Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Watched Brain Never Boils

I’m building the last of the kinetic pieces for “The Dark Caravan” which will join the rest of the carnival in October. It will be a fortune teller, the heart of the carnival and will feature Jack, who is its pulse.

There will be a time in September when everything else will shut down for me and I’ll put everything I've got into this challenge. For now though, I am only gearing up, mostly by finishing up other projects. I’ll need to cast some hollow parts for the fortune teller. Last week Pete suggested I try using lost wax, as in bronze casting, for the resin pieces. So I tried it on a couple of small brains. I suspended a ball of wax on the end of a straw inside the mold and poured resin around it. When it cured I pulled the straw out and put the brain in some boiling water to melt out the wax. It worked, but was messy.

The next time I tried warming up the wax-filled brain in the oven to melt out the wax. Naturally, I forgot that our oven (which is at least 50 years old) heats at temperatures that are unrelated to the numbers on the dial outside it. When I removed it after what seemed like a reasonable amount of time for 150 degrees F(but probably not for Satan’s own oven), it looked very sad indeed. But the wax was melted out.

I may try again with more careful oven supervision. We really must replace the oven. We’ve even had a couple of contractors in. They each strode around like friendly pirates, clicking pens and brandishing measuring tapes. They would come in and destroy our kitchen for weeks and get dust on everything we own and they gave us estimates that made us laugh out loud. I’m not properly motivated to bake, it seems.

I swam with Orion. Swimming with Orion means lots of jumping into the pool. Lots. Lots of jumping means not so much thinking. I’ve been worrying a visual concept for days,. Like a coin in my pocket, I just haven’t been able to leave it alone. My patience was getting thin from the constant noise of it, the nagging question.
After about the 19th jump I was climbing out more slowly, laughing more and not thinking about much at all.
Standing there on the edge, looking down through the water to the little squares fifteen feet below, that could become big squares hundreds of feet below, I found exactly what I needed.
Huh. Just like that.

Let me remind you about the Tiny Stories project, and to pass it along to others you think might want to write something for it.

To maaike: I use all kinds of media. My first was polymer clays. Then I used wood to to build the first kinetic piece. Since then I've used metals, papier mache, and occasionally fabrics and leather. I cast a lot of components in resin, like the gears for kinetic pieces and all those tiny little puppets.

To Kristi: I do use real puzzle pieces, unless they will be in positions (such as standing on end) where they could be broken. Then I use resin casts of pieces.

To Carl: Yes, swimming under the stars can bring inner piece. I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

K said...

I had wondered about the materials too. Interesting that you use papier-mache... I've been wondering about having a go at that myself (I have a mysterious yen to make some masks. I really don't know why masks) but I made such a disastrous mess last time I tried it that I haven't quite worked up the courage yet...