Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How to Build a Foamcore Bookstand

I was asked about how I made my bookstand tonight. I whipped up these plans and thought I should share it for anyone who would like to build one.

Click the image to view the full sized plans.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Peak Inside My Studio

Studio is a bit of a misnomer, it's more a corner but it's my workspace. So lets take a little tour.

First up here's my computer desk and the brand new computer. Isn't it pretty? Little plug to the Shiflett Brothers that's their sculpting forum up on my screen. My old computer took up nearly that entire desk, I love actually having a little space now for a little sketchpad or just messing around with gadgets. I like having my computer so close to my sculpting area, I can just load up reference photos on the screen.

Okay on to the real sculpting space. Here's my desk. As you can see there's no chair, I use the same chair for both my computer and the sculpting desk, there really isn't enough space for two.

My desk isn't very big but I'm quite attached to it, when I was given it a few years ago it was truly hideous but it clearly was good construction so I wasn't going to toss it in the trash. Someone had tried to revarnish it using a dark brown varnish that was streaky and even though I know it was in an attic for years was tacky to the touch like it had never fully dried. I stripped it down, refinished it, and added new hardware until it was the cute little thing it is today. One of the things I added to it were little brass hooks to I could hang stuff like my heat gun. You can see my Selkie Emerging sculpt that I've been working on and a self portrait bust I started months ago and haven't finished yet. Usually there's also a lazy susan that I use to rotate my sculpts on but I'm using it for an experiment in photography right now.

The insides of my desk drawers are a complete mess so I won't show them to you, suffice to say that they contain tools, paints, and non-clay materials like wooden bases, wire, etc.

Here's a close up of some of the stuff on my desk. In the jewelry box are ribbons for hanging ornaments, cold porcelain flowers, a few pendants I sculpted. Various bottles of stuff I use, isopropyl alcohol, sculpey diluent, liquid sculpey, gesso, various types of glue, some paints, masking fluid. The magnifier is a really cheap plastic thing from the drug store, it was really light so I glued some weights inside the base which is hollow plastic, and to dress it up sponged silver and antique gold paint onto it.

use, shells, glass gems, beads, some of theTurning around behind my desk is the storage. Top shelf is fun stuff that I closed containers have thumbtacks, pins, other odds and ends. The lightning globe is just for fun. And there's my little first aid kit, that's really important. Second shelf is books, mostly art related, some magazines those are mostly Discover and Smithsonian, the little set of drawers has user manuals for tools, some unfinished little projects, and tools I don't use much. Bottom shelf are my tool boxes and pasta machine.

Last we have my big set of storage drawers, top is odds and ends, middle is clay, bottom is fabric some for projects some for backdrops when photographing my sculpts. And my book holder, I built it out of foamcore and soem elastic to hodl my books while I sculpt, the one in it right now is Modeling and Sculpting the Human Figure by Edouard Lanteri.

Not shown is the curio cabinet, hutch, and top of my tv stand where I keep all my finished work, and the area of the basement where I mess around with mold stuff (not so successfully) and airbushing (more successfully).

If you want bigger pics you can check them out on flickr here: Noadi's Studio
Also I forgot to add yesterday that you can check out bigger pics of my selkie here: Work in Progress Set

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Selkie Emerging Update #3

With all that's been going on I haven't been able to sculpt as much as usual but I have made progress on my Selkie Emerging sculpt (and some other stuff but that's for a later post).

The base is now fully weighted and bulked out, I still have the clamp there just in case but it's quite stable now. The arm pulling at the skin is done and came out nicely, the other one is giving me a little trouble but I'll get it soon.

Past Selkie Emerging posts:
Selkie Emerging Update #2
Selkie Emerging Update
Selkie Emerging Concept

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Noadi's Art is Back Up and Running

Just a quick note to let everyone know that Noadi's Art is back up. I'm obviously really happy, I literally jumped out of my seat when I checked and it was back up I was so excited.

I never did get in touch with my host but I'm still trying just to thank him for getting it back up and find out what happened.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Trying to get things back to normal.

I have my new computer up and running and it's great. It's got 1GB of RAM, 250GB harddrive, AMD dual core processor, CD/DVD burner, 19" widescreen LCD monitor. Compared to my old 8-year-old computer with it's 128MB of RAM, 15" CRT monitor, 40GB harddrive, and barely working CD Drive I'm in heaven. Almost makes me wish the old one had died sooner. I have none of the files from my old computer yet. I'm waiting on a friend of mine to come over and help me because I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to messing around with hardware.

I have to say though that I now owe my parents big, I couldn't afford a new computer and they know how important it is for me to have one to get the word out about my sculpting so they bought this one for me on the condition I teach my dad how to use a computer. His current expertise consists of playing solitaire and the internet is a mystery to him so I've got a ways to go.

Noadi's Art is still down and I haven't heard anything from Cy about it. If it doesn't come back up soon I'm not sure what I'm going to do aside from look into buying hosting and registering my own domain. I'm going to give it until the end of the week and then I'm going to have to make some decisions about that. Any advice or recommendations would really be appreciated, leave it in the comments or drop me an email.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

And more bad news.

Things love to go bad all at the same time. First my computer dies and now Noadi's Art is down, apparently the cywh.com domain has expired. I'm trying to get in touch with the guy who hosts me but the main email address I had for him was @cywh.com so that's a problem.

Cy, if you see this please get in touch with me and let me know what's going on.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Computer RIP

Yep, my computer died yesterday. So until I can buy a new computer I'm borrowing my mom's laptop when she doesn't need it. Obviously this will mean I may not be able to update the blog and my website very often in the meantime.

All orders and commissions will be top priority when I'm online so please do not worry if you have placed an order or plan to. Anything else comes second to getting those out.

I hate to beg but if you've ever considered buying one of my pieces or leaving a contribution in the tip jar now would be the time because I can't really afford to buy a new computer right now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sculpting Background Noise

I can't work in silence, it drives me crazy to not have any background noise when I'm sculpting. Sometimes I sculpt to music but being a former percussionist and singer I either start tapping out the beat or singing along (or both). Sometimes a movie or tv works when it's something I've seen lots of times or a documentary since those often can be just listened to, I don't have cable so that's basically the few hours a week PBS has Nature and Nova on. So recently I've started using audiobooks.

For a long time I resisted, I'm an avid reader so I've always felt that audiobooks are cheating. I still have that nagging feeling from time to time. The big problem with audiobooks is that I can't really afford to buy lots of them. So I've been looking around online for places where I can download audiobooks legally. Here's a few places I like. There are also some podcasts that I like but I'll save those for another post.

Librivox - Audiobooks in the public domain. Lots of classic literature here. I just finished downloading a bunch of Coleridge's poetry. I'm not generally a poetry person but Coleridge I absolutely love.

Telltale Weekly - Some are free and some books are for sale dirt cheap. They've got the first 3 chapters of Bulfinch's Mythology up so far, can't wait for them to get the rest done.

Audiobooks for Free

Project Gutenberg Audiobooks - Most of the human read books here are from either Librivox or Audiobooks for Free but they also have a large selection of computer read audiobooks if you can handle listening to it (I can't).

BBC Radio - Not really audiobooks, they have lots of radio documentaries and other shows (seriously if you haven't listened to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radioshows you must). I especially like their science programs. Some are available for download as MP3 but most are .ram streaming audio so you'll need a player that can play them. I recommend Real Alternative package for Media Player Classic which is free and doesn't have ads or play havoc with your registry like RealPlayer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Action Figure Construction with Mike Leavitt

Mike Leavitt creates very quirky, sometimes a bit twisted, one off action figures. On his website he demonstrates the process he uses to create his sculptures. It's extremely interesting and I learned a bit about articulating figures which is something I've never tried, definitely worth checking out.

He also has a bunch of great demo videos up on his YouTube Channel

I should point out that he uses styrofoam for some of the internal structures, please do not try this most styrofoams release harmful chemicals when heated and may even catch fire in the oven (not all, I'm assuming he uses a safe variety but just to be safe avoid the stuff). Use a non-hazardous material like aluminum foil, dried paperclay, or oven safe self-hardening materials like magicsculpt and aves apoxie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Video Walkthrough: Lionfish Mermaid

I just completed last night narrating a slideshow video of my Lionfish Mermaid. This video is much like my previous one Odin's Runesong - The Creation, in that it's me commenting and describing the construction of the mermaid. I think I probably get more out of making these videos than you do watching them, it gives me a way to look back and analyze what I did.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sculptor Profile: Mark Newman

Mark Newman has been inspiring me for some time, he has an incredible eye for detail and sense of facial expression. Since he also works often at the same scales I do and in super sculpey, I see what he creates as a challenge to me to expand what I'm doing even more.

A perfect example of this is the sculpture of Serafina from the Golden Compass which he did. The sense of flight and defying of physics is wonderful. I really wish he had shared pictures of the armature he used, since it must have been pretty well engineered for the super sculpey to not crack when it was cured.

Mark's Sites:

Other Sculptor Profiles

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy 2008! Now is the time for resolutions which for most of us won't last past the end of the month. However I figure if I put my resolutions for Noadi's Art up on this blog I can't avoid them or conveniently forget, because I'm sure someone will bring them back to haunt me.

I have two categories of resolutions, one for sculpting and one for the more business side of things.

  1. Finish more large sculptures. I had a grand total of 3 big sculptures that I finished this year, the Satyr, Odin's Runesong, and Lionfish Mermaid. Though I did 17 medium sculpts (baby rat, turtle, lots of perma-pets, etc.), and dozens of necklaces and ornaments. The small stuff is fun and it sells more often but they aren't really challenging. I currently have a pretty big stock of small stuff that I shouldn't need to make lots in the near future except some of those gargoyle couples I just started doing.
  2. Improve my anatomy. Especially hands.
  3. Try wax! I've never sculpted in wax and I'd love to give it a try.
  4. Improve my workspace. Right now I have a tiny corner of the living room for sculpting and part of the unheated basement for airbrushing. I'm unlikely to get more physical space so I need to optimize what I have. Right now it's really jumbled without much storage aside from stacks of little plastic boxes and a book shelf behind my desk. Also I have that great new toaster oven and nowhere to put it.
  5. And definitely get a better chair. My desk is too low to stand while sculpting and too high for my chair even at it's highest setting so I need a taller chair.
  1. Sell more! (of course)
  2. Do more art shows and festivals. I've not had much luck selling lots at shows but the experience I've had meeting and learning from other artists makes them so worth it.
  3. Promote my sculpting more locally. Aside from the one tiny gallery I'm in and the two shows I did in 2007, I haven't done as much as I think I should to get my name out in my area. I know my work is a niche market so the internet will probably remain my main way of selling.
  4. Blog more! I've already been writing more often but I really need to keep it up.