Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Tiny Marbles, Big Horizons
I've also try to avoid doing small ones, unless it's a quick test of a new colour or technique, when they start getting under about 20mm they become really tricky to hold and shape well. And to be blunt, despite the work involved, because of the small size people expect them to be sold for pennies. So these days I try to go for a comfortable balance between sizes, going often for the size the marble wants to be.
Then about a month ago I had an interesting enquiry from a chap who was re-creating the 'Men In Black' Orion's Belt prop. For those few people who haven't seen the movie, it's a little metal pendant that hangs from a cat's (a cat called Orion) collar, inside which is a little marble which contains an entire miniature galaxy. Well, it is a sci-fi/fantasy film!
I've had a few requests like this in the past, but what has made this different is that he's been using 3D printing techniques to produce it. As yet I've not seen the kit or bits, but I've had several enquires asking for marbles 18mm or smaller!
They are getting better, and more detailed, as I find tricks and colours that let me get around these problems. I don't think I am ever going to ever exactly copy the CGI created original, which I know it what the people making these props really want! In the meantime it's been quite interesting to make them at such extremes, and they've seemed to go down well with marble and glass collectors too.
While all this has been going on I've had to drastically increase my shipping charges to USA & Canada, so that I can send parcels tracked and signed for, as I've had an awful run of packages not turning up. One of these was a commission for tiny marbles as well, which were even smaller and a nightmare to make. A compensation claim from Royal Mail can take months, (and I've had them wanting to prove how much it costs in materials to make) but it's letting down customers I hate most. I'm not using small envelopes anymore either, larger ones stops them being slipped into pockets, and gives more room for all the Post Office stickers! I once had a parcel from the USA with 14 USPS and PO stickers on it, so I've no idea how many end up on the ones I send to USA!