Friday, January 30, 2009
A New Post!!! Warmest Salutations, Gentle Reader! Jack Frost has certainly had his way with our windowpanes, but our nest inside has remained mercifully cozy; a welcome respite from the cold, harsh winterworld outside. I fear I must have greatly disappointed my most faithful readers, of whom there are but a precious handful, I know, by failing to keep you apprised of my various creative pursuits. I am sorry to have been neglectful, but can assert in my defense that I have been keeping awfully busy, even if it has been at the expense of regular FinderMaker updates. Ah but now, where to begin? First, I must reveal that I have been been fully entrenched in an exhibit installation project at the venerable Brown University for the past 3 weeks straight (no, not my artwork, but someday...) and so have been very much thusly occupied to the exclusion of nearly all else. Second, the projects I have been working on at home have not seemed suitably aligned with the original FinderMaker concept of "finding things and making them into other, better things" so I have been struggling with the problem of staying true to that original concept (and posting only infrequently) or loosening things up a bit and posting more frequently on whatever I might happen to be working on. I haven't really decided yet, but I shall now place before you several weeks worth of sundries and curios-in-the-making if only to purge my own mind for the time being...
So, it is friday, and I am quite satisfied to have reached my personal goal of having produced five sellable wax anatomical hearts before the week was up. I originally made a few of these several years ago, as an adjunct to my obsessive interest in the wax anatomical collections of the Museo La Specola (see some Flickr images here). Recently, whilst unpacking one of a great number of crates containing pieces from my collection of antique medical implements, I had happened upon my old heart mold, and determined that I should set up a little temporary ceroplasty studio once again. This isnt a particularly stylish photo, but here are the basics of the operation as they are currently laid out:
The process of creating a wax anatomical model is delicate and arduous, and though I was certain I'd be capable of picking up the tools and creating another masterpiece immediately, in fact I created many "duds" before regaining my confidence and competence in the process. Layer upon thin, translucent layer of lighty pigmented melted wax (several types) are brushed into the mold to create the appearance of muscle, fat, and veinous tissue. Tiny, wax-dipped threads are also embedded within the layers to mimic the appearance of capillaries. The five keepers that I produced and photographed are not quite completed yet, they still require a bit of detailing and cleaning up, followed by several layers of shellac, which will deepen the colors and add a rich, flesh-like glisten to the surface. Eventually they will be mounted on plaques and put up for sale in the gift shop of my online hospital museum! Now that I have the knack of it, I hope to produce 2 a day until I am quite unable to tolerate the process any longer!
Next, I've also done a bit of scrimshaw, and hope to do very much more very soon. The following became a bookmark for my dad:
My lack of drawing skill has hampered my progress in the scrimshaw department, i'm afraid. I suppose I draw passably, but I practice so rarely that I generally feel a tad intimidated sitting before an old piece of ivory contemplating the mess I am likely to make of any scene I'd hope to permanently scribe thereon. The little harpoon turned out well enough, though, and I think I may try a few more rather soon-ish.
The few of you who know me well may know that I am quite nuts for Native American artifacts, and very much enjoy engaging in my own Native American crafts projects from time to time. The following is an authentic Cheyenne-Arapaho ceremonial Peyote fan purchased in Clinton, OK during our cross country relocation from Los Angeles to Providence:
Some 10 or so years ago I applied peyote stitch beadwork around the stem of a peace pipe I had made a few years earlier:
After procuring the peyote fan, I determined that my collection would be sorely lacking if I did not add an example of the requisite peyote gourd rattle. Alas, although the fan was purchased from among some dusty relics at a roadside curio shop for a very reasonable sum, I was unsuccessful in locating a similarly low priced gourd rattle that was as well crafted as the fan, so I turned to an online Native American crafts supply retailer and purchased a kit which supplies the necessary components for the production of ones very own gourd rattle. Mind you, this kit is basically supplies only... some skill is required to drill, carve, whittle, glue, stitch, etc. your way to a completed artifact, but I think it is well worth the price, and I have ended up with quite a nice rattle. I have yet to add the colored feather fluff to the top bit and then stitch the white buckskin over that, but once I have, It will be ready for the addition of beadwork (beads aren't included). I have assembled a nice collection of #12 czech seed beads, and am nearly ready to jump into this new peyote stitch beadwork project!
And then there is this:
An unbuilt 1960's model of the whaler Charles W. Morgan which is just begging to be built and incorporated into a diorama... I'll keep you updated!
A top secret and proprietary project involving some of the hundreds of old national geographic magazines that were very generously passed along to me from the excellent Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
which had been in operation for many many years in lovely Bristol, RI but is currently closed and undergoing the overwhelming process of cataloging and packing its collections for a move to Providence sometime in the (probably rather distant) future.
If I didn't have so many projects to occupy me, I would surely be going quite crazy with anticipation, for I have finally gotten around to tackling the rather complex process of ordering a pair of custom made, period (circa 1860) boots from Missouri Boot and Shoe
The arrival of these beauties will herald the completion of a fine period outfit which, when donned, will immerse me ever more completely in a time which now exists only in books and fading photographs...
Thanks ever so much for stopping by... I'll try not to let so much time pass until the next posting!