Latest pysanky. This is another duck egg and I had a hard time getting the purple to take evenly over the red. It was coming out very dark in the purple area, but also not really covering the red in big blotches.
I used a paintbrush dipped in water and vinegar to brush off the dye around the wax and when the shell was nearly white, dipped it into the purple for just a few seconds. This was the result!
There are some flaws in my design and in my wax lines, but overall I like how it turned out. I plan to get a cap and hang this one as an ornament.
Last month I volunteered to teach a class for a youth creative arts club and we made Ukrainian eggs. I haven’t made these for a while so it was a good excuse to try again.
I need to get a few more practice eggs under my belt, but it was fun. I bought 2 dozen duck eggs locally thinking that they’d be fun to work with. I tried some local chicken eggs – but it turns out everyone raises chickens that lay colored eggs and I wanted nice white shells. But when I did a search to see how to clean the duck eggs all I could find were articles telling me you can only wash them with water and if you wash them with soap or scrub with baking soda, the shells won’t take the dye well and they will wind up pastel.
I scrubbed that duck egg with baking soda, wiped it down with vinegar and then rinsed it. It seems to have taken the dye just fine. There are a few irregularities, but nothing I don’t also see in chicken eggs.
I spent a surprisingly long time arranging the berries. I may still go back and add the little hairs to them and possibly a shadow. It may not be noticeable, but each berry is a slightly different color because I wanted to make it clear that they were distinct even when they were on top of each other like this.
The hardest part of the thorns was getting the lighter color to run down the middle. I’m still not 100% happy with it, but after spending hours trying to fiddle with ‘mesh gradient’ until I gave up, I’m going to call this good enough for now.
Edit: here’s my soap label made from the above images.
I may have stolen manure today. I was told, several years ago, that I could come get some compost from the bio-digester energy company ‘anytime’.
By ‘several years ago’ I mean 2014.
I didn’t take them up on it. A PTA member called them last year and had permission for the school to go get some, but then the school said they weren’t allowed to use it because it’s not a proper commercial product. But I thought ‘well they said we can have it – let’s go get some!’
Today we went. I couldn’t find anyone to ask/tell about what we were doing.
I went to the spot where, in 2014, they were dumping the finished compost and took some. But the pile was still heating up, which made me think that maybe this wasn’t the finished compost and was I maybe rooting around in their ‘stuff to go into the digester/sarlacc pit’ pile by mistake?
France Trip – Summer 2018: I need to learn to take photos of all my adventures, not just things that are pretty. We arrived in Narbonne and had one day there before we were to head off up the Canal du Midi to Carcassonne. This was our best chance to be close to the Mediterranian, which I had never seen, so we drove out to visit the beach.
No photos from me because when we got there, there was a pretty brisk offshore wind that was blowing sand everywhere and I didn’t want to risk getting sand inside my lens/camera. The beach was a long, shallow sand beach and the water was a perfect temperature.
The excitement happened on the way back – in a crowded intersection in Narbonne (when we’d made a wrong turn and we’re trying to get back on course using the GPS) we were hit in the right side passenger door by another car. Yay! Rental Car! Our car had some dents in both doors but the other car.. the whole bumper fell off.
The other driver asked us to follow him, to his home, as it turned out, where we were invited inside and had the fun of filling out accident report forms, in French, with the help of his family none of whom spoke much English and we did not speak French.
We had some questions about WHY he had a stack of accident reports in his home and HOW his entire front bumper fell off (and he had a bunch of twine handy to tie it back on – had it already fallen off??) But he was so very friendly. It’s a bit of a mystery, but the insurance is sorting it out.
Once we finally made it back to the canal it was time to move onto our boat for a week of travel up river to Carcassonne.
Back in the fall I took one day to make a loop through the Jemez. This is a favorite day trip of mine and each time I get to see a little something new. This time I took a side road up to see some tunnels through a steep pass that I’d never been out to see before.
Obviously just making horse HEADS wasn’t going to be enough so I made a wire frame and made a whole entire horse.
I don’t yet know how to do the fine details or smooth out the tool marks, but here it is. It’s about 6 inches tall. Once I had it made in modeling clay I realized that I don’t know how to cast this, even if I made a two part mold for two reasons. 1) the shape and 2) the only time I’ve done a two part mold I embedded the original in modeling clay to make the first half. This is made of modeling clay so what do I embed it in?
And finally, for a year-end wrap up, I made a gallery page of the ‘best of’ 2018.
I never finished cleaning up or posting my photos from France – I still intend to do so.
I also did a few more test paints of the chess set. This is blue, with a metallic blue finish and the Warder has his shield, helmet and sword painted with an ‘interference’ paint – it will shimmer green or red depending on the angle of view.
It has been suggested that I’ve gone a bit off the rails since I went to New Mexico to learn how to make SOAP MOLDS and this is clearly not a soap mold. But I learned something very valuable: making custom molds is expensive and I should definitely do everything I can to avoid having to make custom ones from silicone!
I’ve been puzzling over the size and shape of conditioner bars. I now have a formula I really like but I still need to settle on the packaging and the shape. I think I’m going to try a round column mold – I might make out out of PVC with a teflon liner – and since PVC comes in all sizes I can probably find one to exactly fit the 2 or 4oz tins I’ve been thinking of using as packaging.
One thing leads to another. I went to New Mexico specifically to learn how to make SOAP molds, but somehow that led to an obsession with the Lewis Chessmen, and while thinking of things I might like to 3D print or cast in resin, I started thinking about chess sets in general. Also: my artist friend suggested that my 3D prints will be better if I have some experience with sculpture, even if I’m not very good.
So what should I sculpt? The absolute easiest thing for me is going to be horses. I drew only ONE thing as a child and it was horses 24/7.
I took some polymer clay I had sitting around and some j-mac oil-based modeling clay I was given and went at it.
I first made a few reclining ponies. They are quite small – so small that I had difficulty handling them. The first is made of j-mac and the smaller one of translucent polymer clay. I was thinking of making them into netsuke – these are carved buttons or toggles that are worn with kimono.
Next I started thinking about designing my own chess set and I spent a while looking at classic sets and some 3D printed models. Except for the knight, most chess pieces look like they are turned on a lathe, but the knight is special and asymmetric. For my very first try (back left in the collection) I went for something semi-realistic, but then I thought a much more stylized version might be fun. At the end I started going for something like an ancient bronze statue I’d seen before.
When I took that basic shape and made it less flat, I think my result looks more like a sea serpent with a mane, but I still like it.
The polymer clay is easy to smooth and overall easy to work with but it is difficult to get fine detail. The j-mac takes detail but I haven’t yet figure out how to get my toolmarks and fingerprints off the model. I also need to figure out how to stop dropping them while i’m working.