Holiday decorating….

… done. :)

Purple glitter wet-pressed into clear polish. I can live with cleaning up sparkles for the next 3 months. Looks good from up here, anyway.

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Mini-recording booth complete.

Hard not to feel proud about this one. A modular design built from 6 panels of 2″ acoustic foam used about as completely as possible… and all storable in the box it came in.

I started with an Instrucables project as a guide:

From that basic idea, I made this… a few tweaks left to do, but generally there.
Fully-covered interior space is 22″ high, 17″ deep, with a 9″ back wall, and front opening of 24″. There is enough structural integrity to it that you can let the front 6 inches hang off the front edge of the table, providing foam baffling to the left & right of you.

When disassembled it looks like this…

… and yet still all so lovely fits back into the box it came in:

  • The foam is 2″ thick acoustic foam that came in 12″x 24″ sheets. Because I am not insane, I tried to use the material as-is with as little cutting as possible.
  • Because I needed a more all-purpose ambient-room-noise-killer, I made it large enough to contain the toy pianos.
  • After playing around with the foam for an evening and poking thru my collection of boxes in the basement, I decided that (a) the foam itself had enough structural integrity to stand with little assistance; and (b) the box the foam came in was exactly the size I was gonna need to support the panels, anyway. Certainly a “laziest man on the boat” moment. But brilliant, too.
  • Bottom panels, left & right, are glued to the interior of the box.
  • Since I am relying on the box-top flaps for structure, I added two 12″ vertical cardboard supports to the panels that would be sitting on top of the glued panels.
  • Back panel (not glued in) was cut to 9″ wide. It was either that or attempt miter-cutting foam. Again with the because I am not insane.
  • The remaining 3″ wide strip, angle-cut at the end to fit the opening, was used to extend the fully-covered space. As you can see, it wants to droop after a while. I have a number of options (including ‘live with it’) that I’m considering.
  • The main top piece I cut to the size of the interior space, and adhered to some sturdy cardboard with a 2-1/2″ overhang on either side. There is a back flap 12″ wide with some additional foam that extends down the back of the box about 2″. Two benefits –it adds additional weight to help keep the top piece aligned properly, and the additional foam compensates for the gaps left by ~not~ miter-cutting the foam.
  • Currently, the box is held closed with velcro, but I think I’m going to switch to buttons. Big coat buttons, anchored on the interior with flat button stays. Better to rely on the strength of the box itself than the inevitable detaching of the sticky-back from the box.
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    Wall hanging – stopped at an interesting place.

    I promised the misdirections and inevitable problems. Hanging the medallions was a somewhat trying case-in-point.

    I was happy with the initial set hung…..
    Placing - 1

    … but as I continued, the piece began to feel more and more sterile.
    Placing - 2

    So I took a few days trying to address the problem from various alternate conceptual views. At the juncture below, I had taken 6 strings and marked them forward and backward with the Fibonacci sequence (2, 2, 4, 6, 10, 16, 26, 42 // 42, 26, 16, 10, 6, 4, 2, 2) and spent an afternoon playing around with various curves, cascading placements, spiral- or centrally- emitting patterns. Achieving an effect pleasing from all angles was hampered by the pallette-to-medallion ratio. If the medallions were smaller, I would have had more flexibility to create enough iterative levels to make something work.
    Placing - 3

    And, of course, given the size of the piece, this entire exercise required lots of standing WAAAY in close, adjusting medallions, then another hour or two sitting on the couch and walking back and forth through the room.

    The final composition — left in an ‘interesting’ (probably not final) place for now, looks like this:
    Placing - done

    This does not give you the sense of what it’s like to walk BY it. I’ll see what I can do to give you the feel of being up next to it.

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    How this all got started.

    For those of you near me, you know that I have had scant resources or energy this past decade to engage in creative endeavors. And now that I do, I find my need to create engulfs me like my need for food or sleep. Some days, *more* than my need for food or sleep.

    But to begin again — to re-begin — is frightening. And I can only attribute my ability to do so to the gentle care of a dear friend who watched me working to be brave enough to be clumsy and flawed, and showed back to me that – really – there was something kinda beautiful in that. In being clumsy and flawed.

    The truth is, every creative endeavor is a re-beginning. The process is – by it’s nature – immersive and obsessive, and full of brilliant and ridiculous mistakes. It’s full of vague and inspired ideas that, once you get there, don’t work at all… but may then later emerge in a body and form the idea was *supposed* to have. And even the stupidest mistakes, in most cases, lead to some truly fucking brilliant solutions. But these days, there are so few shared creative spaces, so most of the brilliant and enervating moments are lived alone. And all we see on the Internets are the exquisitely executed, perfectly photographed products. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

    I don’t want perfect. Not here.

    I started this to keep myself honest to where I am — because if I can’t stay brave enough to wake clumsy and flawed, day after day, then I lose my ability – and I suppose my inspiration – to do this.

    It’s been my hope, too, that other creative mates out there – met or unmet – will post more of their process as well: the annoying minutiae of the work; playlists of what they were listening to while making such-and-such piece; the Grand Ideas that just didn’t work; and more importantly, references to the people in their world that they talk to who help give shape and form and direction to their work.

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    Family of 3

    I’m a convert to the Black Ops edict: ‘one is none and two is one.” So I found 3.
    Family of 3

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    it seems that during the move, the blade on my circle cutter got offset by about 1/16″. thus, most of what i cut the other night are unusable, or usable only with some additional attention….

    … the medallions i’m using are shiny silver, but i do not want the color or glint of the medal anywhere in the piece. my first step has been to paint each medallion with a coat of flat neutral Krylon, to prevent silver-glints from any slight mis-cutting or misalignment. fastest, smoothest solution. i’ve moved the base medallions so much now that some of the paint has chipped off the edges, so some of these are going to need some manual, 10-hair-brush touch ups before i hang them.

    after gluing a pip to the medallion, i check to see if there is any over-hanging paper. any paper circle larger than the medallion is carefully sized using fine-grain sandpaper. it’s a hell of a lot more precise and mistake-proof than trying to trim with an exacto knife.

    pip problems1
    pip problems 2
    pip problems 3

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    The unknown unknowns

    the plan has been to mount the pips on the palette with ball-end straight pins: reference both quilting and the mounting of specimens. the single-colored pins available to me, however, come in either crime-scene yellow or the chromatic aberration known as ‘pearlescence.’ the only option was to buy a box of cheap pins and paint them. in between the kits and cut-outs and pre-printed needlepoint patterns, i found a tiny display of Testor paints. an old man with an oxygen tank in a wheelchair, a chubby 10-year-old boy, & i huddled around the tiny display, each trying to find what we could use from the anemic options while not interfering too much with each other. 2/3rds of us could have used way bigger fonts on the bottles.

    periodically, the topic of ‘what differentiates Arts from Crafts’ comes up amongst creatives. i have one answer: crafts are a murder of day-glo and primarys.

    400+ pin heads painted. i’m to the part of the project where words like ‘painstakingly’ and ‘patiently’ give way to ‘annoying.’

    pins - before

    pins - after

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