Sunday, April 25, 2010

New techniques and new toys

I went to Harbor Freight the other day with my hubs and got a new toy. I love that store so much! Hardware stores are like art supply stores but with bigger toys - I wander through them and get all excited thinking about all the possible things you could make if you had all this stuff! We could have easily dropped several hundred there between us if we didn't have a tiny bit of willpower, and the knowledge that we cannot fit large powertools in our little duplex.

What I bought, besides a dry wall mixer attachment for my drill to mix up slip, is an engraving tool. I thought "How cool! Now I can draw straight onto all my thrift store mugs! I gotta try this." Upon getting it home, I managed to draw on two small cups before it became clear that this thing was gonna conk out on me (I only paid $7.50 for it, and it runs on two AA batteries. What did I expect?) I did realize, however, this its basically just a pocket low power dremel with a diamond bit. I have two dremels that I used for doing woodcuts, and I'm almost positive I have a diamond tip bit somewhere. I wonder whether the dremel would work, or whether it would be too powerful and damage the cup? Oh well, we'll soon find out!

After drawing an octopus just for fun (because I'm obsessed with this video), I decided to use the engraver to draw a portrait of a friend. I've collected facebook pictures of a bunch of people I know, and I've been drawing them on cups. It's mostly practice for me to help me bone up on my drawing skills, and I also really like drawing faces. It's also giving me a feel for how I want to place drawings and images on a surface. I hope to get a little more experimental with the portraits as I make more of them. Anyway, here's my friend Erin on a mug:
(Sorry for the crap cell phone pics. My camera's gone AWOL.)

So far this week, I've done three new cup portraits. Here's the other two.
I'm not terribly happy with this one. Goes to show I do indeed need practice. This is my friend Sharrona's little girl, who is much cuter in real life.
This one is Lacey, who is making a sad face because her freckles came early this year. I did this drawing using mishima (carving lines into the leatherhard surface, covering them with black slip, or in this case black underglaze, and then scraping it away with a metal rib). This is a technique I enjoy, but feel like I need a lot more practice with. I'm hoping I can sand the surface a bit once it dries, so it doesn't look all scrapey. I've been drooling over Brooke Noble's work again lately, and I read somewhere that she uses mishima, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Have any cool ideas for things I could do with this portrait project? Let me know!

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