Thursday, September 30, 2010

J3-It's all in the Guts

Prepare for blog spam this weekend, I am working 24/7 in the studio both home and school and will keep you up to date on the latest developments in the projects.

I received my very lovely package from Midway USA of fresh hog gut, fibrous gut, and collagen casting.
Some initial thoughts upon opening the packaging:
 - The Collagen Casings have potential, they are very rigid and paper-like but still very thin
- the Fibrous Casing is very rigid but comes in very large sheets
- the hog gut has a horrid smell and comes in small tangled strands that have to be manually untangled

Then following some suggestions from my boyfriend who makes sausages and from some previous Towson Students who shared some knowledge, I soaked the gut in hot water. From Matt, I got the recommendation to soak it in hot water for an hour and then change the water to remove the salt base, rinse, and soak again for about 20 minutes. The large tied casing is the Fibrous, the semi see-through mass is the Collagen, and the white dark strand is the natural hog gut.

Some thoughts after the first hour of Soak:
1. Hog gut is very thing and see through, very flexible and seems easy to work with
2. Collagen remains semi stiff but the more it soaks the softer it gets, this product recommends either boiling in water prior to use or soaking for 24 hours or a combination there of so I will follow that recommendation prior to working with it
3. Fibrous is very stiff even after an hour of soaking, they recommend soaking for 24 hours changing water often as well as boiling if still remains stiff

I will stretch these one at a time over a prepared metal dome and fasten down with pins. I will then rivet through those holes made by the pins to see the potential ways to produced a more finished look. I will update you as the project continues.

Week 5 - Design and Production/J3

I have found myself merging the two classes a bit, while they both have very different motivations and ideals they have developed a common imagery and tone. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bag thing, I just know that I really enjoy making them.  Design and Production has moved into a smaller scale modular work. They are simple organic forms that come together to form different pieces. J3 has gone about the same route with the theme of being a memorial piece, but has changed in scope. It is no longer a single pendant, but movable around the body to nearly any location that will fit it. I am really excited to see how both turn out and I really think both will become something I can stand behind and begin to form the foundation of my metals portfolio.

Jewelry 3-

All I have to say is I'm amazingly excited. I got a working prototype of the design. Thing is not the final design because in metal I can get more details working, but it is getting close. The die-form will be segmented like what you see in the bottom image and it will be hinged with small flaps closing each form and making each form it's own shape. The thin plastic represents the gut that will be used to contain and cover the different forms.

Design and Production

Steadily working along with making my wax forms. I have been moving away from the idea of containment to these small, simplified natural forms. I am thinking of making a collection of them in sterling silver and in an abs plastic that is modeled in rhino.

 These are the successful ones, I will go back into the more failure-sided ones later and see if something can't be done with them. I really wish I had some images of them, my skill has increased some much from those first few it is crazy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 3 and 4 Recap - Jewelry 3 and Design and Production

It's been a busy two weeks of designing!

Design and Production-

I finalized some of the designs I was going after. I found that some of my original ideas were overly complex and that I liked the aesthetic of the more simplistic forms, especially if they are being cast in the white metal.

After some failed attempts in pink wax I talked to Dawn and found out that I was using the wrong type of wax this entire time. These shapes apparently were better suited for blue carving wax. Once I found this out, I was ready to go! The shapes started to come out in no time and in a few hours these babies were born:

They are still a bit rough but, I think with some more finishing they will be viable for what I need them to be used for. I hope to send them out shortly to be cast in the white metal.  I want to try and get some more details into the next few samples I make so I can chose the ones I want to send out. I think a safe number to shoot for by the end of the week is around 15 or 20. I will go back and recreate the first few that I did now that my skill level has increased a bit. I also think that it may be possible with the new tools I picked up this weekend to go back in and define some of the shapes I already produced. I grabbed some wax burs to hollow out these shapes as well so I can make the internal containers as well as make them able to be cast.

Jewelry 3

It has been a long drawn out discovery of the form this container will take over the past two weeks. I really want a design I can commit to, not something I just put together "because I liked it". I think that phrase needs to be banned completely from the studio forever. I was thinking about why jewelry is placed on the neck and the wrist ect, and I think that more thought needs to be placed on the placement of jewelry on the body. The assignment did not say "locket" or "necklace" yet we naturally go to those stand-by locations. I decided this does not fit the piece. I have designed a container that is broken into pieces and hinges open at the top and comes together to form a shape. These pieces are going to be held together by a dense forming of gut that is "riveted" to the skin and held in place by surgical tape and balled up silver. My gut should be here by early Friday to begin work and I hope to have a die-form to begin molding off of by that time or at least some of the materials I want to try to put through the gut. I was also wondering if gut and vellum can be layered in some way. The piece is small enough that I should have a lot of gut to work with. 

Now, I don't know if this is my final shape. I want to make a few more maquettes before I commit. I want to divorce the shape from my design and production work a little more. I want it to be more personal. I have been working on some designs and sketches based off the image of the heart that I think are working well, so I will post the final image tomorrow or Wednesday and begin working on the die for Thursday. 
For the final piece, I have been thinking pretty hard about whether it will be different textures only on each little part of the form or whether it will be different metals, textures and have cold connected elements. I really want to take these as far as I have the skill to do so I was thinking that each element be a different metal depending on what it contains and that every piece of it has a different "identity" of my grandmother. I need to finalize this quick so I made a game plan of how this will commence from here on out that I hope to follow and produce the final work with a week to spare for clean up and final adjustments. That means its 100% important for the design and die to be completed this week so I made make all the forms next week and begin the soldering as well as shaping of the outer gut layer. The gut has been ordered from an online retailer, about 3 lbs was $7 with shipping which is quite decent. I ordered hog gut, fibrous casing, and collagen casing. From what I read of the research done already with the gut, the hog gut is stronger but, I want to try the other two types of casing to see if different results are achieved. I want to experiment with piercing the gut as well as drawing on it with prismacolors once it dries.

As for the surgical tape/adhesive, I am still researching types. I think I have one picked out, but I will finalize it this week and have it ordered. There are some really nice places online that sell surgical tapes and adhesives quite cheaply that are a better quality then found at a Rite-Aide or CVS. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week 2 - Design and Production - Concepts

So, I have been working on my concept sketches and I got my wax and tools today so I jumped in and just played with it to see what forms I could come up with. I was kinda fun and interesting to mess around with the wax, however, I don't know if it is going to accomplish what I am looking for it to accomplish.

The starting point
Development of an Organic theme
I have decided in a way, not fully thought out yet and I don't think I need to be, that I want to produce a line that has these organic exteriors and private interiors. I have spent some time thinking up different shapes, I want the outside to be interesting without being overpowering. I keep drawing these semi organic shapes recently, and I looked back and I have been really actually drawing them for years. I think I can really use them to create a line because they are so interesting to me and flowing that they could be incorporated into any number of locations on the body. I started out with these elaborate hinged designs but, the practicality of doing this on a larger scale seemed unrealistic. I also wanted something I could do when I am not currently in school or when I don't have access to a studio. I want to be able to create this line and grow it without a total reliance on access to materials I do not have easy access to. This means out of house casting and cold connections.

Illustration of Interchangeable Functions
I think it will be too much to take all the time to have two different shapes pieced together and assembled. I would much rather find a way so that when I produce it, it is totally made for me and all I have to do is clean it up and get it ready to be sent out. This is my ideal way to do things. I am not sure how far I can take that idea and still come out with the kinda of result I am looking for.  I think in my last few sketches I really started to come up with something viable. They are these organic forms that have "hidden spaces" in openings. I want there to be "false openings" throughout so that one doesn't automatically just see the opening and I want it to be this private vessel inside of the organic floral shape.

Experimental Wax Form:

It is pretty rough I think, but it is also a first try at this process so I am going to keep working on it and bring it to class on Tuesday for some feedback. I think there are probably some things I am doing wrong with the wax, however, I find it a really fun process and I am really getting into the shaping and layering of the different forms.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 2 - Jewelry 3/Design and Production - Die Forming Progress/Progress on the Line

As week 2/3 of school comes to a close, I am forced to go back and review what I have done in just a few days. It has been a whirlwind start to the semester and I honestly think something special is going on for me.

We are working in hydraulic die-forming in Jewelry 3, and I have to say I LOVE IT! I know it sounds silly, but there is something so cool about taking a sheet of metal and plexi and turning into a "little machine" to pump out all these pieces you can puzzle together into designs and shapes. This semester has really inspired me so far to look deeper into my work and try to get something about me out. I want to do deeper then the surface work that you produce as a "student" and really delve into real issues. That being said, my forms have been prepped for sawing out and soldiering this weekend/early next week. I hope to get some real work done this weekend from the little bench I have set up at my house.

I have been focusing on the shape I picked this week and taking it away from that "pillow-form" feel that is stereotypical of die-forming. I have so far tried chasing back into the surface which I think has a pretty nice result that I am looking for. This is really exciting stuff. It takes 1/3 of the time of chasing the entire thing by hand and it allows more time to focus on the design of the piece instead of the task of bumping that all out.  So far so good on this, I have found 1 small spot in the point where there is a corner (you can probably see this in the image), but I am going to work around that and turn it into my vent hole. I have this idea of making these copper wire tendrils that come out of the hole almost like a star burst after its all soldered together to create a way to mask that vent hole after the soldering process is complete. I was thinking to keep it in the style of the rest of the piece I would take the torch and ball up the ends of the wire and maybe play with some inlay  on the surfacing and add silver wire to the tendrils. I will have to sketch this out and see how it looks as a maquette.  I think it has the aesthetic I am looking for on the outside of my pendant. This little form was a nice test and the imperfection really actually helped in creating the part I think the design needs. I don't know though it sounds sketchy when you write it out and I will have to see it actually done to see if it accomplishes what I am setting out for. As far as the actual piece goes, I think I am starting to get some sketches that work. I will post them up this weekend along with the other sketches of my design and production work.

Design and Production has gotten off to a semi-slow start. I feel that I am a bit limited in the fact that I want to be able to cast forms yet, have not taken casting yet. That's a bit disappointing; however, I want to try to make some wax models that might be able to be sent out for the final product. I was thinking about this project a lot this week and I have come up with some definitive ideas about what I am trying to accomplish, not so much visual representations of these ideas, but it all starts with a concept right? I want to create a piece that is about the internal person. Dawn Benedetto ( talked tonight, at our welcome back party, about some work she did awhile ago that really helped me with some ideas. They were these rings that were plain on the outside but had this balls on the inside. They were all about the internal portion of the ring. When you put the ring on your finger you did not see the interior texture but you could feel it. This is what I want to do in an emotional sense with the lockets I want to create. I want these to be this simplistic forms, I am thinking of even echoing the shapes I have above in the pendant about my grandmother, and when you open them up they are totally transformed into something completely different. They are this internal space that is all your own. I personally think of it as a place to write wishes on a small piece of paper and contain in side. When you wear it, its like putting all your emotions out on display in this enclosed private way. I was thinking about hidden clasps or tension fit compartments, but I could even make it more simple. I could either cast or die form shapes and have them so the two halves tension fit together in some way. Really this needs more thought before I can really have an idea of what I want, but I think its getting there very quickly now.

In other news.....

I totally felt the need to order some of that paverpol "textile hardener" I have been hearing about. I want to play around with it a little bit and see if it works for what I am looking for in my jewelry 3 container. I also got some two part resin to try as well and I will whip out some maquettes this weekend and early next week to see if they get the desire effect with the dried flowers on the inside, if that is even the effect I want. I am really excited about this stuff, I have heard it can do some pretty amazing things so, it is probably worth the investment on this small little jar of it just to see what it can do!

Also, I am super jazzed that I should be receiving some metal and tools in the mail in the next few days. This is always so exciting for no reason, but new drill bits and scribes and yesss... A NEW SAWFRAME! I don't know little things like this excite me. Note to self, for the next order steel block and divider if I didn't order one already.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 1 - Jewelry 3 - Progress on Die Forming

Today I set out with two goals:

1. To break one
2. To bottom out on the die

I am happy to say I accomplished both. I know it sounds crazy, but I wanted to see what the limit of the die was and how far I could push it until is caved under the pressure (literally!).  I learned a lot today in doing this and so far I will say I am not done, no where from it for my samples. I want to experiment with some textures on them and I would like to see what happens with a pierced prior to forming piece which I will get into when I get a little more reliable forms happening. So far, 7 out of the 8 forms survive. The one that I broke and bottomed out were the same and it was interesting getting it out, but it was so cool to see where it literally ripped metal.

Now that I know the breaking point and the stress points that need more filing, I am thinking the next few rounds might go better. So far I have pushed them to a depth of 12mm out of 20mm making me a little over halfway on two of them. I want to continue to push these forms to their limit (hopefully without breaking) for Tuesday.

In other news, I need to get some more muscles to roll print. It wasn't that it was too hard to turn, it just makes your muscles ache a bit after you do it for too long. I hope my 22 ga. copper arrives soon! Went through a ton of metal today and I loved it!


#1 This was the first one that I did, and it is the first in rotation. After about 5 different runs through the press, it reached a height of about 10mm. This is some movement, but I found better results with slightly higher pressure in some of the ones that will follow especially 4 and 6. They were some of the ones I put a bit more refined measurements of pressure into. 

#2- This is the winner of the evening! It cracked after 5 rounds of pressure. When I talked to Brianna before I started she showed me where her forms broke. This will really help me with the rest of mine. I can see here the stress points along the backside and the corner. I honestly did not expect it to break in these locations and I am really glad I went through with my plans to take one to the point of being destroyed. I also love that when it broke it bottomed out the back of the piece. It creates points for me to go back and fix the locations of the breakage. I can see where it started in both cracks, was a point of the die where the metal was possibly a bit sharper then in other places. I will go back in before I finish and file those down a bit so they are maybe not so sharp.  An interesting aspect of this is it gave me my measurement for the maximum depth of the die to be about 22mm from the bottom edge of the metal to the top of the curve. 

The full set so far of the ones that I have pressed enough to start making something. I want to play with some piercing, roll printing and etching for a few more samples. I think from the notes I have up to this point of about half depth that I can fix the die and continue to make these go to their limit of their depth. I have found the safe range to make them lower without breaking is between 2000-4500psi and 80 durometer before small stress points begin to form. 

#4 at around 12mm depth.
#6 around 11/12mm in height. About halfway to the height I think it can reach.
#5 Still in the die. It is getting there!
Die starting to show some signs of wear and needs some repairs. I noticed it started to shift the more I used it. For my actual piece I will have to find a better way to secure the plates then tape. Also, the more I used it, the tape would split into these really neat patterns.

So, I know what I have to do and as soon as I can get in the studio again, I will push them a little farther.

The Saturday Profile - Finally a Licensed Driver, on the 960th Try - Biography -

The Saturday Profile - Finally a Licensed Driver, on the 960th Try - Biography -

What a good story for a Saturday Morning. So Cheerful and positive. I personally when I read it was wondering why they let her take it so many times, but I get it now. She overcame her hardships and her lack of education to get beyond her means and learn to "drive". Driving has so many meanings, I just think its a really inspirational story in its simplicity.

Week 1 - Jewelry 3 - Die Forming and Containment

I have been thinking about this project so much this week, I don't even know why. It has been like it has been consuming my thought process. Containers and Containment bring up so many thoughts but it started to make me think of the individual self as a container and as containing your memories and thoughts. Then I thought about thought (what a weird statement), the duality of it. The fact that a memory has this realistic qualities yet there are always these sensory, imaginative aspects of the memory that have been conceived in our brain.

My grandmother died when I was very young, I think I was about 3 years old, this fact I am actually not sure of when she died. I have told myself I was 3, but I have yet to confirm with anyone the exact year and time of her death. I was very young at the time; however, I feel like I knew her so well. I remember her with long black hair that flowed down her back and she always had the scent of wild flowers, she would particularly fill the house with these flowers she called queen anne's lace. She liked to mix match colors and wore crazy combinations that never seemed to actually match up to one another.  The facts of her that I remember are more sensory. I remember the way she used to make me laugh and smile and used to surround herself with sunlight and warmth. She died of liver failure due to reactions of her medications to her dialysis, but before she died she purchased these two small plastic snow globes with white unicorns and green grass bases. When you picked up the snow globe they would play "Somewhere over the Rainbow". My cousin and I each received one of these snow globes after she died. Since that day, I have never thought of her death as a passing, as someone going to heaven, to me she is still here just over the rainbow.

I guess where I am going with all of that is, the reality of the matter is a lot of the memory I have of her is false memory. When she died and when I knew her, she did not have long black her. It was short and a pepper-ish color. She also was not as bright and cheering as I remember, she had been on dialysis since my mother was a child and was in fact pretty sick. I don't remember the dialysis machine that apparently sat in their house. I don't remember the corner it was in even. I just remember the small table behind that chair with the fake plastic christmas tree and the small ornaments. I remember staring at them through the sunlight with the dried flowers around it. The memories I have of her are this combination of reality and false reality. I want to portray that in my container. I want it to have these feel on the outside of the reality of her and the inside this false reality of her "essence". You see what fact of her the the idea of her and when you open it up you see the way I remember her.

In other news....

I have been working hard on making a nice die for my pressings for Tuesday. I want to say it was about 3 or 4 hours worth of work on this die. I know I should have kept it simple because it's only a test, but I learned a ton from the making of this die that I can use to speed up the next one. I also made it in such a way I can make a few adjustments over the next few days to get better outputs if something I don't like is happening with it. I also learned that a lot of my issued with the sawing of the first one was my saw frame, so I have a new one of those coming it. It is really hard to saw straight if you're saw isn't.

I really like this form. I used a template this time (now  what is meant by template), it really made things much easier. I have also learned that you have to watch with the smaller details of the form. I know for a fact that some of the small circles I did to the sides will not come out in the die because they did not saw well. I tried to file them out and it worked to a point, but I think a lot of time would have to be spent in order to get those forms to come out in the press. I think for my final design I need to think about elements like that and other possibly ways to achieve those forms. Maybe I die form the main portion of it and go back in and with chasing add in those small details. I will have to think about that.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week 1 - Design and Production - Developing a Line.

I am not going to lie, I am struggling with developing a line this week. I know what I want to do, and I feel myself constantly abandoning that idea to be more "marketable". I realized after a long discussion about another project with Rachel Timmins, that I was really missing the point.

I am going about this in the wrong direction, I need to figure out what I want to do not whether it will sell. This might sound a little obvious or counter to the intention of the class, but, I think I want to make something I can pour my heart into the design of, something I legitimately care about. The idea of the Dinosaurs and the "Nerd Chrome" was such surface thinking. I think that I really want to design something that is more internal and secretive. I have gotten these ideas of these outward pieces that have this "outer shell". They look like one thing and when you turn it over or towards the "inward" side it has a secretive aspect.

This is again surface thinking on this idea, but I was thinking something you wear that shows your "shell" like maybe this 3D locket or box or pin or SOMETHING, that when you turn it over it has this hidden drawer where you can keep your secrets and wishes. I want this "thing" to be cathartic to wear. I want it to be this outward statement about how you present yourself versus how you really are in the inside. I want it to contain the essence of the individual.

This came from a few different aspects. I keep thinking about this necklace I wear everyday. No matter what the occasion, I don't care how it looks, I wear this necklace because it is so personal and meaningful to me. It is probably one of the ugliest necklaces out there and causes me constant questions as to what the hell it is about, but it is the feeling I get from wearing it. It is the memory of how I obtained it, and what it means. To me, it holds the essence of the person I got it from. Every scratch and nick in it from me wearing it and him wearing it, its just this harmonious union of lives. I want that. I want to design that, I want to capture that somehow so that others can experiences this same feeling of security with someone else.

I don't know where this is going right now, I am a little lost, but I feel like I am on the edge of something. What do you all think, and memories or ideas this concept brings to you? Anything that all this rambling makes you think?