Week 17 of 48

May 31, 2010

Mold! This week is all about mold making—probably a boring topic for the majority of you, but I was pretty psyched to both start and finish this mold in the last few weeks so I am going to share the whole process whether you like it or not! Now that the mold is complete, several rounds of casts will probably be necessary before a successful cast emerges, but I am ready to work for it. Mold making is such a long process, what’s a few more days to perfect the casting process?

prepping the plaster diamond for round one of polyurethane

I didn't want a pour spout so in order to make the mold in the round without a support, I had to make half at a time...

flipped over and polyurethane on the top half

back to the bottom half, prepping for part one of the plaster mother mold

the hydrocal sets so quickly I could only do small sections at a time... this is only 2 sections out of 5 needed to complete each half of the mother mold

first half of mother mold done but look at the mess! fiberglass, hydrocal, plasticine, polyurethane, etc.

prepping for second half of mother mold... not very professional looking!

second half of mother mold done... looks pretty wonky, but I think it just might work...

easily the most bad ass mold I've made to date

Still not done! There is a whole other set of steps to opening up the mold and preparing it for its first cast

All the parts opened, cleaned and ready to go! Wish me luck...

Week 14 of 48

May 10, 2010

I feel a little bit bad for the May residents; their arrival yesterday was greeted by snow. Two weeks ago it snowed a foot in the middle of Vermont Artists Week—and I mean a foot of accumulated snow, not just general precipitation—but none of the Vermonters flinched though there was some surprise. Yesterday it snowed with a cold blizzard-like wind ALL DAY as residents arrived and dragged their luggage from check-in to their rooms to their studios. Yuck. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that there will be no more of that until November. Enough is enough. Now for some miscellaneous art-ish things…

3D doodles...

Been having fun making these inbetween bouts of endless plaster carving

they make me feel like I am accomplishing something other than making the pile of plaster dust bigger

don't ask me what they are... nothing more than doodles for now...

after well over 40 hrs. of carving in 3 days, the bottom is almost complete...

This weekend marked the end of 3 months (counted in residency time, not calendar time) here in Vermont and was filled with a lot of reflection about my place here. April was a tumultuous month with mud season, issues with residents and staff, difficulties reigning in the office work and very limited time in studio. Cabin fever has been in the air along with wondering if I can actually survive a year in this bizarre contrived community. Every day is a roller coaster of emotions oscillating between really wonderful moments and complete despair over how trapped I feel here. It regularly occurs to me that I might hate living here. I love it as a residency, but to stay year round is something else entirely and I am losing all enthusiasm about this situation. It becomes more and more difficult to be excited when meeting new residents and to pretend I enjoy being here; more and more difficult to want to work to improve things, to invest any of myself in this place. Today marks the beginning of Vermont Artists Week, a one week residency just for artists who are Vermont residents, and then the following week is what is known as “Work Week“, the only week ALL YEAR when there are no residents at all. Rumor says it’s the best week all year for getting a lot of work done in studio because there are no residents to interfere and no scheduled activities. I can’t wait. I’m also hoping to use these two weeks of supposed good studio time as a gauge for whether or not I can stay through the year. If I can’t get good work done during the best week of the year, then I’m not going to be able to get good work done any other time and I need to leave. So wish me luck! I have made myself a new schedule that I think will improve my studio hours and includes good chunks of time everyday for walks and yoga to mentally escape a little. I also set my studio up so I can spend nights there in order to hide from everything/everyone when necessary (I’ve been going crazy at my complete lack of privacy)—all of which I think will really help in the future. I’ve also talked with my roommate about borrowing her car on occasion since I have no means of getting out of this stifling town and that should help as well, though I can’t go too far with it since it isn’t technically hers. That’s where I’m at with everything and I will keep you posted on how the next few weeks go. If this weekend doesn’t become a turning point in my time here, then I will have to start working on an exit strategy.

finally made myself stop working on the top of the diamond... I could continue carving away at it forever and never be done since it would never be perfect, so I made myself stop here...

Some new green casts

lime green transparent gem

they had already degraded a bit before I took these pics (with the new camera!)—all the little pock marks...

Week 3 of 52 at VSC

February 21, 2010

Unfortunately, I am ridiculously ill this week. The only reason I left the house at all today was in search of internet to write this weeks entry. To my chagrin, there is no internet in my house or studio, so I can only make use of it in the lounge or at the coffee shop. Since I have spent the majority of this week dying in bed or in the office working, there has been very little time in studio. But, before I came down with the illness, I managed to get started carving the plaster diamond I started back in December. As it creeps closer and closer to diamond-like perfection, I get more and more nervous about messing it up—to the point of actually having nightmares about destroying it! I guess I don’t usually make such precious forms—I’ve never been one for preciousness in individual objects, so I’m sure that adds to the anxiety. In any event, as soon as it is done, it will be time to mold it, and if I can get over this flu/cold quickly enough, I should be able to make the mold this week…

One last oddly photoshopped panoramic of the studio, pre-working

Carving the diamond, making a huge, nasty, dusty mess in studio... photo creds to Kate

State of the diamond by the end of the week... not a lot of progress, but only a few facets left to cut and then lots of patching and sanding...

The only benefit to spending so much time at home wanting to die is lots of quality roommate bonding; Kate has been sick with the same thing. For several days now, all we do is sit at home and chat about anything and everything over hot totties, herbal teas and lots of Emergen-C…

Merry Christmas Eve!

December 24, 2009

I am kind of in shock that it is really here! Being secluded in Vermont for the majority of the pre-Holiday season meant that I missed out on all the reminders of the Holidays. No commercials, no decorations, no gift buying, no shopping, no Christmas carols, no Christmas food or drink, no Christmas parties, no candy canes, no silver bells, no Christmas trees or ornaments or lights, no malls, no movies, no bilboards or other forms of advertising to remind me ’tis the season. Without all of that, it was so easy to forget the Holidays were approaching and that perhaps I should be thinking about them. Instead, I was spending every moment of my days and nights thinking about candy, sugar, gemstones, diamonds, relationships, forever, permanence, the ephemeral and transitory, jewelry, value, icons and symbols, and of course people, new friends, old friends, potential new co-workers, old co-workers, jobs, life, change, and movement. So without further ado, a few more pictures from my studio… taken almost exactly a week ago!

This is a giant plaster model of a standard cut diamond in progress

A close up of the texture while building up the plaster little by little and cutting it back to keep it all consistent

After roughing out the basic shape, I mapped out the facets and began carving them in with a file. Long, slow and exhausting work...

I had hoped to finish this process before leaving, but I only got a little over half of the facets cut before it was time to clean up and prepare to leave. As soon as I am back in Vermont, I will finish this monster off and then make a mold of it so I can cast the candy in the mold and create giant diamonds and gemstones made out of sugar. Once a few gems are cast, I have a few vague ideas about what to do with them, but I sort of want to wait to see how the casts work before I commit to anything, so we shall see… I also made molds of the top and bottom half of the fifty cent vending machine toys I showed in an earlier post.

Here they are covered in plasticine, ready for a plaster mother mold

I did at least finish these molds before I left, although the food grade silicone didn’t set up in time for me to actually cast any candy in them. Again, these will be first on the list when I get back to Vermont. Cast a few sets of candy into each of them and see how they turn out…

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