Saturday, May 30, 2009

Final bronze elephant and more garden snake action!

Well I've been tooling around town in the hoodrat mobile lately to some satisfyingly bemused expressions.
And I've got the teeny tiny version of 'Senior moment' all finished up.
I posted a previous blog on making the original clay HERE, followed that up with mold making and shooting waxes HERE, and here's the finished piece (which you can see more views of on my Etsy store and website).

But the really exciting news is another snake sighting in the back yard!
This time it wasn't the usual bull snake, it was a COACHWHIP snake.

Meridee called me outside saying my snake was hanging out in some old budlia branches, but when I saw him I recognized he wasn't old faithful.
I've bumped into a few of these before. They often look quite pink. They like to lunch on lizards.

And the one's I've seen can shift like nothing else. One time I was sure I must have run one over that decided to make a mad dash across the road.
It was moving like someone had it on a long string tied to a sprinting greyhound, but a peek in the rear view mirror showed no road kill I'm glad to say.

So I was pretty careful not to get too close at first or else I would have spooked it into speeding off and missed my photo op. I edged closer very slowly...
Look at those beady eyes!
Curiously, a neighbor gravely told me, shortly after we moved in, that coachwhip snakes gang together in long grass and stand on their heads and will whip at your legs with their tails leaving quite serious wounds.

Fortunately I managed to express surprise without delivering any serious wounds to myself through suppressed laughter. I reckon that little gem got into circulation around the era of the 'Little house on the prairie' when some big scaredy cat maybe ran away from a garter snake or something, through some bushes and had to explain his scratches and actions to an inquisitive audience of his peers.

Or if not his peers, perhaps some very young children, who are prone to believe whatever a grown up tells them. I imagine he stumbled scratched, panting and bleeding out into a clearing of tiny yet studiously attentive Sunday school students.

But I digress. My photo op finally made a break for it, and covered a couple of dozen feet in what seemed like less than a second to hide behind a bush.I checked it out from one side of the bush, then the other side, then back again and it wasn't there!
I hunted around, but I couldn't find it anywhere.
Take your eyes off for a second and whoosh.
Oh well.
I wonder what will show up next.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sprightly mouse hood ornament - The hoodrat rides!

Ohh, the excitement...! My hoodrat has arrived...
Just got to take care of the patina...
Some enamel paint on the base...
Bingo! Finally installed onto the El Camino via some bolts which go through the hood and some big old metal washers and hefty nuts underneath.
Sprightly can fearlessly zip all around Santa Fe with a firm grip on the hood!'Wwwhhhheeeeeee!!!!!!'
Thanks again Miles (a top choice if you need any small stuff cast), nice job! I love my Sprightly mouse hoodrat!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's fine about fine art?

There's a gallery in town with bronze dogs by two different artists.
The gallery director (not the owner) told me one wouldn't rate as 'fine art' with her since they're just dogs being dogs, whereas the other she would describe as 'fine art' because it's not just being a dog, it's more arty and it has an idea.
I said for my money the dogs being dogs had character, personality and were more finely sculpted with a great deal of style. While the arty one seemed quirky more than fine. Maybe the fineness of the idea eluded me.I said, since I thought they were very finely made, I'd call the regular dogs 'fine art', and the other one 'quirky art'.She mentioned that the quirky/arty one she had been championing had been her choice to bring in to the gallery, so that may have explained her harder sell!

On a different note, my hoodrat is now finished and installed, and as soon as I get a nice sunny day to get some pics of him showing off around town I'll post a few!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hoodrats, Darth Vader, and the tree snake of death!

Time for the next exciting installment of Sprightly the hood ornament for my car...
Well, in our last thrilling episode I mailed off a wax piece (as seen above) to Miles.

True to form, thrilling installment wise, it changed color and now appears pink!
Actually Miles made a mold of it since he was toying with the idea of doing a nickel plated one, so he'd need to be able to use it more than once. Since it's lost wax casting, if your original is wax, and you cast it, you lose it!
Darth Vader showed up and had to choke Miles into giving up the mouse, using only the power of his mind. As that pesky Darth is apt to do.
Favoring the dark side, Darth proceeded to waterboard poor Sprightly into revealing anything he might know about cheese, with particular reference to its potential uses as a chemical or biological weapon.

Darth is a shadow of his former self, taking on part time mouse torturing jobs between terrorizing whole planets of actual people these days. Seems Wall Street has had an intergalactic reach.
It's the silver sniffer! Now it just needs boxing up and sending to me for its next round of transformations...
Speaking of sniffing, this bird and nest were snapped outside our window a few days ago. Not sure what bird it is, but it was making a racket so I thought I'd see what was up.
And that brings us to the sniffing part.
A bull snake was up the tree having a nose about, making the bird very agitated.
I watch animal planet, so I know that snakes are deaf.
The bird is too busy hunting about for food to be bothered with tv, so it didn't realize it was wasting its energy in vocal protests at the snake.

The snake is kind of a pet of sorts, in so much as it seems to live in our garden (we spot it once or twice a year), and I like snakes.
Anyhow, since we also liked the idea of seeing baby birds growing up I popped outside and tried to get the snake down with a putter, but it shot straight up into the very spindly branches.
Really fast. I was a bit stunned.

The long pole for changing light bulbs too high to reach did the job, directing him down until I could grab him and drop him on the floor, where he slid under a pile of brush.

A day later the bird had left the nest, and after peeking a look inside via a makeup mirror taped to a stick there were no eggs either. So I guess the slithery fiend returned to claim his meal. Easier to catch than mice I suppose.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sculpture that loves you back™

This post is just a public announcement for the record of my new tagline.
Sculpture that loves you back™
It appears on my website, business cards and elsewhere.
I made a font out of my own handwriting for the personal touch. You can make your own font for free out of your handwriting at

Apparently it's good to document publicly when you start to use a slogan as a trademark in case of future disputes over dates of first use, and since this slogan popped into my head the other day, the more I think about it, the more I like it!
Sprightly likes it too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hoodrats and the black hole of doom!

I'm having a Sprightly mouse modified to put on the hood of my car.
So I'm calling my hood ornament a hoodrat. Ha ha. Funny me.

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to supply Miles with a wax sheet with Sprightly's feet marks and tail mark in it, molded to fit on my hood and trimmed to a nice shape for a base.
He will attach a wax Sprightly, beef up the legs, cast it, drill holes and weld bolts to the bottom, and I'll fix it to the car.

So luckily for me I was off to Frank's (Advanced Casting) to pick up some bits 'n' bobs, and since Frank has literally everything somewhere or other, he was able to find me a 1/8" thick wax sheet.
I chopped off a piece, warmed it up in some nice hot water, sprayed some mold maker's release agent on my hood (thanks Lee) and pressed the wax, and a bronze Sprightly into place. I etched my website address into the wax and drew an outline to cut around.
So then I carefully cut around the line and replaced them on to the hood for a sneak preview...
Miles has the wax part now, so I'm pretty excited to get the casting back so I can do the patina and mount it to my hood.

Meridee heard a strange noise in the garden today, and thought someone must be on the other side of the wall, shuffling about. Every time she got near, the noise stopped.
Very suspicious.
Turned out a bunch of lizards had got themselves stuck inside a black buckety thing and were frantically trying to escape.
I counted nine, and I have no idea how long they were in there.
Luckily they were all alive and well, since the black bucket of doom wasn't quite as bad as the lizard version of the black hole of Calcutta.
So I tipped them out.
Here's my foot for scale.
Since I thought they must be quite thirsty (it's started getting pretty HOT lately), I gave the area they scurried off to a quick watering.
My guess is they were attracted to the warmth of the plastic in the cooler evening, and just got trapped inside!
If I don't keep a careful eye out for buckets with water in after it's rained (hardly ever happens), the odd lizard has been known to fall in and drown.

This blog post will now self destruct in ten seconds.