Sunday, January 31, 2016

Its Magic. Really!!

Almost all artists keep sketchbooks. They are often day-by-day chronicles of the artist’s thoughts and inspirations. They are also the place where the artist works through the various concept, design and fabrication issues associated with the process of taking an abstract idea and making it into a concrete object.

Frequently, the process of making hides from the viewer of the finished object. And “process” is the very essence of the expression, “art makes the difficult seem easy.” We prefer “Art is Magic”, but we may be biased.

Behind the process is years of study and practice developing skills with tools and materials. The effect is that everything falls magically into place as if nature intended it that way.  Trust us when we say, making something almost NEVER happens like that.

So, how does it happen? 

A recently completed necklace commissions will provide a quick overview of our processes.

Our process starts with sketches. These can be one-offs to help solidify the idea or a series of concept and engineering sketches to work out the composition and mechanical issues.

Once we are clear about what we want to make, we assess the materials and methods, and who will perform each task.  A staging table is set up to hold components that are complete.

The manufacture and sub-assembly of parts often incorporate a considerable range of techniques and materials.

As we work out joining and how the various parts will hang and interact, fittings are made for each component.

The process continues as shapes, colors, textures are compared and fitted as the piece begins to take shape.

The project called for a custom display case to house the piece. Once the piece progresses to a point where we can determine precise physical dimensions, we begin constructing the case.
In this instance, we wanted to create a stylized forest floor as an environment for the piece. This aspect of the project required considerable trial and error. We spent time exploring and photographing details of local forest floors, including collecting a variety of leaves to be used as models later in the process.
Research complete, the next step was a series of technical exercises to express the environments we had seen. We selected polymer for its creative flexibility as the best-suited medium for the job.

The next step is when all the parts come together, and final assembly and fit takes place. The fitting includes the piece itself, but also the piece within its environment.

The final step is photography of the finished item.  As you can see above, we are also documenting the entire process as it happens.  While process photography is often fast and informal, final photography requires much more time and careful attention to complete.

The finished piece in its custom case.

The project took two people ten weeks to complete start to finish.
The materials incorporated in the piece include:
Acrylic paint
Bonksia Pod
Colored pencil
Gold leaf
Oil Paint
Polymer Clay
Sterling Silver
Tagua Nut
Various kinds of Wood

Various pigments and dies

Take a peek at the sketch books of some of our Etsymetal friends:
Cynthia Del Giudice:
Beth Cyr:

Monday, January 4, 2016

The FUTURE!!!! W-h-a-t-e-v-e-r.

Welcome to the first Blog Carnival of the year.  In a completely unexpected twist of dramatic artifice, this month’s theme asks “What are you planning for 2016”!?

Previous year’s plans included world domination and loosing weight. Both proved elusive.  World weight loss may actually be more achievable AND with less involvement on our part, so that’s on the list.

We’re traveling this year, and avoiding death as part of the experience is in our plans. This starts with researching which airlines have the lowest embolism ratings for seating conditions. Getting there is no longer half the fun, its half the risk.

There will be shows and exhibitions this year too. Lots and lots of shows and exhibitions, each of which will charge us $49 for the privilege of being told that our work is inadequate.
On second thought, our plans have changed. We’re starting lots and lots of shows and exhibitions this year. They will be fantastic! They will make America Great Again™. Send us $49. to enter. No need to wait on pins and needles for a decision – your work is inadequate. But thank you for the $49.

We’re starting a new web site for selling real handmade craft for 2016. It will feature great work by talented craftspeople who are passionate about what they do. We plan to be out of business in nine months.

As much as we’ve been avoiding any plans for a colonoscopy, it looks like this year our number’s up. The last time we did this we though it would be cute to make it a “couple” activity. In retrospect, matching t-shirts proclaiming “We had a colonoscopy with Dr. Feldstein” would have been a better idea.
If you have not had the pleasure of a colonoscopy before, they want you to clean house before the event. To facilitate this we were both issued bottles of prescription strength laxatives in preparation for our movie debut in the morning. Arriving home we cheerfully downed the contents of both bottles like New Year’s eve champagne, albeit the worst champagne, like, ever.   Within 30 minutes it became dreadfully apparent that we only have one bathroom in our house. What ensued was a situation probably not dissimilar to passengers on the Titanic trying to get onto the only lifeboat. There are going to be winners and losers.

My dog, Bob, is very sensitive to my moods and actions. As I squatted in the back yard, Bob approached and squatted too, sensing that this was a bonding opportunity. What started as a shared experience quickly turned competitive, accompanied by growling and other noises meant to distract the opponent.  This all seemed normal enough until the neighbor’s ball came flying over the fence – followed by the neighbors. They looked a me, at Bob, back at me, and in that moment the inadequacy of saying, “its not what it looks like” was apparent.  What did cross my mind was, what explanation might one offer in this moment that will diminish the odds of being arrested. The neighbors were not waiting around to find out.

Thankfully, the neighbors have not mentioned the incident since, but then, they don’t speak much to me at all these days. 

For our part, we’re not planning on doing couples colonoscopies again anytime soon.

Meanwhile our Etsymetal teammates are making plans of their own. See what they have to say:
Andrea Ring:
Victoria Takahashi/Experimetal: