Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 9 - Design and Production - Shapeways Arrives!

Just in time for tomorrow my stuff arrived from Shapeways today!

Week 8 - Jewelry 3 - After Action Review of Containment Project

I have to start off saying, this was a really rough project for me. I didn't expect it to become what it did. I forgot that it was something "for school" and it became this daunting, consuming task to create a proper memorial for my grandmother. As for my goals, looking at the final product, I couldn't be happier. When I see this, I can tell it is something she would have loved and it has this delicacy yet, rough impression that is really what I was going after.

In a more critical light, I feel that my craftsmanship needs work and I think some of this will come with more experience. I feel that I have not invested myself enough in metalsmithing to this point to really be able to produce the type of products I want to, I am not going to let this stop me though. I need to learn to solder better and learn to file better. Those were two parts that really held me back. I also had a lot of trouble with clasps and hinges and there is no excuse for not being able to get it done. I need more practice, but I also need to realize that everything isn't just going to come together every single time.

I made a lot of maquettes and I felt properly prepared that way, so I am not upset with the result. I think that I did not realize the need for a closing mechanism. I originally planned for the gut to completely contain the project and seal it off, but realistically it needs a closure.

I may not have had the "show piece" I wanted to create, but here is what I learned:

1. Filing is the most important part of a project. If you do not file it correctly it will not work.
2. Its not just this or not just that, don't time yourself - thank you Rachel, you don't know how much this helped me
3. Take your time.
4. It takes 5 times doing something perfectly to get it right, it probably won't go right
5. Keep everything clean and properly fluxed at all times or it will not flow, the soldering rules are for a reason
6. Practice makes perfect.

Week 8 - Jewelry 3 - Crowdsourcing

What is Crowdsourcing?
Crowd sourcing is a new trend surfacing all over the internet were companies actively seek out groups of people to run ideas by. It is a collective calling of ideas and reviews. Wikipedia defines crowdsourcing as, 

"Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call." 

I think this is a very generic definition. Crowdsourcing makes your client/customer a part of the action. Crowdsourcing is a newer trend that developed roughly four years ago in Wired Magazine. Basically it said that electronics have become so cheap and easy to make that companies are taking advantage of releasing them into the market and waiting for the feedback they recieve on the the item before making changed or re-releasing the model. They are also taking the ideas from this feedback and putting it into the next year's model. 

Crowdsourcing layed dormant for a few years and exploded this year with major companies getting into the idea. Recently, the GAP released a logo without word to the public and waited for feedback from the populous. This was met with mix reactions. 

Crowdsourcing heavily relies on social media to make it spread and travel. It often employs tactics such as twitter feeds, facebook links and blogs to gain feedback from an informed audience that knows of their products. It also allows for a specific target audience to have insight gained from. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

J3. Die Forming Crowdsource

I want to start out by saying this project was very emotional for me. I do not wish to give too much away for the entire concept because I feel that it will create a bias in some way as to the feedback I want to receive. So, in a quick summary of the project:

The project was to create a container using all the processes we have learned to this point and well as using a new technique of die-forming. For my subject matter, I decided to create a small box in which a note to a deceased relative would be encapsulated. This box was designed off of the different flowers and colors and senses I could remember from this person when I was a young child. Every part of the exterior of the die-form and the interior of the box that is to hold the note was carefully considered and planned for this person. The entire box was made for this person and this person alone. To create a sense of being private and internal the box is sealed in gut that binds it closed. The gut is fragile and can be easily ripped into. It is a representation of the thin barrier I put up to protect myself from the painful memories of loosing this individual. The gut also creates a barrier between the viewer and the piece protecting the note with very personal feelings from the outside world and the viewer.

The box will be shown below with the gut being ripped into, this is merely so that it can be viewed, also the gut takes off any patina that has been done unless it is sealed. I used a liver of sulfur patina making it hard to seal. If anyone has a suggestion of how it can be sealed without removing this patina I would very much like to find out so that the gut does not rip off the patina if it is ever removed for display purposes.

This is the piece in all the angles I captured. Thank you again for your time and comments can be left below or  emailed to, if your coming from my facebook page, questions and comments may be asked there as well. Also, if you wish more detailed information you may visit the rest of my blog where you will find many posts detailing very aspect of this project and the process. Any questions you may have can be asked in the comment section below or again emailed to me directly.

Exterior with gut ripped for display. 

Quick Note: The gut here would be completely covering the back and the adhesive squares would be affixed to the covering gut allowing it to be placed anywhere on the body.

Close-up of Top and with detailing of bottom

Interior without Note

Interior Space with note inside. 

Showing it with one possible placement on the body. It is only meant to be worn when you want a physical memory of this person.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week 7 - Jewelry 3 - Half-way through the Week, So much to Update

It's only Thursday, and I feel like I haven't blogged in forever. I have so much to show, but for now, this is all you get.

Week 7 - Design and Production- Writing Assignment Part 2

I have been holding off on this part of my writing assignment because I don't really know what to say....but, here goes nothing.

PART TWO : Your Personal Approach to Your Work

A.    What inspires you to create? Is it the materials you use? The places you see  and visit? The people you know and meet? Your emotional state? Other artists’ work? The mark you make on the page?  Form specific ideas about the act of making art, not generalized phrases that appear in so many statements

What inspires me to create is an urge to do it. There is no way to describe this, its just something in me that says you need to "make something" and I get the idea for what it is in my head and then every inch of my being feels the need to carry through with it. I am inspired be other artists who do good work, I sometimes feel that I could do what they did or I could do what they did in a better or new way. If something is particularly good I feel the need to do something to prove I am that good as well. I have this very competitive drive in creating art. I want to be the best and have the best work I can. 

B.    How has your art evolved in the 5 years? 1 year? 6 months? Pick those that are appropriate to the length of your career and write about them. What has stayed the same? What are common threads? What has changed a little? What has changed dramatically? How have you felt about your art along the way?

I guess it has really be 1 year in metalsmithing and object design but I honestly feel like this is the first time I am creating work. I want everything I create to not be "a school project", I want it to have a deeper emotional meaning to me so that the work is that much stronger. I want to do every thing I can do in a piece and I like to overextend my skill to see if I can handle it. I have been creating art since I was a child and I guess I have had professional training for about 6 years now. My work has always had a social criticism and a playful aspect that I want to retain, but it also shows my hand. Nothing is ever "perfect" looking, it has a look of humanity. 

C.   Describe the process of thinking about your work and how it comes together     in your mind.  Do not describe the actual making of the work.  How do you begin an artwork? What inspires you to start it? Then, what is the first step? Is it a drawing? a photograph? a single mark?

I try to think about WHY I am creating the work and then I take that and see how far I can take it. I start to draw it out and I make charts and webs of the topic to refine the work. Then I just go at it and start to make tons of sketches and maquettes of the sketches to try and figure it out. I then start to work on it and if the material demands that I am unable to do this then I will go back and redesign and rethink. Sometimes what I design is not possible and I only find it out by doing it. Then I will make multiple versions to see which comes out the best and mix and match different elements so that everything comes out to be the best of every element I can do. 

D.   How do you physically go about putting a work of art together? What are the steps that are involved?  Is this a process understood by the majority of people? Or would it be helpful for you to define it somehow? If so, try to find the words. Do you approach a traditional medium in a unique way?

I change it up a little bit every time. I really do a mix and match sort of thing where I will make multiples of each element and then go back and redesign the "final" version in order to make it the best of every other part of every sample I have made. I approach all mediums about the same way which is the interesting part. I will make different elements and features even in drawings I like to take pieces and trace them and move them or even physically stitch them together. 

E.    Thinking back and looking back on what you have written so far this week, select the points that you feel are most relevant and unique about how you work.

I think that part that is the most unique really is the way I mix and match elements. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week 6- Recap

I would like to announce to the world, I have made a hinge. Okay, it's really nothing to write home about, but its something and I am proud of it. I worked on my remedial filing today as well and its getting better. I just need to keep at it.

I need to work on filing my chamfers and my soldier usage. I am going to make a few more on my test piece for my container so, it should be quite nice. 
I also finalized a lot of the design after a long talk with Katja today. That is something I really love about Towson. They have an amazing grad program with super helpful, super informed grad students that are easy to talk with and really help you sort out what you are thinking. I'm really appreciative for their time and efforts. They really bring a lot to the table every day. But, back to what I was saying, I figured out that specific details with my hinge after talking to her that I think really will work. It means a little more work for me, but the results should be amazingly better. 
I made a timeline that if I follow perfectly will allow me about 4 days to really clean it up and finish it up. I want the actual etching and forming done by Monday night or Tuesday afternoon by the latest giving me time to make the internal framing and hinges this week. This will only leave the attachment of the hinge and the final details like the gesso and colored pencil finishing (which reminds me to throw some scrap pieces to be etched to get some practice in on that before its show time). 
I want to knock out the etching and the practice hinge on the sample this weekend for sure. I have all day tomorrow to cut and file before work and Saturday afternoon to make the hinge giving me Sunday after work to cut out the face plates and prepare it for soldering Monday. During all this I can work at the same time etching and practicing the finishing of the surface. It should be really nice. I realized I have to make this sample perfectly anyway because I needed something to stretch the gut over. If I do it on the actual piece I will pull off any finishing I do and get the texture of the etching which is not what I think I am going for. I will do some tests after I make a few samples this weekend. 

D & P-

Really on track at the moment with this. Not much to report this week, really working on my rhino models and I hope to post up some screen captures later this weekend. I want to get a few different forms and play with the scale of them to get them rapid prototyped and then finished. I will go into more detail about this as it goes on. I am waiting on some samples to arrive back first before I move any further. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week 6- Jewelry 3- Hinge Sample Failures and Die Forming Sucesses

Its been a long day, roughly 16 hours between the studio at school and the makeshift studio I set up at my house.  My hands are almost too tired to type, but I learned so much today, I feel totally different then I did this morning. I don't know where to start, the good, the not so good, or the totally ugly. I think I will start with the ugly.

Attempt #2
So, I went to soldier my first hinge, Guess what, the knuckles were completely crooked because the pin was too loose. I took it out. So ends attempt number 1 with me heating and removing the knuckles from the sheet.

Attempt number 2, the soldiering goes much better. Everything it tacked in place and its beautiful right? WRONG, the knuckles were too small and thus a very flimsy hinge was created. So ends Attempt 2, with me removing the two hinges from the right side.

Attempt 3, showed more promise. I cut two knuckles to fill the gaps, I tacked them was wonderful right? WRONG! Apparently the entire time that top knuckle was throwing the rest of them off. So I removed all the knuckles and went back to the drawing board with the intention of re-filing the groove and placing the knuckles back on the plates. I removed the knuckles, began to file and noticed it was no longer really square. So ends Attempt #3 with it completely in pieces in a little bag.

Attempt #4, Okay, this time I'm Going to do it RIGHT! This is my current attempt and I think according to a quote given out during the demo for hinge making, I have 1 more if I really want to learn how to do it. And, I am sure I will get there. Thanks to John Shea, I learned how to properly file today. Okay, wait let me bold that, I learned how to properly file today! This is a major deal for me. Anyway, I filed the 45 with no problems, filed in the groove and got the brilliant idea to make a template for measuring in rhino so I merely had to line up my dividers to the exact measurements. I even made one for cutting the tubing with a cut guideline so allow for filing flat and filing in the chamfer.

Attempts Completed: 3
For Tomorrow:
- Draw Down Tubing again, ran out/I want to make it slightly smaller
- Cut Tubing
- Soldier in Place

I think I have corrected a lot of the mistakes I made the first few times. The groove needs to be perfect, the pin needs to be super tight, and if its not working don't try to make it work just restart it. Also, doing all this showed me exactly how I will have to do it on my actual project so that's the better news.

BUT that's not all I did today.
Last night, I finished cutting out my official die for the project! This morning, I put it all together, filed it nicely and started my pressings. Okay, so the die is not as perfect as I wanted; however, it is doing exactly what I want so as long as its working I don't want to change it.

So far, just testing to get the exact pressures right for the actual piece. I also began to draw out the patterns with the resist onto the 18ga copper. I decided to go with 18 because it will be etched on both sides which will thin the metal considerably. I am thinking of testing it with both 18 and 20 ga to see which is the best result. I want to have the same flower pattern on the inside the each part of the outside will be different to show her different personalities.

In all, I am a little concerned about getting the hinge sample done tomorrow, but after work I am headed to the studio for a little while to get the tubing sorted out. As for the project, I think it is at the point now where I can get these plates etched and just knock it out this week and soldier it together next week. I have decided to leave the backing quite simple. It will be lightly formed with the same flat etching on the inside. The back will be a series of ball-headed rivets that "poke" you as you wear it. It serves as a tactical memory.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 6- Design and Production - "Big Picture Stuff"

Starting to work on my Artist Statement, just some big picture stuff.

A. When do you first remember making art?
I don't remember the first time I started to make art, but I have drawn since I was a child. There really hasn't been a time when I wasn't making art.
- What were the experiences like?
Generally it was a past-time when I had nothing else to do, then I became more and more compelled to do it. I have never found "art" I couldn't make, so it was a constant challenge to keep making art.
- What compelled you to return to art throughout your life?
I have always been in an art program. Since I was a young child, art has been deeply rooted to my education. I have been compelled to stay with art because it is all I know and all I want to do.
- When did you first consider yourself an artist?
When I started at Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in High School. When I was accepted into the program and after my first year I decided this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

B. Experience with Specific Artwork
 There are so many different pieces that have influenced me, so I guess its cheating here but, what draws me to all of these is the same. It is the emotion that is gives, not the subject or color, it gives a feeling. There is this moment when you see a good piece of art that captures your attention. It makes your eye follow all its curves and makes you wonder about it. That is what draws me to it. I try to get this quality in my work. I want people to take the deeper look.

C. Influences
I have a few different influences. I love the work of Droog, Mio, Sally Mann, Lucian Freud and Rodin. My tastes vary due to different years in different programs throughout high school and the first two years in college. I think that my recent interests (Droog and Mio) have been really based off the idea of sustainability and the clean look they both have. They have made me want to create clean, modern, sustainable products yet at the same time be true to my own voice and my own ideas. I am  also often influenced by the social media artists that share their work on youtube. I think that artists like Juliana Daily who have taken there music to the mass market without a label are the future of the music industry.

D. How does your work relate to art that has been produced in the past?
I like some of the older motifs. I like the idea of the victorian elements simplified like in art nouveau or the arts and crafts movement. I think that some great work can be produced by looking back at what has been done and using it as an influence.
-How does it relate to art that you are seeing in your community, exhibitions, or in art publications? what is similar? what do you consider to be unique to you?
I have not really produced that much work recently. I have really spent most of my time feeling out what I wanted to do. My new work and my new ideas seem to be along some of the work see out there. It is similar in is simplicity and loosely nature based representations. It is different in the way it is shaped and the variations around the similar forms. I think the way I use the shapes and symbols is unique to me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 6- Design and Production- Let's Go Digital

So Today, I made my large bud pendant in Rhino. I made it with a loop on the back and without a loop to see how it looks. They were then sent out to Shapeways to be printed in Black glass and I should see them back roughly October 18th.

From there, I want to take the flat backed piece and try to bezel set that in sterling silver. It is supposed to be a high gloss finish. I wonder what it will actually look like, but I have plenty of time to get it back and reorder for the show.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Color are your GUTS Part 2!

This is the results of yesterdays dying of gut:

I also experimented with mixing the colors:

I am loving the red/yellow and the blue. There is not enough difference in the color of the green for me and for my project I really think that reddish one is where I want to go with it. This is all a single layer of gut put on styrofoam to dry. The Styrofoam gives it this really cool texture that I want to play up in the future. I have also found that it looks the best when it is still attached to the metal and hasn't been pulled off the first time. I did find; however, that you can re-wet the gut and smooth it back over the metal to get a similar effect. I have also found that mod podge sufficiently coats the metal so it does not stick and seems to protect it slightly from the wetness of the gut. 

Also, a single layer of gut can be dried in about 5 minutes with a hair dryer on a low setting. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Color are your GUTS!

So, I have been continuing my experimentation with hog gut this weekend. Today's experiment was dying the gut different colors. 

My process:
1. Rinse salt brine off the gut. This is best done with lukewarm or room temperature water. It softens the gut allowing it to expand slightly. This also removes some of the odor. 
2. Put about 1 cup of cold water to about 5 drops of food dye in a pot and put it on low heat.
3. BEFORE THE PAN HEATS UP, place the guts in the water in the pot. At this point, you have to be quick, the water in the pan still needs to be cold! This will allow the gut to begin to soften and begin to absorb the color. 
4. Keep stirring constantly, the gut cannot get HOT, it can be warm but not hot. When it is almost to the desired color you wish take the gut from the water. At this point again, the water can not be hot. Under no circumstances should it be allowed to boil or even begin to be close to a boil. This  will ruin your gut. 
5. Take the gut and open the end placing it around the opening of a faucet. Turn on the water and allow it to fill the casing (like sausage). This is expanding the casing without tearing it, make sure you put the water in slowly or it will rip. This also makes it very soft at this point.
6. Drain water and fill the casing with air. This will allow the dye to get into any recesses that may have been missed before. How you fill it with air is up to you, I'm pretty strong stomached so I pretty much just blow into it keeping it as far away from my face as possibly. It's a pretty funny sight to see, but this stuff has a pretty strong smell before it dries. 
7. Return to the pot of color for about 2-4minutes while it is still filled with air, keep it moving so it coats all the sides. 
8. Remove from heat. If it is not as dark as you want it, then take the color and the gut and put put it to air cool, it will continue to dye until you remove it from the color. 
9. Rinse the gut throughly. 
10. Final treatments as before in soaking the gut for about an hour until soft. 



orange and red 
Here is the results of the gut that has not be dyed and was allowed to air dry overnight:
 Still Wet, 2 layers of Gut
 Dry, just the gut, 2 layers with a finish of modge podge on to
Below: The Gut and the dapped copper bowl I used for the sample.

From here:

1. Going to try a tube rivet, ball headed rivet, and a standard rivet in brass and copper on the first set of gut
2. Going to attempt to find faster ways of drying times (maybe a hair dryer?)
3. Stretch the colored gut.