Tag Archives: art

Improvisation when making crafts

10 Jan

A really important part of all my craft projects is improvisation. I have only a basic set of tools and a table in my room as a “workshop.” Almost every project I undertake requires me to improvise a tool to some degree or another. A perfect example is the project I’m currently working on “Icarus and the sun.”

I wanted to make a sun out of some sheet copper I had lying around, but in order to do that I needed to “dish” the copper. When you “dish” a metal, you are hammering it into a bowl or cone like shape. It’s fairly tricky to do since a flat piece of metal doesn’t want to become a dome.  In order to do this I needed a dish into which I could “dish” my metal. I needed to find something that had the angle of dome I wanted that I could hammer the metal into, but where? I had to improvise.

My first thought was to go down to Lowes and get a pipe cap.

Unfortunately the pipe caps at Lowes were all either PCV or threaded. The PVC ones had walls that were way to high. I would have had to saw through the PVC to cut it down to size, and that would have been a real pain. Defeated, I got back in my car to drive to the craft store to pic up some other things. That’s when I took a sip of my soda and it hit me!

I looked at the bottom of my soda can and noticed it was a dome, however a soda can’s dome was too flimsy and small to suit my needs. What else holds liquid and has a dome at the bottom? A wine bottle! I had plenty of those, and the thick glass is much stronger than flimsy aluminum. (I wasn’t going to be pounding since I was working with thin copper, so glass would work.

Here was an improvised dish, and sure enough it worked!

Improvising tools is half the fun of making crafts.

Flying Spaghetti Monster stained glass

23 Nov

So the other day I was messing around with faux stained glass paint and I suddenly felt this divine presence in the room. I’m sure it was the FSM, come to touch me with his noodly appendage. I felt divinely inspired to make this stained glass likeness of his tasty image. I’m considering making stained glass night-lights for sale. Anyone interested? (Or I could just make more of these to whatever size I can find the materials for)


Draw outside of the lines….

30 Dec

I love taking things, anything, and seeing how I can use it for something other than it’s intended purpose. All too often I feel as if people are afraid to do something that just doesn’t fit with how things are supposed to be. They’re afraid to think “out of the box” as the tired cliche goes.

For example, I was going to a fireworks show with my girlfriend, when I took the hotel blanket from our room to keep us warm. This upset her, and she was afraid we were going to get in trouble with security. I didn’t see the problem. We were renting the room (and the items in the room) and I was merely taking from the room to keep us warm. Had anything happened to damage the blanket, I would have reported it to the hotel and offered to replace it. Sure the blanket was intended to be taken from the room, but it could still function outside of the hotel.

Another short example: recently my college town was hit very badly by a snow storm. I had to drive a friend and my girlfriend to the train station. Now, normally you are supposed to abide by all road markings, not drive in the center of the road, and stop at all red lights. Well all these external rules of the road could not take into account the recent 16 inches of snow. This is where discretion comes in. The only plowed part of the road was the center. You could still see the road markings in some areas, but if you followed them you’d be driving into the snow burm and hitting things. If you came to a red light and stopped, the care would lose momentum and your wheels would spin helplessly on the ice. Had I followed all the normal rules we’d never have reached the station. So I drove in the center of the road, and treated red lights as rolling stops, driving well below the speed limit, and stopping only if there was traffic coming. I used my discretion and everything was fine. (Still got stuck twice though ~_^)

I feel as the world gets smaller, and the list of rules imposed on us by society gets larger, people are being deterred from using their discretion and thinking outside of the box. It’s like we’re becoming robots with programing. This does that, and nothing else. If we are presented with something that does not fit it’s assigned roll, we don’t know what to do. The program freezes up.

That’s why I love art. Art makes it’s existence out of breaking those rules. It jolts us out of the day to day programing, and reminds us that we are still ultimately the masters over the boundaries that guide our lives.

Everywhere I look I try to imagine the potential of objects outside their intended purpose. I go to hardware stores often, but never have I left with an object, planning to use it for its designed purpose. I love walking through the isles imagining what I could use this for, or what that might be good at making.

I do the same with mundane household items. I get a final product in mind, then go about scouring the house for an assortment of items. A golf-tee, paper clips, cardboard, hot glue, picture hangers, rubber bands, all items I scrounged up for a small project on a whim. None will be used for what they were intended, but in the end they will make something awesome.

I love to draw outside of the lines…