Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

PLASTER PULP: THE EXPERIMENTS - PART 2

Well i was hoping to give you my full test results today, sadly whilst gathering up all the pre-cut samples i dropped some of them. For the most part they survived hitting the tiled kitchen floor mostly flat side on too for that matter but sadly two of the pre-cut control samples (pure plaster no pulp) shattered & need to be re-cast. I was able to continue on with the remaining samples, but i won't give you the full results until i replace these control samples. Unfortunately this means at least another two day wait as i want to give them at least two days since they are being cast  in plastic tub lids. I won't be demolding them until they have gone off (hardened) sufficiently overnight. Then allowed them to fully air dry for another full twenty four hours.

I can however show you some pictures of just how i went about doing the weight/strength testing. Just in case some people did not grasp what i meant in part 1 of this set of experiments.

THE 'PRE-CUT' SAMPLES:























These are the pre-cut samples i created from the various plaster pulp mixes for my experiments. As you can see they are of identical size & shape having been moulded from identical large plastic ice cream tub lids. As i want  the best of the resulting mixes (the best of the best) for both free hand sculpting & use in moulds too later i didn't work the mixes into the plastic lids too much. As you can see if you click on the above image to enlarge it. The casts are somewhat 'pock marked' with holes. At this point i just wanted them to be the same size & thickness so the final cut down samples would be as close as the same size as i could get them.

CUT DOWN TEST SAMPLES FINAL SIZE/SHAPE:


















 Here you can see i have cut the larger demolded 'original’ samples down into two matching pieces each ready for the strength testing. These each measure 16cm x 10cm x 7mm. These final sizes as well as weights, contents & weight tolerances will be given in the final results chart later. Now to how i tested their strength.

A SIMPLE PENDULUM WEIGHT TESTING TOWER:























 Not having any 'free weights' laying around i needed to find a method of recreating an identical weight test for each sample. The solution was quite simple in the end (always look for the easiest answers first) having a ample mixed supply of card stock which includes tubes from rolls of foil but also the very boxes the rolls of foil come in too. As you can see two boxes hot glued to a scrap of ply wood make for a strong 'fixed' pair of towers to form a simple but effect pair of pillars for a pendulum weight tester.

HOW THE TEST WAS PERFORMED:























Here you can see  the setup for the actual testing, or how i will be carrying it out at least. Each sample is placed as close to as identical a position on the top of the towers as i can get them. A large (3ltr) plastic bottle was then hung from each sample connected by use of a small strong piece of wire (close up on the wire below) which like the samples was placed in as close to as possible the same position each time in the centre of each test sample(s).

I then slowly filled the plastic bottle with water until the sample(s) simply 'snapped' under the weight. Constructing the tower at just the right height & using a wide bottomed plastic bottle meant when each sample broke the bottle only had a short distance to fall. This meant it did not fall over easily preserving the water inside. I then simply had to weigh the bottle & contents for each sample.

A CLOSE UP ON THE WIRE ATTACHMENT:























Now it stands to reason simply running a length of wire over the centre point of the samples would simply not give me a reasonable or fair test result. Not all the points of any sculpture are as fine or as limited as the thickness of a thin piece of wire. I may as well have ran a hot knife through butter than used those test results if i had gone with that option. So i decided to give the samples a fair (i felt anyway) compromise by adding a small craft stick under the wire. As you can clearly see the craft stick is only slightly wider than the sample(s) & i have 'not' run it along the length of the sample(s). Had i run the craft stick along the length of the sample(s) that would have added a support strength of a type & magnitude i would 'not' be using in future projects with this type of pulps anyway.

The final test results for the most part were as i expected them to go. However two of the pulp mixes did better, far better than i have ever have dreamt. Indeed they surpassed my expectations so much that the secondary batch of mixes i had in mind to make & test are simply no longer required. I have two mixes from this first wave of tests i am certain that with some minor adjustments will not only give me what i was looking for but again surpass my wildest dreams many times over.

I am not going to say which of the test mixes they were just yet or what adjustments i have in mind. I will say however, of the first test mixes i gave you all in part one of this feature two of the test mixes had a weight/strength tolerance of 'over seven lbs limit (or over three kg). That may not sound like much on the surface but remember these samples are only seven millimetres thick & the actual unsupported weight bearing area of each sample was only some nine centimetres wide!. You may not think it but that IS quite impressive. Once i make the adjustments i have planned for the two chosen mixes i am certain i can at least double this. Of course i (we) have to remember here this whilst not new territory by a long shot in the search for such pulp(s), Whilst no one has come forward (to my knowledge) claiming to have found the perfect plaster pulp mix, i have at least made two potential break through so far. If they will ultimately take me where (i hope) expect them too is of course another matter. Then again that’s the life of an experiment for you eh lol.

The full results very soon.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

DAMN THIS BODY - DAMN THIS WEATHER MORE!

It’s almost that time of the year again. Hmm better do some explaining I think. For those who don’t know it’s my birthday on the 2nd of December & since way back in my early Amstrad CPC days (so long ago now oh so long ago) I have a long standing tradition where I ‘technically’ go offline from the 2nd of December until the 1st of January. I WILL be online checking emails, group postings, website updates (& now my blogs up keep) etc. Essentially though apart from the odd Email/post/comment response, I won’t be doing much as I normally do through this time frame. I was hoping to get as much achieved as possible leading up to this time but sadly the weather & my disabilities are conspiring against me it seems slowing me right down!.

Here in the UK we tend to drift into winter in a, well casual pace really. I know these days it may not seem like it for those of who live here but compared to the last few years winters onslaught was slow. Normally we’d drift through a cold depressing November mid way through the nights then the days getting colder. A touch of frost (I miss that show) easing in here & there in the wet patches, then suddenly its winter again.

This year it just kind of – happened 4 days ago.

It has snowed for 4 days & nights in a row now oh yes we have had a few hours break here & there.  The day light has dropped to barely half a day with evening light jumping to night light twice as fast. Instead of the low mumbling traditional here it comes people feel with the cold air rising. It’s like the sky just unzipped & dropped three weeks worth of white crap on us in 4 days.

So the point I am getting at (those with pain wracked disabilities will know what I mean) the cold aggravates them badly even just a cold rain. Thanks to this sudden onset of so much snow & colder than normal nights, this week have slowed me right down. I go to bed stiff & sore, then wake up feeling like someone has super glued my entire left side of my body starting at the left side of my neck down through my torso & down my entire left leg!!. The majority of my disabilities are culminated down my left body for some weird reason. Each body section having its own unique problem not connected directly as such but the pain & stiffness colliding into one whole wedge of pain. Oh it so lovely to be me I can’t tell you.

So thanks to the weather & this damn body of mine my churning out PM are like the days, cut in half. ! or 2 day projects are taking 2 or 4 respectfully. Just getting out of bed in the mornings is a bigger chore (& more painful) than usual. I will try to post what I can on ongoing posts/features etc, but these will be radically reduced ahead of my 2nd of December break of time I am sorry to report.

Below a peek at outside my front door. Note this is 12:30 'MIDDAY' note the dim light outside already?

video


More 'normal' posts as soon i can folks.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

PLASTER PULP: THE EXPERIMENTS - PART 1

Before you begin to read this post there are couple of factors i need to mention & high light first. Well two immediately spring to mind.

1: Now whilst i do not have the 'strength test' results in yet for my experimental plaster pulp mixes I can give you the final three plaster pulp mixes that have come the closest to my personal goals of several ongoing experiments i have so far carried out. You have to remember that whilst this is an ongoing set of experiments initially these pulps are being designed for my own future uses. I want to work more with plaster but combine it with paper mache so i stay within the realms of paper mache at the same time as i have previously mentioned in earlier posts.

2: Whilst i am currently sharing both these experiments, the early mixes/recipes i am/have created during the process so others can experiment with these pulps for their own uses. I will be continuing to experiment with plaster pulps 'myself' to improve the mixes/recipes. Once i find the ultimate mix/recipe (if i do that is) i might choose to keep 'any future' mix/recipe to myself or sell it commercially later. With this in mind the following post reads more like an official copyrighted document than a standard post. The following listed mixes/recipes are free for public use & experimentation at this time. You can use them as you wish, alter the mixes/recipes to suite your own requirements. You can even pass them around if you wish. Though i would ask that you attach the correct listed names & original copyrights as defined below when doing so.

So enough techno babble, lets get to those experimental plaster pulps i have whittled my experiments down to so far:

EXPERIMENT: TO CREATE A VIABLE PLASTER + PULP MEDIUM

EXPERIMENTS BEGAN: 19/11/2010 & REMAIN ONGOING


ORIGINAL EXPERIMENTS CARRIED OUT BY: J JONES

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTS TO MIXES USED: ©J JONES 19/11/ 2010

ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED

GOAL: To create a working medium consisting of a plaster + pulp mixture. Which can be used for & within the existing & excepted boundaries of the art of paper mache & be classified there in as a paper mache construct medium in its own right.

EXPERIMENTAL BATCHES PRESENTED: 3 In conjunction with 3 control batches
EXPERIMENTS LISTED FOR INFORMATION FOR FREE PUBLIC USE: 3


DESCRIPTIVE DEFINITIONS USED (i.e. NAMES) & ACTUAL TITLE
©™PLASTER PULP, ©™WHITE MATTER, ©™GREY MATTER, ©™BROWN MATTER
©J Jones 19/11/2010


WHITE MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL BATCH
12 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 1: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
12 oz white sculpting plaster
4 oz Pre-made (commercial) Clay Crete Pulp Mix (dry out the bag)
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added

SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Initially not perfectly smooth as hoped but can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 10/15 minutes depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10




WHITE MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL BATCH
14 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 2: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
14 oz white sculpting plaster
4 oz Pre-made (commercial) Clay Crete Pulp Mix (dry out the bag)
20 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added
SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Again not perfectly smooth as hoped but a slightly better, more consistent mix can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish as with batch 1 whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 10 minutes a slightly shorter working time period also again depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10




GREY MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL
6 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 1: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
6 oz white sculpting plaster
2 oz Glossy (Matt) magazine paper (dry lint stage) home made
20 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added

SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Again not perfectly smooth as hoped but a slightly better, more consistent mix can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish as with batch 1 whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 10/15 minutes a slightly shorter working time period also again depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10




GREY MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL BATCH
8 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 2: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
8 oz white sculpting plaster
2 oz Glossy (Matt) magazine paper (dry lint stage) home made
20 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added

SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Again not perfectly smooth as hoped but a slightly better, more consistent mix can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish as with batch 1 whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 10 minutes a slightly shorter working time period also again depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10


BROWN MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL
6 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 1: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
6 oz white sculpting plaster
2 oz brown toilet roll inner card stock (dry lint stage) home made
20 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added

SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Again not perfectly smooth as hoped but a slightly better, more consistent mix can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish as with batch 1 whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 5/8 minutes a much shorter working time period probably due to the brown card stock toilet roll inners used for this pulp being more absorbent than the glossy magazine papers used in the white matter mix but again depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10


BROWN MATTER©™
BATCH 0: THE CONTROL
8 oz white sculpting plaster
10 fl oz Tepid tap water

BATCH 2: COMPONENTS: THE ACTUAL PLASTER PULP MIX
8 oz white sculpting plaster
2 oz brown toilet roll inner card stock (dry lint stage) home made
20 fl oz Tepid tap water

WEIGHT STRENGTH TEST RESULTS:
TEST 1: To be concluded & added
TEST 2: To be concluded & added

SUMMARY:
Mixes well to a good consistency. A relatively easy to work with mix. Again not perfectly smooth as hoped but a slightly better, more consistent mix can be worked to a satisfactory smooth finish as with batch 1 whilst still wet with appropriate tools. Can potentially be worked for up to 5 minutes again a much shorter working time period probably due to the brown card stock toilet roll inners used for this pulp being more absorbent than the glossy magazine papers used in the white matter mix but again depending on room temperature. i.e. A cooler room temperature allows for a slower drying time & therefore a longer working time frame. The final dried mix can be managed as with plaster or pulp mediums respectively in terms of sanding cutting, carving, painting, sealing etc. Best worked with moulds but be keenly worked into chosen mould before setting to one side to allow to dry. Can be easily stand alone sculpted (by itself) or used in conjunction with an armature. Workable armature materials it may bond to are yet to be fully established.

OVERALL RATING: 7/10
PREPARATION OF THE LISTED PLASTER PULPS MIXES
1: As in accordance with each respective mix measure out the ingredients separately. Keep the plaster dry at all times until mixing of the water applies. Depending on the grade & age of the plaster you are using it WILL begin go off (harden) the instant it becomes wet & WILL reduce your mixing & user time accordingly.

2: Place the ‘pulp’ in a suitably sized container ‘before’ the plaster powder. It is much easier to mix the plaster powder ‘down into’ the pulp & achieve a much more even mix.

3: Dry mix the pulp & the plaster for at least 1 minute or until they both visibly become evenly mixed. Then & ONLY THEN add your water in one go.

4: Mix as vigorously & as thoroughly for at least1 minute with a small wooden stick, spoon or spatula implement as you can or until the mix appears to be as evenly mixed as possible. Try not to leave any ingredients ‘unmixed’ they can & will cause hard unworkable lumps in the plaster pulp mix later & could potentially cause a structural weakness later even when fully dry.

5: Use as quickly as you can within the estimated/allotted ‘use’ time period stated according to each experimental mix above. Remember that above listed & ‘other’ circumstances ‘may’ apply in accordance to you & our location as well as materials used.

6: Be creative, have fun & make some fantastic art.


ADDITIONAL NOTES, THOUGHTS & GENERAL INFORMATION:
The above listed plaster pulp experimental mixes were created for use in my ‘own’ future projects. As such were therefore created with my future projects ‘specific construction methods & techniques’ in mind & at this time will work for ‘me’ as intended. The experimental mixes I have listed above will how ever I think suit many artists newbie or professional basic needs as presented also without any ‘alterations’ being required. However it is a known undeniable fact that every ones needs, methods & various techniques DO vary depending on several factors: climate, variations in sourced materials composition (paper thickness, types of woods & treatments used in the paper/card stock construction etc), mixing times/methods, pulping methods, room temperatures, drying locations & times. Basically the list is endless & is open to debate accordingly but I won’t be addressing these factors here.

With these factors in mind however it MUST be assumed that ‘some’ basic exceptions to my listed experiments & the listed results MUST be given ‘some’ adjustments by other artists when using these mixes. By that I mean you ‘may’ need to make some slight alterations in actual final mix ‘you’ choose to use i.e. more water, less water etc. Whilst the ‘current’ listed experiments & listed results are perfect for ‘my’ needs if you wish to experiment further with these mixes you may wish to try adding an additional ‘bonding agent’ such as gesso or PVA based glues, varnishes etc. If so you MUST keep in mind water based products WILL add to the current mixes water content. As to amounts & their resulting effects I am afraid that is down to your own experimentation & discovery.

Adding ANY oil based products to any of my listed mixes WILL alter the plaster & papers natural bonding abilities to some degree, how much & in which direction I cannot say I can speculated from personal experience that at best oil based additions will retard (slow down) the drying process & at worst weaken the final natural dry bonding effect of the plaster & pulps. Of course it is also fair to say that many, many unexpected results HAVE been found in both unexpected ways & means. The prejudices to adding oil based products is ‘mine alone’ & only based on speculation & personal theories so cannot be totally ruled out in the end. This is down to the experimenter(s).

Adding colour to the mix. This IS entirely possible but would be best carried out at the dry mixing stage just prior to adding water. I would definitely recommend you use water based paints (Tempura) or dry powdered paints. Once again however you WILL have to be aware that water based paints whilst only in a minute way WILL add to & alter the listed/recommended water within each respective mix, dry paint (powders) WILL most definitely have a more dramatic effect on each mix respectively. More attention will be required if & when adding dry pant powders of course but the additional water required would be minimal. Whilst experimenting it is best to remember these small details especially if you achieve working results that you wish to repeat time & time again. Once again oil based products in this case oil based paints WILL have an unknown effect either way good/bad I cannot say.

Whilst the term ‘experiments’ is used through out this document & I wish to encourage this term & practice I have found because of the paper content & it’s pulped nature which is spread out within a plaster base ‘warping’ IS an inevitable factor in the drying process if you try to dry the final pulps created too fast you WILL promote warping from a mild level to a serious level that could ruin your projects final design. I recommend you allow the plaster pulps mixes altered by you or not to dry 'naturally' (air dry) at room temperature that is of a slow if any changing degree throughout the complete drying process. Also you MUST do so on a FULLY SUPPORTED FLAT STABLE surface. If you must promote drying then do so no closer than 1 meter from any heat source especially a fluctuating heat source. NEVER attempt to dry any project using these plaster pulps directly next to or on ANY heat source that WOULD be disastrous to the drying process & potentially your project.

So this is fast becoming a book or mini TV series script in its own rights so I had better close here I think. Before I do pleases remember I AM aware that this type of pulp mix is nothing new & has been experimented over many years by many people. However the particular listed experimental batches/mixes here ARE copyrighted to ME & are the results of personal experimentation & were NOT sourced from anywhere but from my own mind. ANY comparison to existing listed, none listed or current private experiments ANYONE is, has carried out is ‘purely’ circumstantial. I therefore hold to my claim to copyrights to the above ‘listed’ mixes.

I DO however share the ‘knowledge’ of these experiments at this current stage in the creative process to be used by anyone who wishes to use them as they are listed or further experiment with them as they see fit. I WILL be continuing to experiment & improve these plaster pulp mixes myself any results once again that happen to correspond with anyone else’s results is purely circumstantial & not intentional. Any advancements I personally achieve on these current plaster pulp mixes I may keep private in future but this will not reflect on the general publics ongoing use or experimentation of the current mixes listed

On using or further experimenting with these listed plaster pulp mixes you are acknowledging that any un-repairable damage caused to a project you were constructing as a gift, memento, to sell commercially or to show publicly/commercially etc & therefore any loss financial for the project or its intended end use(s) due to damage caused by the ‘listed’ plaster pulps is/was therefore caused by your own hand & by your own intentional usage be it as described here in or otherwise. At no time can I or shall I be expected to or accept ANY responsibility for failure of these plaster pulp mixes causing any potential damage to your property. At no time will i make any compensation reimbursements either.

J Jones
©™ 23/11/210

The results or the strength tests (including pictures) will be posted soon.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

TRICKS & TIPS No.9














Okay here is a simple little trick i was saving for my DVD book (when i finally got to it) it's not a mind shattering trick nor is it one many people may have thought of at the time. How to get a base for a vase or a bowl 'level'.

You will need a small spirit level as we call them in the UK, a strong but flat long surface that is just wider than your projects base you want to attach, i use a plastic ruler as my spirit level is small & light weight. Last but not least a large flat surface to work on & a glue gun. Now i am assuming many of you have the trick worked out by now, but for those who have not here is what you do to get the base of your vase or bowl perfectly level.























Assuming you have the 'top' of your vase or bowl as level as you can get it, don't worry if it's not 100% level i will explain how to fix that later. For now as level as you can possibly get it will do. Turn the project over onto your large flat surface as shown in the picture above.

Take the base you made to fix to the project & position it as near to where you want it to be. Now take your long flat * & place this over the middle of your loose base as shown above. Now simply take your spirit level & lay it on your long flat *. Lift & rotate 'both' the * & the spirit level from the base rotating both about an inch (2cm) or so as you go. At each little rotation place both back on the base to check the level. Adjust the base 'gently' as you go when or when ever required.

Go full circle keep adjusting the level as required until you get back to your starting point. Then do it one more time, this time you can simply lay the * & spirit level at north <> south then east <> west to check the overall level. Now whilst leaving the * & spirit level in place firmly hold the base in place & hot glue it in place. PM over with strips or pulp etc as you desire - Voila' a perfectly level base.

To check the level (straightness) of the top of the project take a length of wood, a ruler etc & 'tape' a pencil or fibre tipped pen to the ruler etc at the same level as the projects top edge. Hold the pen/ruler device as straight & as steady as you can then rotate the project 'against' the tip slowly drawing an even level line around the top. If required (& possible) you can then simply 'trim' off the project anything 'above' the level line you just created to create a perfectly level top edge that now matches the perfectly level base!.

I DON'T HAVE A SPIRIT LEVEL - WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Take a small clear container 'flat bottomed', a glass, a tumbler, a small glass/plastic bottle etc. Fill  with around 2cm/4cm of water. Stand this on a flat surface & let the water settle down to it's natural level. Now take a marker pen & draw a small 2cm/3cm line right 'on' the water level mark. Place the container on your * as you would have done with the spirit level & follow the instructions as exactly as explained above.

NOTE:
 * Any long strong light weight surface such as a ruler, length of plaster board, ply wood, strong stiff card stock etc. 

Saturday, 20 November 2010

DID YOU?


Is there anyone out there who have actually used any of my techniques shown in my blog here or in my HOW TO videos on YouTube to create anything? By that i mean did you use any of my techniques to fully or partially create anything? Did you simply reproduce anything i have made (or begun to make) in my blog here etc?

If so not only would i like to see what you created but i would like to create a 'visitors gallery' right here on my blog to  show off your work.

WHY?

Well not only will it help me to know what you are all creating out there i feel it will help to guide me in what i show you in the future. It also will encourage others to be creative especially those who are trying this art form for the first time & may well, doubt they're own skills.

If anyone sends any pictures could you please include a brief description of the project & what if only part of anything you have learnt from my blog or YouTube videos that you then Incorporated in your project. Also add at least one 'active' link to your 'own' blog/website & i will add that to your gallery posting as a special thank you from me for taking part.

PLEASE NOTE:
I do NOT care if you have copied 'any' of my work directly & are perhaps selling such items created. I am only interested in showing visitors projects  who have used 'any' of my shown techniques to create actual art. With a hope to inspire others to create. This is a fantastic, simple, cheap art form that anyone can do. Lets make it even more special than it is by encouraging others to work with this medium.

Send your pictures etc to: Jontytheghoul@btopenworld.com.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

LAST DEED FOR TODAY - LITERALLY 10 MINUTES AGO

When our third eldest moved out again & he packed all his belongings away. For reasons known only to the insane he packed a custom mask he asked me to make right on the bottom of one of his bags. Yes you guessed it under most of his heaviest belongings at that!.

When he got to his new home with his girlfriend he forgot were he'd put the mask until after he'd dumped his bags heavily on the floor. Needless to say whilst my PM is quite strong, such as a half face mask couldn't with stand that punishment. So of course a few weeks back he asked me to replace it for him, which i promptly did but i never got round to painting it. For the last few days he has been asking if the new mask was finished yet. So just before packing things away for today (dumping everything up on my work table basically) i thought i would paint his new mask for him. Since it was just a quick spray paint job it took only minutes to do.

So as of literally ten minutes ago here is his new replacement mask drying:























Below is my son wearing the original mask:
















The picture is not very good of the new replacement mask but he asked me to tweak the nose ridge so the new mask was not so over the nose as more on the nose as seen on the original mask. I also changed the cloth mesh vents slightly too. The string needs cut too of course but he can do that later lol.

WHAT I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON - SUPPOSED TO BE ANYWAY!

I am seriously thinking of using the motto/tagline "Late again - Whats new". Honestly i have so much crap going on right now in my life i just do not seem to have any 'me' time anymore!. It's so bad i am going to bed so late to try to stave off the coming of the next day i can hardly get up the next morning before 09:30am. When i do get up i am like a zombie for around three hours before i can get going both mentally & physically.

Right i am with it now (for today at least!) so whats been happening with the projects i have been featuring so far then? Well very little but here is the progress so far. Below is the first of four bowls i am working on:


















As you can clearly see not ready for painting yet as i have to tidy it up somewhat yet. A small section on the inside 'blistered' on me for some unknown reason & i had to clean it up & add some new strips inside. This bowl when i come back to it will be ready for painting in a few minutes though so no time lost there in the end.


















Next two matching style bowls though as you can see one is deeper then the other. Unlike the first bowl these are ready for paint & feature 'flat bottoms' rather than the typical half round form. Again I am not showing the fourth bowl i am working on 'yet' & all four bowls as far as painting on the design goes, well i am lost for ideas. I have a design i am thinking of using for the matching bowls above but am not 100% sold on the paint design yet.

Next up is my 'grunge skulls.

Before i begin to show you the progress (or lack of) here i think i will do a quick re-cap of what i was doing with these first:

If you remember (those following the blog so far) I purchased three styrene skulls just before Halloween. These were two jaw less & one full skulls, three for £5 GBP (around $10.00 USD give or take) shown below.

























Now what attracted them to me was the fact one of my sons a trained tattooist has been self tattooing some gas mask skulls on his legs & these skulls are very close to these skull designs. I told him i would get around to making some real life versions one day. Well seeing these skulls i figured i'd grab some. However i wasn't totally happy with some small features, but these i was able to alter easily thanks to these skulls being made of styrene. Below are the skulls showing where i altered them:



























Apart from the teeth the alterations were identical for all the skulls. The finished results below:





























Normally when i make my own skulls i then mass produce them using my foil copying method. That generally only gives me crude unfinished skulls that i have to later enhance (ad the final details to) for these guys i wanted to get the full finished copy straight off to save time. So for these i copied them in sculpting plaster. Now for those who have never made plaster molds, it is not like latex molding. Basically you can't cast around large or sharp corners or curved edges at all. well you could but you'd never get the item your casting out nor the copy even later.

To reduce the problem you simply then have to break down the item to be copied into smaller easier to cast forms. In the case of these grunge skulls i simply halved each skull down the center (through the face) then framed each section in a half of a pizza box as shown below:























Now normally you would need to have the boxing slightly higher than the item being cast so you can form a more solid, stronger 'block' over the whole item being copied. Since i have a weak shoulder & reduced strength in my left arm i don't want a huge block of plaster to throw around when finished. So for this project i concentrated the plaster on the skull itself. The pizza box was there to catch any small crumbling edges that would more than likely break off on removing the whole thing when dry. I copied all the three skulls in this fashion but have only shown two of the final casts below:


The finished 'negative' molds. The copies look dirty but that's just the dark floor wax i used as a releasing agent. There are several commercial releasing agents available & many home grown types/methods, but i use this for two reasons: The first of course this blog is based on helping artists who may be working to a tight budget. Second i find this floor wax dries to a fine powder which i can brush/wipe off or simply paint over. I of course use water based paints so can not say what reactions if any oil based paints may have on the wax.
I had hoped the styrene skulls might have released from the molds intact, but as i feared they simply broke apart on removal. In the end they were cheap to purchase & i can make several dozens of new skulls from these molds anyway.

The next step for these molds will be to clean them up once the wax dries out (turns powdery) then i will give the insides of each mold a coating of water base paint as a primer, then follow that through with a layer or two of high gloss spray paint. By doing this i will reduce the absorption of future coats of floor wax increasing the length & use of the molds several times over. It is said that a high quality mold made from quality sculpting plaster such as i have used here can produce up to one hundred casts. I don't need that many as yet but by painting & sealing the plaster i in theory should be able to extend that 'shelf life' several times over.

Now these grunge skulls are destined for several projects some of which include new wall mounted grim reaper creations as well as those gas mask skulls i mentioned. Below are two sketches i made of some of the gas mask skulls on my sons legs. I have of course emitted several of the key details from the sketches but what you can see should give you some idea of how they should look when i get them finished:























Last but not least those queen conch shells i had to paint. Whilst again i have not started painting them yet they are now at least ready to paint. I do actually have six of these made but am only painting the two for now:


















I  painted the underside with dragon skin (bone mix) to smooth them out to give me the highly polished smooth effect there.

So to round off my boo boo is at last fully healed leaving me with a wonderful pink scar so apart from 'life' & lack of sleep getting in the way this lot should be finished soon, well eventually lol.

More soon.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

BOO BOO BE DAMNED I'M BORED - UPDATE

No really i truly am seriously bored now & fed up to the back teeth of this dam burn on my hand now. My little fix with the plaster & fingertip-less rubber gloves works a treat allowing me to PM a little here & there. Sadly i am too used to only wearing rubber gloves when painting, so in fact haven't gotten much to anything achieved this last week or so to speak of. I have been video editing more than anything. Mercifully i have done an excellent job of keeping the wound clean, dry & have not once knocked it in any way or dislodged any of the built up scab allowing it to heal nicely.

Er!, this was until very late last night. Having just watched two of my few favourite TV/SKY shows (Bones & Lie to me) i sat & did a bit of lite reading whilst waiting for the time for my last insulin shot for the day so i could get to bed. Unfortunately whilst reading (Tales from Earthsea - end of the second story of quartet) my burn never having stopped itching from day two got going good & proper. Without thinking I reached down & itched away.

You guessed it, i tore open most all of the new fresh skin as you can see below:























As you can see, all the wound is now a nice pink if some what 'dry' new skin. Not a bad healing job for a week on a small but deep burn i'd say myself. Thanks to my not thinking i have torn it all open nicely. When i did it i didn't know whether to scream from the fresh bought of pain i had just put myself in because it hadn't been hurting for several days now but now was in as much if not more pain or from the stupid mindless act of scratching it wide open again after a week of being so mindful of protecting it!.

There is just no way i am spending another week or so doing next to nothing though, no sir, no way. I have a couple of large queen conch shells i made the better part of a year ago that are waiting a paint job to finish them off. I also have several large dishes & bowls most of which are also waiting paint to finish them off too. So tomorrow i am going to get to doing some painting i think. I have the two queen conch shells  three of the bowls i have to work on they should get me over the next three days nicely whilst this dam boo boo heals, or rather 're-heals' again.

I haven't pictured the conch shells or the bowls here yet as one of the bowls are something i was messing around with experimentally design wise & i am confident i have not seen anywhere online or the real world for sale. So i am hoping it is something new & will be keeping its design as much a secret as i can until it is finished. Hopefully by next Monday/Tuesday i will have some finished pictures & might even get them listed in my Etsy shop along the way too.

Oh the wonderful life i lead eh? More soon folks.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

BOO BOO BE DAMNED I'M BORED!

So four days in & the healing has begun in ernest at last. There is still a long way to go before this boo boo is fully gone but at least it's on it's way now. Trouble is i can't wait to get back to doing something if only something small. The stiffness in the muscle underneath the burn has dramatically reduced if not fully gone. I can't yet make a solid (tight) fist yet With this in mind i don't want to risk getting the wound wet so won't be doing any gluing today (for a few days yet still) but i do have some sanding to do. but basic movement & gripping is fine now.

Yes i know when you look at my work in the WIP stage nine times out of ten it does not require sanding down as shown in the pictures. Sometimes i rush things however & on those rare occasions projects require a little help from my sander lol.

So problem whilst my hand is recovered enough to use a little now i still have to keep this wound clean. My boo boo as it is now four days in below:























To keep it clean i came up with a very simple solution.























First of all a nice big piece of plaster.























Then a latex glove that i wear when painting but with the finger tips cut off. The plaster acts as the first barrier against any stray dust particles that get under the glove since the wrist & the finger tips are not skin tight, but also protects the wound from sweat as my hand gets hot under the glove. Then the glove of course as an outer shield against the heaviest dust from the sander - Voila'. 

I will be using this same method when i get back to PM'ing in a couple of days. Since the latex gloves get gummed up from my PVA glue the fingerless version shown here will work nicely lol. Right then i am off to dig out my sander, more posts soon folks lol.