on becoming outgoing

the ghost writerI used to be really, really shy.

I went through years of just never talking to anyone, just going home after work. Reading. Spending time alone or with one or two friends. Then I went through a long, angry phase of hating people who were social. That lasted a while.

At some point, BAM! I was no longer so shy.

As soon as I didn’t care what anyone thought, things got a lot easier. If someone doesn’t like me, it doesn’t really matter. I mean of course there are people that I’d like to have like me- I still don’t feel all the way happy in a crowd- but now, it’s discomfort, a bit of anxiety, whereas before it was crippling and it kept me alone most of the time.

Of course some people don’t like me much, now that I am a loudmouth. But then again…some people wouldn’t have liked me no matter what I did.

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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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naked mole rat process round two!

I woke up this morning with absolutely no knowledge about casts, molds, or anything

like that.

I had a stoneclay nakedmolerat, and a dream.
I also got: pam cooking spray, sculptamold, a jug of water, the oven on at 250 degrees, a fan, and the mole rat.I got: silicone caulk, glycerin, acrylic paint, a plastic spoon, a few bowls.

 

I also got aluminum foil, a towel to scrub my hands off, and a few extra things to scrape and mix with.

I mixed a bit of glycerin with a squirt of acrylic paint in a bowl, then added a TON of the silicone. I mixed it til it was consistent throughout, then sprayed my hands with pam and got them greasy, then I picked up the entire lump of silicone, and wrapped the mole rat in it, about 1/2″ thick.

I also made a silicone mold of  a monkey face toy, a cat and dog and rabbit face toy, all which happened to be 0n the table I was working next to.

the silicone set FAST. like, within twenty minutes it was solid. I cut a slit slong the back, and pulled out the mole rat.

it had made a perfect mold of him!

I mixed up sculptamold. the package says one-to-one with water, but that was too wet. I just kneaded enough water into it for it to be like dough. and then pressed it into the mold of the mole rat, filling it completely.

I let it stand for a bit, then put it into the oven at 200 degrees.

 

when I pulled it out, it came out of the mold easily…

the mole rats I made this way are very rough, the surfaces are really bumpy and uneven. I might sand them down a little bit tomorrow.

I’ve begun painting the smoother ones and the original I’d made the mold from. Part three of this epic project saga will be online late tomorrow night.

fabio.

a little taste of my day.
fabio, seahorseI did this for a commission. Things like this are the reason I love commissioned work. I started drawing, imagining a pen and ink, monochromatic fabio- and somehow managed to make him start to be golden.

At that point I was screwed- golden aquatic beefcake, it had to be done.

Done with watercolor wash and prismacolor pencil.

Note: the seahorse is enjoying itself.

 

 

 

 

Caveman hands, sheanderthal. Skull mounts and totem art.

taxidermy skull mount with sweetgumHere are some photos of all the things which I just got back from the speakeasy art show.

Some of these will be for sale at MY SKULL AND NATURE SHOP, others are already spoken for, waiting to be picked up.

The hardest thing about selling these (besides the amount of logical work that goes into shipping them) is parting with them. I really feel the creatures, you know? Like each one has a definite personality, to me. So when someone buys them it’s like saying goodbye to a friend.

At least awesome people buy them. That makes it a lot easier.

Click through to see more photos.

These were, until now, on display at the Oak Street Speakeasy in Eugene, Oregon. I have had three waves of art showed there over the past year, along with Jameson’s, the Horsehead, and Unfine art museum. These are my favorite places to hang my work- the crowds that go there all seem to like it, and I get good feedback from the folks in these places.

Plus, the speakeasy is where every good death metal and sludge doom band plays, here in town. So of course I like hanging my skulls there.

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grey fox, antler, and roses

grey fox skullwhat I ended up working with today. I’ll post the sasquatch tomorrow- he isn’t done yet.

sketching out and beginning a skull mount.

sketching it out, deciding what materials to include.

laying out the structure

a few pictures of the process.

spider rat two.

spider rat taxidermy articulationHere is a second one.

I will be building one more of these. This one has caught a meal.

This one is also for sale at this link…click away, please!

rat spider…(redacted reference to the movie, dead alive)

horror, weird taxidermy mount, skeleton articulationWhat I finished today. I also started a huge full-sheet landscape, but that won’t be done for a while yet.

I’ll be building three of these creepy little monsters- this one, another for a friend as a commission, and then a slightly larger rat-size one. This one is made of a full mouse skull, rat jaws, bird and mouse and rat bones, possum vertebrae, bone glue, and oil pigment.

It’s on a tiny coffin lid, and hangs on the wall, for all your horrorfully-decorated rooms. I think he would do best in a library, in a genetics lab, or in a tattoo and horror fanatic’s studio or office. But what do I know? It might be that he is happiest in your nightmares.

This one is for sale, the second has already sold.

yay!

image

one of my most adorable clients is sitting half across the room in front of me, listening to the band. “tonight’s about Anji Marth, that’s her decadent decay on the walls! it gives me a hardon, does it give you one?!” the singer on stage yells.

my cute, perky, completely normal client turns around beaming, and in the silent pause shouts in a wee, happy voice- “I LOVE TO FUCK DEAD PEOPLE!”

at an earlier moment in the evening, a jolly young man with absolutely no warning fell flat from his chair onto his back, cracking his head flatly, and lying completely unresponsive in the center of the table area. “is he dead?” someone asked. people gathered around, cradling his head, talking at him. someone has died at my art opening! visions of infamy danced wildly before my eyes until he arose, bleary. he was led to a safer chair and left with friends shortly afterward, crushing my daydreams.

I had a conversation with electro hippies in fluorescent green fur hats about craft fairs, moderation in party times, and mentoring the young in a scene. I spoke with a woman who has done the Saturday market for 34 years running and who enjoyed the contrast between my work and the landscape artist next door. I also spoke intently to a man with a fear of spiders, a man who was in love with “galore” (the boar head mount) and a woman who was fascinated and repelled but wanted to know all about bone processing.

I had a great night. I also saw some old friends long missing from my real life, spent a bit of time with a good old friend I miss every day. and of course, enjoyed the gentlemanly presence and aplomb of Hawkins.

all in all, except for my crankiness from fatigue, an excellent night.

my work will be on display all month at the speakeasy. I’ll be back there on the 9th to bring a few more prints and listen to the excellent Mendozza … thanks everyone who helped make tonight happen and everyone who came out to support or buy my work.

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