Monday, 25 February 2013

Bumpy Marbles, and Bombs

Little Bomblets! Not quite 40mm long, and make of solid glass
I'm now on the final countdown for Birmingham, three weeks to go, and loads to do! Plus whatever rush (fingers crossed) that Mothers day might bring at Greenwich. Yet I've still been experimenting with some new ideas and techniques.

Bumpy world loaded with metallic lusters
Whilst developing some ideas for alien specimens, I started playing around with some techniques for adding ceramic-like textures to the glass. I've been developing that further, and whilst doing so I thought I'd re-visit planet marbles.

Now I've not really been happy with any ways I've used so far to make planets, other than the little worlds that I make and I've not been able to really upscale those or make really interesting alien coloured worlds in them either. Chucking in these new ideas though has produced some much more interesting worlds, and now they are starting to feel a little more like what I was after. As I was working them I became a bit disappointed how encasing them lost some of the lovely metallic lusters and bumpy matt effects. So the obvious thing was to try some un-encased, and then push them even further! So, here are some of the results, they've been quite fun to make, plus I've been able to even add in some icy white polar caps as well. I posted pictures over on Frit Happens and Facebook, and have been really pleasantly surprised at how well they've been appreciated, so have made a few more and have listed a few on Etsy.

Smooth world, with swirls of white over one of the poles

Whilst playing with this I noticed how like old painted metal some of the colours were coming out, and as I was pulling out a glass stringer from a larger rod noted how 'bomb-like' the shape was. It seemed like a good idea then to combine these, which I think will now end up being incorporated into the head-dress project too. I also tried a quick red one too, and put a loop on it so it could be a pendant, but I haven't got the shape quite as I wanted that one. Not entirely happy with the fins on the grey-black one, but I do like how the surface texture makes it look like a World War II bomb that someone has accidental dug up!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Plastic and Bullets

I seem to have several projects on the go, the problem often is finding time to finish them or just that last component that will make it work. Embarrassingly, for far too many months gathering dust I have some glass from another artist for a collaboration that have sat in a box in the corner of the workshop/office/studio/storeroom that I seem to live in right now. The problem with that one has been finding two odd bits that will bring it to life, plus some old text books that are buried in the attic. I am sure I will get to it (eventually.)

Crown blank neatly cut out by machine
A newer project that has been rattling around my head for a year or two saw a step closer this week to actually getting out of my head and into the real world. It is going to be a head-dress, or a crown, or something like that - it's still taking shape. I'd could describe it, but I won't, because partly it might spoil the magic of it comeing to life, but mostly because I'm not totally sure how it's going to come together yet.

One key part needed was some old bullet cases, but it's taken until my short New Year break to be able to pop along to a local army surplus store to rummage around for some fired blank shells in various sizes. At the same time I bought some blank tiara/alice bands from a haberdashers which were going to form the base. However once I'd got home I realised they were too thin, too flexiable, and also I'd need to bolt parts onto them at right angles.

Faced with having to cut out a crown shape by hand didn't really fill me with excitement. I was debating between aluminium sheet and acyrlic, both are light, acyrlic was cheaper but I remembered the problems I had last time when cutting through a sheet. I used my trusty electric scrollsaw, very carefully taking my time to saw through so I got a neat straight line. When I finaly got to the end the heat of the blade had just re-welded the plastic together again! So, aluminium it would be.

I was going to order a sheet when on Saturday morning I was setting up at Greenwich and inspiration was setting up a few stalls away in the shape of 'The Shed Laser Co.' who make all sorts of things out of acyrlic! I remember chatting to Sarah who said she could cut anything to order, so I described what I wanted, got a quote, and was sorted!

 Monday afternoon I spent drafting on the PC, then cutting out bits of paper trying to get the shape and sizes right, before emailing Sarah with the design - even down to having the holes so I didn't need to drill them out (and risk cracking the plastic while doing so.) Next Saturday morning I was at Greenwich she gave me the crown base, all neatly cut out! If I'd have done this by hand it wouldn't be anywhere near as neat, I'd have been hot and bothered, broken a few blades, and probably just put off doing it! If you want to do something like this too, and need some plastic 'printed' I know Sarah is in the market most weekends, and you can find 'Theshedlaserco' on facebook too! (I tried to put the link, but for somereason blogger doesn't want to!)

Hopefully there will be more on this head-dress/crown/head-art-installation in forthcoming blogs as i make up some more parts of it.