"My process is basically controlled corrosion, making art out of metal and electricity."

Also, everything is better with tiny dinosaurs.

From Prototype To Working Model

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Blog, hands | Comments Off on From Prototype To Working Model

Someone told me they liked process shots.  So, here you go.  Sometimes I get ideas.

Chopsticks & Rubberbands

Rough Finished Easel

It works!

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First Storm of the Season

Posted by on Oct 5, 2011 in hands, heart | Comments Off on First Storm of the Season

Echeveria (Succulent)

The first storm of the season arrived late last night, bringing with it a half inch of rain and a cold wind.  It feels like autumn is here, which is odd, because the garden doesn’t really seem to know that summer is over.  The lemon verbena trees are in full bloom, and the cilantro and Thai basil are about to throw up some colour.  My lavender is still budding, which keeps all sorts of winged creatures happy, monarch butterflies and hummingbirds alike. We have a long growing season here in Ventura, but the garden still goes through cycles.  Cycles are natural, normal things.  The only thing that’s consistent is change.  I try to take my beauty in the moment.

Calanchoes

Progress on the work proceeds apace.  Today I started a new set of pendants, and returned to an old favourite, hammered copper.  Fold forming is an interesting technique that I can’t wait to marry with the etching.  I’m experimenting with different resists, one being a nail polish pen.  It remains to be seen whether or not the freehand designs will stick to the metal while it’s in the drink.

I love working copper.  It feels like a living thing in my hands.  I hate to wear gloves while I’m sanding, but if I’m going to do this long term, I need to be cognizant of the health risks, and so, gloves.  But once the piece is polished, from 1000 to 1500 to 2500 grit, I love to feel the finished surface.  It has a warmth and a malleability that seems like magic.  I imagine this is how woodworkers feel when they’re done, and you see them lovingly caressing the surface of the table or cabinet they’ve made.  Kinda creepy, but understandable.

Hammered Copper Discs (click to embiggen)

In the last pic on here, you can see the different stages that these discs are in, from just finished hammering, to half-polished, to high shine. (Click on the image to get a closer look.)  They’re not quite done yet. Patina and sealant to come, and then a setting, which I still haven’t decided on yet.  Here’s hoping the muse is kind tomorrow.

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Don’t Break The Chain

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Blog, hands, heart | Comments Off on Don’t Break The Chain

So I was reading about chains.cc on some motivational site yesterday, and I thought, “Hey.  Two days is a chain, right? Right?”  Hell, yeah, two days is a chain.

So here’s today’s bounty.  Ten antique key necklaces, two pairs of steampunk earrings, and a steampunk necklace to match.  Take that, Mister Chain.

These are all antique, possibly 100+ year old skeleton keys, with their original patina.  Yes, that means rust and dirt.  And for the more beloved among them, that little mystical shine that comes from using a treasured object hundreds, if not thousands of time.  I think one of the reasons the steampunk aesthetic appeals to me is that you will never see someone swooning over the patina of age on a smartphone.  It’s whole design is based on looking someone has never touched it at all.  But these keys, they’re like talismans of a bygone era, a world where chests and cabinets hid all sorts of wonderful secrets.  I have a serious weakness for keys, it’s true.  (These will be listed on the shop in the coming days.)

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In that batch of keys, I found a rare thing.  Two keys that matched, and that were small enough they could be used as earrings.  Better yet, they’re shaped like little hearts. Time to get out the beading trays and see what I have that could go with them.   Inspiration is sometimes just that simple.  Available in the shop.

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I also played around with some other configurations of these little garnet glass leaves, and came up with another idea.   It can be quite complicated making something look simple.  It took me a few times before I found what I was looking for, with just enough transparency to make those little red leaves look like beetle wings catching the sun.  And again with the bleeding clockwork.  Sounds like I should do a line or something.  Hmm.  ~ponders~ (Also, available in the shop).

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A line.  Yeah, a line of…  three.  Yeah, if two days is a chain, then by Gods, three points is a line.  So in amongst the keys I bought at the flea market, I found this one especially wonderful little piece.  It’s brass, but it has this wonderful copper patina to it.  It stands out in amongst the steel and iron keys.  It wants to be noticed.

A little backstory: When I was in college, I spent my summers working for Physical Plant (that’s Maintenance in the rest of the world).  It’s an interesting job, especially when you get free reign of a campus that was built in the 1920’s, and your boss hands you a ring of keys so you can get into any building that has a work order on it.  The summer of 1990, I believe it was, the President’s House stood empty, and in preparation for its next occupant, we were in and out of the place all summer long.  This place was so old, it still had push button switches, and the electrical wiring was the original porcelain and cloth-wrapped copper.  Anyway, I digress.  This place was old enough, the ring of master keys for the place was mostly skeleton keys.  And if my guess is correct, this key is probably for a wardrobe or a bookcase.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

I spent the majority of the afternoon working on this one, trying to find the right balance of colour and movement.  It was worth it.  I am very pleased with the result.  (Also, available in the shop.)

Anyway, that was my day today. I added a few more pieces to the shop, not listed here.  More copper etching forthcoming.  I’m still struggling with finding the right lighting and the right angle to photograph the plates.  This problem, it vexes me.  But as I’m going to have Bat’s Day Holiday Black Market traffic here soon, it’s one I really need to find a solution to.

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On Fear, Perfection, and Gratitude

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Blog, hands, head, heart | 3 comments

It’s been a year.  More than a year.  Let’s just say it’s been too long and move on, shall we?   I was laid off my office job in February of 2010, and have been struggling with all sorts of preconceived notions of self-worth and earning potential ever since.  I’ve been trapped in a quagmire of my own making.  I wasn’t happy going to work in a small grey cube, sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day, only to come home and sit in front of the computer all evening.  My body thinks I’m not working unless I’m sitting in front of the little box.  (And to be honest, all my friends live in the little box. ~waves~)

Gradually, I’ve broken away from my old patterns.  After so many years of doing the daily grind, it’s difficult to make the transition from worker bee to artist.  There’s no structure that I don’t create for myself.  There’s no one here to tell me what my deadlines are.  All of my goals are self-imposed. Even coming up with goals has been a struggle.  And the only feedback I get on the end product is limited to the benevolent kind you get from loved ones (i.e. the only people you’re brave enough to show your art to.)  I haven’t been very good at focusing my energies on my art or the business of my art.  To try is to risk failure, and I’ve never been good at failing.  I avoid it at all costs.

But failure will be what I face if I do nothing.  If I have to go back to work in an office, I want it to be a secondary job.  I have bills to pay, like everyone else.  But I also have a soul to feed, and I don’t want to live my life as a wage slave.

I have an amazing support structure, starting with my husband, who is an absolute saint.  He’s put up with so much, from my seemingly bottomless craving for all sorts of junk to what he has come to call my ‘tool fetish’.  He’s put up with whinging and moaning, with my lack of motivation, with my inability to pick a direction and just move. Without him, I would probably be living in a cardboard box under the river bridge.  Thank you, my love, for believing in me.  And for indulging me while I find my way.  I could not do it without you.

I have other friends and family who deserve thanks as well, and they know who they are.   I owe all of you my gratitude and humble thanks.  I am truly blessed in this regard.  My chosen family is made of awesome.

Just before I was laid off in February of 2010, a work friend asked about my crafts, “Why aren’t you doing this for a living?”  Her question hit me like a two-by-four in the side of the head.  I had no good answer for her.  I mean, I had answers, but none of them good ones.  None of them felt like a reason.  They all felt like excuses.

“The thing in your hands will never look like the thing in your head.” ~Amanda Palmer
I’ve always been one to linger in the learning phase far too long.  Learning is easy.  You never have to get it right.  Well, art isn’t about perfection.  And the quest for perfection is the easiest way to prevent yourself from moving forward.  I know that.  I’ve always known that.  It’s the application of that knowledge that seems to elude me.

And when it comes down to bare bones, it’s about fear.  Fear of letting go.   Fear of getting it wrong.  Fear of disappointment.  Along with this friend’s question, another quote found me. 

“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.  I would like to see you living in better conditions.”  ~Hafiz.
I would like to be living in better conditions.  I’ve been too comfortable in the learning phase.  I need to push beyond that, now more than ever.   There will be rough days, days when the voice of doubt is loud and ugly in my ear.  But there will be good days, when the magic happens.   I just have to let go and let it come.

So enter foulbitten, and another tilt at the windmill.  It’s October and the days are getting short.  I have magic flowing in my veins.  Time to let fly.

 

Lynn Hatfield hosts the fickle muse behind Foulbitten.  She currently resides in Ventura, California with her husband and three cats, though her mind is often traversing strange and distant lands, somewhere between the wilds of archive.org and Apex Electronics.   If you need to reach her, you can contact her here.
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