Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hochigan: Chapter 55

Wood Plank, broken shims, Nails, Aluminum, Cotton, Twine

While I was waiting for the Fairies to patina, I made Hochigan. I didn't know what Hochigan looked like when I started him. I actually drilled the two holes in the plank thinking I was going to carve the Banshee out of it. But I've been looking through books of African masks, and there were these blank plank masks which have really stuck with me, and the plank itself, uncarved, was so expressive. I looked through the Book of Imaginary Beings, and found Hochigan- a blank monster, who steals speech from the animals. I thought of a boarded up building, and I got here, to Hochigan's boarded up mouth.
Carving out the back of the mask to fit around the face took me some time- after all, I am no woodworker. But it was relaxing, and kind of Zen, and I have a better understanding of how folks could love the process than I did before.

This mask weighs a ton, though, hence the over the head support rail. Even with that, I found I couldn't really lift my head, and mostly supported the bottom of the mask on my sternum for photo taking. This fellow is definitely an example of a mask design I never would have utilized if not for the Imaginary Beings project.

And, finally, the being, in Borges words: "Ages ago, a certain South African bushman, Hochigan, hated animals, which at the time were endowed with speech. One day he disappeared, stealing their special gift. From the on, animals have never spoken again"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Fairys: Chapter 40

Copper, ammonia patina
This mask took a very long time, and 21 tiny sawblades, but I think it was worth it. it's taken several days to pu up here, because the green patina takes several days to mature. It's done with household ammonia; I don't usually use chemical patinas, and this reminded me why. That said, I think she looks glorious. Of the Fairies, Borges has this to say- "...It is said that the Fairies are the most numerous, the most beautiful, and the most memorable of the minor supernatural beings. They are not restricted to a particular place or a particular period..." He does not describe any particular fairys, but mentions those of several continents, and quotes Yeats a bit. My kickstarter funding is open for another 8 days, contribute here!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I admit it. I did some research on this one. Borges said that there was a word written on the forhead of the golem which brought it to life- but did not have the word. So I looked it up. Emet- hebrew for Truth. This mask is made of the three letters of the word.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kickstarter is going VERY well

Check it out, here!
With 18 days to go, we've made it well past the minimum goal! Whoopee! With all your help, we've already raised enough to pay for my conservative estimate for materials, kickstarter fees, and to help pay for some of the expendables necessary to make these masks. It might surprise you how many saw blades I break on a larger mask, and then there's sanding disks, gas for the forge, solder, bezel wire, etc. I am so very grateful; yet, i'm still asking for more. Another hundred dollars will pretty much take care of all those expendables mentioned above, and any amount I/we can raise above that will allow me the freedom to make even grander masks. Share with your friends, family, and favorite barista.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today was all about administration

Administration is no fun to write about, and even less fun to talk about. So- how bout I just leave you with this photo of a shelf overflowing with Imaginary Beings? Tomorrow I'll make another shelf, and another mask. remember to check out the Imaginary Beings kickstarter page, here:
Even if you can't back it up, share it with your friends- the more people who see it, the better we'll do, and the grander masks i'll be able to make!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fastitocalon: Chapter 41

Copper, Fossilized Seashells
Borges quotes an Anglo Saxon bestiary for the Fastitocalon, as translated by R.K. Gordon:
          ...mighty whale. He to our sorrow is often found dangerous and fierce to all
          seafaring men. The name Fastitocalon is given him, the floater on ocean
          streams. His form is like a rough stone, as if the greatest of seaweeds, girt by
          sandbanks, were heaving byt the water's shore, so that seafarers suppose
          they behold some island with their eyes...When he, skilled in treachery, feels
          that the voyagers are set firmly upon him...then suddenly the ocean creature
          sinks down with his prey into the salt wave...

I was tempted to just make a little ship haircomb, and figure the wearer's head would then become the fastitocalon. I was also tempted to affix a palm tree in the middle of the whale's back, like on desert islands in cartoons. I did neither.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Elves: Chapter 38

Borges' version of elves is quite different from the Tolkien generations. He has this- "The Elves are of Nordic origin. Little in known about what they look like, except that they are tiny and sinister...In the Younger Edda, a distinction is noted between Light Elves and Dark: 'The Light Elves are fairer than a glance at the sun, the Dark Elves blacker than pitch"

Without much to go on, physically, from the text, I made something that looked sortof like the elf in my imagination. Cat eyes and pointy ears, with red around the eyes on a dark backing for that "sinister" bit. He's a small mask, but not all of them can be, need to be, or even should be, large.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Elephant who Foretold the Birth of Buddha: Chapter 36

Stainless Steel, Shed Deer Antler, Unknown Agate
from Borges: " ...Queen Maya, in Nepal, had a dream that a white elephant, which dwelled on the Golden Mountain, had entered her body. This visionary beast had six tusks... White stands for humility and the number six is sacred, corresponding to the six dimensions of space: upwarad, downwards, forward, back, left, right."

The tusks were an easy decision. The hard part was the metal- I very much wanted this to be a white elephant, but neither paint nor enamel seemed to have that feeling of purity/humility. In all honesty, I would have loved to do him out of silver, but that's out of the ballpark, right now. Working him in stainless was tough, but not as bad as i had feared, and I'm glad I did it. It isn't really "white" but it's color will stand out from the other masks, which is really what matters.

And, a little detail of the tusks, which, while an easy decision, were a practical hardship- mounting on steel isn't easy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kickstarter is a go!

I spent at least as long on that as on any of the masks yet in this series, but if it pans out, it will be worth it. As I go along, I am having to skip more and more creatures because i can't afford to make them- and this is not how I want things to turn out. So, I'm trying kickstarter. I'd write more, but really, just go check it out.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Crocotta and the Leucrocotta: Chapter 30

I ended up going back and adding little horns to the Crocotta. There's no indication in the text that he had any, but he IS an imaginary beast, and imaginary beasts evolve in unexpected ways. These two now look much more like a single chapter. Both are mainly copper, both have steel teeth, and both have their horns made of shed deer antler. I am content. On to the next chapter!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leucrocotta: the other half of Chapter 30

Copper, Antler, Nails, Silver
Borges quotes Pliny for this one- "...the head of a badger, a cloven hoof, the mouth slit up to the ears, and one continuous bone instead of teeth..."

I gave him antlers because, somewhere else in there, there was mention of him having the legs of a stag, and other bits of other animals, and I wanted to have the feel of an amalgam, but only had a head to work with. His teeth are made from a plate of nails, as is intended to go into a nailgun. And he has an adorable little black nose, because I looked up badgers, and while I know they are formidable beasts, it turns out they are also adorable.

Once I finished Leucrocotta, I decided that the Crocotta also needed little horns, to make them visually cousins, as they are cousins in the book. Both will, when complete, be made of copper, have steel teeth, and have antlers. I think that is sufficient family resemblance.