Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lighted Sculpture: Turtle Lamp

So I want the lamps to be gossamer, fleshy, plant like, have skeletons, integrate wax or latex dripping and moss and bark and- well. The thing to do is sketch, and start. See where it goes. So I started with aluminum cans, made a model of an archelon skeleton. Just the shell. Archelon has a different skeleton than modern turtles. The carapace looks a bit like our ribs, and the plastron for some reason has starburst plates.

I spent a few hours cutting up 4 aluminum cans and sewing them together and bending them.

Then I covered each side with a split kleenex, ie one kleenex covered the whole lamp. It's soaked in fabric stiffening medium.
Then when it was dry I lit it up. I like it! But it looked really bad when turned off. I want it to look all right both ways, but not look the same. Sort of soft and bulbous, then skeletal and vivid. But the crumpled tissue looks a lot crumplier and sloppier than I'd hoped. Applying the kleenex from the inside and using a hairdryer to bulge it out would have done the shape i was thinking of but would be terribly hard.

I gave it a coat of yellow mixed with orange/green interference shine stuff, mixed with uv protectant laquer for transparency. Then I brushed a second layer on the parts with aluminum to hide the shine and silver of it.

I plan to coat it with alazarin crimson (my most transparent red) but I like it so much as a yellow thing. I've no idea how to finish it. I actually think i should put it as a hanging lamp on a small bulb, and use air dry clay to blend the narrow end of the shell with the lightbulb casing and leave the open end as it is with maybe a few coats of laquer on the rim to smooth it out. actually i have a lamp part that can do that if i swap it with a very low wattage bulb.

Edit: I put it on the hanging thing and it works well. The hanging one is a crazy long cord from ikea meant to thread all around the wall and ceiling and support a pendant lamp. I think the turtle is too small for it but I am now planning to add blue leaves (either made from aluminum in the shape of turtle fins or more tentacular) to finish the base. That will bulk it up. If I can manage it it should also balance the way the lamp is narrow and flat.

My first lighted sculpture is not terrific but it will improve.

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