Ursula Vs. Sculpture part II

Head done, attached to styrofoam egg, wired to armature mesh. Body molded out of mesh, soon to be packed with filler. Head weighs more than body, causing whole thing to tip forward and faceplant. Okay. I can handle that. Built a clay base, jammed a steel rod into it (scavenged from the posterior of my footless wooden artist’s model, who has really crappy joints and thus has been completely useless for several years now. He should be happy to give his ability to stand erect for the cause.) jammed rod into back of head, discovered immediately that while the rod was great for keeping the head suspended in air as needed, the weight of the base did not in any way equal the weight of the face.

“You need to weight the base,” said James. “Go to the hardware store and get lead weights.”

I went to the hardware store. They stared at me blankly. Lead weights? What was I, nuts? They don’t carry no stinkin’ lead weights. How about a brick? I could break a brick in half, that oughta be heavy enough. No, they don’t carry bricks. What did I think they were, some kind of magical lead-weight-and-brick store?

I went to the grocery/garden store next door and laid out 49 cents on a brick–art is expensive–and rather more on neccessary groceries, which included a mini-cheese log. Cheese logs and Triscuits are a major vice that James and I share–if you haven’t tried ’em, they cost less than a bag of chips, and are way, way, more fattening. I swear, I’ll start exercising here any day now. I took the brick and cheese log home. The cheese log was met with joy. The brick was met with disbelief–how did I propose to break this brick in half? With what tools? And even then, where was there enough space to adhere the brick?

49 cents poorer, but somewhat wiser, I went out again, this time to a sporting goods store, and bought some metal sinkers. (Hobby shops and fabric stores selling curtain weights were also recommended, but my aimless wandering took me to the sporting goods store first.) An elderly woman in the fishing aisle brandished some kind of LED glowing lure of death at me and said “Have you tried this?! These are amazing!” I was forced to confess that I don’t know anything about fishing but was working on a sculpture. She looked sad. I promised that if I ever took up fishing, I’d try the lure. I don’t know if that helped. Perhaps there aren’t enough young women getting into fishing. I don’t know. I haven’t gone fishing since I caught dogfish in Vancouver with my father when I was six. But they did have weights, which didn’t cost much more than the brick–I guess small metal slugs aren’t exactly expensive to produce–and now, armed with glue gun and weights, I go to the attack.

Once more into the breach!

“I have a glue gun and enthusiasm.”

Still driven to twitchiness by a vengeful muse, I pulled out the polymer clay t’other day, and found myself making a face. A big nosed face with small black eyes, probably familiar to anyone who’s been seeing my sketches posted in the last few months. And then I stared at it for awhile.

Then I painted it.

Then I stared at it some more.

Then I sighed and began casting about for a way to build an armature for the damn thing.

I would like to say at this juncture that I have the most supportive husband in the world. Instead of giving voice to all the things that I was already thinking–namely “What the hell are you doing doing 3-D, why don’t you just do a painting of it, how do you expect to handle tools when you flinch whenever I use the tin-snips,” etc, he told me to do whatever my brain was needing to do, because that’s how creativity is and if I wanted to mess with clay or whatever, to do it. And futhermore, he’s spent the past few days helping me with some of the technical elements of getting this damn thing to work, such as baking the polymer clay, suggestions for wire mesh armature building, and helping me figure out how to adhere the ears and where to put the feet. (And even gave me the sincere, if faint compliment “I’m surprised at how handy you’re being with tools, since usually…well, you know…” Yes, I do know, and it’s all true.)

I still don’t know what I’m doing, and this first attempt will probably suck terribly, but it’s a learning experience. If it comes out presentable, I’ll post jpgs, if not, I’ll try again. It’s for me, rather than money, so if it sucks, such is life, and there’s a surprising joy in figuring out the technical elements that is generally lacking for me in 2-D–I mean, I never have to build a contraption to make Painter stand up properly. So it’s neat. I am telling myself that it is sculpture, and not in any way dollmaking, because sculpture is cool, and dolls are either girly or creepy or both. Even though it’s the same skillset, and I should probably ask my stepmother for advice, I am sort’ve twithy about dollmaking on principle. I fear dolls. Particularly the really lifelike ones with the big glass eyes. They’re like a Stephen King novella just waiting to strike. So this is sculpture. You couldn’t hug the result, anyway, so it’s sculpture, damnit.

Shortly, I will begin working on the cloth part. I can’t sew at all, but this doesn’t matter, because I have a glue gun and enthusiasm.

Somewhere, a legitimate sculptor just got a cold twinge…


Now hang on just a dang minute here…

A ten foot long snake is not that huge. I have lived with ten foot boa constrictors. I have held them. I have lived in a house where they ambled around loose. I was not in danger of my life, and I was like eight and much smaller than an adult woman. They’re a big snake, they’re heavy, they might be able to kill a human if they really really wanted to and the human was pretty unlucky, (a constrictor generally wouldn’t, but I’ll give you that pythons are much more aggressive) but a snake that size could no more eat a human than I could eat a watermelon whole. They can just about get down a big rabbit, maybe a piglet or a small goat kid. Maybe. Saying that a ten foot snake swallowed half this woman is ludicrous–it’d have as much luck swallowing a couch.

Not that we’ll ever know, but somebody’s exaggerating (or out and out lying) there…

The phrase “I want…a bunny!” keeps running through my head.

The weird thing is that I don’t want a bunny. I have no problem with bunnies (except in Australia and island ecosystems, where they should of course be terminated with extreme prejudice) but I also have no particular love of them–they’re cute, but I’m fine with the cats. I am pretty neutral on the bunny issue.

So I dunno why my brain keeps randomly flinging the statement “I want a bunny!” like bunny shaped pebbles into my (clogged, eddying, beaver dam somewhere thattaway) stream of consciousness.

Hmm, if my stream of consciousness really WERE a stream, I wonder what it’d look like? I have a feeling there’d be lots of those little rocky backwaters where things get stuck and float around for ages before finally making a dizzying, watery swvooop! to freedom. And then a fish eats it. And there’d be moss. And those little mini-waterfally things that look real picturesque and then you try and cross by walking on it and fall and bruise your shins all to hell. I doubt it ever freezes over, but it certainly gets clogged with debris on a regular basis, lots of bright yellow leaves and rather less inspiring mud-brown leaves that clot up and decay and rain mulchy fragments down on the rocks. And irritable crayfish lurking somewhere, under big rounded rocks with thin white inclusions, shaking their claws wrapped in fishing line at each other like elderly curmudgeons trying to keep the kids off their lawn.

And frogs, of course. Goes without saying. And newts, both because newts are neat, and because the word “newt!” is fun to say. (Of course, so is “saaaalamander.” That brand of amphibian really lucked out with the monikers.)

And evidentally, somewhere, bunnies. Or possibly a small sign saying “I want bunnies,” despite the lack of any desire for bunnies anywhere. Hey, it’s my stream, I can put up meaningless signs if I want to…

I had a dream t’other night that I was on a spaceship full of space knights–vaguely Jedi-ish, but with a sort’ve Roman legion flair–which crash landed in a cavern full of dark elves, precipitating an epic battle with the drow hordes while I attempted to sneak Indiana-Jones-style into their temple and steal the Magic Something Or Other.

I woke up and came to two realizations–A) Damn, I’m geeky and B) I did not enjoy this dream nearly as much as I should have. There are undoubtedly people for whom a Jedi/drow battle dream would be the culmination of their existence. I can’t help but feel this was completely wasted on someone who would like to see Lucas eaten by fireants and will retreat to the other side of the aisle when she sees R.A. Salvatore’s name on something.

What a waste.

I should stay off e-bay.

It’s not that I spend money–I’m tapped out at the moment–it’s that I find myself staring at lots of a dozen muskrat skulls and going “Wow! Muskrat skulls! The uses are ENDLESS!” Or dozens of silver milagros fetishes. Or antique postcards.

I’ve been getting these vague, twitchy urges to make pointless abstract sculptures lately. I think I need a hobby. The problem with painting is that it’s my job–I can’t do a painting without a thought, somewhere in the back of my brain, about the ultimate financial worth and marketibility of the end product. It’d be nice to just get some muskrat skulls and start randomly stringing them on Christmas lights with copper wire and bamboo stakes and found objects and not caring whether the result is an incomprehensible mass of unsaleable junk or not. I dunno. I suppose everybody gets those urges occasionally.

Opiates of the masses

Today I’m not in nearly so much pain–a little sore, not much. Will probably take a Vicodin this evening and that’s about it.

Last night around midnight I took two of them together, and a few minutes later I was feelin’ no pain at all, just that woggly body buzz. James steered me into bed, and claims that as he was trying to fall asleep, I would snore, then say something nonsensical, such as “If you had fourteen heads, you’d be two heads short of sixteen! Hahah!”, then snore some more.
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Note to self: Do not comment on painlessness of modern denistry until after the Novocaine wears off.

As far as I can tell, my jaw has gone supernova. I’ve taken two Vicodin, which should be enough to make a water ox lie on the floor and giggle at the ceiling, but it still feels not unlike someone has pried my teeth out, jammed the roots in a pencil sharpener, and then jammed the newly sharpened points back into my gum, which feels like living ground beef. This has resulted in about two dozen repeats of the following conversation:

James: How you doin’?
Me: Unngh. It hurts.
James: So the Vicodin isn’t working?
Me: It may be working very very well, that’s the scary part. How would I know?
James: Awww. (sympathetic noises.) (I have a nice husband.)

The funny thing about pain, though, is that anticipating pain is bad, and mysterious pain is scary and bad, but just plain jaw-shattering agony from a known source somehow isn’t as bad as it could be. There’s no anticipation–it hurts as bad now as it will five minutes from now. And there’s no fear–I know exactly why it hurts, I know approximately when it’ll stop (two days). So in a weird kinda way, it’s more bearable than it could be. It’s not just the root canal, though–I think part of the problem is the usual one you get from heavily medicated dentistry–when Novocained up, I had my jaw pressed open at an angle that would have been quite agonizing if I’d been able to feel it. Since I couldn’t, I kept it jammed open like that for about twenty minutes, strained the hell outta the muscle in the jaw, and now my jaw hinge is intent on taking vengeance on the brain that betrayed it by doing a one-mandible re-enactment of the Spanish Inquisition.

That’ll teach me to open my big mouth…

Let the record show that there is something worse than the phrase “You need a root canal.”

It’s “Hmm, according to this new X-ray, you need TWO root canals.”

And, to my dismay, since the new offender was the upper tooth right over the known one, I have to either fix both, or pull both, since a far back molar without its counterpart is basically just a waste of jaw space.

Fortunately, following a panicked cellphone call, my father came through in fine style. Let the record also show that he has dibs on my organs. So I got the first root canal–er–dug? tunnelled? canalled?

And, just to reassure people who may be dragging their feet on the way to the dentist–didn’t hurt at all. The Novocaine shot is always miserable, of course, but he pumped two syringes worth into my jaw, and I didn’t feel a thing. Come to that, I still don’t. Brain central only regained radio contact with my left nostril a few minutes ago. And I have Vicodin.

Vicodin goooooood.

So last night I had insomnia.

Like many creative people, I usually take an hour or so to fall asleep–my brain jitters and flops and thuds around inside my skull like a three-legged frog with a hangover. And it takes awhile to wind down and get all the thoughts thunk and discarded and so forth. I’m used to watching the clock slide past two, but when it starts homing in on three, I know that we’ve gone a bit past the usual, as with last night.
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