Wood Gone Viral!

After seeing how amazing my first batch of laser-cut wood designs turned out, I decided I needed to make a LOT more!

With the approach of ASV 2018, viruses were the obvious choice. It doesn’t hurt that viruses lend themselves beautifully to a clean, graphic style that works so well in this medium! I came up with five new virus designs, covering a broad range of known virus families.

With so many recent business expenses, the only way I can get these done is with a bit of external funding. That’s where you come in! I’ve created an IndieGoGo campaign, “Wood Gone Viral“, where you can support my art efforts and get one or more of these awesome new designs! Of course not everyone is a huge virus nerd like me, so I’ve also created a reward level that lets you choose from a limited selection of the earlier wood designs instead. Or, if you just want to show my campaign a little love on a tight budget, you can get an exclusive photo of one (and if you’re lucky, both) of my beautiful kitties, or a set of virus stickers!

I’m pleased to announce that the campaign is halfway funded, but there’s still a long way to go, and only 17 days left to get there. I also have some fun stretch goals planned, so the more love this campaign gets, the happier we’ll all be!

Please share this with all your friends and help me make ALL THE THINGS!

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Show prep and new designs

I’ve been a bit quiet online of late, but life behind the scenes has been anything but. June is fast approaching, and with it the annual meetings of CSM and ASM, where I’ll have booths selling my nerdy treasures. Preparations are well underway, and I’ll have some brand new stuff for the microbiology crowd this year. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the designs that will be available.

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I’m also working on brand new Toxoplasma gondii and chloroplast stamps, so I should have a few of those ready for the shows as well.

Because I’m not all micro all the time, I’ve got a few new designs that are less microscopic in nature as well. Here are my new cricket, black widow, cobweb, and mammary gland designs brought to life.

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I probably won’t be adding many new pieces to the shop until after CSM and ASM are over, but if you see a design here that isn’t available online, don’t hesitate to hit me up. I’m just stockpiling :)

how a pendant is born, part 2

last time i showed you how i craft my stamp designs, and how those get imprinted in the wet clay to form pendants.

after that initial firing, those dull grey pieces come out something like this:

next, it’s time to glaze.

i start out  glazing the front with anywhere from 2 to 4 glaze colours. i like to play with the colour combinations, because the chemical interactions between the different glazes sometimes give interesting and unexpected results. i’ve glazed the piece below in dark red and saffron, a combination i’ve used many times before. one of the awkward things about glazing is that it’s not at all like painting, even though it feels exactly the same. the glazes melt and change drastically in the kiln, thanks to the crazy chemical reactions that occur when you heat stuff up to 1800°. as a result, you can never really tell how a piece is going to come out. there’s a certain amount of experimentation and a certain amount of blind faith in every piece :)

now i do a clear glaze on the back. yes, it looks green. no, i promise it will come out clear. this is part of the blind faith thing i mentioned. clear glazes generally have dye added to them so you can see where you’ve applied them. the dye burns off in the extreme temperatures of the kiln.

finally, each glazed piece gets  hung on my fancy schmancy bead rack, which then goes into the kiln. the process for magnets is much the same, but the backs don’t get glazed, and there are no holes, so i just lay them on the bottom of the rack.

next time, i’ll show you how i assemble the finished pendants :)

how a pendant is born, part 1

First we’ll need some stamps. I carve those out of small blocks of wet clay, using quite teensy tools.

Once the stamps are finished, they get fired in the kiln and come out looking like these babies.

Then I roll out a nice even slab of clay and go to town with my stamps.

I cut around each impression with a cookie cutter or a small knife or whatever seems like the most fun at the time. Then I punch one hole (for a necklace or earrings) or two holes (for a bracelet), and set them aside to firm up a bit.

Next, I clean up each piece with a damp sponge and smooth out all the rough edges.

All ready to go into the kiln for their first firing! This tray represents a little less than 3 hours of work.

Next time, glazing!