Monday, December 12, 2011

GA State Iron Pour

This past Saturday, KSU packed up their furnace and brought it downtown to GSU for the Iron Pour.

It was pretty exciting. Both schools were pouring molds and the audience could buy a scratch block and watch it get poured.

This day was especially exciting for me, because when it was my turn to carry the ladle, I told my partner that I wanted to be the Driver.

So I was.

Basically I was in charge of tipping the bucket over and filling up the molds, as well as moving it around and not spilling it all over the place.

I did pretty well. When the iron was being poured into the ladle while we were holding it, I got slightly discouraged since it was heavy as crap, but we then poured half of it into the other group's ladle so they could work on molds too.

Me holding the live end of the ladle as it's being filled up:

Anyway we made our way over to the first mold after dancing around all the people who were in our way, and I poured it pretty smoothly. I stopped prematurely on the ones I managed to get to since I couldn't tell if they were full or not and had to wait for "Good!" when I was hoping for a "keep going..." kinda thing.

I'm leaning over behind the girl with the green patch on her jacket, but I'm doing the exact same thing as the girl in the very middle up at the top:

You have to hold the ladle in the position like the one in the picture above until you finish filling the mold. I only got to three molds since my arms could not handle it anymore and I passed it off to my backup. Which is why they're there. Which is good.

Basically that was all I did. I wished I had another job to do after, like shovel or backup for someone else, but there were so many people that only a few people got to do something twice.

The whole day was a bunch of fun. I was super nervous being live end, and I chose to do it, but I couldn't not do it. It worked out in the end though. I think. I don't know the results of my pouring abilities.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Finals Week

So yesterday was iron pour training. I got my mold all set up and then I was given the task of breaking more some iron.

So I got my sledge hammer thing--the kind that you just sort of drop / slam onto the ground instead of swinging it at things--and broke myself up some radiator pieces. And also worked my arms and obliques.

With a few other people we managed to get 3 piles, but they never ended up being used in the pour, so that's awesome.

Anyway, when it was time to pour, we all got suited up and assigned positions. The boys all got to go first, so they got all the molds except one, and so two other girls and I were left with the last mold.

I was given 'dead end,' which I wanted, and the other girls were given shovels.

If you watch the video I posted in my last blog [here] of the advanced students pouring, I had the job of to holding the bucket, but I'm on the side with the one handle. The 'live end' has two handles so she can angle it and pour the iron out.

Anyway, so they're pouring the iron into the bucket while we hold it, and it's very heavy as it's being filled with lava and blobs of it are splashing and bouncing off of our leathers, but we carry it over to the skimmer to scrape out all the crap that floats to the top.

Anyway as we're picking the bucket back up, we weren't entirely synced and I didn't expect it to be quite as heavy as it was so slipped slightly and one of the professors came in to help me carry it a ways.

But once we got to the mold it was easy. There was smoke everywhere, but I could just rest my elbow on my leg while the live end filled the mold. We then dumped out the excess, set it back on the stand and that was it!

The iron pour this Saturday is going to be a lot more intense because we will have many many molds and the furnace will be constantly getting hotter while we're carrying heavy things in our leathers, that it will basically just be work.

I also need to get my last mold put together before then. Don't know when that's going to happen...

In other metal news, my box showed up on the Metalsmithing poster! Yay me.

Other than that I'm pretty much just working on my wood sculpture.

I have since taken a die grinder to it, so it's slightly slimmer and smoother, but not by much. I have a whole lot left to do.

My metals project is also due next Monday, but it's still just a bowl at this point.

My legs are really sore right now :P


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lava in Buckets (Video)

Video footage of the advanced sculpture students and the foundry students pouring iron. The newest pour team members watch before they pour for the first time on a later date.

Sorry it's so vertical. It made sense when I was filming it.

(Here's the blog post about that day).


Lava in Buckets

So. I have joined the Pour team at school, and in preparation for the GA State Iron Pour we have safety training!

The noobs didn't get to pour today, only watch. So I got awesome pictures! I also shot some videos and will upload those at some point.

Anyway, the first step before we set up the furnace and things is to actually have a mold to practice on.

My class and I had some we'd made around dry ceramic clay, but they didn't slide out like we'd planned, so we had to break them out.


Then, we bind them up and put the pour cup and vents on them. You have to make sure that both the mold and the cup are flush against each other when you glue them together. The video will show some of the iron leaking out of gaps in some of the molds. (But not mine!)

Then it's time to heat up the furnace!

Then at a certain point we add the small pieces of iron and fuel (called coke) and the metal melts down...

...then you pour it in the buckets!

The pros went first and poured some of the scratch blocks.

Here's the molds where the iron leaked out the sides all over the place. And that's when the people with the shovels cover the mess up with sand.

And eventually all of the molds are filled and the bottom of the furnace is dropped out to begin clean up.

So basically it's all very scary and hot and there's lava.

On the 3rd is when my fellow novices and I get to suit up and give it a shot, which means that on the 10th at GA State I will only have done it all once before when we show off in front of everybody.

I'll get that video uploaded.

(Later that night: the video is here!)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Soreness-Inducing Art and Other Challenges

So, we're hammering our metal bowls. It's pretty neat. We start off with a completely flat sheet of metal, and essentially hammer it until it's a bowl.

There's a little technique involved, but that's basically it.

It's kind of awesome, though. You have to hammer every inch of the metal, overlapping your strokes slightly, in a circular pattern from the inside out.

And then you do that 10 times. Or at least until the bowl is 3 inches deep.

There's also 4 of us in the class sharing one anvil.

Luckily in between each round you have to bouge it on the mushroom stake to make it not an oval, hammer the inside on the sand bag to make it not lumpy, anneal it to make it hammerable again, pickle it to make it not covered in firescale, and cross peen the edges to thicken them.
Then you can hammer again.

So the whole 3 people at once thing just happened that one time.
Well, we do all have about 8 more rounds left, so it'll actually probably happen again.

Ze hammer! Polished by me and marked with my initials!

Ze mushroom stake! For ze bouging!

Ze pickle! For ze cleaning! And also for ze bowls to get to know one another...

Ze example bowl! To make us feel bad!
Though I think mine looks pretty good :P

Sort of lumpy on the inside, but that's okay.

Anyway, one of the bad things about hammering (and how many bad things could there be?!) is it makes your arms TIRED. Like, you can only hammer in 30-second intervals. It's really awful. And then your arm is all sore, and your thumb hurts from holding the metal in place and it never ever ends.

Also something that never ends...

Hollowing out giant, delicate ceramic women sculptures.

It's a mess. And pretty much has to be completed by next week. And then it has to dry, which takes forever, before it can even go in the kiln. Or else it will explode! Which is bad.

On a positive note, when I was walking to Typography, I saw my dudes in the display case!
Only one of them though. And the word Dizzy, but that's okay!

Speaking of Typography, I have revamped my stationary!
Only slightly, but it looks a lot better!

Pretty much I just added a strip of wood grain to everything, and made the inside of the envelope, but it has such a different feel to it that matches the restaurant much better.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Logos and Letterheads and Envelopes

Assignment: Pick a restaurant / business / whatever and update their logo. Then put the logo on a letterhead, business card, and envelope.

My starting point:

My look-and-feel collage (complete with images of Azio's dining rooms):

My revamp:

This was for the rough critique today, and it's not quite as edgy as I was hoping for, but it beats the direction their website is going in!


Mahogany Wood Sculpture

I finally have a picture of my wood sculpture!

Well, I have the clay model standing here next to my newly laminated block of wood:

Monday will bring band sawing it down to its outer contour, then I'll turn it to the side and do the same thing over there, and then I go in with carving tools!

I have other things going on in Typography and Metals and things, but it's very cold in my room and it's no fun to type right now. Also I don't have those images yet.

So I'll just tell you about those sometime later!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bracelet Crit!

Pretty much everything went very well!

I forget what all she said, but Debbie really liked my design!
I think there was something like texture and activated and space and all that good stuff.

So yay!

I'll take better pictures later for the gallery.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bracelet Success

So oh my gosh. That thing where everything goes amazingly happened again.

I went into school to work on my bracelet--tra la la--and knew that today had to be the day when I pieced my axe together. It was all sorts of complicated since I had to get both sides completely perfect puzzle pieces of each other so that the seam would be sturdy and look good and all that.

So I'm filing it and lining it up and filing and holding it up to the light and I finally decide to just solder it. If there's holes or if it's crooked I can always cut it apart, which will make it easier for the next go around anyway.

So I binding wire it, and I put solder all over it, and I flow it and it worked--on--the--first--try.

Holy crap, look:

Like, seriously? How does that happen? I did buff it a bit and finally cleaned up the edges, but look at that seam. It's beautiful!

So yeah, the piece is coming along nicely, and it looks like it'll be fairly wearable.

After I get my wires in on the sides you'll have to sort of twist it on, but I think that'll be fine.

As far as ball rivets go, I bought my wire (well, I guess they're closer to tiny rods) and melting back the ends was surprisingly easy.

So pretty much everything is awesome.

The deadline got moved to Monday, which totally saved my life. It was originally due tomorrow, so I was going to have to stay late (after already going in early) and finishing the whole thing. And I was in there for about 3 hours and I got a lot done, but I have a LOT left.

Like deciding what sort of finish I'm going to use on it. Hm.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cartoons and Other College Projects

Alright. Our Figurative Typography project is really hard. I had no idea just what the Prof was looking for, but all she was saying was "make sure you use the shape of the letterforms" .

So... I looked at my sketches, which were cute little cartoon guys, and pretty much just copied them onto InDesign using type. Which I guess is the point, but mine was so simple.

Buuut... she said she liked them! And by "them" I mean "him" since I only have one dude completed. Partly because it's difficult and time consuming, partly because I'm blogging right now in class.

So here is my project so far. I left a lot of pages out since they're simply not completed, started, or in any way special yet.

But yeah, I asked if I needed to add more detail, and she said I could, but I didn't have to because I was showing off my style and it was expressing everything effectively. Soo... My little dudes shall prevail!

Also other people are doing cartoons. Some people have the whole realistic face shaded with overlapping words and things, but for the most part everyone's doing something different.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time Management

This is my schedule for the next few weeks:

Wed Oct 5 - Sculpture midterm.
The material is pretty easy, but our prof may very well make it very difficult.

Thu Oct 6 - Typography rough print due and midterm.
We're doing figurative typography, which is basically drawing using only type, which is rather time consuming. Midterm covers a few chapters...

Mon Oct 10 - 5 large, full-fledged drawings of ideas for our wood project--two views each.
I want to put a lot of effort into this. This will be my very first wood sculpture and I want it to be freaking awesome.

Wed Oct 12 - Small metals bracelet critique.
I basically have a week to learn how to forge a small scale axe. And then to finish everything. Also my design needs to actually be functional, so we'll see how that plays out.

Thu Oct 13 - Typography project due.
6 front and back cards: 5 illustrations, mounted onto cardstock. Also an illustration board with cards mounted on it, also a digital process binder will all sorts of progress and concepts inside.

With the proper planning and mindset to get things done, this is totally doable. But gosh looking at it all at once makes me cry.

Looking back, the sculpture project that came after live model was a hand or foot study. I did the foot because I'm awesome like that, and this is what turned out:

I've cleaned it up a bit since this picture was taken and continue to smooth it out and such as it dries.

The cool thing about this foot is that it is not the finished sculpture. This is actually a pattern for a mold that will be filled with molten iron. Heck yeah, iron pour. I can only watch, since there's all these training classes you need to do before you can participate in. (Which I will totally do once those start).

One thing that I hate about this piece, is the actually the whole thing. We're going to want to be able to lift the mold clean off, so there can't be any undercuts for it to snag on as we slide it straight up. Because of this, the side of the foot goes straight down into the base, the heel is completely lost, and the fact that the foot is extended makes it look weird.
The composition with the light switch was also completely last minute and I had been just totally frustrated for about 24 hours before turning this in. Blargh.

Maybe the iron pour that I actually participate in will be over something a little more special.

[breaths: in, out]

On to Small Metals. I missed last class due to the sniffles and stressing over feet shaped things, so I've almost forgotten all about it.
Luckily for you, I take pictures at the end of each day:

I may very well have to revamp how you're supposed to get it on and off. If that gap in the middle is big enough to fit ones wrist after I add the axe head, then there's no problem.
If it doesn't end up big enough and becomes silly to try to make it that way, then I'll probably make the axe chop into the end that rests on the arm, then open up the bottom.
The spikes that come in on the sides are very important to me, but they extend in past the size of my hand.

I wish I could show you my Typography progress. Trying to do illustrations of realistic faces is slightly unreasonable, so I'm doing (still very expressive) little cartoon dudes. Actually, let me take a picture of my sketches for you...

I miss my scanner. But it had decided not to connect with my computer, and I haven't needed it desperately enough to put any more effort into fixing it than I already have.
Anyway, this awkward photo shows of Gleeful dude! He's totally cute. And just as cute when made out of parentheses and D's and L's.

And the guy on the back of the page is totes freaking out. He's Panicky dude. I'm sort of excited now that I've actually started working on it and know just what I need to do. I'll post those pictures later when I'm at a computer with InDesign on it.

Alright. I am tired. I'm going to go eat a bowl of cereal (or maybe not--I'm really tired) and then go to bed.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Three Studio Classes

There are 3 of them. And we make art.

A lot of this art is awesome.

Due this past Monday was a sculpture, for my Sculpture I class.
It is of a lady:

Very first project in our very first sculpture class: sculpt from a live model. But it came out pretty well. Though, in order to keep our grades, we have to fire them. Which is terrifying.

In Typography, things are going a little better than before. However, I did just find out that our portfolio for getting into the Graphic Design concentration contains 3 drawings and a bunch of class projects. So now I'm feeling the pressure to make sure that everything I make for class from now on not only gets me a B average, but also let's me continue taking Graphic Design classes.

Anyway, project 2 is a typography booklet, and this is mine:

I think it's nice, but we'll see what the prof thinks!

Metalsmithing, on the other hand, is going all sorts of well. Partly because of the badassery, Partly because I'm slightly better at it than at only using type as graphics and not being allowed any color.

Our first project was a bracelet, with 4 flattened sides to look like this:

It's shaped up slightly since this was picture was taken, though it still doesn't fit. But who wants the bracelet that you've slaved over for weeks to fit?

Picture dump!

Here's a test piece we did before we started on the bracelet. That line is where I recently cut it to use the non-hammered end in my current project, rather than buying more from the rod that everyone else was hogging anyway.

This is where the soldering and annealing happens. We visit this spot much more often than we like, since work hardening apparently sneaks up on you very quickly, and solder seams break all. the. time.

The pickle! I avoid the pickle now because it takes forever (3-5 minutes geez...), and I'm starting to like the color that annealing brings out.


How the anvil makes us feel:

On to Project 2.
Project 2 makes me very happy.

The objective of Project 2 is to make a bracelet. Only this bracelet is far more sculptural and fine art-like. Actually, the last bracelet was more of the practice bracelet, so this may actually be Project 1.


I have sketches!

Well, I have more sketches and how it developed and things, but they're in my locker. I actually knocked these out right now just for you.

So basically, it's an axe. I knew from the start that I wanted to do a bracelet that looks like it's dangerous to wear. There's a piece in my lampworking book that talks about having delicate pieces of glass laying against your skin, and I liked the idea of something that could be dangerous--but as a piece of jewelry, it really isn't.

At first I had the idea of doing a granddaddy long legs. Just sort of a large, delicate spider, clinging to your wrist, but this is a project on forging, and I'd probably just need some wire and some sheet to do that.

In my research, I typed "forged" into Etsy and got a lot of knives and things, and realized OH MY GOSH FORGING WEAPONS.

So, I played some Rift, got a few designs of weapons that my character can make, and then bent the handle around. I also liked the idea of ball head rivets as design elements, and figured I could throw some of those in wherever more support is needed. (I recognize that I have no idea how this will end up sitting on the wrist. It may very well fall over somehow. I don't know.)

So I am super excited about that. We do have to start working on a relief sculpture of a hand or foot study for Sculpture, so I have to work on that tomorrow... But when I get more hammering in (because I am Hephaestus) I will post progress pictures!