Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back Detail

       It's a little thing, but I thought to show you how I've been backing small prints and cards that go with Poppets.  Sometimes we buy prints and they end up curled in their mailers or stacked in envelopes waiting for framing that doesn't happen for ages because life has other plans.  By attaching backs with little hangers, we can at least have the option of putting them up. 
  I also find this a good way to handle kids drawings and photographs too.  A bit more polished than thumb tacks but simple and light.

  I have a paper cutter but this can also be done with scissors or a razor and ruler.

  I use a sturdy card backing board I get from Papermart, but you could use any mid weight cardboard.  This board  is just slightly heavier than the paper from a cereal box.
I start by backing the print or tag with one layer of cardboard using a strong spray adhesive. There are several brands available.  Then I line up the print and punch holes for the hangers.
I tie a loop of string - I use bow string but a heavy crochet or other would work too.
Then a bit of tape.

  After the string is secured, I glue this board to the one on the back of the print.  Don't forget to make sure you have the hangers at the right end!
Here's a set of four cards, printed as mirror images, so that the back will look like this:
To finish up, I lightly sand the edges of the print or card with a sanding block.  Some people are surprised to find that paper can be sanded.  I was too.  It's very effective to give a finished edge, especially when several boards are glued together.

Finally, I edge the print or card with a paint marker or I sponge acrylic paint to give a finished edge to the cardboard.
And I end up with a bit of art  ready to hang until it's framed, or not.
Or a tag that can serve as a bookmark or hang around for fun.  It's one way to turn a photograph or drawing into a gift.  You can make something unique and personal. 
It's a little thing, but sometime it's the little things that brighten a day.  Hope yours is good.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes on the way to Autumn

   More on Autumn:

    "This Way to Autumn" Poppet, who so wants to be a garden sculpture.  I imagine her in hydrostone or even bronze, with leaves that can be changed out with the seasons. 
  If you know someone who wants to make that happen, please send that human my way so we can do so.
In the meantime, she about 3 1/2 inches tall.

The image for illustration.

Photos  between.

And our Poppets in the studio.

  Hope your week is going well.  Humid here in the desert, scary stuff on the news, cats like rugs on the floor.  Me - music and work.  I'll take it.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Be careful what you wish for.

  In interviews and convention programs, I'd talk about the challenges involved in making large kinetic sculptures.  I grew fond of telling humans that I liked the excitement of "operating just on the edge of failure."  Certainly there is a thrill when we push ourselves to the edge of our abilities.  It's an exploration of the unknown and it is both stressful and satisfying to succeed.  I had exactly five months to finish "Dark Caravan's" roller coaster.  It was everything you can imagine.
  In the summer of 2006, Ben Warren and I were just starting to get Strange Studios off the ground.  We had a number of employees, several interns.  They had salaries and dental insurance and our days were fast and furious.  I remember standing with my feet in the pool, talking  on the phone to a casting foundry  while Ben scouted locations for new work space.    It was exciting. We were pushing our limits.  We were in new territory.  Finally we had a studio that might help support us and our families so we could make kinetic pieces that would wow us.   Then the economy failed, my marriage failed and I passed the age at which my mother's cancer took her - all in a matter of months.  Ben lost his second business, his health and very nearly his home.  We lost our employees and our plans. 
  It was some time after that that I understood what it was to "operate just on the edge of failure."  There were some truly Faustian moments. Financially, emotionally and physically, I pushed my limits. I made discoveries.  I made costly personal choices.  My world grew small and plain.   Seasons blew in and out.  The world changed. Life changed.  I changed.  Perceptions, values, priorities all turned on their heads.  Silly humans must adapt.  The alternative is just too unhappy.  Not months of this, but years.
  Finally, I began to learn what sort of artist I was.  Then I began to learn what sort of human I was.    I learned about fear and anger and loss.  I learned about failure and regret.  I learned that I was much less than I thought.  I learned that I was more than I thought.  I learned that I was just like other humans.
  What really got me, finally, was realizing that, as the curriculum of living goes,
these weren't even the advanced classes.
  And then I became humble.   I kept creating.  It became my constant, my outlet, my survival. I learned to tread water, not to look ahead, and that every day didn't have to be a good day to be a cherished day.
 Except when I didn't.  Then I'd fall into the 'hole'  of depression, sit on the bottom for awhile and climb back out again.  Finally, I learned I could rely on myself.
   If blogs are supposed to teach, I'm guessing the best I can do is what I've been doing - telling you about my own stumbling efforts.  Hopefully you glean something useful from them.
I'm a little fearful for humanity right about now.  We're in a time of unrest. The weather is worrisome, the US elections too. Poppets teach me that the end was always near and always will be, but also that change is continuous.   It's always something.  Otherwise it's nothing.   And change can be exciting!  Now, we can start our mornings with new pictures from Mars.  There are still humans out there doing amazing things.  That makes me try harder.
  Today, I woke up ready to implement the list I made in my head last night, including writing here first thing in the morning.  Then- surprise! - my neighborhood was without power for about eight hours, at between 110 and 113 degrees with tornado warnings.  At first there seemed to be options - things to do that didn't require power were many.  But eventually, it became all about getting through the heat.  Which eventually meant going to the movies and eating at In and Out.  Very SoCal. Very fortunate to have that option. Very fortunate to have power most of the time.
  I want to push my creative limits again.  I may be doing this with books.  We shall see.  It's not going as fast as I'd like.  I'm not operating on the edge of failure anymore.  I don't fail.  I adapt. Humans tend to do this, even when they may not be aware of it.  As individuals and as groups.  I'm going to operate on the edge of a direction.  I'll keep working and stretching.  I'll see what happens.  I'll be present in these moments, except when I'm not.

If you're reading this, I thank you deeply for hanging in with me, to see what happens next.