Art School: Semester 5, Week 2

Greetings once again, art school lovers. Or something. Welcome to the end of week two of the semester, and a busy week it’s been.

Before we get to the actual school stuff, there are a couple of things from “Real Life” (tm) that I’ll mention:

The first is a quote from a fellow student who definitely wants to remain anonymous. This came up in a conversation about broccoli. It actually wasn’t addressed to me, but when I heard it I laughed out loud and asked for permission to quote it here:

As long as you eat it fast, it just tastes like what green looks like.

I love it.

Something I didn’t love was walking past this event on Thursday morning:

At the time I happened upon the scene there was no attempt being made to keep students out of the way other than to keep them on the other side of the street. This was half a block from the school, and there were dozens of people (at least) watching this thing unfold. It was clearly designed by the police to be intimidating, and it was, but it also kind of bugged me. It seems to me it was overkill, but I obviously don’t know the facts of the situation. The problem is that if that much force (and firepower — there was a cop sticking out of the top of that armoured vehicle with a mounted machine gun of some kind pointed at the house) was actually needed, then they shouldn’t have let people walk around the scene at all, and they should also have evacuated the surrounding houses. None of that happened, so I have my doubts about the entire thing. And I am personally convinced that an overly militarized police force is a bad thing in any case.

Still, it made for an “interesting” morning’s commute, I guess.


We’ve started this class now (it didn’t meet last week as it would have been New Years Day) and it is clear will be consuming my life at some point, just as the previous design class did. We’re going to design and make a stool of some sort, mostly (or entirely) from plywood. We can use a new CNC router to cut some or all of the pieces, so we can create accurate and pretty curved and/or organic forms than weren’t really possible to do nicely with basic shop equipment.

The challenge is that we’re limited in the amount of wood we can use. It’s some fancy European birch plywood that comes in 5' x 5' sheets, and we don’t even get a full sheet each. So all the really fancy organic shapes that need 30 pieces in various sizes to mesh together… yeah, those aren’t happening.

We’re beginning as we did last semester, with sketching to generate ideas. We’ll progress from there to sketching to refine a particular idea. After that we’ll move to model making in cardboard, and then we’ll scale it up to plywood. It should be interesting and fun, but it looks challenging at this point. Time will tell.

Aboriginal Carving

The big learning out of this week’s class is that when you go buy fancy new gouges from some manufacturer, the edges may feel sharp, but they really aren’t, and in fact they stink. I have a bunch of sharpening to do as a result, but at least I have (somewhat) learned the theory behind doing that.

The carving exercises themselves are still simple things. This time we’re cutting a concave curve in a Red Cedar 2x2. The syllabus has us carving a spoon, a bowl, and a final project that is still TBD. Interesting stuff, and it will be fun.


Mould making continues. This week we reviewed the objects we brought in to cast. (I included a photo of mine in last week’s post.) Once that was done, and we’d discussed the multiple processes more, we got started on actual mould making.

In class I poured the first part of my silicone block mould for the piece shaped like a top, and today I poured the second part of that same mould.

We were given detailed instructions for how to get going on the blanket mould, and how to prepare the Plasticine bed we’ll be carving a bas relief image in. I will be going back this weekend to get half the blanket mould done, and the Plasticine setup. Any spare time next week can be spent carving the bas relief image. And — if I am honest — I may make a second two part silicone mould of my top, so I can cast two tops at a time. Or not.

Did I remember to take any pictures along the way so far? Of course not. But in my own defence, my hands were in gloves and those were covered in silicone muck whenever anything interesting was going on. Touching my phone to take pictures wasn’t possible until it was all cleaned up, and by then it was boring. The poured mould is completely uninteresting until I take it apart and remove the object from within it. I’ll try to have pictures next week!


You might recall that last week I though I might eliminate this section? Psych!

Here’s an interesting listicle about the various provincial names in Canada and where they come from. Culture for the win, baby!

And the inevitable Art School Post Index. So you can see these stories in order if you want to.


Weather forecasts here are crap, pure and simple. You can see a fourteen day forecast that predicts rain on every single day, and two days later it will be sunny and the forecast calls for four days of partial or full sun. I don’t get it, but that is the case. Still, the locals appreciate the sun, particularly during the winter, and that leads to this lovely view:

The North Shore as viewed from the SeaBus

That’s the city of North Vancouver on the left side of that, and the mountains to the east and north beyond. The snow was lovely in the sun, so there you go.

And In Conclusion…

Here’s a brief but interesting monologue about giving up social media. It’s particularly relevant to me since I gave up on Facebook and Twitter a while ago. (Yes, I am on Instagram, but only in the most limited of ways, and only time will tell if I stick it out or not.) Interesting stuff in any case, and if time allows the course he describes might be interesting viewing.

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

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