the mermaids were gone! I was so disappointed, that they were gone. The charm of the old place had been replaced with a digital hell. I wanted to market some art, but to whom? It was not the Reno I was at years ago, and it’s different, and not in a great way.

Next, here’s the latest mosaic, in progress.

It’s the genetic tree of life, with mtEve and Y Adam as a red ribbon, wrapped around mtEve’s tree. The tree springs out of the earth, with the continent of Africa, where humanity evolved, in the forefront.

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The little circles are where little faces are going.

 

Busy, busy again!

I know it’s been awhile, but I’ve been busy!

I’ve applied to the Louisville, Kentucky art fair. If I get in, with my mosaics, I think I can sell them and gather some commissions, too.

I’ve also gotten a new gallery that I’ll be delivering art work to, the weekend after next.
I’ve also got new artwork that I’ve been working on! I’ll post more on that in a second…

I’ve been working on the form for the orca. I was going to use expansion foam, but that stuff is expensive stuff, so I’ve been working on the cardboard form, getting it just right. Then I’ll coat it in plastic and fiberglass it.

Before I do that, I have to finish the dorsal fin and the two pectoral fins. I’ll attach them to the form and then fiberglass over them.

In the mean time, I’ve also been working on some girls. I have two very close to completion, Persephone in Bloom, and Joy.

Persephone is going to have a companion piece, I think. Persephone, after the Fall. It will involve greys, browns and a smidge of red for the pomegranate seeds. I think I’ll also make some felted pomegranate seeds, for the sides.

Pics below of Joy and Persephone in Bloom…

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Persephone in Bloom, after grouting.

 

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Joy, after grouting.

Starting a New Project, a Mosaic Orca

I’m starting a new project, peeps! This one is going to be an Orca. Breaching on a column of waves. With lights, of course!  The orca I’m going to do in white and a dark violet, Black is the actual color, but it doesn’t illuminate the way that I want this to be. 

Here’s pics of the beginning of the form! Truthfully, this is a fairly crucial part of the process, It’s better to have the form as close to what I need as possible, to minimize work and the chances of error, 

I’ll be doing the dorsal fin and the pectoral fins separately from the body, then attaching them before attaching to the wave column. I need to be able to move the orca around in order to find the sweet spot for the center of gravity. I want this to be sturdy and to be able to stand a child getting overly friendly.

Today was the body, tomorrow is the head and the fins. I have to pick up some plastic to line the inside of the form for the expansion foam, then I can line the inside with it. Wrinkles really don’t matter, because I’ll just plane them off.

Here’s some pics of today’s progress!

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Pictures, Pictures and MORE Pictures !!!

One big, old bear butt!

One big ole bear butt!

More pictures! These will make up for the lack of pics in the last post. In fact, it was hard as could be to get these pics up. Holy freakin’ COW! But it sure shouldn’t be as hard as it was. If this Windows 8 computer was testing me, it needs to stop. I failed the test. Miserably. I know it’s been awhile since I posted last, but check it out. I made up for it. 😉 Here’s the images I promised in the last post. Enjoy! we have 24 hours worth of work left to do, then he’s ready for delivery. I wanted to get it done before Christmas, but no luck. He will be ready for a New Year’s party, I think. I have a little more fiberglass to do, for the nose, then at the feet; some glass tile, a bit o’ grout, and this baby is DONE! The base is oak plank, with a steel structure inside, and gets it’s stain tomorrow. Then we hook him up to the base, to make sure all of the bugs are worked out before delivery, and then off to Seattle and his luxurious new home! ImageImage ImageImage                                            ImageImage      

‘Polar Bear Dentist,’ a New Career Path?

The first glass to go on!

The first glass to go on!
Sharp teeth and most of his nose!

Forcing the head into submission

Forcing the head into submission

Close up of the bottom teeth and the tongue, blue glass on the bear's lip.

Close up of the bottom teeth and the tongue, blue glass on the bear’s lip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been working on the bear’s jaw set and tongue. I have to say, they look pretty ferocious!

The mouth of the bear in real life is dark and blue; I’ve used glass to replicate that darkness. In this case, Mr. Bear had to have his palate and the white glass grout painted with Peboa glass paints. One good blast from the heat gun and that stuff is ON THERE! No doubt about it! I have a little work to do to clean the teeth before we attach the base.

Today, I’m covering the teeth in a thin coat of latex rubber. I find that it’s easier to get fiberglass resin drips off. One just peels off the latex and voila! Clean polar bear teeth! They did look pretty realistic; I cut myself, and got blood on the lower fangs. Kinda disturbing, in a way…

OK, I have pics of this bear’s mouth. Check  ’em out!

The attaching of this head has been an adventure, I have to say.

In years to come, if there were ever a dispute as to if this was my work, just swab some of the glass in the mouth; I’m sure there’s some of my DNA in there.

The face/head had to be done in pieces. I had to put shims in spots to make up for the lost mass from the kerf, the cut fiberglass that then makes the pieces 1/8″ away from one another.

This can really screw up a good form. So I got my trusty sticks, some rope and there we go.

Kinda off topic, but not…

The sticks. I bet humanities first tool was a stick, and here we are, with the dust of centuries, millennia, behind us and what is still the favored human tool? The humble stick.

Or in my case, not so humble paint sticks from Home Depot with bad attitudes. I think that when I stick a stick in a place that needs a stick, that stick ought to stay there, right?

It turns out that as far as the sticks are concerned, I can stick it. Just not where I want the sticks to go. So I said screw it, and went with a rope solution.

Polar bear bondage…