Thursday, October 29, 2009

For The Love Of Lumps: Process, Part 2

When we last left off the Great Insane Two Lumps Necklace Project, the glued-together shapes were being flattened under a pile of delicious recipe books and awaiting verdict.


Well. They turned out -awful-. I thought it might improve things if I matte-sprayed them, but nooooo, the ultimate consensus was that very little - save perhaps Cthulhu eating them or an elephant stomping on them - would help matters.

They just weren't up to standard. Well, my standards anyway and those are extravagantly high. Then again, I'm the one with a reputation at stake if I put something as shitty as this up for auction, so it was time to go back to the drawing board...

Part 5: Remedying Doom and Disaster, Take One

...or rather, the sawing table, in this case. I re-cut the shapes. Given that I did not, at that point in time, -have- a proper clamp and sawing block, my left arm protested very loudly against the force it needed to hold down the CD pieces and keep them from breaking. My table also has a few new saw-tooth notches on it to add to the ones already collected.

For those of you who do not actually believe that my room looks like a drug lab, I hereby submit proof that sawing CDs make a perfectly good substitute for LSD on a film set:

And that's just the edge of my table where I was sawing, folks. The floor under that is a hundred times worse.

Oh. Did I mention that this heroic undertaking was being conducted somewhere around 2am in the morning? Yes, I am a leeeeetle bit insane, why do you ask?

The result:

Note the liberal distribution of white powder all over the edges. Most of it goes away with careful wiping off, but sometimes the sharp end of a jewellery file is needed to get it all clear. The design was drawn into the CD with permanent black Sharpie. It comes off with some concerted cleaning effort, so I wasn't worried that the outlines would be eyesores (so much for permanent, but I'm thankful in this one case).

After filing and sanding down the shapes, I decided that I wouldn't repeat the 'sandwich', and would just stick to having one layer of Lump with the printed quotations on top. I was very pleased with the way Snooch turned out - even though the clear H20-based clear acrylic top coat that I was using was absolute -evil- to work with. I plead first-time usage and user error, rather than the product itself, however.

Eben, however, was a totally different matter from his rounder, much easier-going brother. The varnish insisted on being as temperamental as a PMS-ing woman deprived of chocolate, and I wound up using at least 4-5 coats before I was satisfied. And even then, I didn't like the way the paper wrinkled up and left dark lines.

Ultimately I didn't have to worry about that either because an accident with the latest layer of top coat wound up pulling the -entire- 4-5 coats loose - so there went 2 hours' work or so down the drain.

I re-varnished Eben again, and it -still- didn't come out half as professional as I wanted it to. The dark lines at the wrinkles got even worse, which wasn't particularly a very big crime, but again - me, perfectionist, much. Besides, drilling the holes had made a very slight hairline crack at the edge of one of the holes... against my sanity, I redid the bloody thing. Yes, again. I'm aware this may be considered obsessive-compulsive, but I try to keep my work looking as professionally top-notch as any handmade labour of love can be.

This time, despite the ungodly hour of 3.30am, Eben came together beautifully, for which I was both amazed and incredibly thankful. Because if not, I wouldn't have been able to cut another shape - my saw frame wingnut decided to die an untimely death, and I've yet to have time to go down to the hardware store to replace it.

Part 6: Muffin Love n' Lemon!

One of my absolute favourite crazy quotes from the Two Lumps strips involves a bottle of green food colouring and the words 'Muffin love 'n' lemon'. When I mentioned my intention of including this on the necklace, Tarlia went EEEEE so of course, that made it mandatory.

I sawed the heart shape out of the CD remnants from the previous cutting spree, and salvaged another bit from the previous experimentations on Modern Sunset. Sanding them down and getting them coloured and calligraphed was the -easy- part. The varnish, on the other hand, put on a magnificent temper tantrum and kept me at it for the better part of 3 hours -and- 5-6 coats - which ultimately got ruined by a sheet of paper, so I had to redo that all. Over. Again.

Contrary to popular belief, my favourite activity does -not- actually involve frantically trying to pry paper loose from a delicate layer of varnish, and having the entire several coats rip off along WITH the ink on the words. There may have been a loud soul-searing screech of torment and dismay, but I shall neither confirm nor deny this. Suffice to say, at nearly 4am, sweet dreams are -not- made out of these.

However, as with all things, this too passed, the damage was repaired, and the tags finally turned out quite nicely, all in all.

Part 7: And All The People Rejoooooooooiced

Once all the pieces had either dried or otherwise been repaired, it was time to put everything together and see what sort of mayhem would emerge. I'd kept one particular glass bead for a long time - clear base, black spots, yellow centre rather like a bumble bee (see above picture for reference). For whatever reason, it just seemed to fit perfectly in with the Lumps and the overall comic feel, and besides, I needed something to weight the necklace down so it would hang right - the CD shapes were too light to provide much in the way of heaviness.

After some fiddling around with some 20ga artistic wire, I managed to come up with a decent connector that would allow the bead to both spin, and serve as a stylish little piece to hang the tags from.

I arranged all the components out on my bed, like so:

...and then I put everything together with the help of two pairs of pliers, an obsessive-compulsive perfectionism, and a sense of humour (there was a certain amount of fear and trembling involved, but after wrestling with that varnish and re-cutting the shapes four times, everything subsequent seemed rather stress-free in comparison.)

Tomorrow: The Finished Project! Stay tuned!

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