Archive for June, 2013

Hiatus and another thumbbird

Thumbbird 4

I believe it might be considered some sort of death sentence to write a blog post titled “Hiatus”. Fortunately, I am only off the net for three weeks and during these three weeks there will be a lot of drawing.

In other news: my beloved killed off the small goblin I drew for him. Inconsiderate. Evidently, it was eaten by giant leeches which I guess is sort of a good excuse. Bummer. So, now I am in the process of drawing him another character. Looking forward to show her off in the blog in July. She will have facial hair.

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The firing was successful. There is a small crack in the folds of his stomach, but nothing major. I manipulated hue/saturation and brightness/contrast in the first image below, with limited success (I really need some courses in art/photography software and photography in general…).


There is no glace or anything else added. The surface is polished, which is done by rubbing the dried clay with hands and a little water after the sculpture is nice and dry. This surface treatment then stays true through firing. He is quite small, about 15 cm in diameter. I figure he is a baby dragon, with wings not yet having burst through the skin but laying in wait and developing in saftey until ready to be used. The tail is not very visible in the images, but is split in three for easiness in gripping and climbing until he is ready to start using his wings in a couple of years. Structurally, I am very pleased with the back musculature especially (see below). He has four legs and two wings with makes him a dragon, not a wyvern (most often wyverns have only two legs).

Below is the little guy from all sorts of angles, in the proper hue as well. He is made in red clay, Hemlo was made in brown clay. This clay i believe is heavy in iron, which seems somehow fitting for a dragon.


Important Notice: during the writing of this blog post I developed an envy of that tail. Why do humans have such uninteresting appendages?

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I planned to make some pots for plants, mugs and some such practical things recently, now that I have got access to clay and kiln. All that came out was monsters, monsters, monsters.

This little creature is in earthenware and is about to go into the kiln tonight. I am planning a more intricate post later with all of my recent clay monsters. One of them is disguised as a soapdish. This little guy does not yet have a name. He is sleeping and resting on white silk coloured with coffee. Let’s hope the firing (fireing?) goes alright, I discovered a tiny crack in the body during the curing time (which was way shorter than for Hemlo the platypus). Time will tell.

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Sockbird 13

Title: The Gourmand Apprentice
Size: reduced from A5
Equipment: Thrice damned new annoying Parker 51 EF with Pelikan Black. Parker 51 Fantasy Kullock (demonstrator) with J Herbin Gris Nuage (so smooth, like drawing with a brush). Washed partly with water, partly with the grey ink.
Computer alteration:Scanned, slightly brightened and heightened contrast.
Paper: Clairefontaine 90g
Inspiration: Lost socks and the birds responsible.
Notes: This is obviously an apprentice to the Grey Gourmand. Younger, just as stuffed with sock and just as miserable. I am almost getting a bad conscience here. Next grey sockbird will be happier.
Important notice: The linework (line-work?) on this bird is a bit dodgy. This is how it looks like when your pen is not cooperating fully with you. I miss my old Parker 51 EF so much. The new one does not like any ink I have tried in it so far and it is not possible to write with the nib upside down with it. I am actually contemplating drawing with my Lamy Safari EF for a while. It lays down a way too thick line, but if you use it with the nib upside down you get a thin line that unfortunately is a bit oblique, which I do not like. It’s hard to be a perfectionist.
Today’s Learning Experience: publishing something I am not happy with, partially to demonstrate how this particular problem looks like and partially to keep me humble 😉
In Other News: I am very satisfied with my latest creative endavours. Upcoming is my own coat of arms, more sockbirds and sneak peeks at the boardgame currently in developement. Some more ceramics. I have also made a character drollery for Schedim, drawn freehand while waiting for takeoff at Heathrow in May. Better scan possibly coming soon. It is a musically inclined goblin with a penchant for spiders.


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I’ve got more than 50 followers! Yay! Six new since the last post. Welcome, everyone.

As I wrote the day before yesterday, I made soap again. “I used smoked tea, Clary Sage, Green Mint, propolis and spirulina algae. If all goes well, this soap will have an earthy, green, smoky and minty type of fragrance and a pretty three-colour swirl in dark brown, grey and dark green. If it goes not-so-well I will have a vague minty smelling disaster in three shades of muggy brown. I will know tomorrow. It is very exciting and fun still, this soapmaking thing.”


Well, above is the soap poured in milk cartons (very handy if you haven’t got a soap mould/tray/whatever). This time, with two previous batches under my belt, I decided to up the ante and make something more advanced. A swirl. Now, if you google “cold process soap swirl” you’ll get giddy, hungry and maybe a bit intimidated. There is a lot of pretty soap out there. To add to that, I wanted to only use natural colourants and decided on spirulina algae for green, black (smoked) tea for brown and actually LUSH deodorant powder, mostly powderized herbs, which turned a dark gray in the oils. This is the result:

Cold process soap with spirulina and Spearmint...

Cold process soap with spirulina and Spearmint…

It is hardly visible that I used three different colours. The yellow is the uncoloured part of the batch and the green is mostly spirulina infused oil with some undissolved spirulina powder in it as well. The dark dots are propolis (getting propolis to fully dissolve is practically impossible). The colour and swirl turned out great (although I confess I choose one of the nicest cut bars to show in the pic above). The scent I am less satisfied with. Mostly spearmint and a vague whiff of black tea. No smoke, no Clary Sage. The soap needs to be cured at least 6 weeks (maybe longer since this is an ungelled cold process soap). I look forward to see how it develops but I do not have high hopes of the (expensive) Clary Sage to magically appear in the scent palate. Still, I am satisfied with this first step in creating a soap to fit me perfectly. I do have plenty of ideas to improve this recipe, but this was a great beginning. I made approximately 20 bars.

The jars in the background contain freshly picked spruce shoots and honey. A couple of weeks in the sun makes for a good cough-syrup.

Upcoming: I have one more batch of soap planned this summer, a lime-coconut bar inspired by this post from http://offbeatandinspired.com. After that I have enough soap to last me forever and I will try to refrain from soaping til I have had time to try everything out, see how curing will affect the soap I have already made and of course work out and develop my recipes.

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