December 2nd, 2010

I found DS106 to be a surprisingly informative class.  I will admit that I signed up to fill up my schedule, being a senior I had options but was looking for something easy.  At the beginning of the semester I couldn’t help but think that it was a little annoying, the reading and setting up a website on my own, but in retrospect it was a lot information that I can actually see myself using in the future.

Let me also say that I wasn’t too keen at first on the idea of keeping a website up by myself.  I’ve avoided it at all costs in the past, in fact I have a friend who had been keeping up a website of mine for me just so that I didn’t have to handle it.  I was so afraid of ‘breaking’ it after I paid money and being unable to fix it.  Part of this paranoia sprung from the fact that I literally knew no one who knew enough about websites that could help me, so I had this little vision playing in my head of me behind my computer crying while I couldn’t figure out how to make the little block of text gray instead of black.  It turns out my fears were unfounded, I didn’t even need help to do the more basic things.  Even more surprising I found out that I already know just about anything I need to know about HTML, and that it’s not some robot language that is unintelligible except to programmers.

As I progressed more in the class I also couldn’t help but think how useful a lot of the knowledge could be for future job opportunities.  Not only does it offer possibilities for sharing on the internet, but many things it’s possible that someone would want me to do in a future job.  Being able to edit a video or sound clip even a little could be the difference between a good business presentation and an amazing one.  And again learning these things brings it back to the fact that if something went wrong I didn’t simply have to go weep in a corner until I was able to figure it out, but before it got that point there was someone more knowledgeable that could help.  Even if I didn’t need the help it was good for my mental health to know that there was an option for assistance.

I’ve never taken a computer science course, to be quite honest I almost never hear anything good about them.  I’m not sure just what made me take this course, other than narrative ties in to artwork as well.  So I thought that maybe it would teach me about narrative from a different view than the art department.

I will say that I very much enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the class, and that the assignments weren’t always busy work.  It would be so easy to give everyone the same assignment to teach them to use a program, but instead we were given the creative aspect to do what we wanted, and not only learn how to use the programs, but how to work in groups successfully while brainstorming.  So I think it was important that the class had almost a ‘studio’ atmosphere where we worked together, showed our work and then gave critique.  What made it different from a studio course is that it was so much less formal.  In critiques all the time we have troubles getting people to speak up, it gets so quiet and we’re all afraid of hurting each other’s feelings or just ‘patting each other on the ass’.  So we’re all so careful to skirt the line between unfounded praise and hurting someone’s feelings.

In terms of my digital story, it wasn’t too hard for me to blog about it not only fairly regularly, but to keep my posts informative.  I’ve actually been blogging regularly for years(since 2004) so it’s not that strange an activity for me.  It’s not hard for me to have a thought and say “oh, I’ll go tell people about this on my BLOG :B”

I think my digital story may have started off a little slowly in the early stages, just because I was having trouble starting on the project itself.  For my individual study there’s no one there giving me due dates but myself.  There’s no class meeting time where I have to be there to work or I get in trouble.  There isn’t even really a professor always there breathing down my neck and asking “So… what are you doing now?”  I’ve considered myself a fairly self driven person for a long time, my high school taught me to be self motivated because there isn’t always going to be someone to motivate you.  Once school is over there aren’t going to be tests to study for so that you know material.

Once I made it through the first few weeks of my digital story and my individual study I think I picked it up, and was glad to hear that it was evident that not only is this something I like doing, but it’s something that I’m interested in.  Sometimes it’s so hard to get what you’re saying through text, so I couldn’t tell if I was regurgitating facts at you or sharing my interest.  It’s nice to get feedback through comments, even if I know that people were doing it mostly because it’s a grade.

I said to to professor Groom already, but I was a little bit surprised that this course is not a general education requirement.  I think in the future it will become more and more useful to know how to and be able to run your own website.  Either for personal business, a resume or a portfolio, it shows not only that you’re professional but that you’re also innovative in using technology but also that you have the knowledge to do it yourself.  I look forward to not only running an online business next year on my own website, but also working on creating an online portfolio for my artwork.

Fin! (for now)

December 2nd, 2010

Well, I strung up all the fired pieces yesterday, so now instead of a lot of body parts I have dolls 🙂

They’re not as perfect as I would have hoped, but they’ve taught me a lot about how I need to finish them, pouring, shaping of the joints and the sizes of the holes so they’ll be strung much better next time.

Not the best photographs, and the one with the blue hair looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, but they’re in one piece!

I think I like the smaller one better, even if she does have blue hair.  I think her figure ended up more interesting and her jointing more natural.  Sorry I won’t be able to show the third and largest doll completed, she won’t be done until the new year(the plaster molds need to dry for another two weeks).

Fan fiction?

November 29th, 2010

I hope this counts, I was considering the original illustrations from the Wizard of Oz and decided I might like to use them for inspiration in photographs?

Here’s the link to the original illustrations:

And my photos based on the one with the subtitle “You should be ashamed of yourself!”  I don’t have a Dorothy doll, I’m more interested in the land of Oz than a visitor.

Work, break for turkey, then work.

November 26th, 2010

I wish I hadn’t set myself up for this, just making molds.  At a certain point I was so miserable doing it that I almost had myself convinced that it wasn’t so bad, and then my neurons started firing again.  It’s just one of those things that a trained monkey could do, but the problem is that you’d have to find and train a monkey first.

I’ve made six molds in the past two days, ten left to go.  I’ve made it through 65 pounds of plaster and need to brave black Friday to get more tomorrow.  When all is said and done I think I’ll have made it through about 200 pounds of plaster for this set of molds, they’re big.  The only saving grace is that my father has one of those magical drill bits for mixing stuff, so I can mix up two gallons of plaster without sticking my hand in it.

Sadly some of the pieces are breaking while I’m making molds, so here’s a picture of the largest doll while it was still whole.

In less depressing news I painted the two doll heads that I’ve got fired and finished!  The tiny one is about the size of a quarter, the larger one about like a baseball.

It's all coming together.

November 20th, 2010

Finally I have some fired pieces to show you!  Unfortunately the small doll is waiting on ONE piece before I can assemble her, and the larger doll is waiting on her torso, hands and one arm piece.  They will hopefully be fired by next week, if not then by after Thanksgiving.

I’ve already started painting the larger doll’s head,  but here’s some pictures of the fired porcelain!

Here’s to give you an idea of fired vs. unfired porcelain.  The fired piece is on the left, unfired on the right.  The unfired piece is opaque and chalky white, while the fired one is slightly rough and translucent.  You can also see how much it shrinks during firing, this image is of the same part, so it shrinks about 20%.

Shows the ONE missing part of this smaller doll, it’s killing me…

To give you an idea her head is about the size of a quarter.

I was happy to see this head had been fired today!  I’m working on painting it now, expect pictures sometime soon of her finished face.  This head is about the size of a baseball.

The bottom of the kiln was a little dirty, and during high firing clay gets soft, so there’s small impressions where the dirt was 🙁  I’ll have to use the parts anyways though, since I don’t have time to cast, wait for them to dry, clean, bisque and re-fire them.

So next up I’m going to put leather inside the joints, it keeps the porcelain from grinding itself away, and provides something for it to stick on when posing so it doesn’t flop around.

Any names pop into people’s heads seeing these?  I’m looking to name the doll types I have.


November 19th, 2010

I completely forgot about this when we were doing the mashups, but I recently found this in my pictures folder.  I commissioned these for a gift for my brother a few years ago, it’s Mario/Batman!

I’ll color them one day!


November 18th, 2010

Everyone can probably guess my obsession.  It’s been fairly long lived, and shows no sign of stopping.  I don’t just make dolls, I also collect them!  If you don’t like dolls, feel free to skip this.

So my largest base of doll knowledge is in BJDs(stands for ball-jointed dolls).  For a few years now I’ve collected them, but I also do my best to learn just about anything I can about them.  I’m also a ‘customizer'(arbitrary label the online community came up with) who takes commissions to paint, modify and finish other people’s dolls(for a monetary fee of course…).

I also customize the dolls that I buy!  Have some pictures!

These are some dolls I have based on the Wizard of Oz(Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and the Scarecrow).  These dolls are very small, ranging from 8cm(Tin Man) to 22cm(Cowardly Lion).  I painted every single stitch on the Scarecrow doll, each stitch is about a 1mm long.  If that’s obsession I don’t know what is.

This is a mermaid doll that I designed and hired someone to sculpt and cast in resin for me.  I painted her and designed her down to the jointing system.  There were only five of this doll made.

I’ll leave the dolls at that, but just know that if you get me started talking on dolls it’s hard for me to stop.

Other obsessions:

-Nail polish/nails in general.  I paint mine every week

-Tatting, kind of like knitting but with just a needle, it makes lace

-Photography, I’ve recently been working on solarizing prints(you develop an image, and before you make it not light sensitive anymore you expose it to white light, which makes some of the blacks turn to white and whites to black, while the grays remain the same)

-Video games, currently Sly Cooper

-Comic books, I love The Killing Joke currently(batman comic)

November 12th, 2010

I love making dolls and everything, but it would be better if I hadn’t given myself such ‘optimistic’ deadlines.  I spent six and a half hours today sculpting half of this doll.  I’m tired, my hands are dry and cold and I missed lunch.  I should also learn to complain less.

Here’s some of the pieces, I’m making these ones out of the ceramics stoneware body.  So not all of these pieces probably look like much right now, you can make out the torso and the head, but there’s also a ‘stomach’ piece(oval) and the lower torso(has the two spheres on top, you can make out a bum) and the thighs(tall cylinders).  The head is lighter than the other parts because it’s dry and the others are still wet.

I just need to make hands and feet tomorrow and she’ll be ready for firing, then mold making!  I can see a light at the end of this tunnel!


November 9th, 2010

So I decided to do a mashup in photoshop instead of with film or music.  I did it after seeing a video on an artist who did a piece with a sunken ship on a pile of ‘defect’ sculptures from a workshop.  He pointed out that they were almost all images of icons, and if you looked at each one they still looked perfect but were considered not good enough for sale.  He picked one of them out of the pile and put it on a shelf in his studio and suddenly instead of being one sculpture out of many, it became an icon again.

So I found it interesting the difference between seeing a pile of like items, they all become ‘worthless’, but if you take one out of the pile it stands on its own.  I used one of my own photographs(tin man in the teacup) and put the icons in it.

More Process

November 5th, 2010

So I’ve been working on cleaning all the porcelain parts to be fired.  In my last post you got to see how I cast the parts, and what they looked like when coming out of the molds.  They look a bit rough with seam lines and everything, so you wait until the pieces are dry(bone dry it’s called).  You can at this point either clean when they’re dry(called greenware) or you can do a ‘soft firing’ to cone018(about 1200 degrees).  A soft firing makes the clay hard enough so you’re not at risk of breaking the pieces, but soft enough that it still absorbs water and you can sand the pieces.

I’ve been cleaning the pieces during the greenware stage, since the kilns at this school only fire to cone6 or cone08.

These are two legs that are completely dry and ready to be cleaned, you can see the residue around the edges.  I use a few tools to help me, a sanding sponge, a regular sponge, some small metal files and some sharp edged tools.  The pieces are so soft right now that I can literally sand them with a sponge.  They’re more brittle than chalk at this stage, so if I run my finger over them I sand a small layer of dust off with my fingerprint.

So the leg on the left is cleaned and ready for firing, the one on the right still needs to be cleaned.

I have a few pieces now that have been fired, so hopefully you guys will get to see a nearly finished doll really soon!