Friday, May 14, 2010

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
My favorite line from the Wizard of Oz because it seems to have many meanings which change with time, point of view, life experiences. Outside of the movie, beyond the loss of innocence and the courage to see the reality that lies past the smoke, mirrors and yellow brick road, the line always held more meaning for me in Real Life.  Or perhaps I have just attached more meaning to the line over time, much like the way we all attach meaning to ourselves.

At times I've felt like the people on the outside of the curtain. Sometimes you know there is a curtain, sometimes your oblivious to its existence. If you know there is a curtain and there is no obvious way to see behind it, you may fantasize about what goes on in this unseen world all the while knowing that whatever you makeup to fill this void of unknowing won't be close to the truth. You may also think that unseen world behind the curtain must be better then the world I inhabit...the grass always being greener.

Most of the time in my life however, I have felt like the wizard.

Not the all-powerful wizard, but the much diminished human being that hides behind the curtain. Pulling levers. Making smoke. Adjusting mirrors. Sometimes there are more curtains then one can count.

But lets not forget what the much diminished human did worked.
Behind the disguise of the all-powerful wizard was a wizard.

The truth is we are all wizards. At times all-powerful, and at other times Just Human.
We are all people outside of some curtains.
We are also people behind some curtains as well.

Art is a way for me to bypass all curtains.
A conduit from one diminished human being to others.

From one wizard to another...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So you wanna see where the magic happens?

I am that person that you sit with during a movie and within 5 minutes will sum up the entire plot. I am usually spot on.

I am that person who will tell you how the magician does his tricks or a close enough approximation that it makes little difference.

I will point out CGI.
Show you were photos have been digitally manipulated and how.
Help you to notice slight printing mistakes an errors.
Dyed hair.
Fake eye color.

That the women you find so attractive  is really a man.


Since I have been tortured by unwillingly noticing these things and many others, it's only fair that I share this information with as many people as possible.

But yet, I feel sort of weird sharing process and studio photos.

Art, especially jewelry, has a sort of mystique that shrouds it. A romance. Much like the romantic notion of the lone artist making wonderful works in some tiny studio a million miles away from civilization. A bit crazy. A bit mad. All by himself. Making masterpieces because he has to. Not worrying about money. Then one day a very rich art collector finds the tiny isolated studio by chance and becomes the artist's patron saint. The artist of course stays in the tiny studio a million miles away from civilization, continues making masterpieces, letting the uncashed checks pile up in the corner.

Unless of course you are an artist. All that is lost on you then, or will be if you continue in your pursuit.

Without further ado, or some such overused cliche, where the magic happens...

A heated and air conditioned tandem garage...not so many miles away from civilization (like 5 miles from NYC) 
 Soldering (brazing), metal melting-ingot poring Station.

Everything is setup in different stations. Probably because that's how most of the schools I have been to have it setup. Will make it easier if I ever decide to teach, but mostly it helps me get up and move about when working in the studio. I have a tendency to get lost in my work, having to move about wakes me up a bit. 
Just a bit.
*Notice the acetylene tank. Hopefully I will be getting an oxygen tank as well one day
(if I can get it past the guard/girlfriend) 

Hammering, forming, rolling mill Station
The red, yellow, and blue balls are very heavy rubber juggling balls. 
A necessity for relaxation and creative thinking.   

Closeup of the most expensive thing in the shop: 
A Durston 150mm rolling mill

Straight ahead: Design Station.
Though I really do most of my designs in my head, on a napkin, on some scrap of paper late at night with an eye pencil because I cant find a feckin pen that works. This station doubles as a Put Stuff Somewhere Station. There is an actual Put Stuff Somewhere Station behind and to the left of this photo. I need to get my wide angle back from a friend so I can take a complete shot with a real camera instead of this point and shoot (which I kinda like cause it's like...point...shoot)

Bench Shears
BEWARE! Don't let the name fool you! This things sucks at shearing benches!
The bench shears are a new item to the studio after Janice had tested it for me. Thanks Janice!
(Please check out her blog and the wonderful Jewelry Artist Network (JAN) forums!)

Bench Shears (closeup)
This thumb is here to remind anyone that uses the shears what can happen if you are not careful.
I should add  a tiny bench to remind people that you can't shear benches with these shears!

Flex shaft, usual work area, Station.
In the metal draws, as with all the previous metal draws, there is stuff. Like hammers, files, burrs, all my casting wax that I haven't used yet (a ton).
Under the fan to the left (in the bins) is some copper etching things. To the left of that is a toaster oven for heating plastics and other things.

Buffer, sander, drill Station
The sander I try an avoid at all costs as it will take down material in moments...
The buffer was a gift that I will use some day.

Ipod player, epoxy, scroll saw Station
The iPod player is for audio books. I am almost always listening to some audio book or another. I use to be a vivacious reader but reading takes way too much time, time that can be better spent in the studio. Only unabridged, good, and most importantly, well read books accepted.
I mix most of my epoxy on this table. The pigments are in draws (see: stuff).

The scroll saw...Notice that the "safety" junk has been removed. If it was attached I couldn't really do any cutting. No plastic. No metal. Nada. The holder does not hold thin material well and lets it jump around like a hyper child on a bed. So I must manually hold the material and push down hard enough with one hand so the material stays flat...all while the other hand is moving the material so it can be cut. I have never used this saw over a very low setting. Its just too dangerous and any plastic will melt anyway and then reattach once the blade goes through. Since I don't use it much I haven't gotten the knack of controlling the material and cutting pieces. Its different cutting metal and plastics then it is cutting wood, not that cutting wood is easy--it's not. Cutting is also backward compared to a jeweler's saw (or the other way around if you like) and my mind flips out a bit. The concentration needed is extreme. On the plus side: It does take jeweler's saw blades. Also, its good (with much effort) for cutting plexi for a hydraulic press since you can flip the piece and have the other side of your design for pressing.

Closeup of the Mind manipulating hell-saw.
The pig is needed. I don't know why.
The finger warns of danger...

Vise, Bonny Doon, golden cat, hand Station
I will hopefully get back to using the hydraulic press sometime this year. I hope..

Well, that's almost the whole studio. 2 stations left out. Complete overview photo left out. All the stuff in draws and on shelves ignored. I really should take photos just for insurance purposes...

In future I will take some additional photos, some things I wish to move about (I get bored of the same layout and will try for a more efficient layout) so the photos new again. Also, I may actually clean up a bit. I really do hate it messy...

Everything DOES have it's place...The getting to the place, that's the problem.
Stupid non-legged everythings...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NJArts Annual Craft: Make Me Something Beautiful -A Few Process Photos

From this...

To this...

From The Love #3 (40 Loads Series)
Brooch, 2010, 2 ½ x 2 ½ x 1 inches
Sterling silver, plastic laundry detergent cap, epoxy resin, gesso, Prismacolor, marker, acrylic paint

From The Love #3 (40 Loads Series)

From The Love #3 (40 Loads Series)

One of the pieces being sent to the Newark Museum for the upcoming show (see left side: Upcoming). I did manage to take some process shots with my point & shoot instead of with the pro camera so image quality and focus may vary. Looking through them I see I took too many shots of some things and not enough (or any) of others...I'll have to work at that...

That's all. Sorry for the lack of metal work photos. For some odd reason when I have a torch in my hand I don't think about taking a picture. As usual I am lacking hands...