Spaceship Interior Underway

Spaceship panel

Found objects make great art

Found objects

Raw materials

Well, it has been a couple of weeks but I’ve been keeping busy. Last weekend Eric and I were working on free-form sculptures that will, eventually, become panels for a spaceship interior (think MST3K). This will be for a photo narrative project that we have been working on. The story itself was Eric’s idea, and being the creative and artistic sort of person he is I just had to ask him to collaborate with me!

I can’t be sure how long it has taken him, but Eric has amassed heaven knows how many caps, bottles, cups and miscellaneous found objects for just such an occasion. And thank goodness for that! Last weekend we glued a lot of his collection to mat boards in whatever way we found aesthetically pleasing and over this week I have been working on painting them. This has been tremendous fun! There was something really Zen about this sort of non-representational art. No expectations or rules, just whatever we felt like doing.
I ran out of spray paint pretty early on so I’m behind schedule. I am using Krylon Fusion in hammered silver. It’s a great paint for plastic, but it has to be non-porous plastic. If you try to paint rubber it will never dry. I tried it on a pair of rubber boots and I ended up throwing them out. We used E6000, hot glue and double-sided foam tape depending on which type of material we were trying to adhere.
I just can’t wait until they are all painted and hanging up!

In other news, I am trying to tie dye a pair of jeans, and as if I don’t have enough to do, I have volunteered to teach a belly dance class this fall. I’m really excited about teaching actually. But I’ll tell you all about that when I get more spare time.

Published in: on August 8, 2010 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Steampunk bag project

Costumed at CONvergence

Eric, Karen and Erica

This is my very first blog post!

My latest spare-time project revolves around CONvergence. If you are unfamiliar with this annual affair, it is a huge genre convention held at the Bloomington, MN Sheraton Hotel. It regularly draws 3000-5000 people. Last year was my and Paul’s first year and we loved it! I went in costume so I am going to explain how this costume was put together for your edification.
The easy part was the actual costume. I have fallen in love with the steampunk style so I worked with that idea this year (and last year as well!). The ensemble is composed of a cream-colored frilly blouse that I found at a thrift store, a pair of vintage goggles I found online (I think I paid $20), an altered skirt from Old Navy, boots from JC Penney, and the key piece was a lovely green corset that I bought at the CON. I had planned on that purchase this year because I just don’t have the knowledge or patience to sew a corset. Maybe I will someday, but today is not that day.

Skirt from Old Navy

From Boring to Steam

It took very little time to alter the skirt. I just gathered it in strategic places and added vintage-looking buttons from JoAnn Fabrics. My main accessory to this whole thing was a rather snappy-looking messenger bag. I found this bag in Mills Fleet Farm’s army surplus section for $15. When I showed my husband he decided he should get one because it is perfect for carrying the Netbook. I also showed it to my friends Karen and Eric, who each ended up buying one, and I just found out my dad bought one after I showed him mine on Father’s Day. It’s just too good a deal. So I went to work turning it into a steampunk-style bag. I called on a very knowledgeable friend for advice on leatherwork. He was able to hook me up with what I needed.

Before and after

Finished bag and original

I got a 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of leather, mahogany dye, sealant, screws for leather, and a really cool dragonfly adornment that is also for leather specifically. My first step was to make a stencil from brushes I downloaded from obsidiandawn.com. She has some gear brushes for Photoshop that worked perfectly. I printed off a design and cut it out of the leather with a box cutter. I then burned the edges with a soldering iron to give it a more finished look. It worked OK . I would have liked it darker, but I was under some time constraints, as usual. I then stained the leather. It ended up being streaky, so I had to stain it twice. Since I was using a water-based stain it took 24 hours for each pass to dry, leaving me with even less time. After I finally got the sealant on it looked somewhat distressed and very dark, but I think it worked pretty well. Next I glued some pewter-colored fabric (half-price remnant) to the back side of the leather piece so it would show through as gears. I used the screws to hold the cut-out pieces to the bag. That got to be hard, because the hole puncher only reaches about 1 1/2 inches. Paul ended up helping me drill holes through the bag. Then the screw for the dragonfly decoration was shorter than the other screws and I couldn’t get it to go through all of the layers. I ended up having to hot glue one corner of the main piece to the bag and also the gear decoration that covers the clasp on the bottom. I would have used E-6000, but I had reached my last night and I didn’t have time for the adhesive to set. My final detail was to hang a chain between the dragonfly and the screw in the top gear. I was pretty happy with how it had turned out.

It turns out I should have started earlier and used the E-6000. The one corner came loose and my gear ripped off almost immediately. I managed to locate some crazy glue, but ultimately that would not save my gear. It is probably somewhere in the dealers’ room. The jump rings I used to connect the chain to the screws kept pulling apart and I eventually had to just pull it off entirely. Ultimately, for a woman this turned out to be a very bad bag. It was difficult to access and didn’t work for girly things like a makeup kit and hairbrush. If I were transporting documents it would have worked just fine. The part that made this realization difficult was that I was getting compliments on the bag, so it still looked great in spite of everything – it just isn’t functional.

I am already plotting a more lady-friendly bag for next-year. And a more elaborate costume. But I’ll have to do that in my spare time.

Published in: on July 6, 2010 at 3:40 am  Comments (4)  
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