Sunday, February 8, 2009

Week 5

Week 5
When I was organizing and assessing what was accomplished in week 4, I felt very scattered from all the projects. This week I forced myself to focus on two projects: the miniature tipis (since I'm the most excited about them) and the vinyl record cover plates. Silly as it sounds, this was an agonizing decision. I feel like I should be able to constantly multitask and always be super productive and creative. This thinking needs to relax its unrealistic standards, because it causes lots of stress and frustration when I don't live up to these self-imposed rules. Wish I could say that after focusing for one week that I have it all figured out, but I have a ways to go.

Cactus Light
A friend commented this week on wanting an elastic light, so the priority shifted from tipis to lights.

The black cord is elastic, so the light can be hung up from multiple points or from both ends.

For more photos of the Cactus Light, check it out at the Picasa album called Week 5.

The Cactus Light is ideal for a small space because it can be pinned back when not in use. Since it hangs from the ceiling, it works great when there is no room for a floor lamp. Looks like a stalactite when hanging in a group. Can have multicolored lights or just blue ones. It is 4.5 feet tall. For each light the lampshades are customizable by number, size and color. Any length of light can be knit. Shoot me an order or your questions about pricing to

This week I...
  • Hunted for semi-opaque plastic cups for lamp shades
  • drilled 1/2" x 1/2" hole into bottom of cup without cracking Tip-set the drill to a slow speed and use a sharp bit. The plastic should come off in shavings, not as melted clumps. If this happens, let it cool then slow down the speed.
  • strung lights
  • photographed
  • calculated time and materials to price Cactus Light
Later this week there will be photos of the elastic light in the Kandansktipi. The lamp shades for the tipi are hand painted terracotta.

Mini Tipis
TOP SECRET for an upcoming practical joke

This is what you can know about them-over the last 7 days I...
  • Made 112 mini tipis
  • Improved efficiency in creating tipis from 10 to 23 TPH (Tipis Per Hour)
  • Tested various materials. Cost and labor in collecting materials were taken into consideration.
  • Experimented with different patterns of tipis and photographed for reference
  • Bought sheers (yahoo! I got to buy another tool!!)
  • Priced finished product
Photos coming soon

Record Cover Plates

Researching online for what has been done with records, gave me an idea for my cover plates. It was the above candy dish that started the gears to move. I saw a video online on how to warp records into bowls by putting them in the oven. It was fun to make, but the end result was anticlimactic. But what about using this technique of softening the records and molding them into other shapes? I made a cover plate with edges that curve back, just like a regular plate. This added dimension makes the plate really pop.

What all went down in regard to the records:

  • googled "melting records"
  • made a bowl
  • made a cover plate with bent edges
  • made a vinyl template for cover plates. Tip- saving time is super important when mass producing. Originally I was using a utility knife and scoring the records 10 times per cut! Seeing that this made both hands exhausted and took lots of time, I used a jewelers saw. This proved to be so much faster!
  • Went to local jewelers' supply store and bought a gross of saw blades (that's 140 blades)
  • Hit up $1 Store for a hand saw and mini clamps for bench pin. Tip- Using a bench pin saved more time and was a lot more comfortable when cutting the records. I made one with scrap wood. Took about 5 minutes.
This coming week I'm going to experiment with heating the records over the gas burner and forming into shapes. I really want to try making ornate rings. I'm also going to make a jig for the dimensional cover plates.


More Blue-Footed Boobie photos here.
  • Raised table in studio about 6 inches by stacking 2 x 4s under the legs. My back is so much happier!
  • Blog Marketing-commented on Blogs of Note, read some articles on ProBlogger, made header for "Happenings in the Studio" using photoshop, wrote a months worth of post for Works-for-Me-Wednesday and for Menu Plan Monday (by participating in carnivals like these, I hope to increase traffic to my blog)
  • Painted teeth on Ozolinsh Boobie, signed and sealed with Krylon Crystal Clear
  • Photographed Ozolinsh and Old World Boobies
  • Cleaned studio and removed the white rug. The hardwood floor is much easier to clean.
  • Worked on - removed the option to leave comments because of being constantly spammed, added tags to some posts, put up ad for "Happenings in the Studio"

Weekly Challenge

Setting Realistic Goals

I figured that by focusing on two projects for the week, at least one project could be knocked. Instead the plan for the mini tipis kept evolving from 120 to several hundred. I was making 10 TPH (Tipis Per Hour) but wanting 60 TPH. I’ve worked for several artists making mass multiples. When working for someone else, it’s up to them to decided that it is ok to spend a huge amount of time on a project with unforeseen clear future. They figure out how to best construct the object and the fastest way to create them. They set the pace of what is feasible to make per hour. Everything is different working for myself.

I told mom the goal was 30 TPH for Wednesday, taking into account the learning curve since it was the first day making them. Then build up to 60 TPH by revising and melding some steps. She asked if that pace was even possible. Shocked I replied that I hadn’t even thought there could be a cap on my production! Wednesday’s pace went from 10 to an unimpressive 13 TPH. I knew there was a better way to make them, but hadn’t figured out how just yet. I started to question if I was wasting my time. At the current rate the project was not feasible and unenjoyable because of the tedious pace. The entire next day I was in a funk. A few things were accomplished but not much. This added to the frustration.

Honestly, the motivation to get out of this ridiculous day-long depression was the thought of writing this post. I didn’t want to share that no more art was made after Wednesday because I hadn’t figured out how to increase the TPH. Thursday night lying in bed, going over the various steps for the mini tipis, I considered changing the material for the tipi covers. The idea questioned the concept of the tipi, but I gave myself permission to try it before letting it go. First thing Friday I got up at 7am and forced myself to work in the studio. When the hour was up, I didn’t want to take a break to make waffles. My late night revision worked beautifully! All day I alternated from speedy tipi making to cooking to yoga classes. At the end of the day the pace was 23 TPH!!! I was so relaxed and amped at the same time. I continue to feel encouraged and excited to make more tipis. As you know the details of the mini tipis are top secret, since they are for a practical joke. When the time is right, all will be revealed.

Week 6 HITS
Week 4 HITS
Table of Contents for HITS (Happenings in the Studio)


  1. I love the record art you did! Very "noteworthy"

    Thanks for stopping by my blog:
    i am not always this focused. This much stuff overwhelms me. Trying to keep focus during my last week as C.M. Director (so I don't boohoo, it's sad leaving)

    I saw your comment about visiting your studio. After this week I make a point of calling you & checking out your studio.

  2. I love the 1st picture of your cactus light. The shadows are so groovy.