Monday, January 28

Craft and Baking!

One of my pseudo-New-Years-Revolutions was to make my own unhealthy food. That is, rather than buying it in the store, where I'm not 100% sure what's in it, but I am sure there's preservatives and way too much sugar, I should save money and up my baking skills by making it myself! Another added bonus is that all good habits increase your will power and other future habits (seriously, even making your bed every morning will have a positive affect on your life).

So I've started making banana chocolate chip muffins, because they're my absolute favorite. This is my second batch, the first one I did all on my own, and they are awesome. Even their sad Christmas wrappers are awesome too.

I'm starting to think this is part of the reason why the adage, "Do what you love" can be so true. By making time for the things that I love - like baked goods and a clean room - I form good habits (including healthy ones), I create a work-life balance, and I start to better define my core character and values - which is really important to life. If you take a look back over this paragraph, all of these things are also really important to my goal of being an artist.

Does anybody else have hobbies or habits that aren't directly craft-related, but play an important part on your life as an artist?

[Also because these were really delicious, here's the tweaked recipe thus far;
Preheat 350°
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
In a 2nd bowl Mix:
1 egg
4 bananas (mushed)
1/3 cup of butter (softened)
Add dry to wet.
Add as many chocolate chips as looks right.
Bake for 25 min.

Saturday, January 26

What is Sand Casting?

I happened upon some first years trying out sand casting, and decided it would be the perfect opportunity (much to their dismay) to finally document the sand casting process via photos. Our wonderful models today are Charlotte and Fazil.

I didn't get a photo of just the sand mold, but when you scroll down to the bottom you'll see it. Basically, to sand cast you could just dig a hole in sand, and pour glass into it. It can be that simple!

First you have to get all suited up. Charlotte has her casting jacket on (a lot of people wear them backwards), as well as a mesh face mask, jeans, running shoes (I burned a hole in my favorite boots two weeks ago from stepping on hot glass), and gloves that you can't see.

Here you can see the giant kevlar glove on Charlotte's hand that is protecting her from a very hot furnace that's full of molten glass. I'll assume it's around 2000°C, but to be honest I always forget which furnace is which temperature (there's a second cooler one in the background for blowing).

After gathering your ladle, you pour out your molten glass! You want to do it as fast as you can, but without tipping your ladle past the 90° point. The inside of the ladle is lined with glass that has already cooled off a lot, so if you tip too far, all that 'cold' glass will fall out and make a mess.

Here's the final product from a different angle. Since this was one of her first pours the edges aren't that copacetic, but she'll get the hang of it after a few more tries.

That's all you need to know to understand the basics of sand casting! It can be an extremely technical and intricate form of glass art though. There's adding color, inclusions, different annealing programs, manipulating the hot glass, and more. We also mix the sand and water with different substances to cause different results, and we even mix different sand for different results!

... Kind of like professional sand sculptors on the beach, the reason they're so detailed and amazing is because they truck in different types of sand, with different properties.

Bet you didn't know all that about sand, did you?

Monday, January 21

Battles Recommence!

New Battle Theme: Figures!

Finally, the battles are starting back up again! Jessie has officially given me the a-okay to post a new battle, and Chris from school said he'd be happy to participate if we made the theme figures, something we both happen to need to make!

This battle will have no set time limit for Jessie's sake while she adjusts to working life, however we will work our hardest to pressure Jessie into finishing her sculpture within a decent time frame, because that's what friends are for!

This battle starts today; Monday, January 21st, 2013

How would you incorporate figures into your regular work?

Thursday, January 17

Etsy Contest

Everyone loves free advertising, especially fun advertising, so I thought I would make mention of the website Etsy Contest. It can be hard to find good websites to be active with, and the more sites you try to interact with, the faster time slips away; which is why it's very important to pin down some sites that work for you.

Ducky brought this website to my attention today as she had one of her wallets entered in a contest. I used it once before, but stopped (and promptly forgot about it) when I stopped using Etsy.

The premise is simple: Submit your Etsy listings, and the price range or 'theme' that they fit into, and the site will then pair your listing against someone else's, and have people vote for their favorite! Every time you click one favorite, the site generates two more random pairs to choose from, and it goes on and on and on like this, forever.

Try out the site and let us know, do you think it's a good advertising tool?

Monday, January 14

89 Days of Glass

Sound familiar?

Since lists and goals were working so well to keep the stress down and productivity up, and my 31 Days of Waxes in August was also really productive, and fun, I thought I'd do it again!

Technically the semester is 103 days (which is NOT a long time), but the first 7 days were stolen from me to work on a lighting project called SHED, and another 7 (or 9) days will be stolen from me over march break when I hopefully go on vacation with my Gran.

Day 1: It's really hard to cut tiny glass hearts, but I think they'll be okay after I fuse them!

So far so good. I made something today, and I cut up glass to make something tomorrow.. Only I'm struggling with the concept of voluntarily going into school before 9am to make sure I have time to set up the kiln. Aside from that though, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to doing tomorrow's project if not for the fact that I'm really scratching my head for 89 ideas! I think I have around 50 right now.

Day 2: There's clear strip glass in there that will make beautiful tree bowls! Trust me.

Friday, January 11

Help An Artist Keep His Eyesight! - Andrew Tarrant

I love websites like indiegogo and kickstarter. I think it's amazing that people have created spaces where others can petition for donations (or 'crowdfunding'). What I usually see has been for research and project development, but this campaign is a little different!

24/25 of these mugs have already been claimed. I really want one too!
Andrew Tarrant is going blind, which would be devastating enough on it's own, but he's also an artist, which is even more terrifying. His donation program is running for another 108 days, in which time he needs to raise another $7780, and he's offering some pretty cool things to those who donate.

Another mug up for grabs!
If you are broke, lazy, or iffy about donating money, you can still lend a helpful hand by sharing his campaign page on one of your social networks! It's not that hard, and you know it would feel great to know that one copy and paste could be enough to help save a fellow artist's sight!

Sunday, January 6

New Directions With A New Year

The storm has subsided and I can finally say I am done school! It was super hectic and I am actually glad I took a hiatus from blogging and arting just to finish. So now that I am finished and working full-time already, I have evenings free (yay no more homework). What better way to start out the new year than with a plan right?

Some things I would like to learn/do more of/experiment with are:

  • Make more sculptures
  • Sell a sculpture this year
  • Wood carving (I got a wood carving set for Christmas!)
  • Try 3D digital modelling
Its a pretty vague list I know, but its a good start. I have a few stumps sitting in my garage waiting for something to happen to them; I just need to find a direction. :)

And how can we bring in the New Year without recapping some of our favourite moments from 2012! Some art pieces I was extremely happy with are:

Velcro the Velociraptor - he is by far my favourite and best sculpture to date.

The Horse I made my sister - I haven't blogged about this yet, but I am pretty sure I will! 

Anywho, I am happy this blog has been somewhat active (thanks to Nikki) since we started it and I hope we get a lot more views, guest posters and commenters in the future!

Thursday, January 3

There's A Trend Regarding Organization & Me

Over the past five months I really spent time working with the idea of motivation through organization. I find myself filling another sketch book up with specific art related goals and guidelines, to help me successfully survive the last semester of school. I was going to write about the new sketchbook, but then I realized something . . .

In August I goaled to create one wax mold a day, in preparation for school. (31 Days of Waxes)

In September I spent hours writing out all of my goals, then organizing them into long-term or short-term, work related goals. Then I created little cards so I could reorganize my priorities on the spot. (Organizing Your Goals)

In October I pondered the importance of working through 'silly' ideas, because wonderful creations come from unexpected places. (Silly Ideas)

In November I wrote about how I motivate myself to get up early in the morning, or work late at night, by asking myself whether or not I'll regret that small sacrifice in the future. (. . . In Twenty Years?)

In a flurry of frustration and stress in December I wrote an awful post trying to address the issue of prioritizing. (Crunch Time)

In December I also shared the next step of organizing myself, based off of September's organization ideas, but dedicated to the long-term instead of short-term. (Pushing the Business Plan Forward)

Either a strong trend about desiring to be dedicated to organization and motivation is emerging, or I just haven't had enough things to write about.

And if this blog did not exist, despite the fact that only a handful of people will see it, I would never have realized this extremely important habit that's emerging.

Have you ever realized that your hopeful new habits are working?