Monday, September 26, 2016


This week - feathers, lots and lots of feathers (oy.) Now, considering the first human-scale wing took about six months carve, I've been (understandably?) thinking very very hard about how best to go about making the second wing.

Some of the recent experiments printing mirror images of blocks by printing then scanning and creating polyester plates grew out of the question: "do I really need to carve a second wing?"

The experiments were productive and I concluded that yes, I could print the second wing by making polyester plates based off the relief blocks I already have...but that I'm not going to.

I know, it seems contradictory, but once I got the answer of "yes, it could be done that way," I started to consider other factors.

1) The size. Polyester plates created with the computer as an intermediary are printed with toner. My laser printer prints 8.5 x 14" max (*I could take them to a photocopier and put them on 11 x 17" plates, but the photocopying decreases the resolution, and for these, it matters that the scans and prints have very high resolution); so, I would be working with a mosaic of lots and lots of 8.5 x 14" plates.  That's not a deal breaker (it's how I made things like the unicorn body), but there's another factor...

2) How many times am I going to print it? My experience is that the plates have been wearing down quickly. While that's something I'm working to change, my feeling right now is that, if it's something I'm ever going to want more than 3 or 4 of, it's worth considering carving (particularly if it's something with a lot of plates, because the more plates there are, the less likely it is that they'll all be perfect at the same time). That's not a deal breaker either, but there's one more thing, that's the most decisive, but also most difficult to put into words...

3) I think the second wing needs it's own blocks because it's a "priority object" - I'm going to commit art-sacrilege and admit that, for me, not everything in the composition is of equal importance. While I may use polyester plates to invert a plant or animal in the scene, to me, the wings are too important not to have their own blocks.

18 x 24" MDF block with 2 relief blocks printed on it as guides
[Sigh.] And that is how after dragging my feet for two months and trying lots of experiments to avoid carving a second wing, I finally admitted to myself that there will be no short cut.  (And here, the voice of Delusion helpfully adds: "O, maybe it won't really take that long the second go round," haha.)

Just because I'm carving the second wing, doesn't mean I don't want to go about it as expeditiously as possible O:) .  Since carving the first wing, I've learned to carve MDF, which is good, because it's much (much) less expensive than the blocks for the first wing and comes in larger sheets. The bigger block size allows me to combine sections and use fewer blocks - thumbs up.  I also have some additional tools now - after carving the Gothic Tree, I invested in some larger gouges. (I heart new tools!)

I toned the block and printed the plates for the first wing directly onto the block to act as a template. The new tools and different material mean that this one will be slightly different, but I like that, since as biological object, the symmetry shouldn't be perfect. Then I started carving...(and carving, and carving).

With feet for scale.  Not to jinx myself (forbid!), but I'm surprised how far it's come.
Carving the blocks for a second time is a challenge too in terms of maintaining interest and focus. I took breaks and walked around looking at all the magical things that ebb and flow through town:  

It's a large metal seal with ruby eyes and a hinge in the tail so that the body can act as a storage compartment (??)

...And then there's this....
the stuff nightmares are made of.
Creature Update:
Honey disemboweled her new bed and Rocky V is headless.
It was hard on her having to wear the cone, and she was
 sooo happy to have it off. (Notice the empty toy basket as she played with
every single one of her toys and scattered them all over the room to
celebrate having her peripheral vision unblocked :) ).
Her little belly is healing and her soft, beautiful fur is growing back.  
...speaking of her beautiful fur -
look at how feathery her tail and hind legs have gotten! 

And because I love all my creature family, here are my Feline Assistants
being cute and loving. I love how Jr. is reaching out to rest her paw on Princess's
shoulder, and the Princess is (gasp!) letting Jr. have the spot
 all the way on the pillow. (They really do love each other. :) ).

My favorite little Japanese maple turns 1!
 (I got this tree at a 90+% discount the day before it
would have become mulch, and look at her now :) ). 
One can never have too many beautiful sunsets.