Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lighted Sculpture: Squid

Squid. Umbrella, blood pressure pumps, hot water bottle, christmas lights.
I spent days trying to "be informed by my materials" in response to what my professor suggested and after an hour sketching with Dad and trying out different ideas I went down to my trailer where I have all my old things that I am saving for a project and I gathered up a lot of things I thought might work well together, alarm clocks, hourglass, hot water bottle, blood pressure cuffs, latex balloons, gourds, lace- and I poured out everything and fussed around with it until I had an idea, and then I changed the basic idea (fill hot water bottle with lights and hang long, thin balloons from it with the pumps hanging lower like tentacles) until I got something that was actually doable.
The red stick and the black stick are umbrella spokes with a balloon pulled over them. I think I like that effect but I am not sure. I think it integrates it but then again it detracts from the design.
I expected the pattern of wire shadow in the hot water bottle to be interesting but I was so pleased with how organic it looks. It reminds me of these.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Guess what? 10 years ago, we'll be looking at today, photographs taken of this afternoon, of us, here, now, and we'll be shocked at how cute we were. We're so cute! Why didn't anyone tell us how cute we were? We shoulda been in hot pants 8 days a week!" from Joy Nash's Fat Rant 3: Staircase Wit.

I was originally excited about this quote because in the warm weather I feel so springy in my short skirts that I love. I wear them all the time, but usually have to layer them with socks and sometimes tights, so just being out in the sunshine today without those was lovely. I started thinking about how much I don't like pants as much as skirts. I just think they look boring and plain. They are also very uncomfortable because I am not used to wearing them. But I remember in highschool wearing pants every day because I rode my bike to school and I felt uncomfortable in skirts, like was i sitting right and was it going to ride up? So part of it is what I am used to, but my pants are all jeans which are just stiff and not swingy and fun. So the hot pants quote got stuck in my head, and I looked up the Joy Nash videos.

Today I went to the beach, in my underpants because I didn't want to waste sunshine going to my dorm for my swimsuit, and barefoot because I don't have sandals for some reason. I wear some crappy cheap flats, but again I didn't want to go back to my dorm for them.

And I felt a little silly, walking around in my underpants, because although that is not unusual or offensive to beach goers in Santa Cruz, I have been all bundled up except for my legs for months. I also felt conspicuously pale. And I couldn't see, because I left my glasses in my car. And I was shocked at how quickly my feet started hurting from walking on pavement. And I couldn't find my way down to the water. I eventually learned I had parked about 1/4 mile away from where I meant to park and it was a bit of a project to walk all that way on my soft indoor winter feet. But I eventually found the way down I like, although the sand was underwater and I had to stick to the stairs. It was nice though, I sat on them and let the waves crash on my feet, then I scooted down the stairs until I was getting plenty splashed.

So after sitting on a partially underwater staircase for 15 minutes I was pretty cold and invigorated and I went back to my car. I didn't get dressed because I was all wet. I took a few pictures because I wanted to see what it looked like, then I drove away. After a few minutes I realized I should be dressed because I had driven back in town, not along the beach. It was really hot out but I put on my sweatshirt. It wasn't too hot because my hair and bra were still wet. Then I found my feet were too raw handle the texture of the pedals and at a red light I put on my shoes and socks. The structure of the heels was really a relief. Stupid winter. Then at the parking lot I put on my skirt. Then I took the shuttle to near my house, and walked home. I discovered I don't have my camera cable anywhere, so I took a picture of my camera screen with my laptop camera because it is so relevant to my mood today.

I was glad I wasn't shy to walk around less dressed than I am used to. I think airing my legs almost every day in skirts is part of why it was easy. It was awesome to get sunshine on me; I felt excellent. The water felt great too. I gain weight every winter because I always want hot, filling foods, and there is not as much to do outside as in summer. Then I usually lose it slowly starting when the weather warms up and ending in fall. It is backwards of bears. Our winter doesn't have snow to play in, it just has sludgy mud on all the paths and water on all the roads so biking throws water up your back. And visibility is terrible. So while I still go out, and certainly carry things from home to class and a lot of my artwork tires me out from squatting and lifting things for so long, the default in winter is sitting at a desk or sitting in bed.

But this warm weather has me all energized up! Today I used small dumbbells, and I went to the beach, and I wanted to go biking but my lights are lost somewhere. I somewhat want to go to the gym but the pool closes in 20 minutes. And it is very dark out. And I don't want to use any of the other equipment today because my knee and foot soles and heel hurt. And back. It's all the sedentation of winter. Calcifying me. It really is too- the heel pain is from driving.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First Bento

I think bentos (the american sort that housewives make for their toddlers- none of the foods touch and veggies and fruits are selected for their decorative colors, both of which encourage picky eaters to eat their food) are neat. I have had bento boxes for about two years but I just use them as cute lunch containers rather than getting super cute about it. But then I realized I could use my dining hall meal plan for a "snack to go" container and stuff it with olives, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, and all that colorful stuff bentos need without driving to the grocery store or spending money (it's part of my housing contract that I buy a meal block of 55 meals per quarter, but I have a hard time enjoying dining hall food and the dining hall nearest my dorm is under construction so it's a bit of a walk getting to one.)

So here it is. Al the veggies except the lettuce are from the dining hall. I used my little cutters to make a carrot bear, and I used a knife to make the checkered apples. On the right are salmon rice balls (yum!) that I made and a little container of soy sauce. I did not actually eat the cauliflower but I did eat the cherry tomatoes. So the picky eater thing works to an extent. I should have packed a little sauce for the cauliflower, which smells kind of bad.

Also I discovered that I love onigiri (rice balls) for an out-and-about snack. I made more for my valentine's picnic (moved indoors and held on the 12th) and I have even more in my freezer. I wish I had a small rice cooker so I could have fresh rice every day but I am using my housemate's one.

I bought nori at safeway since I made this and that will be cute and yummy. I'm dying to buy quail eggs in chinatown this weekend, just to see what I can do with them. Apparently they're half as expensive as chicken eggs and perhaps 1/5 the size. It's weird how much I am willing to put effort in to making something cute and healthy for myself as opposed to something delicious and healthy. I absolutely never try new recipes when cooking for just me. I'm not sure why except that my staples (baked potatoes, pasta, salad, popcorn, chicken) work just fine.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snake Skeleton Lamp

I made a snake lamp out of eucalyptus sticks I collected, epoxy putty, wax, a lamp coil from my childhood, nylons, and gesso. Then I put a layer of resin on- i'll know in a few hours how that turned out.

Here it is gessoed. Laptop for scale, folding travel hairdryer (wanted my gesso dry right away) for illusory scale. The spine is two long sticks that I bent, tied into place, then oven dried and removed the ties. Each rib pair is a stick that I knotted into a loop/pretzel, oven dried, unknotted, and snapped off the extra.

Here I have tied the lamp strand to the spine with strips of nylons. It's looped in the middle because I wasn't willing to make a snake as long as this strand of lights.
(flash messing up the color, not very opaque at all) Pantyhose legs stretched over the skeleton. This is spine side up, as snakes are, because I originally planned to have it match life.
But the different height ribs made it really hard to work with, they kept squashing down under the weight while I adjusted the pantyhose so I think this will be the way it's displayed. It's very grub-like. I am beyond pleased with it after all the sad sculptures I have been doing for this independent study class. In effect it is my midterm, and yes, I stayed up allll night working on it. (It's due monday but I have a lot of studying and writing for my other two classes.) Oh, I hope the resin doesn't ruin it. I kind of think it did. Resin is so tricky. But it was just too fragile with only the acrylic lacquer and fabric stiffener mix I painted on. It was too bendy for me to feel confident carrying it to the art department to use their ground to paint the resin, so I just carried it to the top floor outdoor landing of my apartment building, and I am very scared it will be carried off or damaged or confiscated for being messy and smelly. The advantage is that it is so foul smelling anyone who planned to confiscate it would need to go and fetch gloves.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Last year I made a little sign for over my desk with a Flaubert quote about writing that seemed really significant for my life: "Be neat and orderly in your life, like a bourgeois, so that you may be creative and violent in your work." I paired the quote with a demon of Bosch's. I never inked the sign and I tried to display it aspirationally but it was just ironic. If you go to the post I linked you'll see. Keeping things orderly doesn't come naturally but if I have a little bit of energy and free time in my life I can do it well.

I've been keeping my room pretty well, because I have a roommate and I finally have enough storage containers for my things. But slowly, entropically, the drawers and bags and boxes and briefcases and suitcases get mixed, things left out of those cluttered my shelves and desk. But this week I did three good cleaning sessions and got everything put into little containers and if neccessary labeled and all my laundry is clean and I came across the little Flaubert/Bosch sign I'd carried from house to house for a year and I felt like I'd earned it. I sat down with my brushes and ink and set to work. And my stupid left hand knocked over the ink and the sign was ruined.
Over an hour of filling in the background with white paint and rearranging the letters and it is a significantly better piece if you like being interested by the things you look at. Which I do. Also better if you like font to mirror its own content. Which I don't. I'd cleaned up before the background layer of paint where "may" should be was dry so that's for later. Possibly while I add that the sign will get accidentally set on fire and end up amazingly crafted.