Art School: Semester 4, Week 6

The weeks are long, and getting longer. I am pushing hard, and it’s not simple.

The cold hangs on, now almost entirely as a cough. It gets a bit better each day, but it’s still there. Someday it will be totally gone.

Tinkerbelle Update

Sadly it seems that Tinkerbelle is slowly getting worse. Her hips work less well now than last week. The appointment with a canine neurologist is on Monday morning, so perhaps we will learn something. Honestly, though, I rather doubt it. This all seems… disturbingly final. Upsettingly so. Her quality of life is dropping, and she is both bored and frustrated. She’s still not in pain, though — which is good — but I’d love to have the giant, bouncing dog back. We’ll see if there are any surprises on Monday.

Professional Practice

Last week we did our five minute presentations, and as planned I introduced people to Gian Carlo Stone in Surrey. My talk went just fine, I think. I’ll get marked down a bit because I had no clue how to make the stupid Mac computer play a slideshow of images, or just let me advance between them easily. Oh well.

Apparently we’ll be discussing ethics related topics in the coming weeks, including cultural appropriation and copyright. And a draft of our artist statement is due in two weeks. I have something that needs more work, but it’s getting there. And I have to start figuring out what I will prep an application for as my final project. Still pondering that.


I promised pictures of this last week. Hmmm. Well… let me stage this and get it in:

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Bits fresh off the laser cutter

What you see is a slew of material experimentation and refinement.Working from left to right (and bottom to top):

  • On the very bottom, and sticking out on the left, are three paper cone shapes. Each one varies a bit in size, shape, and location of the bits to cause it to hold together. The uppermost (and rightmost) of the three was laser cut this afternoon, and I have yet to fiddle with it to see how close it is to right.

What all this is related to is something I have no sketches for here at home. As a result you’ll have to live with a written descrioption.

The general idea is a hanging lamp make up of seven paper cones, each 1" in diameter at the top and 5" in diameter at the bottom. They are 9" long, and will be held together with a simple framework. There is a top piece that has LEDs in it that shine down through the cones to cast light.

There are all kinds of potential changes between now and when this is finished. Many refinements are possible — and some I already have a clue about. We have about six weeks to wrap it up, create a final working version, the kit version, and the accompanying documentation that shows the design path and how to assemble it. Whee!

Aboriginal Carving

Oh crud. I was bad again and didn’t photograph stuff here. *sigh*

This week I almost finished the canoe project. In fact, the canoe itself is done and now I am cutting some V-cut based patterns into the surface to practice those. This will get turned in next week, and we will get started on whatever comes after that.

I love this class. It’s calm and peaceful. We talk a lot, and joke around, and yet I think we are all learning interesting things, about carving wood, about each other, and about the First Nations people whose land we occupy. I am loving it.


Everyone was supposed to be done with their sculptures this week for crit. Not everyone was, though. A couple of stragglers were still working even as crit was going on. Amusingly, we only got through five works before we had to go get the welding demo from the shop instructor. There are apparently nine more sculptures to crit next week.

Happily, I did get through the process myself. And while I know I promised good, finished photos, I don’t have them yet. The instructor wants us to keep the works around for display in a couple of places on campus over the coming weeks, so I can’t even bring it home. But I did get this photo, during crit:

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When my turn came, we moved the plinth towards the window so we could get good light through the stone. A number of people remarked on the fact that it was sunny in Vancouver for this event. (I am honoured!) While I took several photos, this was the only one that doesn’t have lots of distractions and shows the light coming through the stone.

The instructor asked if I had titled it. I had not at the time, but I have now. With all the dog concerns in the household at the moment, this one is now titled Echoes of Danno. Some of you will understand that.

When time and circumstance allow, I will get better pictures. I promise. But it will take some time.

I think my crit went well. The instructor indicated that she was convinced that 600 grit sandpaper wasn’t fine enough and she will fix that for the next batch of stone carvers. And she and the other students all indicated they were appreciative of having me there for this project. Apparently I made a difference. They all liked the form and the shiny black base. As far as I can tell, I did just fine on this.

Honestly, one of the big motivations for me going back to school was to learn that I haven’t mislead all my stone carving students over the years. I am, after all, self taught, and while I was always pretty sure I wasn’t leading anyone astray, I definitely live with a massive case of Imposter Syndrome, and I am perpetually waiting for the Fraud Police to break down the door to the house at 3 a.m. and haul me away, all with a bullhorn announcing to all the neighbours a long list of artistic crimes I have committed over the course of my life.

To get through this project, though, and feel like not only did I have a clue, but also that I would not have been out of place teaching it, was very reassuring. Silly, at some level, but really reassuring. In some small way I’ve now achieved part of what I came to art school to do: get validation for a certain part of my life.

Of course, teaching tools and techniques is different from teaching composition and what not. It will take a lot longer before I decide that the Fraud Police are not after me for offences in those areas.

Anyway, after crit we got a general lecture and demo about welding, including Oxy-Acetylene, MIG, TIG, stick, and plasma cutting. Then we got a brief overview of the coming project, which will take the rest of the semester. We are to create a sculpture that combines life cast (from the body) with welded steel. The life cast will (of course) be realistic, and it will be combined with something that is somewhat representational, and that may be animal, human, or human created object. The life cast will be plaster or hydrostone, while the mold will be made with Algitec, which is a safe, non-toxic casting material.

It seems, from the limited information available so far, that these projects could get rather… weird. We’ve been given a list of artists to research and we’ll learn more next week after we finish crit.

So far I have one rather odd idea, but I am (as yet) not aware of how much metal we’re allowed to use. It seems these could consume rather a lot, depending on many factors, and I need to know more before making any specific plans. Sketches of initial ideas are to be shown to the instructor next week, though, so I have to get moving. This will be interesting!


No new links this week. Way too busy to find anything I could reasonably share here.

Art School Post Index. Because Medium didn’t get the ordering right when I imported posts from somewhere else, and I can’t figure out how to fix it.


I have nothing new for you this week here either. Sorry. Other things have been on my mind.

And In Conclusion…

Halloween is coming, so you get an extract from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, showing some of the creepiest villains ever created: The Gentlemen. Somehow this came up in conversation the other day, so it was fresh in my mind. You’re welcome.


It occurs to me that some of you will wonder about that clip. Why can’t you hear anyone talk, or scream? It turns out that entire episode was written under the premise that The Gentlemen come to town and steal everyone’s voices. You can hear incidental stuff in the background… footsteps and so on, but no one can talk. Joss Whedon wrote most of an episode of a TV show known for its witty dialog without any dialog at all, and it works. Well.

Buffy is one of the most amazing bits of TV I have ever seen. Highly recommended.

Written by

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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