Thursday, September 29, 2011

Neriad:Chapter 38

The Neriad
Nymph of the Ocean. 2 of six nymphs down! I wanted the nymphs to be pretty little masks. Initially  had thought to do them with just texture, but then I started putting waves on, and the ship just seemed to flow, organically, from them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Three more Nymphs **process**

Three more Nymphs, in Progress. They'll go with the Dryad, already done. There still the nymphs of the streams and of the glen before that chapter will be finished. These are the nymphs, from top to bottom, of the mountains, the ocean, and the glade.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Celestial Stag: Chapter 20

The Celestial Stag; Copper, Sterling Silver, 22kt Gold
I never would have known of this critter without Borges, and I love him. Here's Borges on him: "We know absolutly nothing about the appearance of the celestial Stag (maybe because nobody has ever had a good look at one), but we do know that these tragic animals live underground in mines and desire nothing more than to reach the light of day. They have the power of speech and implore miners to help them to the surface. At first, a Celestial Stag attempts to bribe the workmen with the promise of revealing hidden veins of silver and gold..."

The Stag could cause some real trouble, though; sometimes torturing miners to death. If they ever did reach the surface, they dissolved into poison. Despite that, though, and the beast is still, in my mind, beautiful, full of an aspiration I can quite understand. I've given this stag the night- on one side, he has the big dipper, on the other, the little dipper. Around his eyes are tiny dots of gold. Silver and gold both form into veins on his antlers, all of which, sadly, taper off before reaching their tips, or the air.

celestial stag **MORE process**

Yes, he's a little mask, but all those tiny wires had to be tacked in place in innumerable locations. It took forever. I superglued my mouth shut (true story). Photos are going to have to happen tomorrow.

Just so you know, though- he's gorgeous.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monkey of the Inkpot **Process**

This is the second try on the monkey of the inkpot. We'll see how it goes. I want him to consist only of words, but i don't want to do that much piercing. I'm trying to etch it. Last time, the resist didn't last long enough to etch the whole way through. This time I used primer, and scratched it off the bits between words.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Celestial Stag **Process**

I'm pleased with the antlers- the stag is formed, but still needs patina and a good bit of detail. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Centaur: chapter 21

The Centaur: Copper, Horse Hair
according to Borges, "The Centaur is the most Harmonious creature of fantastic zoology. 'Bioform' it is called in Ovid's Metamophoses, but its heterogeneous character is eaily overlooked, and we tend to think that in the platonic world of ideas there is an archetype of the centaur as there is of the horse or the man." 

So it is. The Centaur it one of the neccesary monsters in Borges bestiary. This half man, half horse appears in multiple mythologies, and he is almost always much the same- a symbol of how beastly man can be. The Centaur of greek myth, the most famous of them all, is linked with the Spartans by the Athenians. This helm is of Spartan origin, but as the Centaurs had no use for armour, I have not made it useful, only beautiful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Celestial Stag Process

I still didn't get final photos taken of the centaur. Instead, I started experimenting with making antlers. The first on came out looking nothing like an antler, but these I'm quite pleased with. Clearly, there's still a lot of work to be done on the Stag.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Centaur- Progress

this is what my bench looks like
The centaur is actually done- but I need to run errands, and there is no way I'm getting final photos done today, so we'll call this a process shot. it also gives a solid look at the mess on my assembly bench. I'll clean that up, some day, really

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Centaur Progress

Pattern, laid out.
Even after spending ridiculous amounts of time on patterns, you can see- I change them on the metal.

And here he is formed.
I wasn't content with his coloration, though, so into the pickle he went

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chinese Fox: Chapter 26

Chinese Fox- Copper, Silver Leaf, Pearl, Jade
Well, this one was hard. First thing, Chinese foxes look just like normal foxes, except for being even more troublesome. And why are they more troublesome? Because they're shapeshifters. According to Borges, their favorite forms are "old men, young ladies, and scholars". So I went general, here. I used my fox base pattern (yes, I've made foxes before), and put on some scholarly eyebrows, and then made the whole thing pretty like a young girl, but with the silver hair of an old man. Not my most inspired mask, but there's 197 of the things, they can't all be the best. Sorry. Maybe I'll redo him later. Maybe other folks will like him and I'll submit to peer pressure and decide i like him, too, and this entry will be the only proof otherwise. We'll see.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Animal Imagined by Poe: Chapter 6

The Animal Imagined by Poe: Copper, Silver Leaf, Carnelian
I am enormously pleased by how little Poe turned out. His description, in Poe's writing, is not so different from a mink. "...It was three feet in length, and but six inches in height, with four very short legs, the feet were armed with long claws in brilliant scarlet, and resembling coral in substance. the body was covered in straight silky hair, perfectly white... The teeth were the same brilliant scarlet as the claws." This is quoted in Borge's text, as is another, longer passage, on the quality of the water in this far northern land. I, like Borges, found the passage on the water even more interesting. Borges must have picked it out because it was beautiful, I was struck by how very likely it is the basis the Sea of Stories that Rushdie allowed his Haroun to find. Here's a taste "...Upon collecting a basin full, and allowing it to settle thoroughly, we perceived that the whole mass of liquid was made of a number of distinct veins, each of a distinct hue; that these veins did not commingle; and that their cohesion was perfect in regard to their own particles among themselves, but imperfect in regard to neighboring veins..." It's a lovely little bit of text, the whole bit is from Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Both of these snippets are from chapter XVIII.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lunar Hare: Chapter 72

Lunar Hare- Copper with patina, Jade, silver bezel
Different cultures ascribe different beings to live in the moon. It is easy for us, as Americans, to see the man in the moon. In China, it is a hare. A perfectly normal hare. From Borges- "The Chinese speak of a Lunar hare. Buddha, in one of his former lives, suffered hunger; in order to feed him, a Hare leaped into a fire. The Buddha in gratitude sent the Hare's soul to the moon...In the common speech of certain provinces, this Hare is called the Physician or the Precious Hare or the Hare of Jade. "

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Nymphs: Chapter 83

the nymphs- copper
Borges gives the Nymphs a short paragraph, explaining that the word Nymph, in Greek, simply implies a young, unmarried lady. Still, the word conjures up laurel leaves and fleeing from amorous gods, to me, so here is my Nymph. ((edit: I thought I was done with this chapter till I went to finish this blog entry- I had written notes for six nymph masks. I will have to come back to them. When I do, I will type up their story))

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Lamed Wufniks: Chapter 66

The Wufniks
36 of the buggers. Oof. Who would have thought that the most humble of creatures would take the longest? the Wufniks are the righteous men who keep the world going, as related by Borges from Talmudic thought. They are Wufniks only as long as they do not know they are Wufniks- as soon as they figure it out, Gd scoops them up, they cease to be Wufniks, and a new Wufnik is created to fill the void.

The Wufniks are also the first (eventually there will be others!) mask I've made for the 75dollar reward level. Here's the deal- you tell me which one of the 36 you like, and I will pick him up, put a ribbon in him, whisper in his ear what he is, send  him off to you, and make a new Wufnik. If you can find it in your heart to take a photo of your new friend, worn by either yourself or someone else, in a crowd, wherever you live, I would like to include that photo in whatever the final version of this piece ends up being (only with your permission, of course). If you pledged in the original kickstarter at some level other than 75, but really want in on the Wufniks, an additional pledge of 50dollars will get you your original pledge reward PLUS a Wufnik. Because I didn't explain the Wufniks in the kickstarter, and I think they're pretty awesome, and i wouldn't want you to miss out. Plus, the more Wufniks there are, the better the world will be. There are photos of all the individual Wufniks on my Flicker, because this blog just isn't intended to support that number of photos for browsing.

Each of the Wufniks has a number tattooed on his side. those numbers will count up from 1, and never be repeated. Each also has a scar of some sort across at least one eye, because being righteous enough to support the whole world does not come without pain.

From Borges: " There are on earth, and always were, thirty-six righteous men whose mission is to justify the world before God. They are the lamed Wufniks. They do not know each other and are very poor. If a man comes to the knowledge that he is a Lamed Wufnik, he immediatly dies and somebody else, perhaps in another part of the world, takes his place. The Lamed Wufniks are, without knowing it, the secret pillars of the universe. Were it not for them, God would annihilate the whole of mankind. Unawares, they are our saviors."

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wufniks still in Process

all the Wufniks, scarred and ready for forming
A month or so back, I was listening to recordings of some lectures Borges gave during his stay at Harvard. He mentioned, at one point, the number forty, and how, during biblical times it meant forever (40 days and 40 nights) but that, in recent times, it means nothing (40 winks). When one is making masks, 40 is once again infinite.

and, later, ready for fitting

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Amphisbena: Chapter 3

Copper, Glass Eyes
Ok, scale maille? It is impossible. I've done regular chain maille before, and thought it couldn't be much worse. Wrong. it's awful. I'm never doing it again. Gah.

Anyway, the amphisbeana ended up taking the better part of two days, and he's a pretty simple mask. He fits wonderfully, though, and is probably the most comfortable imaginary being to date. So, there's that.

Borges quotes Brunetto Latini's Tesoro. "The Amphisbaena is a serpent having two heads, the one in its proper place and the other in its tail; and it can bite with both, and run with agility, and its eyes glare like candles" He then quote all sorts of classical arguments for why is can not exist, though also a list of similar imaginary creatures that popped up around the world after this one was debated away.