Friday, August 6, 2010

Multiple Tragedies

No big photo update this time, because I really don't feel like it. Two unrelated events have me very frustrated with the whole mess...but I'll keep plugging at it.

First, and more minor of the two, I was building up a latex mold when suddenly, it's container seal broke. $30 worth of latex went from being a mold to being all over my art table and on my paint brushes. Note that that was all of the latex I owned currently....grrr. And it killed paint brushes.

Secondly, last night there was a thunder storm. It killed my computer's ethernet and killed my stereo, at the same time.... though they are both on surge protectors. So, I'm limping by with wireless internet, but my router is on the other side of the house from my computer, so the signal strength is shoddy. I will miss the stereo though.

I'm going to do more work on art stuff today, but I am REALLY fed up. Eh well.

Oh, also, my phones are dead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Working towards Halloween!

Okay, so last post, I gave hints about my Halloween projects, but unfortunately, I still have no pictures. We had lots of company this weekend, and at least one of them was a carrier for the CREEPING DEATH, so I've been sick the last couple of days.

The Ocular Worm prototype has worked out well, but all the subsequent ocular worms have remained sticky.... I'm using the same kind of paint, following the same steps in creation, and using the same liquid latex as before, but they are curing more slowly. Must be the humidity. Eh well.

As I write this, I'm currently covered in plaster of paris. Ech. I hate getting dirty while doing my art, but it must be done. I spent yesterday in a fever, but managed to get some molds made of alginate...which I'm not sure I like. I'm probably going to have to redo the molds in latex. Oh well.

Mold making is outside of my comfort zone, but I feel that the molds are needed. I've come up with a new way ( I HOPE!) of making pickled curiosities, which will be cheaper than candles, and hopefully will mean more sales. More on that as it comes.

Next post, I'll at least show the ocular worm prototype, and maybe some new curiosities, as well!

Until then, here's an instructable I found about making your sweet little baby into a three armed mutant.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

TWO New Dolls!

Two new dolls today! Yay!!! The weather finally broke enough for me to get some photos!

Of course, the wind didn't like my flimsy backdrop, so I had a bit of a fight on my hands, there. Luckily, the dolls were more wind resistant.

First up is the Mummy! He's 14.75 inches tall, has a little bat hanging from his left arm, and glowing scary eyes! I made this guy in a burst of creativity, and he breaks pretty much every convention of my 'normal' dolls. His bandages are actual plaster wrapped bandages (I'm not sure now when I even got these things. I think they were originally for molding body parts for costuming). His belly, hands and face are all two part plumber's epoxy putty. I sculpted right onto the foil and wire armature. His eyes are glow in the dark polymer clay, and his bat is also the plumber's epoxy. He was painted with acrylics, and sealed with a heavy coating of matte finish acrylic sealer. He was a lot of fun, but plaster and epoxy putty are both reaaaallly messy! Also, the epoxy hardens REALLY fast. Working on this guy was a race, in places.

The elephant monk is sort of the result of the "Gas Mask Monk" but not entirely. Monks kind of interest me, but having an unusual monk ends up kind of distressing. At the start of the elephant sculpt, he was intended to be a warrior, complete with armor and weapons, but he changed on me. The scars on his face, arms and legs tell an interesting story, though. He's also an experiment in a lot of ways. His head and limbs are polymer clay, his body is papier mache. The skin on his body and on the joining areas are an experiment in papier mache....mostly glue, water, and paper towels, believe it or not. It added a cool wrinkly texture, so I'm not complaining. His ears are wire and cloth soaked in glue. Oh, as for the details... The elephant on his necklace is a metal trinket I picked up at Hobby Lobby, the wire jewelry is all hand made by me, save for the necklace, which I assembled, but I didn't put together the individual links. He's about 10 inches tall.

Also, I've listed the "Rabbit Magus" painting on Etsy for $250. If you want to get it, now's your chance!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's time for Halloween! (REALLY!)

Okay, so I know that Halloween is still a good ways off, but I decorated the living room for it, anyway. The picture is of my mantel, and it's my Lemax Spookytown Village. There's a couple of really good reasons why I'd do this so early, I'll share.

Firstly, I LOVE Halloween, and as a result, I try to get ready for it for forever. I put up my decorations as early as I can get away with it. I also start working on new Halloween stuff as soon as I can so I'll have new stuff to put out. I particularly love props and decorations...go figure.

Secondly, I sell Halloween styled stuff in my Etsy shop. I don't mean to, but that's where my art naturally goes. I blame my Mom. My first stuffed animal was a big brown fuzzy bat that she sewed for me. I'm sure she has some pictures of me in the crib with a bat, still. Anyway, that makes Halloween a money maker for me, with luck, but I have to get started on it hard-core, really early if I plan on having any sales in October. It's inspiration for me.

As a result, I've just finished a mummy sculpture, an 'ocular worm' (costume prop), I'm working like mad on my goblin art doll...he's the biggest I've made by far, and I'm working on a light up 'magic potion' and peeking monster (goes behind shelves or at a door frame).

The finished stuff will get pictures as soon as the stupid weather here clears long enough to let me take some. I also need some ideas, folks. I don't want to do a bunch of the same creepy stuff that nobody wants to buy! Hehe. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trip to the zoo

Howdy, all. I spent yesterday at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. It was awesome and fun and HOT. Most of the animals were just lounging, like the Mountain Lion and Crocodile above (Yes, I took those photos! Yay!).

I got to see some gorillas up close, which was VERY exciting for me, as I love them, but the glass was too dingy to shoot through. I also got the impression that the male gorilla wasn't wanting his picture taken, anyway. He was laying with his back against the glass, and when people started tapping the glass, and yelling to get his attention, he grabbed a cloth, draped it over his head, and walked away, back to the glass the entire time. One of the girls was much more social. She had her nose against the glass watching us.

I also saw some really cool birds, and found out that I really like poison arrow frogs, now that I've seen them live and in person. I used to not think much of frogs, other than that they were nasty. Now I think they are pretty friggin' cool.

I was disappointed to not see a fox, other than some fuzzy stuff in a pipe that was supposedly an arctic fox. I don't blame it for trying to stay out of the heat, though. I also didn't see any hyenas, but I'm not sure if there were any there or not. By the end of the day, we had only gotten through most of the zoo...the lion area and lemur island got bypassed.

Anyway, that's what I did...and I got some pretty cool photos out of it. Maybe I'll work on some more wildlife related stuff, soon. Of course, I've got a two headed deer I'm working on, and that counts as wildlife, right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nothing new to report yet.

So, I felt like I should post and say that I've got nothing...for now.
I'm working on a sculpture and a doll, but neither are done. I'm also working on an acrylic painting, and when it's done, there will be another 'Two Paintings' post.

Until then, click this link and listen to They Might Be Giants sing about Paleontology.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vinyl Toy Mods

Today I'm showing off some of what most people would not call art. These toys were modified by me! Yay! I've always had a fascination with making could make a good argument for all of my costuming and prop building to be an extension of the desire to make toys. Heck, I've made puppets and dolls...I'd love to make an action figure (I've modified one), but these are just modified.

The My Little Pony dolls (MLPs) were my first foray into modifying vinyl toys. I had no idea that this was actually a popular movement when I first did 'Steam', the black cyborg pony. I knew that I'd seen a couple of customized MLPs, and that it looked pretty cool, so I bought one with the sole intention to ruin it (which is apparently a sin in the Custom MLP world). I had fun, so I bought a second one and made the My Little Punk custom. Both use a lot of plumber epoxy putty for their build-up and changes.

After this growing trend caught on full force, Munnys became available. They are blank and made just to customize. They also cost a lot...or more than I'm willing to pay, anyway. Thankfully, when a trend becomes a trend, there's others out there who will capitalize on it. RoseArt made some Munny knock-offs called Color Blanks. They are available here and there (K-Mart and Craft Stores among others), and are around $5 each....well within my price range.

The 'Bitch' and 'Bone Cow' are both RoseArt Color Blanks that I sculpted on and painted. The added bits are all plumbers putty, and the paints are just acrylic. I even made a little bull whip out of epoxy for the little dominatrix doggie. I suggest that anyone and everyone try messing with this stuff at some point. It's a lot of fun, and not nearly so nerve wracking as doing 'real' art (unless you decide to paint fish nets onto your vinyl toy....that was tense).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Two Paintings part 5

Alright, I've went with two paintings instead of three this time, because I couldn't get three together arranged in any kind of useful way on the blog. Not a huge problem, though. I'll just wait to post a third one.

First up is "The Joker" which is exactly what it claims to be. It's 24"x30" Acrylic on canvas, and is currently framed and hanging above my mantle. It's not for sale and never will be, as I'm very hesitant to do any real copyright infringement. DC Comics is owned by Warner Bros. now, anyway...they are powerful. I did this piece specifically to go in my living room, which is slowly turning into a shrine for DC heroes and villains.

Second up is "Good Book" it's 16"x20" Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas. It was sort of an experiment in shadows, more than anything else. It's also just a standard anthro painting. No real story behind it, other than I wanted to see how such a painting would turn out.

Next up will be my attempts at the whole DIY "Urban Vinyl" Toys. If you aren't familiar with the term, you can either look it up, or wait until tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Donkey Costume Update: Hooves

I finished the hooves for my donkey fursuit yesterday. The shoes were just a pair I picked up on clearance for $13. The hooves are sheets of styrene held onto the shoe with 14 gauge wire, and covered in epoxy putty. Yesterday I painted and sealed the hooves, and so they are now ready for the next step, which involves hiding the shoes the rest of the way!

I also cut out the pattern, yesterday, so I will start sewing the mock-up jumpsuit soon. After all the fitting and alterations are done, I will be able to move on to working with the fake fur.

I also started cutting out the foam padding that will be under the suit. It will give me digigrade legs, with luck, and make me have a cool donkey belly. Maybe a big donkey butt, too. While that sounds silly and boarders on sounding dirty, or at the least very juvenile, it's true. The over all form I'm wanting for this suit is a bit of a cartoony look. Upright donkeys usually have a defined rump that sticks out further from their backs.

I'm also working on the eyes and will have another update soonish. Next will be more paintings...Probably 3 instead of 2 next time, so I can finally be caught up with my acrylics, unless I've miscounted.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Paintings part 4

First up, we've got "Gas Mask Monk" (not very creative, sue me). It's 24"X30" Acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas. It's a bit of a post apocalyptic, with a nice touch of Tibetan Buddhism thrown in for good measure.

The monk's robe is a little brighter than a traditional Tibetan Buddhist robe, which is a break from normal post apocalyptic works...but I didn't want to do another brown painting. I'm not sure where buddhists stand tattoos, but this guy's got one.

The second piece is an untitled soldier. It is 12"x24" Acrylic on Gallery Wrapped Canvas. The odd size really dictated layout to me. Not much to say about this one, it was more playing than planning.

Next up will be the donkey costume update.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Two Paintings part 3

Two more paintings today!

The first, "Crescent and Fae" is loosely based on a digital painting I did some time ago called "The Crescent Experiment." The wizardly creature is a bit different in this one, but close enough that he could be related to the other one.

It's 36"X24" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas. It was a paint in the butt in a lot of ways...the robe in particular did not want to ever satisfy me with it's shading. The little fire fairy was just for fun and to give the crescent wizard something to talk to. Having a primary color palate was interesting to work with. Lots of red, blue and yellow with no purple or green or orange (maybe a little orange) was kind of odd. Anyway, it's huge and I'm happy with it.

The Green Dragon basking was one of my first paintings in this entire series, being done in mid May. It's 24"X30" acrylic on canvas. Lots of browns, yellows and greens. He's an entirely different dragon style than the red dragon, and it makes him look way more peaceful than the red, which looks to be half starved and a little insane. The green dragon was based a lot on dinosaurs and actual lizards in terms of it's head shape and body shape, where as the red dragon has the mammalian predator body shape.

As a side note, I made the frames for both the Green Dragon Basking, and for the Cyclops Sunset out of hardware store stuff. Maybe a post about that, later.

I'm taking a break for the holiday, and will be back Tuesday with more stuff...either the donkey costume progress report or two more paintings.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Famous Sideshow Goat!

The last time I was at Hobby Lobby, I saw, tucked into the corner of the clearance section, a pair of Safari Ltd. Mountain Goats. I picked up both little plastic goats for around $3.25 and took them home.

At the house,I gave both the goats a bath (really! soap cuts some of the oils on the surface of plastics...important if you are going to paint them), then I cut off one goat's head with my Dremel. Then I cut and sanded on the neck stump on the head until it looked okay along side the other head.

I pinned the head to the fully intact goat, used a bunch of gorilla glue and some masking tape to hold it all together and let it sit overnight.

The next day I untaped the goat monster, and sculpted the gaps and seams with milliput, a two part epoxy that's absolutely great for such projects. Using wet toothpicks for most of the sculpting, I managed to match fairly closely to the original fur pattern. I also built up the goat's pelvis a little to make it have more of a sway back. Supporting two heads is hard on a body! I also added a horn to one of the heads.

After the sculpted parts had cured (about 4 hours), I pulled out my acrylic paints, and did up a quick paint job on him. Then I sealed the whole thing with some acrylic sealer, and now he sits on top of the piano.

This goat was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and turned out fairly well too, I think. In fact, it was so fun that I bought some more Safari Ltd. animals yesterday....

I'm not sure if it counts as art, but it counts as a sideshow type thing. I've got more paintings to post, and some updates on the donkey costume (with photos!) coming up!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Two Paintings part 2

Two more of the many paintings I have to share.

'Beast of Legend' was a bit of an experiment for me, and I'm not quite sure if I'm satisfied with the results. It's acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 16x20.

I used a lot of extender in the sky, but I don't have a lot of experience with extenders, so I'm a bit iffy of it. I think the sky turned out okay, though. The trees were a lot of fun, slapping a fan brush around always makes me happy!

The Rabbit Magus is also acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, and is also 16X20. The little magic runes flying about on this piece don't actually mean if you see a symbol that DOES mean something in there, that's my bad...unless you like it....then I put it in there for YOU.

I'm sure there's a story behind the Rabbit Magus, but I honestly couldn't tell you what drove me to paint him. I was just taken by the idea of a hooded rabbit with magical stuff floating around him.

Tomorrow I'll break from shoving paintings down your throat...but we can get back to that next time. Check back tomorrow for the Sideshow Goat!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two Paintings part 1

Here's two of the paintings I've done in the last little bit, chosen based on the order in which I worked on their photos, not the order in which they were painted. I have several paintings to talk about/show, so I'm going to do two at a time for a bit.

The first one, cleverly titled "Red Dragon," is 28"X22" on gallery wrapped canvas. It's an acrylic, and took several days to finish. I don't really remember how long, exactly, but I can tell you that I do remember the pain I would be in after a painting session. I was painting for such long stretches of time that my arms, neck and back would be locked up from holding the same position for so long. If any of you know my work and actually pay attention to sizes, you'll notice that this one is WAY bigger than I normally least in the past. Lately that size has become about average for me, not the exception.

The scales were my least favorite part to do, but I think they were ultra important to getting the dragon to look 'dragony' enough. The wizard in goggles standing in front of the dragon was lifted from an old sketch in one of my sketch books. After getting the dragon roughed out onto the canvas, I roughed out the wizard on the rocks. I used the sketch for reference while I was painting, so I could keep up with the details.

The second painting is "Cyclops Sunset" and is 20"X24". This one was done in the course of one long afternoon, thanks to the pseudo silhouette style. Also an acrylic on canvas, this one was a LOT easier than the dragon. I had a lot of fun with the trees, and of course, playing with the sky behind the cyclops. As for inspiration as to why I painted it...I dunno. I wanted to do the glowing eye on the black background more than anything.

Comments and questions are absolutely welcome! Leave 'em here if ya want! Next post will be more paintings, then Friday, I will reveal the sideshow goat!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Donkey Mask and Etc.

As mentioned yesterday, I'm working on a donkey mask, and here it is, in progress. Bruce, my mannequin, is kindly modeling them in these shots. Bruce was also the form on which I molded the mask, too.
The face was sculpted out of Crayola Model Magic which is a nice light weight, air drying, modeling compound. The ears and the sides, back, and top of the head are made of plastic canvas. Currently, the mask is covered in duct tape, so that when I start adding fur, it's got something to stick to.

As this is a long process, there will be more updates about how the mask goes! The mask won't be the end of this, though. I plan on making an entire donkey costume!!!! I've bought a jumpsuit pattern that will serve as the basis for the body, and I've bought a pair of sneakers that are going to be the inner structures for my hooves. It's an ultra-ambitious project, but I think it'll look cool when I'm done! I've started cutting out the eyes, so expect an update when I get them cut and fitted in.

I've been asked a few times already as to how I'm planning on doing this, why, and 'how I learn this stuff'. All of those questions (except for why...I don't know why, myself, really), can be answered in "Critter Costuming," the best resource for these types of costumes

Astute readers will notice that I've not mentioned dolls or creepy sideshow stuff at all lately. Worry not! I'm working on a creepy sideshow goat, and thanks to Daryle of Woodstown Whimsies, I'm inspired to work more on dolls! Daryle did an awesome steampunk doll that has sparked a desire in me to go back in that direction.

Next post should be about my paintings, but I have a TON of photos that I need to work with between now and then, if you are going to get to see them.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Long delays, lots of progress

Right from the gate, I'm just going to say 'Sorry'. I goofed off, got distracted by a billion different projects, and dropped the ball on the blog (and every other web outlet I use). I was working on arts though!

Firstly, because I've talked about it so much, here's the steampunk gas mask, as promised. I don't think it's quite done yet, but it's getting there. It's lots of fake leather, two Darth Vader plastic helmets (just the helmet, not the mask), some glass, some brass, and a brass plated sink drain thingie.

I've been painting a lot lately, and will be photographing the paintings soon. They will probably be broken into a few posts, because there's soooo many of them! I've also started work on a donkey mask!!!! You'll get to see it, too!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CIA and Illuminati use Flouride to Control Minds!

Okay, the title is a bit of silliness, granted. The point of it is to let you all know I just finished reading "The Skeptic's Guide to Conspiracies" and I very much enjoyed it.

While I've linked to the Amazon page so you could see it, I actually picked it up at Ollie's, and payed somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.50 for it. Well worth the money. It's very cool if you are interested in learning about all the weird theories out there, but don't really feel like reading reams and reams of mad ranting.

It's a little off the beaten path of my 'normal' stuff, but really, if you work at it, you can see how it would fit with the other stuff.

Now, a word as to why I've been quiet lately. I've been busy. I sewed a vest (Not a big deal if you know how to read a pattern and sew...but a very big deal if you don't) for my steam punk costume. It's cool, just not cool enough to get it's picture taken, yet. I've been working frantically on a bird doll for Cloth and Clay Dolls little contest/assignment...what ever it's called. The bird is almost done, but he is having a little trouble standing on his own, so I've got to tweak him a bit before he's finished. Also been doing all the spring cleaning crap that one does in the spring. Oh, and playing Super Mario Bros. on the Wii (I can't work all the time!)

More stuff soon, I swear it. Until then, read a book!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Page 49, Baby!

Okay, I've been in kind of an art slump the last few days. It sucks. I'm usually more prolific than I have been, but it happens. Today, that is changing!

I went to get the mail at a bit after noon (I needed my e-cigs order), and the Regretsy Book was laying on my porch! Yay!!!!

I, of course, ripped it right open, on the porch, to see what ungodly things were said about my "Angel of Death" Art Doll. I was very happy to see that I got a whole page (Not a big deal, each item got it's own page), and that the 'snarky' comment under my doll was not so bad, either. Any way, it was very exciting.

So, once again, I'm inspired to create. I've got a lot on my plate that needs finishing, but I've now got more ideas, and the energy to complete them! We'll see how that goes.

Also, if you buy the book, and decide that my Angel of Death is just an overpriced piece of crap, I'll have you know that it sold before I found out that it was chosen for the book! Yay!!!

That is all, for now. Except that you should get the book. It's not expensive, and it's awesome.
Also, I know the picture is crap. It's supposed to be. If you wanna read it, buy the book. I also feel that I should inform you that I took the picture in the bathroom. Ha!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gas Mask Delay

I've been focusing a lot of attention on my steampunk gas mask, but I've realized now why only like one guy actually makes these things. I've ran into some problems.

Firstly, my lenses keep popping out. I'm not sure what to do about this one, but it's a minor fix, I'm sure. It is slowing me down, though.

The things my lenses are kept in keep breaking off the mask, too. This one is harder. I'm reworking the design to compensate for this, but it's being a pain.

The leather doesn't want to stay attached either. God help me, it's falling apart all over the place.

I really am working on this, though! I swear it!

On the other projects:

The sheep's body, head, and legs are finished. I need to make ears, hair, and arms. It's coming along.

Jewelry is harder than I thought. I've got some of it finished, but it's nothing I want to show!

The bird doll's head is finished, but I'm thinking of starting over. It doesn't have the feel I want. I'll save the head, of course, and use it for something else, later.

The Chan and Eng pic is done, but I've not matted it yet. I don't like matting, so I'm just stalling.

I started a vest today. It's my first attempt to sew using a pattern, which is weird. I cut out the lining, and now I just need to cut out the interfacing, the exterior and sew it all together. We'll see how that goes! It'll look good with the gas mask, I think.

I've also started a new steampunk pistol. This one's going to be double barreled! It'll probably go up for sale too.

That's it for now. More stuff later!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nervous as Hell

Today, the Regretsy book comes out, and I'm nervous.

If you know Regretsy, then you know that it can get a little ...ugly there. So, it's not exactly the first place an artist wants to see their work. In fact, often, it's the last place an artist wants their work. Usually, showing up on Regretsy means you did something that's so bad nobody would ever dream of buying it.

I'm nervous because I've got an item featured in that book.

It's not so bad as ruining my career or anything...but I have no idea what was said about my poor "Angel of Death" Art Doll. To be completely mercenary about it, it doesn't matter, either. The Angel of Death is sold and gone!

Anyway, I'm not going to get much work done until I see this book. Random House is supposed to be sending me a copy, but it's not here, yet. I'll update when it arrives!

Side Note: Working in secret on a new "jar baby" type thing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rat is Ready!

Last post I promised many things. The Clockwork Rat was amongst them, so here he is!

As a small reward for actually bothering to read my blog, I'm letting you see the rat before he is uploaded anywhere else. Take that, Etsy and DeviantArt! Also, as I get to be more long-winded here, I will explain him in greater detail than I would have the opportunity to, elsewhere. Also, for those more impatient than I, news about new projects is at the bottom of this post.

The rat is about six and a half inches tall, and is the first sculpture I've attempted that uses so many different techniques and materials. He has some paper mache, some polymer clay, some brass piping, some watch parts, an antique key, some screws, some glass, and some two-part epoxy. Hopefully, I blended the different parts in such a way as to not be 100% clear as to where one material ends and another begins.

The rat's head is mostly polymer clay, as are his paws, the front of his feet and his heels, and most of his upper arms, upper legs, and chest. His legs and arms are connected to the body with glue and a two part sculpting epoxy, "milliput". There are brass pipes in his arms and legs, and one acting as his neck.

The glass gauge in his chest is a glass pebble that is flat on one side. I painted the gauge directly onto the back of the pebble, then wrapped it in polymer clay. The winding mechanism in his back is an antique key that I sunk into the clay and glued into place. No, it doesn't turn, and he doesn't actually work (though, that'd be really cool, and I'd be a toy-maker, not a sculptor if I were able to do that!) The sphere that makes up the rat's belly and hips is paper mache, and has some milliput and brass added here and there for effect. The tail was made of a brass pipe and some brass wire.

The rat's surface was covered in wax based brass (rub-n-buff), some 'antique copper' mica powder, some silver and gold acrylic paint, and given a wash in green, black, and brown acrylic paints. He was then sealed with acrylic sealer.

The rat is definitely not as elegant and classy as some steampunk stuff, but I've found that I like the grungy side of steampunk quite a bit.

Now for some real news: I'm trying to move my jewelry making skills to the next level, so I've taken to doing some wrapped wire things. I've also ordered a ring mandrel, so I will be able to add rings (made of actual metal!) to my jewelry. Also, the cloth and clay dolls group that I belong to started their next challenge, which is Birds, so I am now working on a bird art-doll as well! The ducky and the ostrich will be less lonely now!

Monday, March 22, 2010

How I made my Steampunk Pistol!

Tada! I promised this, last week, and now I deliver! It's my steampunk pistol! Yay!!!

Okay, let me just say first and foremost, it's not the coolest steampunk pistol ever. I know that. It is the coolest steampunk pistol I've ever made, though. I really wish now that I had taken pictures of the process along the way. I'd love to show you exactly how this started out.

I'm going to describe how I made it, and I think that may just help enough for if you are wanting to make your own.

1) the 'handle': That's right, I don't know the proper name for that part of a gun! Hehe. Anyway, I can tell you what it is. It's Cardboard! Four layers of cardboard, I think. I took cardboard and cut out the handle several times, then glued them all together with wood glue. I cut them both with the 'grain' of the cardboard, and against the 'grain' so that they'd be stronger together.

2) the barrel: It's a piece of pvc pipe. The little end cap on the back of the barrel is just a little cap I found that would fit on the end. I think it was from a bottle or something, but I'm not sure what.

3) That red thingie on the front of the gun: That's the only piece that may have some 'specialty' parts to it. It's a short piece of PVC pipe with a couple of domes glued to either end. The domes are something to do with model railroading, but I got them so long ago that I'm not sure what they are actually for. Anyway, they covered the ends of the pipe so perfectly that I glued them in place with Gorilla Glue....which is great stuff.

4) the trigger: I found a brass plated ring in my studio amidst all the clutter and junk *way too much clutter and junk. I took this little ring, clamped it, and cut it in half with my Dremel's cut-off wheel. Then I took one of the grinders for the Dremel and rounded the end of the 'trigger'. It's stuck in the cardboard of the gun with Gorilla Glue!

5) All the extra stuff: The body of the gun is cardboard, no lie...but there's a few widgits here and there to look 'cool'. The front of the body has a plastic piece screwed on that's from the end of set of blinds. The key sticking out of the side of the gun is just an old key that I glued in place. the sight on the gun is the foot from something like an 'easy stitch' hand sewing machine (which is the best use for that piece of junk ever). And there are undoubtedly a few bits of plastic here or there on gun.

Most of the 'extra stuff' is plumber's epoxy. It's a two part compound that you mix up and then smash into shape. It dries hard as a rock. I did that to hide all the cardboard texture and add some strength. I used both the kind that Billy Mays sold, and Milliput. I'm sure there's a billion more brands out there and they probably all work about the same. I will say that the Mighty Putty hardened a LOT faster than the Milliput, though. If you want to be all artistic and sculpt with the stuff, I suggest the Milliput. If you are just filling in holes, the Mighty Putty is cheaper and faster.

The red thing on the front was painted with glossy acrylic paints. The 'brass' parts of the gun were spray painted black then coated in brass 'rub 'n' buff' stuff. and the green patina in places on that is just green acrylic paint.

Hope that you found this entertaining or helpful or interesting or all three. If you made your own steampunk pistol, I'd love to see it, so send me a picture!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coming Soon!

Yesterday was a waste for me, at least creatively. I got some cleaning done, and I watched a few tutorials, but I didn't really advance on anything I was working on, except the infamous steampunk gas mask. I am getting close to finished on several of the projects, so here's a quick update of what you all will be seeing soon.

1) Steampunk Gas Mask: Yes, I've been promising this one for a while. It's just going slow. The lenses for the 'goggles' portion of the mask are going in today. The 'goggles' got glued in yesterday, and are nice and snug now. I also finished cutting down the 'helmet' part yesterday, so it's ready for some smoothing and a little decoration.

2) Clockwork Rat: This has been my secret project, but I'm gluing his last leg into place today! He's been tough, because his legs have to be fixed to him one-a-day. Same thing for his head, and some of the odds and ends on him. He has a little sculpting work left on him, and some painting and finishing, then he'll be good to go! He's exciting for me, because he has some actual brass sheeting here and there on him for added realism. I've had nothing but problems with brass sheeting until this project, so yay!

3) Clockwork Revolver: The steampunk pistol that was meant as the precursor to my gas mask is almost done. It just has to get it's final finish, and I need to attach the grips on the sides of the handle. It's not the most impressive pistol, but when I show it, I'll give a part by part breakdown. I'm happy with it, thus far!

4) Steampunk Jewelry: The astute of you may have already seen a couple of these pieces (hint: they're on that etsy 'visit my shop' thingie). More were made, so more are on the way.

5) Chang and Eng Drawing: I think I already mentioned this drawing. It's of the 'Original Siamese Twins'. I need to get it matted, then it will be up for sale.

6) Sheep Art Doll: Started this one late last night. We'll see how it goes!

As you can all see, there'll be um... more to see later. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Weather makes mans head explode

Every time it becomes a little overcast here, or God forbid, it begins to rain, I get a headache. Not a little uncomfortable pain, either. I get this excruciating, devistateing, soulless damnable pain that can completely incompasitate me. When this happens, and it happens a lot, I am not content to suffer in silence. It makes me evil. It's happening as I write this, by the way, and is my inspiration for sharing.

I looked up my problems with the weather changing causing me to suffer, and guess what? I'm not alone. Apparently I'm a 'human barometer'. Yay me. 'Weather changes cause changes in air pressure which can cause sinus pain' crap. I knew that. I was looking for treatments though.

...And, we found the treatments! Wait a minute, they are the same as they are for any sinus headache, which means I've tried them all and they've all failed. That sucks. Looks like I'm going to be resorting to surgery soon.

As for the suffering in silence, I think part of that is human nature...but a bigger part of it is my own low tolerance for 'stupid'. Stupid pisses me off. Stupid makes me angry. Stupid makes me want to choke something. Add pain to this mix, and stupid goes from an annoyance that I can barely tolerate to an annoyance that I want to beat with a shovel. Being perfectly alone, you might think that right now there's nothing stupid to bother me, but you'd be wrong. You see, I have Television and the Internet, and both seem to be overflowing with stupid.

Okay, I'm going to wrap this up. The long and the short of what I'm saying is that if a storm rolling in causes you a terrible headache, I feel your pain. There is treatment out there, but it mostly looks like the same crap we've all had before. Oh, and if you are stupid and there's bad weather afoot, stay clear of me...for both our sakes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to make your Old art New

This is actually sort of a few tricks more than a 'how to', but it is all stuff that works well for me.

I keep every sketch book I fill up. Every one. Some of them date back years and years (and are quite embarrassing to actually look at). When I'm feeling out of inspiration, instead of turning to ripping off other artists (face it, when an artist 'inspires' us, we're kind of ripping them off), or turning on the TV and turning off my creativity, I revisit those old sketch books.

Revisiting the old sketch books and projects helps from another level other than being a source of inspiration. Something I did ten years ago may still be valid as an idea, even if, as an artist, I'd NEVER let anyone see the original piece, now. All that remains is to rework the original. Take that old bad drawing and redo it with all your newly refined skills. It's also nice to look back once in a while and see that you've actually improved. Nobody else is going to point it out to you, so you may as well do it yourself.

In looking back at some of my OLD work, I've noticed that I have always loved Steampunk, even when I didn't know what it was. I also had some interesting directions that I wanted to take it in, apparently. This has been a huge help to me with some of my newer works...particularly some jewelry that I've been working on, lately...which brings us to the second part.

I drift as an artist, from medium to medium. I'm not content to sit forever with just a pencil, so I moved to ink. Ink was fine, but soon I was doing watercolors, then acrylics, then sculpting with polymer clay, then sculpting with paper mache, then back to polymer clay, but adding paper mache, then adding wire and brass bits and 'found objects'. It's an ongoing process. When you are revisiting your old work and you find a theme or idea that you like, feel free to try it in a new medium. A painting that you did fifteen years ago may just suck. A sculpture based on the painting may be very cool, though. I've done this a few times with my work, and it's always been fun, if not completely successful in becoming a WORK OF ART (in all caps, like that....that's what we're striving for. The one piece that will catapult us from obscurity to wealth and riches and fame).

I've been sticking to talking about traditional art methods, but if that's not your thing, don't feel limited. I used to do quite a bit of design work, and you'd be amazed at how easy it is to sneak in some of you old art into a new design piece. Old pencil drawings made great backgrounds for new clean and crisp designs, or photos of sculptures can be relentlessly plundered for's all up to you, and you get the wonderful feeling of accomplishing something that is completely your own style, once you are done. Any outside influences were years ago, and safely lost in time.

Even if you look at your old stuff and don't really feel like reworking any of it, at least you will be able to see your own improvements, and it will definitely get your creativity moving again. You may see this old 'junk' and suddenly be full of new ideas completely unrelated to what your eyes are on. Trust me on this.

Thank you for taking the time to read my mini artists rant, I hope that it helps at least one or two people out there, and I promise to get back to scary stuff soon!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Advanced Apology Regarding The Morrow

If you own a TV or play video games, you probably know that tomorrow is the U.S. release of Final Fantasy XIII. I'm on the preorder list for this bad boy, so tomorrow, I'm not going to be around much on the internets. I've got some Chocobos to catch and Summons to perform and uh, bad guys to shoot or magic or stab or something.

If one of the most highly anticipated video games ever isn't enough, I also have a concert to attend tomorrow night! Yay!

They Might Be Giants are playing at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC tomorrow, and I gots some tickets! That alone is exciting for me, but it gets better. Jonathan Coulton is opening for them! Woot! If you don't know the music of which I speak, I do suggest giving their sites a visit. It'll open your eyes to the world in which I live. Mwhahahaha! Okay, not so bad, but ya know.

It's all very exciting, as you can tell, but it means I'm gonna be busy, and not with cool art stuff. To make it up to you, I shall tell you what I've been working on lately. For the last few days, I've been making some polymer clay jewelry. It's all either kind of magical looking or kind of steampunk looking. I'm not 100% happy with the results yet, but I'll post pictures as soon as I am!

Until next time, be good...or whatever you usually do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

bARTer Sauce!!!

I just became the 'featured trade' on bARTerSauce!!! It was very fun, and I got a cool cyborg donkey and an 'unwearable' necklace out of the deal!

It's a pretty sweet site, all in all, even if not all of it is work safe. If you have interesting art to trade, I say go for it! Very cool place.

Oh, and that bearded monster in the picture ...that's me. See why I wear a gas mask?

Whe you go to bARTer Sauce, check out the fact that a short story is sent with each thing, and random interview's all really interesting, and besides, you get to see cool stuff.

I'm not telling you what I traded to get my stuff...if you want to know you have to go there and check it out, yourself!

Why does the business side of business suck?

I'm an artist because I enjoy creating. I'm trying to sell my work because just creating doesn't pay the bills. Selling sucks.

It's a big dilemma for me. I enjoy making art, but I don't enjoy photographing it. I don't enjoy listing the pieces for sale. I don't enjoy Tweeting, or Facebooking about my work (Oddly, I do enjoy blogging about it, though...strange huh?). As for presentation, I'm more than willing to make a work of art, but if it's flat, and I need to mat it first, I tend to stall, and stall, and stall, a lot. I've worked in a couple of different places in advertising, but when it comes to advertising my own stuff, I kind of suck at it.

It gets worse. I don't like keeping up with my receipts, I don't like doing cost analysis on my art, heck, I don't even like trying to figure out how much time I've put into a piece, because I forget to look at the clock when I'm starting something.

As for spreadsheets to keep up with all this stuff, I'm completely lost. I take one look at a spreadsheet program, and my eyes tend to gloss over. It's boring. The money side of the business, in general, just keeps me baffled. I suppose that I'm a traditional artist in that respect, or at least, I live up to the stereotype.

Oh, I'm also disorganized. Did I mention that? It doesn't help with anything. Last night, I spent over an hour looking for a bottle of glue that had fallen from where I put it (which is NOT where it belonged, in the first place). Add disorganization to all my other business problems, and it seems hopeless. But I don't think it is hopeless.

I'm not writing this to fish for advice, or to offer some magic solution at the end of the post which will fix all of these problems. It's not a plug for some system or business class, it's just the obstacles that I face in running my business. I'm sure that I'm not alone, and I think that there's bound to be other people out there who feel the way I do, too. It would be nice if I read in other people's blogs that they have the same problems I do, so...maybe me writing this out will help someone else. Also, now that it's all typed up on the screen, I can't keep ignoring it.

That's it for today's post. Time to start cleaning (again), work on putting things where they belong, and get cracking on business stuff.

Also, I've got a brain candle that needs photographed so that I can list it! Hehe. Thought you were going to get away without reading something creepy, didn't you? Ha!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Steampunk and why I care

So, like most con goers, I've succumbed to the steampunk bug. It has a special place in my heart as it's related to the time-period when we could see babies in jars at a side show, and wear cool bowler hats, and have awesome mustaches. It also uses a lot of brass, and I'm just tacky enough to love brass.

I've got a problem though...I REALLY want to make steampunk stuff, but I feel kind of lost with it. I can barely sew, and I'm not that great at just taking random parts and making them into something cool. I'm especially not good at taking random MACHINE parts and making them look good. I'm trying though.

In the works, currently, are a steampunk gas mask, a steampunk pistol and I'm getting brave, so I cut out the pattern for a corset today (not for me, don't worry)...which I will make steampunk.
The mask is fairly flying together, which is funny, because I started the pistol to cut my teeth on the genre before attempting the gas mask....the pistol is going somewhat slower, though.

Sadly, I've had to say goodbye to my Darth Vader helmet, as it's the basis for the gas mask. I don't think Lord Vader will mind me using his helmet for such a noble cause, though. I also ruined a candle holder/lamp thingie that I've had for a while to get at the round pieces of glass on it for the lenses on the gas mask, and I murdered a fake leather portfolio to make the mouth piece. I think it's coming along, though. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I hate photography

The title says it all. Well, not really, but I don't like taking pictures of my stuff for the shop. There's so much set-up involved, and if you're like me, there's never a clean flat surface available to take the photos on. Also, in my high tech 1935 house, there's only a handful of outlets available, so finding a clean flat surface near enough to a power supply for my lights is even harder. This blog is forcing me to take more photos, though...and honestly, it's good practice.

Okay, now for the real reason I'm blogging about this. I have to take photos today. Grrr! I don't want to, I'm lazy, I don't feel like taking photos, and I always feel a little nervous about listing my things for sale...which means I'm stalling. The blog gets attention, because I am putting off the pictures.

I'm sure that everyone who runs a business, be it a little shop on etsy or a gigantic deforestation corporation, has some part of the business that they don't like to do, too, though. Eh well. If I'm ever to get rich and famous, I gotta do it. Feh.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back from ShevaCon

So, I opened up the con season this year with ShevaCon, which I had never been to before. It's smaller, but ran well. It was fun getting back into the groove. Last year I went to NO cons at all. This was a first for me at a con, in that it's the first time I wore a costume to a convention! Yay! I got my picture took a few times, so that's cool, yes? It's inspiring me to do costuming...and maybe sell costuming at some later point.

Of interest, while there, I learned about the Mandalorian Mercs group, as seen in the bad phone picture here. They are a costuming club dedicated to Mandalorian Armor. They seem to be much freer about what goes and what doesn't go than say the 501st....which makes them intriguing to me. I can make a costume that looks "Star Warsy" much easier than I can make a screen accurate Storm Trooper.

I also got to see Charles E. Cullen, who amazes me, now. He lives in Roanoke, and I'm not going to attempt to describe what he does, other than to say he makes movies, has a TV show (in Roanoke) and sings. Any attempt to define him more narrowly than that would be impossible for me. I strongly suggest everyone check him out. Oh, and in seeing Charles Cullen, I also got an autographed copy of "Night of the Bums"! Woohoo!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gettin' Ready

Sorry about the extended absence from the computer. I've been getting ready for the ShevaCon Art Show, which is this weekend! Yay! I've been swapping in and out pieces to take, trying to decide if I should make anything especially for the show, etc. Art shows always make me very...queasy.
Aside from getting ready for the art show, I've been working on a few new dolls, all of which are crawling toward completion, but none of which are ready. I've been trying a new style with them (the same build technique as the bunny). It's working and saving me some clay, making them a bit cheaper to produce and therefore to sell than some of my solid clay pieces. Interestingly, they feel just as, or maybe more durable than the ones that are pure clay.
Anyway, I hve things to frame. If you are at ShevaCon, I'll see you there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dragging my feet.

It sucks, but I feel like I'm not getting nearly the stuff done that I should be, lately. I did finish a couple of things yesterday, so that's cool, at least.
I don't know what the deal is. Part of it was being sick, I'm sure, but the other part is lack of motivation. This time of year is a sales slump, obviously...I wonder if that leads to a lack of motivation?
This morning I even looked up a 'Get Yourself Motivated' article...and I'm not going to put up the link, because it's the same feel good, insipid crap that they always are. Oh well, that was a waste!
So, we'll get energy and motivation the traditional way, I guess. More Coffee.

Oh, for the record, I made a burlap teddy bear and finished inking a picture of Chang and Eng, the original Siamese Twins.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sickness, Brains and Shrunken Heads

Hi, sorry for the quietness of the last couple of days. I've been dying of the Swine Flu or something. Fever, aches, sleeping a ton, tossing and turning, chest know the drill. It sucked.

Yesterday I felt some better and managed to finish a candle mold that has been 'in progress' for forever, though. It's a smallish brain that will fit into a jar....a larger jar than my eyeballs, but a jar, none the less. It'll get it's first pour this weekend, I think.

Also, I finished two more shrunken heads, and I believe they are of quality enough to sell, so they shall be on Etsy shortly!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Let us continue the flavor of last post, and throw out something distressing and cool. I was searching for neat sideshow stuff to possibly make, when I came across this, and I think it is too weird to keep to myself.
Lithopedion (stone child) is a strange and rare condition that happens when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy, and is not passed out. If it's big enough the body can't absorb it back into the system, so it calcifies the baby to keep it from infecting the mother. Women have carried these stone babies for decades in some instances, like this one LINK (warning, the link contains photos of a 46 year old stone fetus). Creepy stuff.
I had no idea that babies could do this, but it's awesome. See the stuff you can find out if you look around for it!
In a slightly related note, I may be making my own version of the fiji mermaid soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A shrunken head

Alright, with a name that has "Jar Babies" in it, I'm expected to show some f'ed up stuff, occassionally. Well, here's a shrunken head!
This nasty devil is a prototype for more shrunken heads, as I figure out a better process of mass producing them. They will ALL be unique, and don't involve molds or the like, but this one took too long to be a salable thing. Also, his paint needs some touching up. I did learn from the process, and I've already found some ways to make it look better, and be made faster. My only fear is of running out of hair.
The idea to make a shrunken head came from an oddities book, "North Carolina Curiosities," which is a pretty interesting book about the cool and weird things to do and see around the state. I realized upon seeing that some place had actual shrunken heads, that they were perfect for my shop and the image I'm trying to maintain.
So, to make a long story short, expect some shrunken heads in my shop soon, and buy them! Also, they do go well with your jungle themed bedroom that your girlfriend yells at you about.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bunny Complete

Seeing as how the last two posts were about bunnies, I figured I'd make it a trilogy and call it good.
The little Easter Bunny girl is finished!
Sewing her dress was a royal pain in the butt, but the doll itself went together like a dream. During the dress, the sewing machine jammed, and jammed, and broke thread, and jammed, and ruined material. Thank God that once I got the machine running properly, it didn't give me too much more trouble. Painting her was very enjoyable, which is odd. Usually the paint job or the assembling fights me hard.
Her little flowers were culled from a few different tiny bouquets from the wedding section of Hobby Lobby, but the rest of here was completely built by me. Her "antiquing" wash went smoothly, so after the fight with the dress, all that was left was to sign her.
I signed and dated her butt, just for the record.
Also, those aren't my Care Bears DVDs, I put them in the photos for scale, and thought that the cute bunny would clash with the movies I watch.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Art Updates

My first bunny is coming along, as you can see in the picture. She's paper mache, polymer clay, and wire with a coat of gesso. She'll be finished up with an actual paint job, some clothes, and a bunch of flowers in her paws. Cute stuff.
Don't worry, the cute stuff ends with her. If this style of art-doll works out, she'll get some company, and fast. I'm thinking another scary clown (I love those) maybe a few more bunnies, and who knows what else!
Also, the dragon puppets are coming along. The 'egg' in the previous post is now painted, and a much larger 'egg' is currently drying out.
Also in the art world, I'm playing with paper mache pulp, as it can be put into molds. This process can open some new and kind of scary doors, so don't worry, I'm not in a rut, yet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Easter is coming!

Yep, when you sell stuff, you have to remind yourself of the holidays that aren't even close, yet. I've got some ideas and one small project started for Easter, but I'm constantly struck by how far ahead I have to plan. Seems like I'll be working on Halloween in June and Christmas in August.
It's nuts! Oh well. At least Easter is fun from my perspective on this side of it. I get to make cute bunnies, and maybe a borderline sacrilegious piece or two.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jar Shortage!

Those of you who have seen my etsy shop know that I make candles. Horrible candles in jars with babies in them (see the title of this blog!), or severed digits or eyeballs.
Lately I've not posted any more for sale because I've ran into a supply shortage on the particular jars I use. It's very irritating, but not the end of the world. Looks like I'll be buying jars online, soon.
I'm working on making some candles that don't require a jar, but that somehow feels wrong to me. I was thinking of maybe a candle gargoyle or the like, but again, that doesn't feel right. It also involves changing up the recipe for my wax.
I don't know how many of you have ever made candles, but changing their container, or lack there-of, involves changing the additives you put into the candles.
I'm by no means a master candle...smith (what's the title of a candle maker?), but I do take pride in what I've done. I'd hate for my glowing candle reputation to be ruined because of failed bland standing candles not in jars. Eh well.
Maybe soon I'll get some more jars and I will be able to make a ton o' babies, some brown eyes and green eyes, and perhaps even work on a few new candle molds. We shall see!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Studio is a Wreck!

Oof, as I lay awake last night with my wonderful insomnia, all I could think about was cleaning my studio. It's gotten so bad that I'm working more and more in front of the TV, instead of where I should be working.
Working in front of the TV isn't terrible, but it's not ideal, either. The TV is distracting, for one, so I end up working longer on things than I should. Also, it's caused the small but real problem of slowly making my living room as disorganized as my studio. Today, I shall fix all of that...or rather, I shall TRY to fix all of that. My motivation is low now, because I'm sleepy (see 'insomnia' above).
With luck the studio shall come back into what it should be, or at least closer, and I'll be able to take more pictures in there without having to shuffle piles of newspapers, boxes of old paintings, or tons of tools before grabbing the camera.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My computer is looking for aliens

Yes, you read the title right. My computer is looking for aliens. How? I donate time to seti@home. When my computer is idle, BIONC contacts SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intellegence...I think), and downloads data from the radio telescopes and helps sift through them for alien pop songs and infomercials.
If looking for aliens isn't your thing, you can download BOINC and let it do other scientific work too, though. My computer doesn't JUST look for alien signals, it also does math for ...something or other. Some kind of math theorem type thingie. There's also several biomedical research projects that you can assist with, like cancer and AIDS research, or you can let you computer figure out climate change, or astrophysics. If you are indecisive, you can let your computer work on several projects. It will work on one for a set amount of time, then rotate to the next, then the next, and so on.
Now, the real question is Why, isn't it? My answer is easy. I like feeling like I contribute without having to actually do anything hard. I also would love to be the person who's computer found aliens. That would rock, and I'd probably get an interview on CNN or something. It's not hard, doesn't use up a lot of room on the computer, and I can turn it off if it frustrates me. Also, when the scientists behind these programs decide to take over the world (that's what scientists do. Watch and learn from movies), I'll be in good standing to become an evil henchman. It's win-win.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Works in Progress

While I like looking at other peoples art, I'm usually more interested in seeing how they are making it, or what it looks like before it's finished. That attitude is what keeps shows like "How it's Made" on the air, or all those tons and tons of 'How To' sites going. People don't really want to make anything themselves, they just want to see how it's done! Okay, so some people want to create too, but most of the time, it's enough just to see the process.
It's that line of thought that inspires this post. I'm going to show/tell about what I'm working on right now. Specifically, two, maybe three dragon puppets.
All three involve paper mache, and two will be hand puppets, the kind that you stick your hand up in to move the mouth. The third is going to be a rod puppet, I think.
Anyway, thus far I've only gotten some of the paper mache done. I'm using a process I learned from Dan Reeder, who is not a man I know personally, but who has put out several books on the subject, and has a site devoted to such things....and a blog, and videos on YouTube about his process. His site is and it's great!
To say that I learned my process from him is not completely true, and maybe a little unfair to him, though. I've modified it to suit my own tastes, that's the beauty of Paper's versatile. My method involves 'sculpting' a form, then paper mache-ing over it. Then I cut the paper mache off of the form.
In the picture are the two dragon heads for the hand puppets, and the 'egg' for the rod puppet. I'm not sure how successful these will be, but I'll keep you up to date. Thus far, I've not gotten too far on any of the three, but it's a learning experience for me. I've done a few (VERY few) puppets, and so the end results are still very much in question. Not pictured is the material that will be the dragons' necks, or the teeth and claws that I've sculpted from polymer clay. Wish me luck, and I'll update you as we have more progress!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Big First Posting: E Cigarettes

Hello and welcome to my very first post, and it has nothing to do with Jar Babies or Art, this time.
For a first, let's talk about smoking. I'm a smoker, or I was until two weeks ago. Now I'm a 'Vaper'.
Yeah, I didn't know what the Hell a 'vaper' was either. Vaping is what the use of electronic cigarettes is called. Apparently, this is a big thing in some circles, and one I am now proudly a part of. It's new enough and small enough that it isn't persecuted like regular cigarettes, yet! Yay!
An E-Cigarette is a three (or two) part system: A battery, A vaporizer, and a cartridge. Most of them that I've seen combine the vaporizer and the cartridge into one piece now, though. The battery warms up the cartridge and produces a vapor that you inhale when you take a drag off of it (also the LED at the end of the 'cigarette' lights up! Just like smoking!) The vapor has nicotine (Yay again!), flavoring and it's way less nasty on your body than cigarettes.
As a menthol smoker, I went for menthol flavored cartridges at first, and I love them. The first week was a battle of wills to keep from lighting a real cigarette, because I psychologically missed the actual smoke. Now, though, it's not a problem. The other flavors are amazing and varied, though. A new personal favorite is the cola flavor from Vapor4Life. They have over 100 flavors already, and more keep showing up! Yummy flavors like Cola, Raspberry, Menthol and Mint, and nasty flavors like Banana and Pineapple are all available (note: I just hate bananas and pineapples...ew. If you eat that kind of crap, you might like them). They also come in different strengths of nicotine, from 0mg up to 36mg.
So, if you are sick of smoking but not ready to give it up, you have an alternative now. I'm personally endorsing Vapor4Life, but I'll admit my e-cig vaping lifestyle experience is limited to theirs and Smoker Friendly's brand of e-cigarette. Vapor4Life's are less expensive than most brands, have great reviews, and most importantly, you can have a bright red cigarette with a green filter and a blue LED that lights up on the end, if that's what you want! That's one of the colors I have!