Sunday, June 28, 2009

Southwest Art magazine features Sprightly and Nosey mouse!

I'm delighted to announce the debut of Sprightly and Nosey mouse in Southwest Art magazine's July edition!
In fact it's the first time any of my sculpture has been featured in a nationwide publication besides exhibition catalogs.
Here's a sneak preview (I believe the magazine will be on the shelves next week).
As it mentions, I'm donating mice to animal shelter art auctions (one donated for every 5 that sell).
I'll no doubt post all the details here from my website (probably next week's post) since it's a worthwhile cause.
And thanks, Southwest Art!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

FREE eCards starring your favorite stand up mouse - Sprightly!

I just got done setting up a page full of FREE eCards you can send from my website.
They're FREE to send (of course!).

When I say 'I just got done', what I really mean is Peter Sundstrom just got done.
He has this cool program called 'postcard direct' which he set up on my site. He's super friendly, and eager to get it up and running in no time.

There were a few glitches, and I had him on Skype while I called GoDaddy support on speaker phone so they could talk to each other.
Via Skype because Peter is in New Zealand, GoDaddy guy is in Arizona, and I'm in Santa Fe.

After a few introductions they continued their conversation in Klingon I believe it was, before it all got sorted out.
All completely above my head.

The upshot?
Now you can send supercool eCards to your chums starring your favorite mouse and mine, the ever cheerful Sprightly, and one or two other characters from my repertoire of bronze critters.

Fun, easy, and best of all, FREE.

So what are you waiting for, pop on over and have a go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tiny turtle dilemma – the problems involved when producing miniature bronze turtle sculptures

There’s a great Seinfeld 2 part story called ‘the bottle deposit’ where Kramer and Newman are racking their brains to figure something out: Newman wants to take empty beer bottles to Michigan and deposit them for the extra five cents you get in that state.

Kramer tells him it’s impossible.
If they drive them there, the gas, toll booth and truck rental prices will kill them.
Newman’s determined to crunch the numbers every possible way to make it add up.

I have a similar dilemma with my tiny turtles.
Plenty of people have told me it’s not worth the hassle making tiny pieces. The work involved means you have to charge a lot, or you just don’t make any money on them.
Things with my tiny turtles seemed to be going well. But my supplier got fed up fiddling with them since his casting results were inconsistent. Sometimes they’d come out just fine, so he could give them to me after minimal metal finishing. If that happened every time things would still be great.

But the metal finishing is where he loses money since he gave me a per piece fixed price based on the assumption of consistently good casting results. But sometimes there’d be problems that would need extra time to fix (time is money), or he’d just ditch the problem ones and cast more. Again, wasted time and effort on his part. His prices were great for me, which is what I based my retail price on. But he’s had enough of making them.

So now I’m getting them made somewhere else, but it’s costing me more. They’re casting great, but the sprues the foundry puts on the bottom are bigger than my previous supplier’s, and they obliterate more of the under surface, including my initials.
So they need more work done after casting (after cutting off the bigger sprue, the bottom of the turtle needs to be metal worked, essentially re-sculpting that portion where the sprue was attached on each one), and that extra time adds to the bill.
I don’t want to raise the price on them, they’re 2 of my most affordable pieces.
I like that just about anyone who wants one can get one.

Here’s my options. Do I :-

Stop making them, it’s just too much trouble.
Drop the quality (just flatten off the bottom rather than have metal workers re-sculpt it) so I can still make a bit of money on them (they’d look fine except from underneath)?
Maintain the original quality but raise the price so I can still make a bit of money on them?
Maintain quality but keep the original price so I make next to nothing but you can still have one to enjoy at the same price as before, while I continue to explore other options?

I have decided to go with the last option:
Keep the same price, while trying to figure out a way to make it work.
At least for now.

Like Newman I’m hoping to find a successful ‘other option’ before too long and prove the nay sayers wrong!

They are available from me directly, from my Etsy store, and from some of the galleries I show in.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Patina King Mike Masse and his angry swarming hordes

Say 'Hello' to Mike Masse.
He's regarded by many as Santa Fe's patina king.
But he's a lot more than that.
Like crazy. About bees that is.

He's got hives full of them, and he's likely to be risking life and limb at any given moment to get his hands on swarms of more bees if they land anywhere he knows about.
In fact he'd stopped off on his way into his studio to nab a bunch that had settled on Rodeo Road just before this pic was taken.That's him in the blue, by the way. We are both seeing who can hold a half dozen bees in our mouths without getting stung for the longest.
You should also know I'm a compulsive liar, and scared silly of bees. I just have a goofy smile, not really a mouth full of bees.

Anyhow, Mike's place is chock full of interesting goodies, like dessicated salamanders hanging on a nail, other dead things, a box full of fossils he's found on his wanderings, skulls, bones, all sorts of sculptures he's made since he's a sculptor too, half finished work by other people he's welding together before patinating, a gazillion tools, and a sandblaster as modeled here by your's truly.Since I always make it my policy to learn from the best, I met him when I paid for his services to learn how to do some patinas after casting my first sculptures. But he's too interesting a fellow to not catch up with from time to time.

Oh, he also put up a box in a tree on Canyon Road to coax a bunch of bees out of it's hollow trunk. The bees were fairly well behaved during a wedding in the back of the gallery, if I'm not mistaken only the best man got stung on the ankle.Oh, an interesting detail I forgot to mention. Mike told me he got a couple of stings after 2 bees got inside his face-protecting netty head dress bee keeper thing, and he's allergic!
He has to take Benadryl for several days straight. Doctor's orders. So maybe crazy was right after all.

Besides that, it's been another snaky week.
Here's my 'pet' bullsnake in the garden on his rounds. He's 3 feet long. He acted very agitated, swinging his head about when the trash truck rumbled past setting off all kinds of scary vibrations.

And when Meridee and I popped into a garden/flower place which is all outdoors and set amidst a semi wild landscape, I rescued a garter snake from the clutches of a cat.
That cat must hate me, last time I stole a lizard she was playing with.
So I let her play with the string on my hat so there'd be no hard feelings.
Well the snake seemed a bit sluggish, but revived as soon as he saw a chance to slip into some water when I dropped him off by a little pond.

Oh, and I'm not really a compulsive liar.
Or am I?