Feathers 'n' Fur

First quirky little Sweet Tweets. 
Flew out of the shop! Laugh if you wish

 Went to the local gallery - sold!

 Some red cardinals with wonky legs - flew out too!

 More - gone as well.

A widdle wabbit - gone

Fall Rabbit gone as well.

I think I might be onto something . . .

 

Cephalopodia

Have always had an abiding affection for all members of the Cephalopod family. 
As a child on beach holidays I could always find an octopus including the highly venemous blue-ringed variety to which I fed muscles.
(Oh the blissful ignorance of youth)
I swam in the kelp with squid and have even been lucky enough to see a paper nautilus in it's natural habitat.
Since my widdle paited wabbit came out so well, and I do have a huge pile of china paint, how could I resist?

Multiple layers of china paint and a final layer of clear enamel.
Couldn't resist a little fun on the counter enamel side.
Then, of course, I needed beads that reflected the weedy cluttered environment I imagined my wee beastie inhabiting.
Que the polymer clay.
Lovely multi layered, crubbly, glowing kelpaliscious colours.
And a nod to salty basalt rocks.


 

Definitely got my cephalopod love on!

Of Grease and Fire

Have you ever noticed how mechanical stuff seems to happen bunches?
Tally for this month: 
Spend week wriggling under vintage 1954 tractor to remove filter for hydraulic system. Damn I love the smell of gear oil. 
Pull wheel bearing out of 4wd repack and replace. Damn I love the smell of grease.
Pull defunct temperature probe out of venerable Bobby the Barrow (Bobcat) Try to fit new one but probe too big. More disassemble to come.
Replace front drive shafts on my little car. But hooray someone else did this!

With my greasy black nails and total chaos in the studio things somehow appeared.

 A timber wolf etched into faux bone on enamel
mount. Think polymer clay is easier and more versatile than the FB. Also have developed a thing about rough frosted glass beads.

Next playing with ceramic decals fired into enamel surface. A few bubbles caused by air under top coat, but rustic wabi sabi is all OK. Counter enamel not thick enough and focal bowed. So first attempt at a soldered pin mounting. Like the simplicity it gives to the enameled piece.
Look at the bail upon which the golden angels hang. My battered gold and opal ring that has been at the bottom of my stuff drawer since forever.

My stuff drawer also yielded 70 packets of china paint squirreled away yonks ago. Figured I may as well try and use them. Mix with clear liquid enamel and painted away with many firing between layers.
Awwwww a widdle wabbit. Almost outsmarted myself with the shape of the copper and with the enamel layers distorting the whole thing. Had to be a pin mount again. Only took 3 goes to figure it out.
Quite minimalist for me don't ya think. 
(I think I am now addicted to pin mounts).
 

Inching Forward

I feel rather like a looper caterpillar (inch worm to you) except I am stuck at the top of the loop and not stretching out to move.
My husband's illness has been rather consuming. Getting the drug benefit v's the side effects balance has been a thrilling ride I can tell you. After 2 months of experimenting with dose rate (fingers crossed) I think we may have the beast under control.
In the makies department I been delving into more vitreous enamel.
Just to show you I haven't been slack the next selection went to my shop.


Look soldered bezel. Torch fired enamel and little grungy cup shapes like coral on a reef. Tried torching little balls to hold the whole shebang together but there was too much of a heat sink so (cheat alert) I wired them on.
 Overfired liquid enamel.
Some grungy matte texture
Marine theme with cute little sand dollar lampies. And these. . . 


Followed by a selection for the local Gallery




And finishing with a peek at some work in progress.

More

Vertebra
(was going to call it Phylum Chordata the taxonomic class that animals with backbones belong to, but that would be showing off wouldn't it?)
Look - rustic, edgy assembly of tin, copper and curly bits of torch fired enamel and some handmade chain.
Lookit the back 
A skully to go with the bone/vertebra thingy!

Then some sweet tweets

 And trying to figure out the optimal operation of a new 2nd hand camera.



Some earrings made with my unglazed ceramic bells. And a little surprise inside.

Nice glowing gold leaf.


Can you see it? What have I done? Yep gold! Gleaming Glinting Gold. A delicious plum enamel element, aquamarine frosted recycled glass beads and gold ringie-thingies. Tempted to keep this one.

Nailed It!

In my previous post I outlined the harrowing journey to take a tacky-placky hanging half mannequin to my idea of visual perfection.
This was where I got to. . . 

 A grey coating of paint. Then I proceded to sand the daylights out of it in order to banish the dreaded shine.

Better but still not matte enough.

What I really need is a matte finish paint.
A trip to our local hardware store and a can of blackboard (chalkboard to you) paint later.
So splooged in (yes it is a word) some light wall paint to make it grey and started to mix. That's odd, I thought and mixed harder. Then the slow glowing light of realisation began to dawn in the dark and chaotic recesses of my mind. Checked the tin, and yep the old bird had added water based paint to a tin of solvent based paint. (Write out 100 times I must check the labels before proceeding).

Well, that was that or so I thought. 
Then I remembered that squirreled away somewhere was a tin of rust effect paint. The base coat was a mix of very fine ferrous particles. Tore a storage shelf apart and there it was, right behind the rusting liquid right behind the powdered borax, right behind - oh you get the picture!
Stirred the pot thoroughly to mix the particles, and that was another whole to-do, as it had been there so long that I think creatures had died and drifted into the sediment layers and were now fossilised. Applied a couple of coats to the dummy. Next morning it was still tacky, but after an hour or so in the baking Queensland sun it was dry. A little sanding to expose the particles and by Golly Miss Molly think I've nailed it!


What do ya think????

Now if anyone else is think of taking this exciting journey - glue the paper, forget all the other steps and go straight for the rust effect paint, that is unless you want your dummy to go from size 10 to size 14 like mine. In that case follow all the steps.

 

My Manky Model Makeover

I really, truely want one of these . . .
Any one of these would do - really.
But unless I was prepared to take on the national debt, these beauties (if you can find them here) are waaaaaaaaaaaaay outa my budget. 
So I got one of these beautifully crafted blow molded plastic flesh coloured half thingies complete with hanger.
With a bit of judicious draping and selected camera angles it did the job - just.
Problem was, hanging on the wall, wearing the little shirt that did not quite cover the lady parts, the dummy succeeded in offended me so, a date with the 4 inch grinder equipped with a metal cutting blade solved the problem.
Then UV light stepped in and the flesh tone slowly morphed into a billious yellow like terminal liver failure. 
I spray painted it off white, which only served to accent the tiny texture of the surface and made it even shinier. This resulted in ages in Photoshop and that was another whole other to do.
Arrrgh!
A bit of internet trawling and perhaps covering it in tissue paper appeared to be the answer. No wait, if I was really clever, I could make two forms, one dark and one light, 
Now if I wrapped the form in cling wrap and covered it with tissue paper that could be form 1. I could cover the dummy with tissue paper and that could be form 2.
Should work right?
Wrapped the form in cling wrap with bits of duct tape to hold stuff in place. Next started gluing. Didn't have sheets of tissue paper so tried Kleenex which refused to stick to the cling wrap and instead clung lovingly to my brush and fingers. Painted all the cling wrap with glue and let it dry. Then tried again with Kleenex, same result. Then tried using strips of toilet paper. This turned into a pulpy mess that stuck in places, and bubbled in others resulting in a surface that hinted at developing malignant growths.

Tore everything off and stuffed cling wrap and pulpy mess, garbage bags,into the bin and spent ages washing the stick concoction off my hands.

Clearly some recovery time sulking under the table sucking my thumb was called for.

As luck would have it, while rummaging around in the back of the shed, came across a roll of lightweight wrapping paper that had been there since we moved. The paper had aged to a soft buff and should be strong enough to take the glue and manipulation. 
Torn strips, watered down PVA glue and the first layer is drying in the sun.
Another layer and although better than the white plastic surface it lacked visual guts. (In my mind's eye I envisaged something akin the surface colouration of my battered frypan and baking tray.
A bit of metalic gold added to the PVA glue followed by a sploodging of black - yeah sploodging is too a word!  
Better but not quite right.
 More dark stuff added to the PVA but the surface was too visually busy.
 Went with a coat of dark grey which is closeish the to background I shoot on.
Sprayed it with matt clear, and my idea of matt is clearly not the same as the manufacturer's idea of matt. Didn't even slow the shine down.
 Got into it with some fine sandpaper which did improve it. Will work on matting the surface further and see how I like it.
If I hate it too much there is always a coat of lovely dead matt potters plaster.