Saturday, July 6, 2013

In Pictures and Words .....

In an effort to pull myself back from the brink and re-engage in my work, I have been entertaining myself with experiments in online exposure.  Yeah……...................... nobody wants to see pictures of me naked ............ or otherwise.  Although, I have to say naked is a great word. 

Anyway, back to exposure.  I think the point of online exposure is to sell stuff.  You know, advertising.  I think.  Usually I get lost in the process.  There are actually approximately nineteen gazillion ways to get lost in the process.  And all of them are free.  Apps.   This is not a great word.  It’s totally utilitarian and sort of ugly.  Fortunately for app developers they don’t mostly have to work to sell them.  (Hey I made a split infinitive.)  Especially if they are free.  The apps that is, not the split infinitives.  Split infinitives are always free.  

Ah the illusive point.  My point, which I have yet to get to, is that it is amazingly easy to get distracted messing with pictures.  For me, part of the goal of the process is to make the thing look the way I see it when I am holding it.  Pictures are flat and the things I make are not.  The apps allow me to give the flat picture the illusion of not flatness.  Not flatness is not the same as roundness.  If you know what I mean.  So I have been posting pictures which I have manipulated and I figured I could show some of that process here.  So what follows are some pictures from the originals through various manipulations.  I think it’s a pretty remarkable technology.

App #1  -- pixlr'o'matic


These first pictures are of a copper feather I made a couple of years ago just for fun.  

The spine is a piece of steel pencil rod so it was actually a challenge to weld the copper to the steel. Since copper is such a good conductor (that is why it is used for electrical wire) it is difficult to weld.  The piece has hammered texture and a heat patina.  It's actually quite elegant.  Unfortunately it photographs kind of flat and personality-less.  I wanted to give it something. 

Original photo taken on the work table in shop ambient shop light.  

The first thing I tried was the film roll (?) filters with this free app.

With the Hagrid ( I don't name them ) filter.
This filter shows the brings out the texture and color in the feather.  Then I applied a filter from the light bulb category.

With the Scratches filter applied.

 Adds romance.  Eh. Finally the border filter. 

With the Old border.
I really like it with the filters because they take a pretty bad picture and give the feel of the piece as I see it.  

App #2  -- pixlr express

So I figured I'd try it on a picture of a bed I did before digital.  I started with a scan of the picture. The bed was made for a guest house and designed around the window in the wall. 

A scan of a photo of a bed in the lighting available in the room.

First thing I did was autofix plus a little brightness and contrast which you can do with this app.  

It's a little warmer and brighter. 
Next I applied the effect filter called Rusty.  I couldn't make this up if I tried.

Not sure I love this.
Then the Olga/Bogdan overlay. 

I don't know.
And finally the Border filter.  White ripped/Fjorton.  Really truly I can't make up these names. 

I think I well let you be the judge. 
 I think maybe I need to try this again.  I'm not sure I made it better or more visible.  I also don't think that I was able to convey my feelings about it.  I probably should have stopped when I was ahead.

But as you can see a lot of time can be lost messing with pictures.
Now back to work. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Ongoing Metamorphosis

Transformation is defined as a radical change or alteration in appearance, form, character or nature.  Everything I do is transformation.  I make things by altering the form of materials.  So, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that I am also undergoing transformation.  Physical transformation is easy.  Well except for maybe weight loss.  But for me changing the form of things is second nature.  Changing thoughts, and ideas and approaches is work beyond my natural ability.  You know how I just said physical transformation is easy?  I lied.  By now I’m sure you are thinking “what the hell are you talking about and why?”  

Possibly the most frustrating thing about being human, besides other humans, is that just about the time we start to master our craft our bodies betray us.  Ask any athlete.  Just about the time they have mastered all the aspects of the game -- DING – times up.  

I think what this means for those of us lucky enough not to be athletes, is that after suffering through months of torturous physical therapy that followed some dang surgery, we get to figure out better ways to work that take less of a toll on our not so youngish bodies.  Jig time … or time to jig.  Or jig better.  Or jig more.  Or more better.  And in case you don’t know what a jig is, it’s either an Irish dance of some sort or a tool to do a specific task.  I made those definitions up.  Now for the official dictionary definition: and for this I decided to use the Oxford online dictionary  instead of  Holy smokes…there is a third definition.   I am so very excited.  This is what it looks like….

Definition of jig
  • 1a lively dance with leaping movements.
  • a piece of music for a jig, typically in compound time.
  • 2a device that holds a piece of work and guides the tool operating on it.
  • 3 Fishing a type of artificial bait that is jerked up and down through the water.
verb (jigs, jigging, jigged)
  • 1 [no object] dance a jig: he stood up and jigged in the cockpit
  • [with adverbial] move up and down with a quick jerky motion:we were jigging about in our seats
  • 2 [with object] equip (a factory or workshop) with a jig or jigs: the floor space was jigged and tooled to produce six fuselages a month
  • 3 [no object] fish with a jig:a man jigged for squid
Can you believe it?  A man jigged for squid.  I am so distracted from my pain now that I am ready to move up and down with a quick jerky motion.  I also like the bullet points.  And also…he stood up and jigged in the cockpit?  Who does that?  Never mind.  I need to get back to the point.  That is assuming I have one.  

Ok, so the transition to the abundant use of jigs or from pupa to butterfly, and here I have to say that my aversion to jigs ( not to mention pupa ) is probably due to the fact that I don’t do that many repeated operations plus jigs need to be stored and labeled.  That labeling thing will get me in trouble every time.  You have no idea how many times I have limped over to my storage heap and pulled out a jig and wondered what the heck it was for.  Only a couple times actually because, as I said, I don’t have that many jigs.  (Sadly, I keep typing jugs which really changes the meaning of these sentences.  Go ahead. Go back and reread inserting jugs where I typed jigs.  I’ll wait.)  

Ooookay, I hope you are able to better control yourself for the rest of this.  

I think in order to make this transition I need to stop thinking of jigs (there’s that jugs again) as needing to be perfect.  I think I need to start to accept their limitations while trying to overcome my own.  One of the operations that I do repeatedly and often is bending rings.  I think I need to find a way to give myself a mechanical advantage while doing this.  Up to now I usually just bend the rod around an arbor.  I do know that there are commercial ring benders out there.  I also know that since they are supposed to be universal ring benders, they don’t work well for thousands of rings.  They jam, break, and get bent when someone uses a pipe for extra leverage.  They mostly really stink.  And, oh, did I mention they cost too much for a small shop especially when they end up on the heap. 

So I go back to bending by hand which is totally jacking up my hands, elbows, shoulders and psyche. Plus some other stuff I'm sure. 

Now I need to find a better way and I am going to share that process with you.  I know…you are thrilled. 
Yeah, I have never been able to get these to work. 

This looks fantastic.

I really need to study this.

Yeah, I own this and I could bend 1000 rings in about 100 days.

These aren't my  pictures and that will undoubtedly get me in trouble but they are the starting point.  Lets see where we end up. If I end up with the perfect ring bending jig you can steal the idea and make one for yourself.  After all, you bend thousands of rings too right? 

Now to work.