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11  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Plastic skull makeover! yay! (sorry, no lip gloss on this fella.) on: August 27, 2010 10:01:00 AM
Hi!

A while ago, I ordered a plastic skull from ebay, and upon receiving it, I was pretty disappointed by the looks of the thing, even though it was "anatomically correct".  It was a dull grey, the grey paint was scratched at some places, the teeth were horrible and far too short, the jaw was crooked; it looked quite cheap and modern.

All was not lost, for I stained, aged, gave a tooth job to the skull, and mounted the jaw on rubber bands. Now, it looks old and worn and a bit more real. Yay!

Here's a before picture:


Poor ugly thing. Note that there was metal springs holding the jaw on; looked too new for me so I removed them.

And here's the AFTER picture! woohoo!


Oh my, how sexy it now looks!
To see how I did it, take a look over there:
Part 1:http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/08/steampunk-skull-part-1.html
Part 2:http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/10/steampunk-skull-deuxieme-partie.html
Part 3:http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2010/08/finished-small-projects-steampunk-skull.html

enjoy! thanks for taking a peek!
12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Transi sculpture on: July 01, 2010 04:04:59 PM
Hello theeere! Long time no see. I just wanted to share a project I started a while ago and that didn't, well, end up as planned. There was a couple of problems during the molding process due to my own stupidity, thus what was supposed to be a series of candles ended up as a faux-bronze plaster sculpture. Oh well. On with the picture!

(BTW due to the whole process (modeling, molding, casting, painting, antiquing) I thought it was more fitting in the miscellaneous section than the more art, less craft section. If any moderator disagrees with my point of view, feel free to move this topic!)



The original was made in oil-based clay. It was then molded using latex & plaster; the resulting mold was finally used to make a plaster cast, which I painted and antiqued to look like old bronze.

You can find a whole walkthrough at my blog:
1- http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/08/transi-work-in-progress.html
2- http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/09/transi-update.html
3- http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/09/transi-sculpture-finished-yay.html
4- http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2010/07/transi-final-update.html
 
thanks for looking!
13  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / The amazing feejee mermaid... FROM BORNEO! (with tutorial link) on: January 20, 2010 03:46:40 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, from the murkiest swamps of the most dangerous jungles of Borneo, comes this dried specimen of the amazing feejee mermaid! As for how it swam from the Fiji islands to Borneo, that's a mystery.



or so they say.

Actually, it's all fish, latex, sweat and love.

It's not a very complicated process, it just requires a certain knowledge of anatomy, some patience, a strong stomach and lots of free time.

here's a few pictures of the process:

I went from this:



To this:



To this!



I've documented the whole process step by step with pictures. You can see the whole 5 part tutorial by clicking this link to my blog:
http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2010/01/amazing-feejee-mermaid-from-borneo.html

Enjoy!
(and thanks for reading!)

ps: to those who may be offended or shocked by the fact that I used real fish skin in this project, be assured that I did my best to minimize the waste; the flesh of the fish was completely consumed (and it was TASTY!), and thus the only parts that weren't used were the bones, guts and head. The fish was an adult male, so its removal from the water will probably not have any impact on the fish population.

If you are still offended or shocked, then honestly, you're the kind of person which I don't care if I offend or shock.
14  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Newly framed orb-weaver on: December 26, 2009 05:01:26 PM
Hi!

I just thought I'd share pictures of a project I completed lately.

It's a 7'' female Nephila Maculata (orb weaving spider) I spread and mounted in a hand made shadow box.

I made the shadow box by gluing strips of thick polystyrene (the kind of foam made of tiny white beads) to a thick cardboard base. I then stretched and glued deep red satin-like fabric on this box. After attaching the insect and the label to it, I screwed down an old 8.5''x11'' frame I had laying around on top of the box. Voil, ready to hang!

As for the spider, if you want complete instructions about relaxing the specimen (which I bought on ebay), and mounting it, go take a peek at my blog here: http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/07/on-mounting-and-naturalization-of.html





thanks for looking!



15  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Meet steve. on: August 15, 2009 06:42:14 AM
I love shrunken heads. I really do. These little guys are creepy, look great, and have that mysterious tribal vibe to them. And let's face it, they are damn cute. And after reading my 1925 copy of Up de Graff's Head Hunters of the Amazon, I decided I just HAD to have one.

Of course, buying a real shrunken head is out of my price range, but I wanted my own little tsantsa, and there is no better way to get something than to make it yourself.

So I made one! and I named him steve! yay!

he's made out of latex, and stuffed with cotton batting. He was colored the traditional way; rubbed with charcoal until he was suitably dark. He was cast from a plaster mold taken from a sulfur-free, oil-based clay sculpture.

I still have to find a way to give him hair; since punching hair into slip latex is a pain in the ass, I'll probably make him a li'l wig.

thanks for watching! more details and a picture of the sculpture on my blog: http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/08/tsantsa-from-clay-to-shrunken-head.html


16  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / What can I do with 2 real human bones? on: August 09, 2009 02:42:45 PM
I've got a pair of human metatarsals (obtain legally from a scientific supplier, don't worry!) and I'm not sure what to do with them...

They are 9mm in diameter (aprox. 00g) so I thought about making the creepiest flesh tunnels EVER for my ears... but then, I though about using them in a shadow box or sculpture as a memento mori, try doing scrimshaw with em or whatever... I'm not really sure actually.

btw, burying them, burning them or giving them away to an educational institution is not my type at all, so it's not worth suggesting these options  Wink

Also, keep in mind if you find this shocking (but you guys seem almost all very open and curious, except when it concerns dead animals, as I've seen Wink ) that bones, human or not, are simply calcium phosphate. It's a material like any other.
17  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Spreading and mounting a whip scorpion (pics + tut link!) on: July 15, 2009 11:09:55 AM
Hey there! I just finished a new project to hang on my wall and thought i'd share.



I simply spread and mounted a whip scorpion in a shadow box. It's quite a simply craft, but I love the results! (and spreading insects is fun!)

I started out with this little beast right here:


While it was getting softened in the relaxing chamber, I went to work on the frame. It's simply a small shadow box I bought at the dollar store spray painted black.



I added a layer of styrofoam covered in burgundy satin at the bottom of the frame so I could pin the insect (well, technically, the arachnid) later. I then printed the label containing the collection data, aged it, and glued it to the frame.




a few hours later, the thelyphonida had softened up, so I plopped it on a foam board...


...and pinned it in the desired position.


Once dry, all I had to do is pin it to the frame and hang it!





there ya go!

If you want a full, detailed tutorial covering buying the insect, making the relaxing chamber, spreading the insect, etc. with more pictures, go take a look at my blog:
http://darkartifacts.blogspot.com/2009/07/on-mounting-and-naturalization-of.html

thanks!
18  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Painted Hog's Skull (IMG heavy!) on: June 30, 2009 04:36:05 PM
This winter, I stuffed a pig's head for a friend's short movie. This experience in taxidermy didn't turn out very well; I didn't degrease the skin correctly so it didn't cure fully. However, it worked great for my friend's movie;

As a result, I had a pig's skull laying in my basement. I finally used it in a sculpture made for a class in college:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=293038.msg3331404#msg3331404

At the end of college, I couldn't bring that tall thing home, so I just ripped off the skull and threw the rest away.
I was once again stuck with that skull, without knowing what to do with it.

Inspirationg struck two days ago while I was bored out of my skull (HAHA A PUN! YES! I ROCK!). This skull SHALL BE PAINTED, proclaimed-I!

Thus I began ripping all the lights, silicone, wire and urethane out of it.




This done, I started painting the skull without any sketch or whatever. I used Delta craft paints; the opacity and fluidity of a quality craft paint makes it perfect for such a job. I didn't try to follow any ritual or traditional pattern; I just painted following as much as I could the natural shape of the skull. (sorry if you have to turn your head 90, I'm too lazy to rotate the pictures)





I tried to use mainly bright colours to give it a gipsy or voodoo appearance; of course, just a few icons painted on leaving lots of the natural color, or a darker theme would look just as good if not better.





Once the main painting job was done, I sanded the hell out of the skull using a coarse grain sandpaper, and also a very fine one to give it a "polished with use" texture. Afterwards, I applied a nice coat of stain made of coffee, acrylic paints, white glue and varnish. Wood stain followed with a coat of varnish would have worked just as good if not better, but I didn't have any at hand.






There ya go!

old, dirty, and ready to hang!

If you wish to try your hand at skull painting, you can find already clean skulls on Ebay, or go take a look at http://www.boneroom.com or http://www.skullsunlimited.com/. Be warned though that professionally cleaned bones tended to be expensive; If you're not squeamish, cleaning the skulls of roadkill or of heads bought at a slaughterhouse is a damn cheap option. The whole hog's head I used, who's meat was turned into great headcheese by my wonderful mom, cost just 10$ at the slaughterhouse.

And if I hear anyone complain that i'm cruel and disrespectful for using the skull of an already dead animal, I'll go to china just to kill a panda and eat it's babies. I swear. I'll do it.

thanks for reading! ^^
19  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Redecorating my tiny room in red, white and black! (quite a few pictures) on: June 14, 2009 05:35:46 PM
Ok, so I'm 6'2'' tall, I have a girlfriend, I've got 3 guitars, lots of books, lots of DVD's and lots of clothes. However, my room is TINY, dammit! I didn't have place to put all that stuff, and my small bed was enough for when I slept alone, but try getting romantic when you don't have room to move. I had to change my situation. I couldn't change the size of my room, and I wasn't going to dump the girlfriend because my bed's too small, so major decor modifications were needed. With the help of my trusty uncle who's more at ease with tools than I am with paintbrushes, I manage to fit a queen bed in my room, and keep all my stuff!

Well, all my stuff except my TV(I'll probably mount a flat LCD on my wall one day or another) and my desk (which was too small to be usefull anyways).

Please forgive my poor photography skill, and take a look at these pictures.

Before:





During "construction":



Getting the furniture out... Hey, what's that in the corner?



AAAAAAARGH! PLEASE GOD MAKE IT GO AWAY!



Ok... the paint is on, the new furniture is in, most of the old stuff is out, and the mold is gone.


Storage area: Almost done!


Testing the new, custom made bookshelf...

After:


It's done! yay!


The sconces were old, white and gathering dust in the basement. A few coats of gloss black spray enamel gave them a nice, gothic, chic look. Perfect to go with Der Sandmann!



So.. much... storage place! gah!


Yay for custom bookshelves! It goes from the floor all the way to the ceiling.


I salvaged old metal wall hooks and screwed them into a hardwood scrap... a bit of paint later, and it's ready for action.


My music corner, under the watchfull eyes of Pope Alexander VI! It's weird how everything looks so tiny in the picture... (In case you're wondering, the thing peeking from behind my dreadnought is a didgeridoo.)

I fashioned the guitar hangers out of tool hangers, which I screwed in some more gloss black hardwood scraps, and I bolted those to the wall with metal toggle bolts. Strong enough to hold up to 50-75 pounds, even though it isn't on a stud.

----

So that's about it, I should think about getting more light in, though... It would make less grainy pictures!
Feel free to comment and critic!
(Btw, you can't see it in the pictures but there's a large window with black and white drapes at the side of the bed, so during the day, it gets muy luminoso






20  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Steampunk stiltwalker costume - Pic heavy! on: May 17, 2009 06:13:00 PM

Hello, ye bunchy o' crafty folks!

As a final project for college, I made me a costume to wear on stilts!

It was inspired by a desire to make something steampunk-ish, with a bit of cyberpunk influences, but all in all inspired by the works of Giger.

I also wanted to make something big, something that would be noticed, and at 9' tall, I think I managed this pretty well!

It was quite a lot of job to build (the mask, the pants and the stilts were made from scratch), and very sweaty to wear, but definitively worth it.

The mask was started by making a duct tape mold of my face. I did it by myself, at 11pm, in front of the mirror. Lots of swearing was caused by this simple step. Afterwards, pieces of leather and polyurethane were glued to the "mask", followed by lenses from aviator glasses that were to big for my face, anyways.

The "respirator" is a cheap plastic horn that I conformed to my face after heating it. I attached to it a few feet of tubing to complete the look.

Most of the clothes I already had, and all it took was some heavy distressing to make them look the way I wanted. I had to buy the hockey shoulder pads, but at 4$ it wasn't too much of an expense.

The pants were sewn by my adorable mom; they're the pants I usually wear when I'm hired as a stiltwalker/clown (best job ever).

The stilts are made mostly out of basswood, glue and huge screws. Some bits of tubing were taped on there, I stapled some old mesh I bought after halloween, and a bit of paint later they were done.

Here are some "construction" pics:






I made a wooden dummy in a hurry so it could be shown standing at our final art show. The dummy is made mostly out of wood and foam, and without the stilts stands 6' tall, a bit shorter than me, but it does its job pretty well nonetheless.




Before the final show, me and another steampunk fan who's also a close friend decided to do a bit of publicity for the show. We both went distributing invitation cards on which were written both the place and the schedule of the art show, and which were made in an Art Nouveau style, inspired by the calling cards of the victorian era.

For my own safety, I decided to put on my 1.6' stilts instead of the 3' stilts I made for the costume, so I may look a bit short  Tongue






If anyone of you needs more info about how and why I did this, just ask and i'll be glad to answer!  comments and critiques are most welcomed, as always! thanks!

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