One would think hammering is a simple and straightforward activity... Over the years I’ve had some damage in my hands, wrists, and elbows from hammering. I’d had many projects like this arch build, and, faced with thousands of tiles and rocks to set, or as in this project, pennies to form and dome, I’d power as hard as I could through it and then suffer from repetitive motion injuries. That behavior has sensitized my body for long term susceptibility to carpel tunnel, numbness and tingling in my hands and fingers. In the beginning, I tried to just slow down. I constantly found myself shifting back to old patterns. In order to continue using my hands, I live for that!, I had to ask deeper questions. Why did I keep shifting back? I found I was afraid the jobs were too big, afraid that I couldn’t follow through on them, and afraid that I wouldn’t finish them fast enough. The fears went on and on. I decided I would change my focus away from my fears. Lots of reading material came my way on breath. I discovered the relationship between anxiety and breath. I’m defininately a shallow anxious breather. So I found a phrase that I felt focused on all of the traits I would love to embody, made up a melody, and began singing it during all of my tasks. The book that gave me this idea is https://www.amazon.com/Chanting-Discovering-Spirit-Robert-Gass/dp/0767903234. I found that the singing/chanting, regulated my breath, slowed my thoughts down, and kept me more calm. It was a wonderful revelation. My art became my teacher. I started watching my thoughts; began to be able to detach from them and not take them so seriously, to see that they were endless and endlessly passing. This is, of course, a practice that takes a lifetime. The benefits constantly surprise me and give me delightful ahas of freedom when I’m ready to see something new. Nevertheless, hammering basics need to be practiced at the same time LOL! Here’s a great Occupational Health tutorial on the dos and don’ts. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/hand_tools/hammers.html
I have a photo of my hand postition using the dapping punch. I practice holding all my tools as loosely as possible while still maintaining control. I grew up holding pencils, crayons, whatever I was using with a death grip and holding my breath at the same time! Thought: fear of making a mistake. Counter thought: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Quote from Scott Adams.
Welcome back to the arch build! Hope you all had great holidays. We spent Christmas with my family in Denver. We’ve been excited to get back to the arch project. We finished the grouting on all three arches and have installed them in the openings. The house is 1950’s house and so none of the openings were square. We evened out the distance they were off by and I’ll backfill with sanded grout that will match the rest of the mosaic.
After the arches were installed in the doorways, it became apparent that they needed to have some more mosaic built around them to visually tie them to the doorway. This is entailing a lot more pennies! While the pennies in the arches felt okay flat, it seemed that the faux columns on either side needed more dimension. My sweet husband offered to help me with dapping more pennies into domespennies around the doorways. I think it was something like 1500 for the arches.
Bending the pennies adds a finished touch to corners. I line the vice with leather so they don’t get marred. To get them evenly bent, I line up the edge of the vice with the lettering on the penny. I use my favorite plastic mallet to protect the penny finish and my joints. The plastic does a good job of absorbing the shock. I found mine on Rio Grand Jewelry Supply site. https://www.riogrande.com/product/pear-shaped-plastic-head-mallet/112235. I’ll, with my husband’s help, have bent and domed over 2500 pennies when all installed and finished. It’s starting to come along!
My Sister has been raising sheep for about 7 years now. I get a kick out of visiting and helping her take care of them. I never knew sheep wag their tails when you pet them. Recently I’ve been cutting a lot of sheepskin at work, Soft Star Shoes http://www.softstarshoes.com/, and I thought it would be really fun to make some ornaments for my sister out of scraps. They’re wonderful about letting us use leftovers of leather and other materials. I’ve been enjoying the different textures of wool, the color, and the variation in the hides themselves.
I found three different colors and textures to work with and, of course, there had to be a black one! These are oval about 21/2 wide by 11/2 tall. I then found a photo of a sheep online and uploaded it to my app, Graphic, and created a pattern.
I found some fun black foam glitter paper at Michaels, https://www.michaels.com/creatology-foam-glitter-sheet/10148584.html. It has a bit of thickness to it and has adhesive backing that allowed me to sandwich the ornament string between and then glue the hide on the outside. Quick and fun project!
I printed out my patterns. I then placed the glitter sheet faces together and taped them so the foam wouldn’t shift while I was cutting it. The foam isn’t easily cut with scissors and won’t give much detail. You might be able to use an exacto blade to get more detail, but, I felt that the detail wasn’t necessary for these small ornaments. I did find that it helped to keep taping as I cut to make sure that the cuts remained inline. After cutting them out, I removed the backing and lay in the thread. Then I put a thin coat of Weldbond on the sheep and the leather and pressed it together and repeated the same process on the other side of the sheep.
I’ve begun to lay out my pennies and choose glass. All my instructions for this project are specific to indoor mosaic work. For outdoor work, you’ll need to use products that are waterproof and hold up to outdoor weather conditions. I’ll post projects and supplies for that at another time.
I apply my glass using Laticrete 254 Platinum Thinset. https://www.amazon.com/Laticrete-254-Platinum-White-Bag/dp/B003DQWO34/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512780579&sr=8-1&keywords=laticrete+254+platinum It contains additives that help it really stick to the glass. It also has a nice extended drying time so that I don’t feel rushed when applying lots of little mosaic tiles. That can take some time! I use white so my glass stays true to color and bright. I usually apply a small amount to the back of the glass just so it covers the back and moves slightly up around the object when pressed onto the substrate. For those of you unfamiliar with tiling terms, substrate means the surface that the tile and glass are being adhered to. Here, my substrate is plywood. Make sure that the thinset isn’t applied so thick that it bubbles up and your grout won’t cover the thinset! Ugly and unstable outcome when finished if you do. Mix the thinset to the consistency of heavy batter that doesn’t drip off the spoon.
I’m using Weldbond to glue the pennies in place. https://www.amazon.com/Weldbond-8-50420-Universal-Adhesive-14-2/dp/B00RM70OGE/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1512781692&sr=1-1&keywords=weldbond+glue
I like it because it’s nontoxic and doesn’t have fumes. When working with the pennies, I glued all the outside pennies in first because I know I have a square frame. That gives me a reference point for my grid when laying out the other pennies. I’m getting close to having all the frames done front and back. It’s getting exciting to brainstorm about how I want to finish off edges and color. That white frame won’t stay white! I also would like to add some dimension by doming pennies and wrapping edges with them. I’ll show you some tools to do that work in my next blog.
Large T Square
Compressor (optional for brad gun)
Brad gun, could be electric, can use brads and hammer
hammer snips gloves
I searched the web for different ideas of how to convert the entrances in my home into arches and wanted an inexpensive process that would be a more simple and unique solution than what I was found online. I used an app called Graphic for IPad to create my arches blueprint. https://graphic.com/ipad-pro/. This is a relatively inexpensive app I have really been enjoying. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with this app. I like to use it to create basic designs of the projects I have in mind. They have a whole slew of tutorials you can check out. https://graphic.com/tutorials/index.php?format=ipad
I used the app to draw the dimensions of each opening and then used circles to create the arch. The app enabled me to enlarge or shrink the circles to fit each opening. I was careful not to drop the arch down to far into the path of folks using the entrances. I didn’t want anyone hurting themselves running into them.
I bought my 1x2s at a local hardware store and salvaged some leftover Plywood from a former project. I’ve found that I can often find materials via Craigslist, our local Freecycle site, or a new app called Nextdoor. I’m a big fan of Nextdoor, https://nextdoor.com/. It’s a neighborhood social app without the ads and data mining of FB. It’s like a local bullion board. I’ve put out a request for materials and explanation of the project and had folks donate stuff from their garage with just the request that I post so they can follow along on the outcome. Very fun!
I cut the framework from the 1x2s first. I used white glue and brads to secure the 1x2s together. I checked to make sure they fit in each entrance in the house before proceeding on to making the plywood arches that fit inside.
Next, I used my square to be sure my plywood was square. I marked the measurements of half of the interior of my frame. I then drew out one side of the arch and used that as a stencil for the other side to get a nice match. To get a smooth arch, you can use the string trick https://m.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Perfect-Circle-Using-a-Pin,
Once I had the plywood cut out. I used white glue on the frame and edges of the plywood, centered the plywood in the frames and attached them with brads.
glass, metal, wood, paint, plants, found objects, recycled objects, community art, public art, the art of living; may our lives touch and spread blessings of art, spirit and joy.
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