poly clay pipe bowl, process summary one.

I’ve been doodling schematics to build an e-pipe out of an old wooden pipe I have (which has its own long story, too) and decided that I needed a bowl to play around with- maybe two, or three. In reading up on traditional pipe woods, and researching blank pipe blocks and such, I came to the realization that I have a little pile of perfectly-beautiful rootstock driftwood with awesome grain…but I don’t want to start with something difficult. I want to test my schematics, and get some practice in with figuring out placements, sizes, and specs before I pour time into a piece.

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So I am using poly clay to map out my ideas. Since there will be no fire, no burning, and the bowl of the pipe will not be in anyone’s mouth- it’s perfectly safe to use as a pipe for vaping (PV style- I don’t smoke pot so I have no clue about the temperatures for that, or if poly clay would work, so you’re on your own, potheads.)

I’m using liquid acrylics to make the ivory clay different tones. This first time I’m more concerned with getting the size right and the shape and stuff, or as close to ok as possible, than with prettiness, so I am just using a couple browns I like and aiming for a kind of general pale woodgrain thing.

Here you can see, poly clay, warmed up and kneaded, and two colors of liquid acrylic ink. On top of my schematic sketches.

After getting my clay warm and ready, I broke it up into a few balls. Then I added some color to one-

CAM02685[1]Just enough to tone it brown, warm. And then kneaded it in (I do not have any tools for working clay, I do it by hand and then work over the baked pieces with a dremel) You have to knead it in until there are no bubbles, and no more “pockets” of ink or paint in it. It shouldn’t really be homogenously colored, for what I’m doing, so I just worked it in until it was pretty well the same consistency throughout.

I’m using Waverly acrylics here- Bill makes amazing tattoo inks for professionals, and also has this sideline of making incredible paints.

His brown is incredibly intense on paper. Here, it ends up very diluted.

My hands get really gross from this paint.

You have to get poopy hands to do this stuff properly. If you wear gloves, you’re cheating and your stuff will come out ugly. I swear it.

CAM02686[1]I did the same for a nice antelope brown, it’s a sort of olive green/yellowish amber color that is hard to pin down.

It’s another one of my favorites for painting, FW makes very fluid inks and paints.

I used a bit more of this color and more clay in this color, I really like it.

To be noted: I now have moldy, poopy hands.

If you want more color saturation, you can use tube acrylics, or even oil paints or pigments. Just make sure that the clay stays elastic, bendy. If it starts to fall apart, you’re watering it down too much with paint. You want the clay to be able to set up strong and hard, not crumbly or brittle.

I ended up adding about three rounds of ink. I just squeeze some out onto the blob, knead it in and spread it around the surface. I try not to trap any liquid or any air inside the blob either, bubbles will bake to the surface later and wreck the finish.

At this point the clay is really warm and goopy.

I did a third ball of amber tone brown, I won’t show that one as it is pretty boring to see pictures of a poopy, exorcist-pukey, moldy hand.

yes, that's an old 510 battery as a mini rolling pin.

yes, that’s an old 510 battery as a mini rolling pin.

Now you roll out all three balls into flat pieces. I make them about an eighth of an inch thick at this point. I don’t want the colors to get muddied or blend together too much.

I’m also being lazy.

Roll out all three, then make a sandwich of them. I put the greenish brown in the middle and the creamy amber on top. It doesn’t matter much though, because once you stack them? pat them til they meld together a little, then roll THAT out into a thinner piece.

I did this once. again- lazy.

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CAM02693[1]CAM02694[1]Take a break for some iced tea.

Now, I took a baggie. I put some black ink on top of my sandwich of clay, then folded it in half and put it in the bag. Then I rolled it out again. Then I folded it over.

Then I rolled it out again. I kind of did this a few times at random angles, trying to get the black to make layers.

I did this only until I felt like the pattern was sort of woodsy (that word. I love anything woodsy)

By this point everything is covered in poopy mold and pea soup. It’s awesome. Sometimes a mess is what you need. I had kind of a rough day, I couldn’t sleep last night, I’m waiting on someone I did a commission for to let me know they got my email, and I am broker than usual…which is always depressing.

So this messy clay is therapeutic.

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CAM02697[1]Now I took whatever was handy (a pen) and mushed the clay layers around into each other, poking dents into the clay, making little hashmarks and stuff. I find that if you do this in an organic pattern- not perfect or symmetrical, but simply balanced in randomness with some repeating elementsthen it looks more like wood.

I’ve made wood-grain clay before, and it came out better than this will, because I was more concerned with the graininess that time.

Then I get out my one-dollar cure-all shank knife, and slice the ragged edges off.

I used the little bits left over to plug up the depressions and dents.

This kind of makes “knots” if you do it right. I didn’t do it quite right.

Then roll it out one last time, and check it- it looks like MEATWOOD!

seriously. meat, wood.

seriously. meat, wood.

CAM02700[1]CAM02702[1]Now I can start to shape the bowl. Finally. I made the rolled out clay a little too thin this time. I think I should have made it maybe twice as thick as I wanted the bowl to end up, the walls of the bowl. But I made it only a little thicker, so I ended up making the bowl thinner-walled than I’d wanted. I kept lining it up with my to-scale sketch, to make sure I wasn’t making anything the wrong size for the hardware I’ll be putting in later.

I even tucked the tank wize I will be using on it, into the stem to check. I did however forget to account for shrinkage- polyclay shrinks a bit when you bake it.

But there’s a simple fix for that- I can just kind of ream out the stem (shank?) when I get to the dremel stages, and make a little more room- or use a little bit of epoxy in there to hold something tightly in the shank.

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I got pretty close to the right size and shape.

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double checking stuff against my very precise planning sketch.

double checking stuff against my very precise planning sketch.

oh man, that bowl is crooked. I'll mess with it some more.

oh man, that bowl is crooked. I’ll mess with it some more.

Now that I’ve got things sort of situated, I get a sheet of aluminum foil out, big enough to make a tent all around the pipe. It shouldn’t touch the clay at all, or it’ll singe it. I packed all the holes with coffee filters torn and mushed to the right supporting shape, and put a folded bit of filter under the base of the pipe, between the pipe and the foil.

Then I stuck it in the oven at 275 and waited about forty five minutes.
Then I yanked it out fast and dunked it into very cold water for about five minutes.
Then I wiped it off and took more photos.
The next step after this is the dremel, rasps, files, and sanding. I will probably buff a mild shine on the surface but I don’t like the glassy look too much so I may tone that down. Or even engrave with the dremel a nice testure to match the “grain” of the wood. I think it came out pretty well for a first attempt at this, and tomorrow I’ll post either the second attempt, or the pictures of this being worked over and finished out.
I’ll probably have to add a third post to show the wiring and stuff I’m planning; but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I have a nice unfinished “wood” clay pipe to work with.

Sorry for the dark photos, I will get awesome bright daytime ones tomorrow, I promise.
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juice reviews three! rocketfuel, vaporchef, gremlin, and diy.

I got a pile of samples from rocketfuel last week, and left them to steep while I was gone camping out. I also have a handful of other flavors to taste tonight! YAY excitement! I’m using a plain ole 510 dripping atty on an ego twist at whatever setting tastes best. All juices are as close to 100% VG as I was able to get. They’re all at either 18 or 12mg nic content, too.

HORRIFYING UPDATE. I have now also spilled ALL of the ol’ river all over myself. That’s two bottles spilled, one of them my favorite of the bunch. GAWDAMMIT SHITWHORE.

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new stuff I’ve discovered in my vaporizing time.

  • Cigarettes don’t taste very good. I can’t finish one now.
  • Every single memory I have, besides really fuzzy small-child ones, are ones that involve smoking. I don’t think I’ve done anything in my whole life without a lit cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Until recently, every single moment was punctuated by a smoke.
  • I still roll down the car window to vape, just like I did when smoking- even though there’s no reason for it.
  • If you started out by buying blu stuff, you can use those cartomizers they sell at the gas station on an ego battery.
  • You can also refill those things with better quality nicotine juice if for some reason all your other gear stops working.
  • If you bought clearomizers and they stop working, you can take them apart and clean them…
  • You can also take them apart and completely destroy them and have to get new ones.
  • I like drip tips. I like chewing on something when I “smoke”. I used to clench and chomp on the filter of my cigarettes, too. Bitey. They make cheap plastic ones that make it easier to chew them to shreds, otherwise I’d have broken all my teeth off on the steel ones by now.
  • VCV is hip. They have the cheapest beginner set-up ever right now. No, they didn’t pay me to say that, but if they want to, I’ll take it. This is the basics you need, all the stuff I recommended in my past post about this stuff…for like 15 bucks. And their juices are delicious.
  • If you can’t taste your vaporizer juices, chew on an unused tampon and it will cure it.
  • Switching from smoking to vaping is easier than it sounds.
  • I still don’t smoke marijuana, but I like reading about people making stuff out of it.
GAH. and yes, that's one of those little flosser things for your teeth.

GAH. and yes, that’s one of those little flosser things for your teeth.

I fully destroyed half my gear today. I am definitely not now and have never been very mechanically-minded. I mean, I once tried lost wax and sand casting machine frames, and almost killed everyone in the workshop (don’t ask) and I have been known to fix a tattoo machine by throwing it against the wall, cursing it with vile imprecations. (It worked perfectly after that). I think moonbeams repair cell phones, and I firmly believe little gremlins in a plastic case are the reason my laptop functions.

trying out some new mechanical equipment and hating every minute of it.

trying out some new mechanical equipment and hating every minute of it.

I once tried to build a PC, too. Franenstein kind of works, but he lives in the basement and is not allowed to be fed electricity.

And I can’t wait until PVs are just as fiddle-free as all the other things I use regularly and have no clue about.

(My car is the exception to all this. A lifetime of poverty and strangeness has forced me to know how a car basically works and the life-sustaining things I must do to it. Not that I want to, or that I will if there’s a mechanic I can afford- but I know how. It wasn’t fun to get to this level of knowledge though, and I’d almost rather NOT understand why you shouldn’t take every sparkplug wire off an 8-cylinder van all at once to replace them.)

the baron.

the baron.

something else I made today- and a quick up for PV using instead of smoking.

I haven’t smoked in two days, and I’ve smoked a single pack of cigarettes in the past week. I finally got good gear for PV/ecig use, so I haven’t felt the urge to smoke.

I can also see this becoming an all-consuming side hobby for me. I made these little desk-props for my pvs today out of polyclay. I plan to paint them (one’s a dick, one’s tits, and one is an eye)…maybe I’ll make a few more too, that are a little more interesting or fleshed-out.

PV e-cig desk prop or holders

“dwelling portably, formerly known as Message Post, Sept, 2001-2005”

Printed originally in “dwelling portably, formerly known as Message Post, Sept, 2001-2005”

A tightly-printed little stapled zine, Dwelling Portably was printed in Philomath OR. I have three or four issues of it, and it would be almost two novels’ worth of typing to get them posted online in their entirety. This zine is CRAMMED with text, tiny tiny text. I’ll try to get the more interesting snippets up.

“”about Chaz’s hobo castle and Ozark land,

I don’t recommend building around campers. Building around something is much more difficult, and the result is not a new building because this old thing is in there. Better to start from scratch and, if you do a good job, you will have something worthwhile when you’re done. If I was doing it again, I would build a straw-bale house.

I now have a far better toilet system, inspired by Joe Jenkins’ Humanure Handbook. I now cover with sawdust, then compost. If done properly, the heat will kill all pathogens, and, in two years, I’ll be able to use the compost directly on my garden. Eastwind Community has successfully used this system for several years, and fertilize their extensive organic gardens. I helped collect one day.

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is your art good enough to sell online?

Short answer? Yes.

Long, realistic answer?

pretty on the inside

I show you my heart.

Putting your art up online is kind of like showing it in a gallery. You may not be the best at your particular art style, but if you want to improve, showing the internet what you are doing is a good way to get better. There are so many skill levels, so many ways of expressing yourself; the internet is home to them all.

If you’re really timid, start slow. Use deviantart, and request critiques. Once you feel like you can handle more harsh views, try some art forums, and ask for opinions.

Or, alternately, you can dive right in. We all start where we are. Try to get very good pictures of your work. never upload giant files; upload files that are just big enough to look good on a monitor, no larger. Image theft is common, and sometimes unintentional. If you watermark unobtrusively, and only upload smaller files, you’ll find more people credit you when reposting or sharing your work. You want people to do that, because that is how you will sell your art online.

Etsy is a good starter for artists. It’s not the best venue for fine art, but it can be a good way to get your feet wet. Be cautious, though, as most of the advice on using etsy is not written with art in mind, but easily-reproducible craft. Your painting can’t be tagged and posted the same way a t-shirt can. This is why etsy is only a starter site.

The Craftstar has a decent art section, but you will have to have a paypal and pay for listing in advance.

You could also opt for one of the other sites geared for art sales- originals are harder to sell most places than prints, but it IS possible to sell just originals online.

If you are just starting out, keep your prices as low as possible. Once you are selling your work on a regular basis, then you can raise your prices. At first, it’s unknown if you will succeed or not. Most people not only buy art for its look, for how it grabs the eye, but also for the artist’s longevity, their name, their history. Build your history a little!

It’s the internet. You should maintain privacy for your own comfort and safety of course-but letting people get to know you, talking about deep or personal things, lets the viewer understand the origin of your works, and become more invested in them. Give them a chance to find out where the art came from. You can be a cantankerous bitch hermit like me and STILL be capable of showing your inner self online. You don’t have to be outgoing to do it; you can talk as if the site was your own art journal, your own notes about each piece.

So- yeah. Your art is good enough to sell online- at etsy or anywhere else. Keep your expectations of sales low at first, and your prices the same, and then as time passes you will see how your work can fit into the greater whole of online art.

And if you need encouragement, ask for it. And if you need a slap on the wrist, or a sound drubbing, you should ask for that too. All the help you could ever want from other artists lives inside your computer, but it can only do you good if you put your own work in there too.

home tattooing, round 13,879

http://resonanteye.net/2012/01/06/on-learning-to-tattoo/

 

Needlestick injuries, are also a consideration.

The risks associated with home tattooing start with minor Staph infections and end with septicemia (which can be fatal) and transmission of serious, life-threatening viruses. Also, using your home as a tattoo studio puts you and your family at extreme risk of infections and diseases. Simply put, this is not safe, and is most likely against the law.

Learning on your own will not allow you the ability to use modern techniques and equipment, since most retailers will not sell professional-grade equipment to amateurs. Despite what you may have read on the internet, there are NO books that will teach you everything you need to know to be a tattoo artist. These will only give you bits of information, and without good, working equipment and true, complete information, you just can’t tattoo all that well.

If you’re planning on doing this for fun, don’t bother. It is an actual, honest-to-god, real-life career, and should be approached as one.

online selling, etsy, ethics.

Update: people are beginning to migrate from the (myspace )I mean – etsy. Here is a page attempting to list their new shops and venues. And other are protesting it all.

The place has always had resellers; people breaking the rules to pass off mass-produced stuff as handmade.
There’s a lot of money to be had from people who want to NOT support corporations, who want to buy local, handmade stuff. A lot of people don’t like buying things that were made for pennies by slave labor. Lots of companies know that, and will lie about how their stuff was made, to get that dollar.

The people who produce things with slave labor want that dollar, too.

“Former eBay and PayPal executive Stephanie Tilenius has joined the Board of Directors of Etsy, joining Etsy founder Rob Kalin, FlickR’s Caterina Fake, Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson, and Accel Partners’ Jim Breyer (also on Walmart.com.’s board) on the board. Tilenius left eBay last year and now heads Google’s commerce division.”

So they invaded etsy (and a few other places) and have been trying for a while now to find ways to successfully sell to people who don’t want to buy from them. Recently, an attempt to pass off furniture built in Bali as “handmade in CA” was busted. The thing is- etsy isn’t supposed to be a place to buy factory-made goods being resold. Its own mission statement says that buying direct from people who are making things by hand, not in factories, is the point.

I signed up there because of that but now…well, the fact that when confronted with a (GIANT SHITPILE OF) evidence, including an email from the man who actually makes the furniture, that the stuff is not produced in CA, and that the original seller is a fraud, etsy chose not to apologize, not to admit fault and remove the seller—but to close discussions about it and deny. (note- the fraudulent seller? is not only still open, but still in their list of “featured sellers”)
So, I’m in the process of migrating. (check out my home page– new links to my stuff for now! All my rocks, sticks, logs, and moss will stay on etsy- but anything I made, art, paintings and stuff- originals- has been moved. still debating whether to keep my prints there or not, my “production work”)

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basic lettering for tattoos, script

lettering in script tattoo styleI do not know enough about lettering to call myself any kind of expert.

seriously. (check out some of my art with lettering in it for verification of that)

I am sometimes shaky, I am often confused by fonts, and although I have done thousands of tattoos with text in them, I still struggle with the forms and shapes. I owe the little I DO know about lettering to B.J. Betts, who is well-known in tattooing as a real expert on this stuff- he has some books out, if you are a professional tattoo artist you should keep your eyes peeled for them and buy them. (but if you work in a shop or have been around a while you already own all his stuff…)

I learned to do lettering before I ever heard of his work- the way I learned was through calligraphy, and through sign painting. A combination of those things and Betts’s work has formed my meager abilities.

Here’s a walk through on drawing this stuff. If you’re a tattooer you will naturally make the proper adjustments to the text as you go in order to make it applicable to skin, so I won’t be explaining the precise tech needed for that. If you just want to add a tattoo to a painting, a drawing, if you are not a tattoo artist you can use this how-to to make script lettering … or if you are doodling reference for your tattoo artist to build you a tattoo from, you can do this to give them an idea of what you’re after.

This is a step-by-step for script, cursive lettering in a slanted style in which the letters are connected.

I will post a separate one for block or stylized lettering next.

My tools:

Liquid acrylic ink,

fountain pen

(with round nib- just what I prefer)

colored pencil

(for beginning sketch/marking symmetry)

standard black #2 pencil

tracing paper, paper that is easy for ink lines

(I am using a scrap of srches hotpress here)

The rest of the steps, after the jump.

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on learning to tattoo.

owl tattoo brown tattoos on hipI get a lot of people asking me how to get started, wanting to show their art and find out if they should try to be tattoo artists.

They will ask about apprenticeships, teaching, equipment, schools, kits, “practicing at home”, “teaching themselves”, and all kinds of other stuff. I took the time a while ago to write up an article explaining how to get into tattooing the right way, how to learn without fucking people up, and how to find a decent place to learn from.

I hope this helps someone decide to go the right path to tattooing, and helps others decide it’s just not worth that much to them.

If you really are dedicated and persistent, if you really, really mean it, then you will eventually get there.

Unless you take shortcuts. Don’t take those. Do it the right way, even though it’s harder at the start.

I don’t review portfolios or teach anyone; but if you have more questions after reading this article, feel free to email me.

 

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”
– Leo Tolstoy

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