Monday, June 30, 2008

Updates, or the Lack Thereof

So this blog is hardly posted on anymore. There are simply not that many new things to talk about. Occasionally I do come up with the occasional idea, which is hardly something to be celebrated, and anything that is is easily and soon exhausted on other websites.

Oh, and you all knew I was bound to do something ridiculous sooner or later, so I decided to fulfill your expectations.
I've decided to sell the miscellaneous things I make. Yeah. Let's see how long this is going to last.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Building a Paper Mache Mask

Here's a simplified, text-only version extracted from one of the full tutorials. The illustrated, full-length one can be found here. This was my initial version of the process, which still works very well.

1) Obtain the following materials: aluminum foil, duct and/or masking tape, a permanent marker, scissors, a knife, and a hole punch.
2) Layer several sheets of aluminum foil and fold them to a thickness at which they are no longer flimsy.
3) Mold the foil over the face, paying careful attention to depressions and raised areas such as the nose and eyes.
4) Take it off and sketch out the outline and eyeholes with a permanent marker. Be careful about the placement of the eyeholes, because they will be difficult to fix later.
5) Trim around the edges with scissors and hole-punch both corners for ties. Cutting out the eyeholes, however, is easier with a knife. Folding the foil in half may be necessary for symmetry.
6) Periodically press the foil back onto the face, especially after it has been worked with, to ensure that it retains its shape.
7) Tape, tie, or have someone hold the mask to the face. Begin covering the foil with strips of duct tape, using larger pieces for open areas and smaller ones for edges and curves around holes. The thicker the layers, the better the shape will hold.
8) The edges can be secured with masking tape, but this is not necessary. Any changes to the basic shape of the mask can be added with tape. When finished, lay the form aside and proceed to prepare the ingredients for the paper mache.

1) For the paper mache, gather these additional materials: newspaper, a water-soluble glue like white glue, and some water.
2) In a container wide enough for at least a hand to fit through, mix the glue solution. Blend two parts glue and one part water. The consistency should be runny but not watery.
3) Shred newspaper by hand, tearing it into small strips and bits. Smaller pieces allow for more control over edges and therefore a smoother finished surface.
4) Dampen the paper in the glue solution and plaster it onto the mask base. Squeeze out excess glue from underneath, coat the top surface, and smooth rough edges. Apply the glue with a flat stick, a paintbrush, or merely fingers. Use as many layers as seems necessary, and allow one side to dry before working on the other.
5) Decorative surface treatments can now be added to the mask. If paint is used, it should be protected with sealant.

Be warned, however! Watch out for what sort of tape you use for the base. Thicker, sturdier tape will hold up much better than its flimsier counterpart, which will refuse to remain rigid even when covered with layers of paper mache.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Out of Focus: Lamps

Amorphous shots can be interesting too.
Light and form take on another perspective in this set, a series of lamps.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Now What?

Or, Where Did the Motivation Go?

Sometimes, inspiration can be elusive. Very elusive. We've all encountered a writer's block. Or perhaps an artist's or crafter's block, whatever we express our creativity through. Inspiration comes in unexpected spurts, but during dry spells, there is nothing to work with or even with which to start building upon. Where should we start? Here's my take:

Before You Start
Especially in the beginning, it is often unwise to grasp at things that don't exist. Pursuing yet-nonexistent ideas doesn't bring them into the light. Wait for ideas to occur in their own time; inspiration comes mostly when it is not being sought.

No Luck?
If you're still searching, start looking at the work of others.... but be very careful not to copy. Most of the time, what you see has been done by people who know what they're doing. The internet is a good resource here. Articles, image galleries, and anything else that sparks interest might help. Don't make any attempts to extract concepts and ideas. Just take it all in.

Brainstorming- or Not
If you're like me, the very word brainstorming causes an automatic brain shutdown. So instead of brainstorming, think of the process as spewing out whatever comes to mind. Think impulsive and instinctive. Lay it down on something tangible if it helps. Freewriting is a good way to get ideas going, whether you are trying to write or not.

Get it Organized
Once you have something, however little, to work with, it's all good. I think we all know where to take it from here.

Was this any help at all? Let me know! I run out of ideas fairly often (usually in the form of papers typed in the last wee hours of the morning)- is it just me or does this seem to happen all the time? It may come as no surprise, then, that I ended up writing a paper about searching fruitlessly for inspiration...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Holy Crap. Camera.

Recently acquired a Nikon D40. Considering that I've only ever owned a compact, that in itself should be self-explanatory.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teh Internetz

So apparently my website(s)/pages are all of a mess. To tell the truth, it kind of sucks. My old site, which was really quite terrible, had stopped working a while ago, so I deleted it and have recently begun creating a new one. The forum, which I had been adding onto for a number of years, has also died, at least for the time being. Reason? It's being hosted by Conforums, which appears to be currently dysfunctional as well. So the site I am working on now- it's linked in the navbar to the left- doesn't have much and probably won't go anywhere in the near future. Perhaps it'll all be sorted out eventually, but in the meantime, this is starting to become rather frustrating.