Saturday, April 25, 2015

Punny Phish

I have been wanting to make a fish for a long time. Ever since I saw the wonderfully inspiring fishes of Jon Anderson. Since then other polymer artists' fishes have further fueled the fire... Arty Becca's turtlenecked fishes, and recent examples I've seen on Facebook from various artists. PCAGOE decided to do a fish theme for May 2015. So, I have been thinking about this theme for my guild's challenge for quite a while.

When considering this challenge I knew that I wanted to use Ginger Davis Allman's Holo effect to create iridescent scales for my fish (you can find where to get her tutorial in the link above). Well, about a month or so ago, I found an inspiration at one of my local thrift stores. It was one of those whirly-gig wind decorations, this one was just straws that graduated from small to large then back to small.... they were all woven together down the center, so that when twisted, it would create a helix. When I saw it, I knew I had to recreate something like it using polymer sticks.. and of course, I decided that if I had graduating sticks, they'd have to form a rainbow...

From that idea came the rainbow trout association. But how to combine the holo effect idea with the whirly-gig idea? Well, scales are still present on both head and tail of the fish, and the tail fins are also iridescent... so that's how I decided to pair the two ideas together.

But my realistic nature really wanted to create a realistic head and tail resembling a real rainbow trout... so that's where I headed. Looking back, seeing the parts together here, I think it may have been better if I had made the head and tail as whimsical as the rainbow body... but I'm not completely sure about that. I really love how he looks laid out in a curve, as above. I'm now wondering if I should make one that stays in this curved position... hmmm. ;)

The part that took the longest, actually was the rainbow! I never realized how long that would take... but when one makes a gradation of color, it requires lots of mixing. Almost every stick was it's own special blend of color, and originally there were 82 sticks! .. a couple of them broke during sanding, and a couple of them were pulled because they got a little bigger or smaller than they should have been for their spot on the fish. The sticks were all formed by covering lolly pop sticks with a thin layer of polymer and then adding pointy tips to the ends. After they were all cured, they were all treated to a sanding and a little buffing. I wanted them to be smooth, but not overly shiny, so that meant just sanding from 400 to 600 grit and then buffing.

The initial translucent fish head was formed over a base of aluminum foil that I formed into the shape I needed, and the details of the eyes, gills and mouth were sculpted with more Premo translucent over the initial base. Little polymer circles, which were treated to Ginger Davis Allman's holo effect in iridescent green, gold and white, were then adhered with bonding agent. After a curing of the entire head to ensure a strong bond of all the scales, I then added some alcohol inks and some polymer based paints that I have to add depth and coloring to the translucent part of the head. Some spots of black acrylic paint finished him off and I finally coated the entire head with a gloss sealer. Here you can see both sides of the head:

The tail was formed (with a hole in the center which was held open by a dowel rod) also using translucent polymer in the area where the scales cover, wire and polymer form the supports for the thin, translucent area of the tail which was also created using Ginger Davis Allman's Holo effect technique. After curing the tail without scales, the holo effect scales were then added to the top of the tail, again using bonding agent. Another full cure to ensure a strong bond of the scales and The entire tail was treated to some alcohol inks for adding depth. The translucent clay areas that were still visible were painted and the black dots were added to make it look like a rainbow trout tail. The entire tail was also coated with a gloss sealer

Next came the woven part. I decided to use red carpet warp thread to warp my loom, to signify the red stripe of a rainbow trout. I started with enough length of woven strap to span the distance of the head interior, then I added each stick in the proper order to create my gradation of both color and size... I finished off the weave with just a couple rows of woven strap. Once I cut the weave from the loom, I was able to secure the head by attaching a heavy gauge wire piece looped at both ends, which became the hanger as well. The tail was a bit trickier to add and secure to the end of the weave. I had to slit the thin area of the tail up one side, so that the thread could be tied and secured tight against the last of the rainbow sticks. You can see below how the threads come out of the bottom of the tail and wrap up the one side, they are then secured around between the last rainbow stick and the tail.

I am quite happy with this piece, really pleased with how easily it came together, even if it did take much longer than I had estimated. From nose to tail, he measures 27" in length. His widest rainbow stick is about 7 or 8 inches wide... so he's a big boy! In hindsight I think he'd be best if his head and tail were more whimsical to match the rainbow, but as I said above, I'm still not certain about that though.... What do you think about my Punny phish? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think! Voting for this challenges opens on May 1st! I'll post a reminder here on the blog when voting is open.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Every Day

Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures. - Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day Co-Founder

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Last day to vote!!

I've been immersed in the world of the flu over the past 2 weeks... first I had it and now my poor hubby has it. :(
So, I almost forgot to post about the vote! Voting is still open, but only for today... closes at midnight EST tonight!  So, if you haven't already, head over to the PCAGOE blog and vote for your favorite 3 entries in the Covered challenge... check them out: