What do think if theses nuts? Not bad, eh? Brassy. As I trudge my way to a better grasp of Twitter and searching for tweeting sculptors I found a twillion crafters. I am now their follower but all they ask of me is to enter their website contest, plus I got a link on how to make a cool bracelet. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “You guys are over here making bracelets?” I’ll tell you exactly what I told the waitress at Hooters, “Hell no, I’m not making bracelets. I’m a man!” These babies are Hardware made from hex nuts and twine! I took the
bracelet hardware design a step further and made some necklaces as well.
I’m posting the necklaces and bracelets in the “Shop” in case you’re interested. The necklaces incorporate washers that I’ve stamped with a metal stamp kit (check out your local Harbor Freight store). My sculptures can take a bit of time, which causes the cost to vary, whereas the Hardware jewelry is quick and unique. If you like what I do here and want to make a small contribution, besides my eternal gratitude I can now offer you a one of a kind
necklace or bracelet Hardware! There are so many variations, you can take your pick.
Let me know if there’s something special you’d like stamped on the washer too!
I’ve had thoughts before about incorporating LED’s in with some of my sculptures. LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. They were introduced as a practical electronic component in 1962 yet experimentation with electroluminescence can be traced all the way back to 1907. LEDs have been used as little indicator lights in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting due to their long life and low energy consumption.
I recently had a simple idea for a sculpture that utilized one LED. It’s a terrible idea really. Well… not terrible, it just makes me feel… irresponsible. The idea is a for a sculpture of a teddy bear lighting a cigarette. Do you even remember those things people used to smoke? Unfortunately, I do, and I used to smoke them myself. The biggest reason that I kept smoking was because, “I liked it”. How do you argue with someone who say “I like it”? You can’t.
Eventually what got through to me was a combination of two things. One was seeing the Bodies exhibit when it was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. None of the pictures I’d ever seen of blackened lungs and other organs did anything for me. The innovative preservation process used in the Bodies exhibit, allows the human tissue on display to seems… very fresh. As you walk through, it sinks in that this is really what these body parts and organs really REALLY look like inside you. So what struck me, moreso than the color of the smoker’s lungs on display, was the texture; it’s hard to image how an organ could continue to function AT ALL in a state like that. The other thing that got into my head right before I quit smoking was the realization that I can’t just do whatever “I like”. “It’s a free country, man! I can do whatever I want!” That’s a fine mantra, if you’re a loser who’s locked away, alone somewhere. The rest of us live in a community where other people think about us and we think about them; so my mantra has changed to, “This is a free country, man! I can do what’s right even if it’s not popular.”
It’s hard to believe but one day sooner or later, every smoker will regret it. The biggest problem is the power of the status quo, but I didn’t mean to get off on a tangent.
The smoking teddy bear! I don’t know where this idea came from (all I care about is that is came), but it’s a great opportunity for this subtle effect. The LED will be mostly hidden by the bear’s paws, so all that will be seen is the glow on the bear’s face. A fellow sculptor recently told me about how he always begins by sculpting the head, “everything else flows from the head”. I usually sculpt the body first to get an overall feel for the size, so I was excited to try sculpting my next piece, head first… this piece… yea… so I don’t know what happened with that.
I began by twisting insulated wire around each leed to the LED (I don’t know how to solder) and secured it to the bear’s foil body with scrap copper wire. I sealed the wire and all inside the clay with the insulated wire protruding from the bear’s foot. The idea is that the base for the teddy bear will hold the battery. In the image above, on the right, I’ve drilled a hole in the wood marked “J” so the teddy bear will stand temporarily for me to adjust his pose.
Once I added the head and got this minimal shape to my liking, I baked it. As I continue adding clay I won’t have to worry about mashing a leg the wrong way or accidentally dropping the head off. The trick to this method is: before you bake it the first time, be sure it’s thin enough to add more clay over later, otherwise you’ll have to chisel-out portions of the baked clay to add details. It’s not impossible to chisel out baked clay, in fact it’s what I had to do below, it’s just a pain in the ass.
I’d just turn the piece around in my hand looking at it from different angles and added clay here and there until it was the thickness I wanted. When I was almost done bulking up it’s body, I began added detail to it’s face. It took some time moving the eyes and nose around, trying different looks, before I finally found an orientation I was happy with.
There’s still a few things left to do: The legs definitely need to be bulked up some more, I’d like to add a fur-type texture to the teddy bear’s body (I’m still not exactly sure how), and I’d like to pooch out his lips more. I’ll update you on this piece next week. Until then, if you have any questions or comments about this piece, Hardware jewelry, quitting smoking or anything… lemme know. :)