An encounter with a lovely couple on my market stall at Electromagnetic Field inspired this extravagant seven-ginkgo leaf necklace, commissioned as silver wedding anniversary gift. I really like the use of the ‘seaweed’ twists from my tideline necklaces, and it came together as a very hefty and impressive piece.
If you haven’t heard of Inktober, it’s a yearly challenge project to create an ink drawing for every day in October. I decided to give it a go this year, inspired by Lucy Bellwood’s 100 Demon Dialogues project. I liked the idea of using the structure and limits to improve my drawing skills, and added the additional challenge of foregoing pencil sketches and drawing without any guides. I cut up the papers and added the frames and captions in advance, then carried a small bag with the supplies around with me and tried to draw every day. For all but the cupcakes picture I used photographic references, mostly from Arkive.org‘s wonderful library.
The experience was pretty great. I enjoyed the discipline, the steadily growing accumulation of completed drawings, and how much I feel my skills improved from first to last. In fact, I enjoyed having a ‘daily’ project so much I started another one promptly in November! For now, here’s a collection of snaps of my Inktober 2017.
A white gold wedding ring, sculpted in the likeness of a stout and steadfast mooring rope. The client is one of my favourite people to work with, and I was beyond delighted to see that she also wore one of my dragons on her special day.
With her generous permission I’m able to make sterling silver versions of this ring available in my Etsy shop, and other sizes and styles are available.
A lovely commission, to create a medallion-style pendant for a dragon lover.
Cast from a wax sculpture made using my new Wolf wax carving tools. It was an absolute delight to have 18 diverse and well-made tools on hand for whatever type of cut or scrape I needed. I’m looking forward to many more sculptures using them.
The final dragon is a little hefty at around 16g of sterling silver, even with the smooth, hollowed underside. Available from my Etsy Shop.
I will also be making bronze versions – let me know via etsy or the contact form if you’d like to be notified when they’re available.
Experiments with wet-moulding leather, using pricking irons and stitching with proper waxed cord.
I’ve been using a jury-rigged back-of-the-hand pincushion for many years, and finally decided to make a proper one. The dome is wet-moulded – stretched over a thermoplastic form and stapled down to a piece of scrap wood. Once it was completely dry I was surprised by how strong then resulting dome was. The punched holes are backed with a piece of linen, and the dome is stuffed with synthetic stuffing fluff. Using pricking irons to make the holes made life a lot easier than last time I did any leatherwork, and doing proper saddle-stitching with waxed cord was also a revelation.
I was concerned that it would be annoying to find the holes when replacing a pin, but I haven’t had any trouble, and the pincushion is very comfortable and convenient to use.
The second piece here is a sheath for the knife I made at a Green Wood Guild workshop, which includes a wooden liner tray to stop the blade cutting straight through the sheath. Cling film to prevent rusting from the wet leather and a LOT of clamps made the exercise pretty straightforward.
A really fun (if slightly infuriating) commission – to create an artwork featuring two wonderfully deranged pirates in full (and I mean full) costume. Seriously, I think they’ve got at least two guns and three blades each, not to mention all the straps, strings, parrots, hats, buttons, compasses, buckles and so on… Based on a photograph and taking style hints from a Deadpool poster, this is made with india ink and watercolours on bristol board. Also there’s a hint of metallic sparkle where appropriate.
Another short film created under ludicrous conditions by the Tortoisebutler crew. This time I contributed props (including the robot’s bite-down charging plug) and the heads up display that shows us the world from our diminutive robot’s point of view.
The biggest part of the build, though, was the creation of the beast itself: to transform our fantastically physical actor Jinny into a threatening, alien creature that would spring from the darkness and attack our hapless protagonist.
“Let’s do a simple film challenge this year” they said, “Let’s make something simple, light on the FX”… so we wrote a script with a monster. Oh, and we needed to build it in a few hours, using only what we’d brought with us.
Magda’s fantastic body (and head!) stocking gave us a perfect starting point for the transformation, dehumanising Jinny and forming n overlay to attach things to our poor actor.
Given the pale colour of the body stocking, we sketched a sinewy, insectile, carapaced creature that would almost glow in the dark. It needed to be a clear threat, so we armed it with six scything claws, a weird pointy mandible, and spines on head, elbows, and anywhere else that felt like a good idea.
Most of this was accomplished with thermoplastic pierced through the bodystocking or attached to it with double-sided sticky tape. Thermoplastic is my go-to material for creating structural elements on the fly. With some hot water it’s sculptable, it’s springy enough to be safe and tough enough to stand up to rough treatment.
Once our beast was assembled it looked a bit blank, without much secondary movement for our super slo-mo camera. Materials Magda came up trumps again though, with some fantastic long-haired fabric I’ve not seen the like of before. Hooking it through the stocking around the spines gave us a really disturbing ‘hairy insect’ effect and great flowing motion.
The finishing touch was to mix fistfuls of black and red acrylic paints with hair gel, and plaster the hair up into a stiff mane. Strategically applied paint dirtied up our monster even more, and encrusted the claws with ‘gore’ from the struggles of past victims. The pale theme made it stand out starkly, especially when light glowed through the thermoplastic weapons.
Jinny endured so much being our human mannequin in a freezing hall, but I love the hideous and unusual monstrosity we created.
Photo Credit – TortoiseButler
Adventures in vector land – inspired by an episode of the mindbending cartoon Invader Zim, here’s a tshirt for all of you out there who’ve seen too much, who close the door behind you, sag against it, and pant “…horrible…nightmare…visions!”