Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Things have been hectic lately I should really post more often. Shortly after my last post I made a mimic box to be given to Jeff of Jeff's Gameblog for his birthday. If you are unfamiliar with a mimic it is a classic D&D monster. Here is a picture from the monster manual
I put a little mouth and eye on the inside. I actually came up with a not bad method of making fish like teeth. It is a little bit time consuming but looks fairly convincing. You take translucent sculpey make your teeth, bake it then coat it in many, many layers of a clear varnish to build up a thick clear layer. 
Here is the mimic box fighting with Stuart's cat Kamali. Both parties were unharmed.

After the mimic box, I moved and had to pull apart the studio for about a month and a half.  The new studio is nice, though smaller. I've already gotten it fairly cluttered. The dragon is at around 225 hours and heading to 3 or 4 hundred. I'm also going to be doing a couple of pieces to benefit the exotic feline rescue I mentioned in the last post. I may have the first one at the next convention, and with any luck the dragon as well. I have a couple of shows underway in November. At Cinema Gallery in Urbana I'm going to be participating in the "Fur, Fins, and Feathers" show. Also, in November I will have a table at Windycon. Grace will not be participating in Windycon, as she will have just moved around that time. I will likely have some of her stuff at the table so if you are looking for her work you may still want to stop by. 

I've started the pieces for the "Fur, Fins, and Feathers" show. They will be the first two of a series of four figures with slightly animalistic features. For the vaguely bird based performer figure I thought the best finish would be a red crackle raku glaze. This is the first I've done home raku (I've done it at the university many times) so I needed to pick up some supplies. I did not have tongs to remove the hot pieces so I had to improvise; I ended up getting this giant wrench.

Here is the wrench with a normal wrench for scale. It must weigh ten pounds, I thought it would easily stand up to the 1900-degree temperatures it would need to during the Raku process. It did quite well and did not heat up much at all. They looked at me very oddly at Farm and Fleet when I picked this up. I had also gotten a large bag of pine bedding intended for horses and two sets of welding gloves for the people helping. The cashier looked at us with a look that said, "I don't know what you have in mind but it is a bad idea".  
     The firing actually went quite well.  The house did not burn down and no one was injured. If you are not familiar with raku I will explain. What we did was fire the kiln to cone 04, over 1900 degrees, then turn it off at the height of the firing cycle. Then I pulled the glowing molten pieces out with the "tongs" and threw them into a metal trashcan full of pine bedding which burst into flame on contact. Stuart and Jenn helped with the hot kiln lid and batting down the fire with trash can lid so that it would be a very fast process. It's bad for the pieces to cool to rapidly and might cause them to crack.
Here are a couple of the bits of the figure that were pulled out yesterday. I'm still sifting all of the burnt pine bedding. I think that I will have to do more of this in the future it is one of my favorite types of firings.