Friday, October 23, 2009

For The Love Of Lumps: Process, Part 1

Last month, a friend asked if I wouldn't mind making a piece of comic-or-literary-themed jewellery for a deserving and worthy auction which she was kicking off for her birthday celebration. I was delighted, and thus was born what I've nicknamed 'Project Lumps'.

The first hurdle was deciding what theme to pick for the piece. Both Tarlia and I devour books with the voracity of bottomless guppies, but now we needed to find a book both of us had read before, and that proved slightly more difficult. When she suggested a comic strip instead, I promptly told her 'Two Lumps!' and her resultant 'Uh oh...I'm almost afraid to see what sort of jewellery comes out that...' sealed the project's fate.

Besides, it was fitting. Both of us love cats, and Two Lumps is about a pair of incorrigible, extremely funny felines. It's worth a look, certainly, if you're into wicked, sometimes scatalogical, dark and sometimes slapstick humour.

I decided to make a necklace. I also wanted it to be at least partially made out of recycled materials, and I had clear CDs in abundance. I'd managed to get hold of some Eco-felt made out of recycled plastic bottles as well, so that was all good.

Now all I had to do was get started.

Step 1: The Lump Shapes

First thing I did was sketch two rough shapes of the cats and transfer them to one of the CDs. Then I taped both CDs down and started sawing for dear life. My room still looks like a drug lab gone wrong, with all the white powder flying everywhere. I've also got several notches in my wooden desk where the saw slipped, which is probably why they ask you to set up a proper workshop for these sorts of things, but I've only got a room so that's going to have to do for now. Besides, it'll ensure no one will ever want to steal that desk later down the road, if by some freak chance some idiot thief meandered in and decided to make off with everything in the house.

Next came the second most tedious part of the process - filing and sanding down the shapes (the most tedious part is the sawing. Or maybe that's because I'm not very good with handling one of those yet.)

When I got done with that, I sprayed two of the shapes with semi-gloss polyurethane, resulting in this (the two blurred shapes are the sprayed ones):

Step 2: Birdbirdbirdbirdbird

One of the iconic strips in Two Lumps is this one, featuring a bird. I wanted to have the bird in the necklace too, so I cut up a few felt shapes, and sewed the sucker together.

So, now I had the Lumps, the Bird, the strip I wanted to use printed out, and the design wall done.

I've been trying to keep a design journal with inspirations and collages in it, having been inspired by several artists like Deryn Mentock and Teesha Moore. I collaged several quintessential Two Lumps strips together and made some design notations so I at least know what I'm doing and won't hare off into territory that I can't find my way out of later on (it's been known to happen. Wires are forgiving, acrylic, hell no.)

Step 3: Putting the Lumps Together

I wanted to make an acrylic 'sandwich' of a Lump quotation in between two shapes, so I got out the Mod Podge and started the scary process of gluing everything together. Normally this isn't so much of a problem, but Mod Podge is evil stuff to work with and get smooth (or I don't know how to use it properly still). Either way, I ran into trouble at the get go, and had to resort to clever camouflage to make it look a whole less obvious that I'd been happily gluing things to my heart's content.

I'm still not entirely sure it worked. At any rate, it was time for the next part of things...

...No, these aren't just pretty books, they're what I'm sandwiching the shapes in, so everything will (hopefully) glue together right. The French Laundry Cookbook is a loan from a friend who also happens to be a wonderful cook -and- cellist, how cool is that? Falling Cloudberries is mine, and it's a lovely, lovely book with gorgeous pictures and even more gorgeous recipes. I've made some of them and I can vouch for the deliciousness.

Tomorrow, after everything dries, I'll get around to drilling holes, figuring out how to make the Muffin Love n' Lemon tags that I want on the necklace, and generally attempting to put things together without going to pieces in more ways than one.

Stay tuned!


Tammy's Treasure Chest said...

I love reading the thoughts and processes. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Shuku said...

Tammy! So lovely whenever I hear from you. :) I'm having to recut the shapes; experiment in sandwiching = FAIL. So I'll have to start sanding all over again! But I'm determined to get it perfect - the good thing out of it all is that I'm getting the hang of the saw pretty well, and I don't split any edges now!

I'll post on Process Part 2 after the weekend.

Jeremy said...

Aha! So this is what you were having to re-sand. And Two Lumps, I love it!

I'll be looking forward to see how everything turns out.

Daniel said...

You remain one of the most creative people I've ever come across.

Great stuff!