Sunday, July 26, 2009

My new butterfly salad toad sculpture is finished.

I suppose a butterfly is the equivalent of a cobb salad if you're a toad.
Meaty bit and flimsy bits all on the same plate.

Since my earlier post showing the original sculpture in April, Lee Wilson has made a mold of it, waxes have been pulled from the mold and been cast in bronze, metal work has been done, and then a traditional patina applied in the usual way (heat, spray on chemicals, and brush on paste wax while it's still hot).

Lee tried a little experiment during the molding process. The normal method for hollow sculpture is to paint hot liquid wax into the mold one layer at a time. But since he got his new toy, a wax injector (for doing smaller, solid pieces) he thought he'd try and fit a second mold portion from beneath so he could squirt wax in under pressure and make the wax in a minute instead of half an hour.
After experimenting with different temperatures and adjusting the second part of the mold, he decided he couldn't do it (the waxes were coming out with missing bits), so it was back to doing it the old fashioned way.
No harm in trying though. Here's the freshly cast bronze before metalwork and patina.And below it's finished and sitting next to a can for scale.
My website, and Etsy store.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dan Ostermiller's iconic bears meet my little icon - Nosey mouse...!

Before I moved to Santa Fe I had never heard of Dan Ostermiller.
I'd never seen one of his iconic bronze bears for which he's become quite famous.
Come to think of it, I had never heard of any sculptors besides a handful I'd always been in awe of.
Like some classical Greek work, Michelangelo, Rodin, Barye, and a small bunch of others whose work I'd made drawings of when I worked in London in my 20's. That was all part of my figure drawing training, since it was rare to spot naked people standing artfully posed on the street.

Maybe I was hanging out in the wrong part of town!

Santa Fe is full of sculpture, and one artist whose work really popped my cork was Dan Ostermiller.
I did pottery class as a young teen at school, and made an assortment of animals. But since then I'd never given sculpture a serious try until I moved to Santa Fe.I loved Dan's work. It was expressive, realistic but not slavishly so, appealed to my taste and was very honest.
I snapped up a few of his Christmas animals from Nedra Matteucci's gallery on Paseo de Peralta and spent the next hour sitting on the curb enjoying them while we waited for a tow truck, since our car had just broken down.His work, more than anyone else's filled me with the desire to finally get seriously sculpting, since I knew I could do a good job of it if I put my mind to it.

Anyhow, we were in Nedra's again the other day, and while we strolled about the wonderful garden in the back I snapped a few pics of Nosey hanging out with his spiritual ancestors, if you will!

Thanks Dan (from Nosey and me) for being a large part of what inspired me to start meddling seriously with clay 3 years ago.
Above you can see Nosey's hanging out with one of Dan's elephants.

Yesterday was fun. A neighbor organized an art and craft fair on our village green (as it's known).
It was a fun opportunity to meet a bunch of neighbors for half a day while showing off my handiwork and seeing what others around here get up to creatively.
Thanks again to everyone who showed support, to Bruno for organzing, and thanks of course to those who bought something!

Let's do it again next year!

My website and Etsy store.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What happens to rats in jail? (Well, mice anyway)

My mice are complicated.
They do good work for charity, but they also have a dark side.
Sprightly and Nosey went missing.
It turns out they had been sneaking off to the supermarket at night and eating holes in the cheese.
They got tried and sentenced in a kangaroo mouse court and ended up in jail, all without my knowledge.Here they are adjusting to their temporary new home...Nosey saw the movie 'Flushed away' and wonders what magical worlds may lie beyond...Sprightly is a bit more skeptical.
Here's Sprightly in the prison chapel.
Is he searching for meaning?
Or cracks in the glass?
Or maybe those big yellow squares look like cheese from heaven?
Do mice believe in a big cheese in the sky?Wandering the halls...
When I did finally track them down I had to pay a fine to get them out.
I hope they learned their lesson though...

My website.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The day Nosey mouse was born, and his current work for charity...

These pics were taken the day Nosey was born...

It was Dec 29, 2006 in Santa Fe.
This was taken in town the day after...
I suppose Nosey should have two birthdays, like the Queen.

One for the day he was born in clay, and one for first day he emerged from his cocoon of investment material as a fully fledged bronze.

I decided, starting June 1st to donate one mouse to auctions benefitting animal shelters for every five mice sold. No matter who sold them (me, my Etsy store or galleries), and of course if each person buying only buys one, no matter, each gets added to the tally and every time I pass another 5, one goes to a charity auction to benefit animal shelters.

And of course it's not just Nosey mouse, it's any of my family of six mice.

I started by donating 2 mice to cover my first 10 sales from my starting date. They were auctioned at a cocktail party in a very fancy home and the proceeds are now benefitting cats and dogs at Felines and Friends in Santa Fe.
They assist other shelters in finding homes for unwanted pets and strays. They also take in some that need veterinary help.

I'm always a bit leery of websites that proclaim 'a portion of sales are donated to...' or 'a percentage of sales are donated to...'
Always seems a bit vague to me. I always want to know 'what portion?' or 'what percentage?'.
After all, you could drop a dollar in a charity bucket once in your life, rationalize it came from your sales, and therefore counts as a portion or percentage.

0.00000001% can be called a percentage of sales, as much as 50% can be called a percentage of sales.
If you stop donating after a dollar, but keep selling forever, the percentage or portion you gave just keeps getting smaller, that's all.
So to all those out there who want to know how my mice are helping homeless cats and dogs, I went with one mouse donated for every five mice sold.

So if donated mice sell at auction for their retail value, each mouse you buy from me, my Etsy store or a gallery amounts to about $50 of help for an animal shelter.

When we lived in Venice, California there was a female cat in the neighborhood who was bent on populating the whole area with her kittens.
We managed to catch one and adopted her as our pet. She had 2 kittens before we got her spayed (one of which we found a home for, the other we kept).
Later Meridee's doctor told us keeping them would kill her (Meridee's allergies were getting severely worse).
Luckily we found a great home for them both before moving to Santa Fe.
Here they all are in a pretend Friskies commercial I made for fun...

Other than that, I just got a tree frog (so I'll be making tree frogs - stay tuned for that!)
My website.