Hey, ever since the dawn of time, I have wanted to make jewellery that you could wind up and then the little motor would make this little creation come to life. Until now that idea was stowed neatly away in the too hard basket. The other day, however, I noticed it in the too hard basket and decided to see what could be done. I had a couple of super cheap dancing robots that had broken within the first couple of dances, so I dismembered them and pulled out their drive mechanism. Made of cheap plastic gears and a spring.
Anyways, I was able to take these parts and cast them in bronze, as seen here.
With much tinkering, filing, and polishing, I was able to get the mechanism to work. Not perfectly but pretty good. It still sometime stops before it completely unwinds. Anyways definitely a proof of concept that has got me imagining all kinds of wondrous uses for this new technology.
Here's a little video of it working.
It just so happens in the first week of being back, the wondrous 109 Collective is having it's winter exhibition. All kinds of wondrous articles of creative energy to be found and purchased. So, if you are in Byron Bay, Australia, before july 28, come on down to 109 Johnson street and have a look.
I have been away for almost a month visiting family in Canada. Had a wonderful time enjoying the beautiful Canadian wilderness, hot summer weather, campfires, marshmallows, and mosquitoes. I also took a break from thinking about jewellery. Now, however, I am all geared up to get creating again, and thanks to jet lag, have been dreaming up new designs and ideas in the wee hours of the morning while trying to get back to sleep. Hey, I'll take new ideas any time of the day or night ( I must admit some of the epic ideas bought of in the middle of the night turn out to be somewhat ridiculous when viewed in the awakened state).
So... Back to work
I have a drawing in my sketchbook that I keep coming back to, it is a top hat entirely made out of copper pieces riveted together. In my mind it is such a glorious creation, but in reality it does present a number of problems, one which is the weight of the finished hat.... So, in a frenzy of cardboard, glue and Rub N' Buff, I slapped this little baby together. I guess the only problem with frenzies is sometimes you make mistakes. So I now have a very cool hat that is somewhat too small for my head, and somewhat too large for my wife. Ah well, it will still look great on the shelf.
Stay tuned if you would like to know step by step how I made this wondrous creation....
Hey hey, today I finished the little video tutorial I made on Friday. First one ever, and I think it went pretty good for a first try. I took a kids makeup box and used Rub N' Buff on it to try and give it an aged, kinda steampunky look.
It is the first time I have used the Rub N' Buff on a fairly flat surface, and just as I thought, it was tricky to get a convincing aged metallic look. I think maybe if I could layer some different shades of gold it might start to give it some depth. Looks like I have some experimenting to do. The main key I found with the Rub N' Buff was to apply it quite dry, because I want some of the background black to show through.
Anyways, this box will look good enough to be in the background of a photo or something like that. Right now I have already put it to use as a box for carrying my camera lenses around. Perfect.
Oh, yeah, and next time I will try to get the camera in focus before I start recording:)
So, I just got a new camera, and I thought I had better figure out how to use it. Here's me playing around with the video recording in my shed.
My Rub n' Buff has arrived! Ooohh you say, that sounds exciting, but what the heck is Rub n' Buff? Rub n' Buff is a "wax metallic finish" like a paste that you can rub onto something that you want to look metal-ish. Sounds fantastic! If it works. Now, this is the type of thing I would normally kind of shun, as I am more inclined to actually make something out of metal if I want something to look like it is made of metal. Makes sense. However, I have this big piece of furniture that the laminate is all coming off of, and I would love to be able to steampunk it. Make it look like it is made of sheets of brass or something like that. A bit pricey and time consuming to do for real, so I did a bit of looking on line and came up with this stuff. Worth a crack. It seems to often be used to change bright yellow and orange nerf guns into retro futuristic looking weapons. I am sure this is not what Mr. Rub n' Buff imagined when he developed his top secret wax metallic finish formula, but hey nerf guns it is.
Anyways, when my little box of tubes arrived I immediately looked for something I could Rub n' Buff to my hearts content. The battery charger was sitting on the table so I grabbed it and started rubbing. Here's what I got.
- It is gonna take a lot of practice to get the right technique down that will look good.
- It doesn't seem to work to add more layers, as the next layer seems to dissolve the previous one.
- It will need some kind of protective finish to keep from rubbing off.
- Wax and grease remover spray seems to work very well to clean it all off, so I can try, try, again.
- It is somewhat translucent, so everything underneath has to look the same.
Well, there you go, for what it is worth. I am going to have to do some more experimenting to come up with a final product I really like. I think it is never going to actually look like metal, but it still might look fun and funky.
I just wanted to share with you how I made a double breasted victorian waistcoat from an old suit jacket I got at an op shop for $5. This is a perfect item to add to your steampunk wardrobe.Okay, first I found an old suit jacket, it was single breasted, but when I overlapped the front as in a double breasted jacket, it fit me nice and snug. Sweet.
So, I don't need arms on this thing, so cut em off, then I tried it on to get an idea of where I would cut the armholes for real. Always remembering to leave extra for seam allowance.
Marked the new armholes and cut. I basically just made the shoulders narrower and kept the bottom of the armhole at pretty much the same place. You can see the bulky padding for the shoulders here. I ripped that all out.
I wanted the waistcoat to fit me well and it had a bit of extra material at the bottom of the armhole, so before I hemmed the armholes, I made a dart from under the armpit, straight down to get rid of some of that extra fabric.
Okay, this part was the trickiest part, getting a nice seam around the armhole. I hemmed the jacket material and the lining separately and then sewed them together for the finished arm. I couldn't figure out a better way to do this, maybe someone out there has a good idea. I found it really had a tendency to go kinda wavy. I think also very important was cutting little slits on the inside curve where I was hemming, so the fabric can stretch.
Okay, finally got it sorted! Everything else from here is a walk in the park!
I tried on my waistcoat again, figured out how long I wanted it, and cut it off, again remembering to leave a seam allowance. Also, not shown here, I sewed the slit at the back of the jacket shut.
Finally, I can hem the bottom. I did the outer material on the machine and then I hand stitched the lining down.
I was lucky and the buttonholes were exactly where I needed them. Because I wanted a high collar though I needed to add two more button holes at the top. Then I just figured out where the buttons needed to go and sewed them on.
You can kind of see the crease where the collar used to fold down. I tried best as I could to iron it out, but I couldn't get rid of it all. As well, I had to put a little stitch in the collar to hold it down in the right place. I guess 50 years of it being creased in the same place is hard to overcome.
And that's it, done. I think it probably took me a whole day to do it, but if I had to do it again it would be so much quicker. And for $7 (including buttons), you can't really complain.
I ended up wearing this to a recent wedding and got heaps of positive comments. Awesome.
Hehe, here is a little promo vid from the winter 109 collective in Byron Bay. It was a great event with lots of sweet ambience and beautiful people. If you look close enough, you might even see me on the vid:) I know some people enjoy being in the limelight, but I just find it a bit freaky having to say something coherent into a mic while being recorded. I guess I'll just have to practice more.
So, big thanks to Trent Foster for his awesome filmography.
Haven't posted for a while, so here's my friend Tom to relieve the boredom... http://youtu.be/VTUIxTw5ALg
I was just at the most beautiful wedding this weekend, of a couple of our good friends. It just so happened that I was asked to make the wedding rings! The Ladies ring was one of the more challenging rings that I have carved, quite intricate and small, but I was really happy with how it all turned out. It was carved in wax and then cast in white gold. I have been doing mostly steampunk jewelry lately so it was a bit of a change to make something more traditional and shiny. Fun. Of course the picture is much larger than it really is, so imagine it a lot smaller:)
O.K. as I stated in my last post, I am not a graphic designer, and that became quite apparent when I uploaded the poster on my last blog entry. In photoshop the blacks looked really good and deep, but once I put it up here it all looks kind of desaturated. When I reopen it in photoshop it still looks all nice and black. What's the story? Anyone?
So, I have a little opportunity to get some free advertising, all I need to supply is an A4 poster for my company. Yesterday I sat down with photoshop and came up with this. Anyways, as I am not a graphic designer and am just relearning photoshop after 14 years, I was pretty happy with the result. Having the lighter box behind the word wax was a bit of a happy accident, I had it as white text, but when I selected the word, it showed it as black with a lighter background, and it looked great, so that's what I did. Thanks photoshop!
As exciting as making jewelry is, there are times, believe it or not, when I need a bit of entertainment while I work. Nothing better for a bit of entertainment than the good old fashioned podcast. I came across a great steampunky, airshippy audio book called Fables of the Flying City by Jared Axlerod. Heaps of fun, adventure, and awesomeness.
I love living out in the country, and I love that our neighbors have chickens, but after this one's friends all were killed by a fox, she has decided to move in with me in my workshop. Which would be fine if she could actually make jewellery, and not just poo. I guess that's the price you pay for living in paradise.
If you are planning to come to Byron Bay this winter, make sure you are here for the 21st-23rd of July. It is time for the 109 collective's winter exhibition, where you will be able to get your hands on some pretty nifty goods that you probably won't find anywhere else. Ever again. We have some amazing local artisans displaying and selling their creations and inventions. Every time I go, I am amazed at the awesome raw creative power all concentrated in one building. Jewellery, textiles, artworks, photographs, it's all gonna be there. Are you?
To be honest, as a Canadian living in Australia, one thing I have noticed quite often is the frequent lack of customer service and support. Not a big deal, I have become used to it in general, which I guess is why I was so pleasantly surprised the other day. I had ordered a Paragon kiln from a company I found online called Metal Clay, the kiln was shipped from the manufacturer and arrived at my doorstep. Only one problem, it didn't heat. And that's what kilns are supposed to do.... Lame.
So I called up Metal Clay, and talked with a wonderful lady, Jennifer, who assured me that they would get the problem sorted Asap, and she did, staying up until late in the night so that she could call through to the U.S. based manufacturing plant and hopefully get the problem sorted before the weekend. The next morning I got an email from the manufacturers, giving some instruction as to what might be the problem, and in an hour, I had it fixed and running. Funny, as I write this it doesn't really sound like a big deal, but to me it was, just to be treated like a real person, who was probably a bit disappointed in receiving a dud product. So, for that little bit of time invested, Jennifer has got me as a customer if I need anything that she carries in the future. And If anyone out there is looking for a kiln, MetalClay seems to have the best prices on Paragon kilns in Australia. And good customer service to boot. Sweet.
Hey, I have had this dragonfly thing in my mind for a long time now. Here's a sketch that has been sitting in my sketchbook since the very start of my clockwork jewelry journey. I never could quite get my head around how exactly to make the thing though.
Well, I finally gave it a crack and am very happy with the results. After a week of figuring, riveting, soldering, and almost swearing, and 141 seperate bits of copper and brass all assembled together, I have got something awesome! A super sweet clockwork propeller driven bug. First thing my 4 year old son said when he saw it was "dad, fly it around the house!" To be quite honest, I was more than happy to oblige him, in fact I can hardly stop flying it around, it just feels so good. And when you blow on the prop, it spins. Can you get better than that?