Seeking the next level.

No matter what you do, you’re always looking for ways to get better at it. A lot of that just comes with simple, repetitive practice, but sometimes it’s an active choice– a series of decisions to do something difficult for the sake of forcing yourself to get better at whatever you’re doing.

That seems to be a theme for me recently. Those quail eggs carve quickly, but because they’re so small, sculpting them takes a while, since you can’t find a way to easily hold them while you’re doing it.  I made jewelry for the first time, and then radically improved upon how I do it.  I got lightning fast at making basic patterns.  And most recently, I’ve been working on a really, *really* elaborate egg.

The egg isn’t finished yet.  I think it still has a week left in it. A lot of this is glue setup time.  I can only lay down so many beads without letting the glue really take hold before moving on. Not waiting long enough causes the beads to float out of position on the wet surface. So it’s two rows, wait… two rows, wait…. The actual beading itself is challenging because the surface curves in multiple directions at once.  The sculpted shapes are more elaborate than usual, and I’ve used a bunch of metal leaf (I own 24k leaf but this is composite.) and hand laid hundreds of sequins(there’s gotta be a better way than how I did that, but I’ll figure out what it is eventually.) Ultimately, this is an exercise in expanding the limits of the top end of my product line.  But this is what I have so far:

 

 

As I said, it still needs work.  I am still working on the center portion of the hat, which is a complex  issue due to the bead pattern and the shapes involved.  However, the inner side of the hat is leafed with composite, which gives it a nice swirling color effect against the gold. The bells are 4mm tiny anklet bells, and they do jingle.  Once the hat is finished I have to move on to the mask, trim and “brows” and start sculpting the stand out further.    The bag of popcorn (rice or beans or any other dried thing like that would be fine too) is there to hold the egg in whatever position I put it down in, so it doesn’t roll.  The stand really only holds the egg effectively in one position, so the popcorn bag will hold it in place at odd angles that I need to apply beads so they don’t slide off the egg’s surface.

So in addition to all of this, Im being encouraged to put my eggs in what would be my first craft show in December.  I normally avoid this sort of thing pretty hard.  First of all, transporting the eggs is a pain in the ass.  I mean just, full stop, it’s just a hassle.  Second, because I am exactly the opposite of the person who wants to be in that position.  Im really introverted, I am uncomfortable in situations like that, I present as *really* awkward, and I have to constantly watch out for the eggs in a situation I don’t fully control.  It’s exhausting. But the biggest problem isn’t any of that. It’s that display solutions are *really* hard to do in this situation.  Putting them all on egg stands on a table is so terrible an idea that it’s not worth considering.  However, the idea I DO have and would work effectively, has proven to be REALLY hard to make happen.  I would need some custom pieces of high density foam cut to order.  Yes, I know there’s oodles of places online that claim to do this.  So far though, none of them have been able to do what I *actually need done*, which is to take a 6-8 foot length of cylindrical foam (think like a bolster, something 4- 6″ in diameter and cut a 1 1/2″ hole in the center, and then cut the whole thing crosswise at various lengths, between 3 and 1o inches in height.  Basically you wind up with something like this:

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(the color doesn’t matter as long as I can paint them.)   No, styrofoam won’t work.  No, foam grips won’t work.  The walls need to be thick or it becomes a toppling risk.  They need to basically look like pillar candles with a hole in them.  I’ve contacted several “custom cut foam” places and no one can do this (except for the one really nice guy who CAN, but only if I get 72 feet of it. Which, seriously, I don’t have anyplace to put, and wouldn’t have a use for anyway.  I just need between 12-25 individual cut pieces, not  250.)

Other display ideas have been thrown around that might be able to be easier to get, but all of them share a common problem- they would  block my vision while sitting down, and I plan to work on paint/bead stuff while Im there as a kind of demo. But until I can sort out a display solution, there’s no point in paying a booth fee. 😦

If you know anyone who can do this at a reasonable price, btw, please send them my way.  And of course, please buy stuff.  I’d like to do this show, but can’t, obviously, without the booth fees and stuff.

 

 

 

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