Friday, December 14, 2012

Season's Greetings!

I was in sunny California for Thanksgiving.
Straight after I was wandering about Santa Monica's Third Street in my shorts since it was nice and warm.
It felt quite weird to see people panhandling singing carols, and more Christmas music piping out of all the storefronts.

Now at least it's snowing back here in Santa Fe.
I'm feeling festive now, so here's my holiday card for this year!

Happy Holidays from Steve Worthington's Winged Angel Sprightly and Winged Angel Pugnacious!

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

iFly now 'live' on Kickstarter until Dec 15

My iFly Hand Held Camera Crane is now 'live' on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website where if you get enough pre-order pledges to meet your project goal by your funding deadline, you get to make your product. Or not, if you don't.

Click HERE to check it out, and feel free  to 'like' it, or pass it along to your friends.

Getting it funded is a bit of a long shot, but I'd love to produce these properly so any 'liking' and word of mouth help would be much appreciated! And if you think it would be cool to have one, by all means pledge a pre-order!

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My invention for iPhones, Androids, GoPro and other helmet cams, small camcorders and point and shoot cameras.

I call it the iFly Hand Held Camera Crane and I've been working on this for most of the year and I'm pretty excited about it.

The quickest way to see what you can do with it is check out the test footage, but basically it lets you be Steven Spielberg with your tiny video camera whether it's in on your phone, camcorder, point and shoot, or a GoPro or similar helmet cam.

Your camera can travel in one move from below the floor (if there's a ditch handy!) to above ceiling fans and all around as you walk it about with full pan and tilt control of the camera head, and with no tripod, body rig or support vest required.

And you can poke it through small spaces like car windows and back out again as you shoot.

If I'm successful on Kickstarter it will cost a few hundred bucks, which is about 2.25 percent of the price of the only other thing I've seen that does all the same stuff.
That super high end device does some other things too and takes heavier loads, but then at around 20k it does cost about 43 and a half times more than my iFly and is hugely heavier in comparison!

I'm going to launch the iFly on Kickstarter probably next week, and I'll certainly be posting here about it when I do.
In the meantime, I'd love it if you could check out the facebook page I made for it by clicking HERE.
There's short snippets of test footage using it with my iPhone shooting pets, bicycles, cars and what have you.
If you know anyone who might find it interesting or who is into making YouTube or other videos, please don't be shy about telling them about it!

And feel free of course to 'Like' the facebook page if you do enjoy it, I'd certainly appreciate that!
And I'll also be posting an announcement there the minute it launches on Kickstarter too.

To succeed on Kickstarter it's going to need a LOT of love spread about it.

I've been kind of shy about showing what it looks like until the Kickstarter launch, but not quite so shy about showing the bits of test footage on the facebook page.

Well, thanks again as always for checking in; your enthusiasm, interest and support is what us artists live for, whatever we're creating!

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Friday, October 5, 2012

Meridee's paintings find a home in town

Meridee's been busy putting the finishing touches on a bunch of splendid oil paintings, and so we set about finding a home for them here in town.

Huey's Fine Art is where they now live in Santa Fe (hopefully temporarily because folks will be snapping them up!).

I jokingly refer to Meridee as 'her indoors' which from the pics below you can clearly see is rarely the case!









You can check them all out on Meridee's BLOG (really more of a static online portfolio for more of her great paintings).

It has a landscape page of paintings, a still life page, and a home page from which you can visit the other two pages.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chubby Mouse and his mission from God...

Here's something really touching for my 200th blog post!
Recently Christian Brown contacted me to see if I could modify a bronze mouse to install in his church for a very special purpose.
Since his words tell the story much better than mine could, I'm reproducing his telling of Chubby's latest adventure (from a recent email he sent me).
Take it away, Christian...
Federated Church is located in the village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, just 20 miles east of Cleveland

'Steve - I have lots of pictures to share, but wanted to let you know the mouse was a home run.  There were over 600 people attending the two services.  The Congregation LOVED it, and so did Larry.  Larry's family was really enjoying your handwritten note, and said they were going to frame it.  I told several people about your installations throughout parks and institutions west of the Mississippi and that this was the first one to come east, and the first one in a church.  It is not yet installed, so I can't take pictures of that yet.  

Below was my speech, verbatim, in case you want that background.  We are going to publish an "Ode to Larry" this month in our newsletter that is also available online - called "The Spire".  Pictures to come....'

Larry has run the sound board in the sanctuary for his entire career

Dedication of Larry the Church Mouse: Larry Trace is retiring after 47 years of ministry, as Head of Properties for The Federated Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  
There is no doubt that Larry knows this church building better than anyone.  He knows every nook and cranny, floor to ceiling, basement to bell tower.  It is kind of like children’s story of the church mouse, which doesn’t just live in the church; the mouse is a part of the church.  Even Larry’s office, a space behind two short walls, under the stairwell, is so small that it barely fit for a mouse.  Larry is Federated Church’s mouse, his presence may not always be known, but he sees all, hears all and knows all.  
The church mouse has another meaning for me.   When I was three years old, my family moved to West Bloomfield, MI, and we attended Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian, a large, beautiful church outside Detroit.  In the narthex of the church resided a small mouse beautifully carved into woodwork.  Each Sunday the first thing I would do is run up to the mouse, pat him on the head and have a little conversation.  Like so many other children in that church, we developed a relationship.  He was a dependable, friendly character, and I was excited to come back to church each Sunday.
A few years ago I was back in the area for business and I went back to check on that church mouse, and he was still there, his head had developed a rich patina from all the hands over those 35 years.  I realized that day that my relationship with that mouse was really the beginning of my relationship with Christ.  I wondered how many generations of people have been drawn closer to that church and to God, through their relationship with that church mouse?
And Larry, through his 47 years of service, ministering to this Congregation, he has been that friendly, dependable figure as children of all ages enter the sanctuary through the Narthex.  Generations of people have been drawn closer to this church through your presence.  
But unfortunately, Federated’s Church Mouse is retiring.  So in honor of your service, The Congregation and Staff would like to dedicate this bronze mouse to Larry, which will be permanently installed into this building, for children of all ages to discover, to touch and to deepen their relationship with this Federated Church.  
So Larry, and the Congregation, I would like to introduce you to Federated Church’s newest member, Larry the Church Mouse.

Christian Brown and Rev. Hamilton Throckmorton, Senior Pastor, congratulate Larry Trace on is 47 years of service

The children of Federated Church take part in a standing ovation lasting several minutes

Larry Trace is making friends with Federated's newest member, Larry the Church Mouse

Steve back again now: I'd like to thank Christian Brown and everyone at The Federated Church, at Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Here's my mouse page on my regular HERE
For more Chubby Mouse posts type 'Chubby' into the 'search this blog' bar at the top left I believe.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store where Chubby often hangs out, CritterVille

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque - final patina stage

A couple of posts ago I showed the early stages of a special plaque I was working on.

Here is the conclusion.
Once it comes back from the foundry in bronze it gets metal chased (sprues cut off, washers welded to the back side for hanging, cleaned up etc) and sandblasted ready for the patina.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

First I soak it in Sulphurated Potash solution, which apparently stinks like rotten eggs.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

I say apparently because I've never had a sense of smell.
Which is not to say I've never smelled, of course.

That oxidizes the surface and turns it black, so then I rub it back with scotch brite pads to leave darkness in the  crevices and bring the bronze back out everywhere else, especially the high points.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

Not that they are that high. Most of the plaque exists within 1/8th of an inch of the  background plane.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

Then you heat it with a leaf burner and spray on the nasty stuff!
That turns it a nice rich traditional bronze color, which darkens a little when I brush on hot wax which is later buffed to a shine with a horse hair shoe brush once it's cooled.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture

A bit of wire in the back and voila!
One finished chicken plaque.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque progression picture
It was received very well I must say. The guy I made it for happened to be in Santa Fe on business around the time I was due to ship it, so I met him for a natter and  he took it in person.

He later told me that his wife cried on their anniversary when he gave it to her.
It's especially gratifying to be a part of something that meaningful.

I'm thinking of re-working the top part.
I could leave it blank, put in some clouds, or a quote or saying and make a new piece out of it since I'm really enjoying its storybook feeling.

If any particularly favorite quotes spring to mind, I'm all ears - leave a comment.

Or maybe I'll put some acorns and leaves up there as a prelude to the sky falling down.

Pretty soon I'll be posting a story that I think will be my best ever blog post, since it's true, and way better than anything I could dream up!

So stay tuned for that!

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Sunday, September 2, 2012

And the winner isn't...(Hockey Rules never got in touch), so...

A quick contest update....

My 'Win a bronze Winged Angel Mouse' contest has a new winner...

Hockey Rules was a no-show all month, so according to my rules (which may differ from the rules of hockey), the next closest guess wins.

That was 198.6

3 people guessed that, so I assigned each person two numbers on a dice, and now I will throw the dice out of the door while I'm strolling along on my treadmill...

...Right, I heard it land and hit the skirting board, now to go and see who won...

It's #3.

Congratulations.....(drum roll please).....Mary Black!

Unless you don't respond to my email, in which case I'll roll again next month. Eventually my winged mouse will find a home!

On to a new home...

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Friday, August 31, 2012

Chicken and mouse bas relief plaque commission

I was recently asked if I could make something in bronze for a wedding anniversary.
The only stipulation was that since the couple has children with the nick-names of chicken and mouse, that it feature a chicken and a mouse, and that I find a way to incorporate a certain poem.

I didn't have long at all to get it done, so I suggested a bas relief plaque since that would entail the least possible number of complications, yet still give me plenty of scope to come up with an attractive design.
Plus, I really like doing bas reliefs for some reason.

He was fine with whatever I thought would look good and left me up to my own devices.

Perfect, that's how I like it!

I tried a few things out and was liking this sort of thing...

Chicken and Mouse design for a bronze anniversary plaque

So next up, using the method for bas relief sculpture I've described before, I made the clay and hardboard original, leaving space for the poem...

If you are curious to see the whole bas relief process and tips for achieving a convincing effect of roundness in about 1/8" of vertical space, type 'bas relief' into the 'search this blog' bar (top left of the screen I think) for several step-by-step demonstrations.

I find that sculpey comes in handy for eyes since you can bake it hard and sculpt around it.

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque original clay detail

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque original clay detail

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque original clay detail

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque original clay

Chicken and Mouse bas relief plaque original clay detail

Next up, Lee, my trusty mold and wax man (sounds like a funny sort of man, doesn't it!) got busy doing his thing...

Here's the rubber mold. Certainly one of Lee's easier jobs mold making jobs!

The inside of the mold from which a wax plaque will be taken...

Chicken and Mouse plaque in wax (detail)

Tracing down the lettering...

Makes it *much* easier to do the lettering if you can see it clearly!

Hand lettered wax, ready for delivery to the foundry...

I'll show the rest of the process in my next post...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And the winner is...!

Well my guess the weight of the chubby artist contest is now over, and we have 2 winners!

Since the start of the year, thanks to my austerity fridge, I've lost a bit over 20 lbs and coasted a bit lately, languishing under 200 lbs for the last couple of months.
So I'm the first winner.

The second winner guessed closest to my final weigh-in on Aug 1st.
I was 199.4 lbs so congratulations to Hockey Rules who won with 198.8
It could have gone any one of four ways, but Meridee and I shared a chicken vindaloo the other night, and after a bit of wine I ate all the leftover rice so that was that!

My downward slide (hopefully still plenty more downward sliding to go...!)

Winged Angel Chubby enjoying a bit of leftover rice

Winged Angel Pugnacious

Winged Angel Sprightly

So get in touch to claim your prize!

Any one of my winged angel mice.

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Senior Moment. A bit of video of Rodin's 'Thinker' in elephant form...

This year's Western Visions show will include my 'Senior Moment' elephant in Rodin's 'Thinker' pose.

I made a quick video of it.

Any guesses what I used for the audio?

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Emily Deschanel wearing some hot bling!

Still hot from the foundry, which must be why it's too hot for her to touch!

Emily Deschanel honored by Mercy For Animals with the Compassionate Leadership Award

Here's a few pics of it straight after I applied the patina...

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Friday, May 18, 2012

I have created a monster...

Veggie monster

The strange vegetable I noticed at the store was a mystery to me.
All I knew is that it looked like Homer Simpson's mouth full of alum.

Actually, I have no idea what alum is, except that it makes cartoon character's mouths shrink so small they can just about fit a drinking straw in.

This I learned from Tom & Jerry.

Or was it Bugs Bunny?

Nope, I'm pretty sure it was Jerry who filled Tom's mouth with alum, and as Tom was forced to try and eat Jerry through a straw, the straw shredded as Jerry got sucked ever closer to Tom's shrunken lips.

Well I could hardly leave the produce aisle without assembling a few other choice veggies (and a fruit) to best effect, could I?

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Emily Deschanel is getting my calf plaque this year...

I'm honored once again by Mercy for Animals: I'm being asked to provide a plaque for them, honoring Emily Deschanel, who's really the one being honored (it was Bob Barker last year).

I know she's on the tv, but I didn't know in what, although I did know of her sister Zooey from one of my all time favorite movies: Elf.
It's hilarious.

I wouldn't make much of a Hollywood celebrity correspondent would I?

Anyhow, I got the email just before the end of April asking if I could do the plaque.
After checking in with my main man man mold wise (and plenty of other things), Lee Wilson,
we decided to give it a shot.

Bob Barker bronze plaque prepped for a new mold with blank name and date...

I had to figure out the quickest way to get it done, so the next day Lee had in his hands my bronze casting of the Bob Barker plaque with some of the lettering smoothed over in clay.
I also decided to add to the width and height, since there's quite a bit of slop in the recess in the back of the frame it will end up in, which I usually fill up with bits of wood or cardboard.

Zig zag pattern decorating extra border area...

It needed a decorative border since there's the chance it might be hung out of the frame at some point, and although the extra border didn't show in the frame, it looked less than ideal out of it, so I got busy with my zig zags.

Or zag zigs if you're dyslexic.

Or would that be gaz gizs?

Anyhow, the day after that Lee had made a mold, and punched out a couple of waxes for me to etch some new lettering in, which I did.

New wax plaque needing Emily Deschanel's name etched in...
Emily Deschanel's freshly etched name and new date...

So the day after that the waxes are heading to the foundry, who usually turn things around in about a month (but this time they're rushing them), although that's unfinished metal, after which there's a bit of grinding, welding and sandblasting, followed by patina.

So far so good, I'm keeping my fingers crossed it all works out in time!

Click these links to visit my website... - Sculpture that loves you back
or my Etsy store, CritterVille