Thursday, August 03, 2006

glass head

I've been working on a large (little larger than life) head out of glass with the intent of making it a spinning frame of sorts for the silkworms. The first draft didn't go so well, but the part that didn't break when I shoved in into the kiln was given to the silkworms. They didn't reallly appreciate the glass much, but three days after I gave up on getting one to spin in the eyeball, there is now a cocoon in one of the eyeballs. The second draft worked up pretty smoothly. I was a little wimpy about sandblasting it (to add texture for better grip) so didn't sandblast too deeply, but all was well until I tried to take it home and broke it three times, including twice before I'd gotten 20 yds from the door. Tried the silkworms out on it...they didn't appreciate the sandblasting...still not enough grip.

Yesterday, I changed the forehead design slightly, fixed it up and brought it home safely (even survived a stop at the Co-op where I ran into friends who convinced me that although I was buying food for a dinner of Vietnamese clear rolls, what I really needed first was dessert--so went over to their place for a delicious pavlova before home to cook). Wrapped some of the worms' loose silk around the various glass bars to give them something to hold onto, put a bunch of about to spin or spinners onto their new jungle gym and left them alone. This morning, I found that they had spun loosely over a lot of the sculpture, but only one had actually set up a cocoon inside the sculpture. Another has set up between the glass and the cookie sheet. It looks like at least a couple more are starting their cocoons inside the sculpture although a few keep wandering off. At any rate, my part in this piece is done aside from the base which I will turn today if I have a piece of wood big enough or later if I have to laminate some chunks together.

Meanwhile, my second glass piece is coming along nicely...the skewered people are indeed skewered and Quenby says it looks more morbid than my earrings. Was trying to spin out a foot into a puddle to form part of the base, but didn't quite get it as flat as I'd have liked (yes, I know what I did wrong, shape the top before spinning out, will do better next time) and the black became a little too translucent, but I'm not sure I'll redo it, because I like the way it turned out. So all that's left is the gas nozzle and I'll play with that today. And I think I'll try to make the base out of ebony, not sure if I'll turn it or free-form shape it.

My fiber pieces are giving me more trouble. Still working on the circular lace. It's getting bigger but as it's getting bigger it's growing more and more slowly and I'm worried that this is following a logarithmic growth pattern although I should really be worried that I can't remember any math and am probably entirely wrong. Meanwhile my alpaca people may be hampered by the refusal of the machine knit alpaca to felt. All the other alpaca I've worked with felts when you look at it sideways, but this is much coarser than anything else I've worked with. If it won't felt to form my features, I'll have to do more fancy stuff with sewing which I would really rather not do. Grr. One week left...


Sabrina said...

Hi Sweets,
I just wanted to say how much I am loving hearing about what you are up to. I have not had silk worms since I was in the 6th grade. How do you go about getting the eggs or worms. My teacher at the time just froze the eggs every year after the worms turned to moths and laid(?) them. Have fun!

anne said...

wow if you could get those worms to work their magic on the glass it would look so awesome!

Michael said...

You may find that if you have slightly closer spaces on the sculpture, the worms will be more keen to spin on it. When they start spinning, they naturally look for a space the right size for their cocoon - with the wide-open spaces, they may just keep wandering. Good luck!


jane said...

very very coooool to see what you've been up to! amazing yarns & colors, and highly amusing characters in your pieces, love daughter! if you only lived closer, i'd bring over mi projects, watch some moths emerge, & cook n' feed you, shucks...we'd marry you !
cheers, and hope you're continuing to have ...lot's o' fuuuun !