padding under the collar

for the clothes on this fiberglass dolphin, actually any fiberglass sculpture i do, i only actually use the bits of the clothes that most people don’t notice.  the seams and hems, the collars and cuffs. the belt loops.  the actual fabric is painted on, but these defining details are cut off some existing piece of clothing (xxxl from the thrift store, half off mondays costs me about three bucks so i don’t feel too bad throwing all that wonderful material into my stash drawer(s)) and pasted onto the sculpture with acrylic gel medium.

which, believe it or not, qualifies as sculpture, because i’m building it out of raw materials rather than painting it.  an assemblage, if you wish.  fun, that’s what i call it.  the only rules are ones of taste and engineering.  some things you can’t do directly, but you can usually paint it instead (like i’m thinking of painting the repeating rows of pumps and filters in the big pump room of the aquarium, something i could never mock up using pipes and fittings, but could easily do painted onto the dolphin’s legs.  i always put way too much work into my sculptures for the cost, but it doesn’t bother me when i have the energy.).

i spent much of my day fitting strips of bubble wrap to the inside collar of my dolphin.  i want a little padding behind the collar, especially toward the front, where i want at least one side to be flapping in the wind a little.  i may curl the badge up a little, too.  i head the statue’s going to end up outdoors, and i’d like to reflect that.

the bubble wrap is really high quality.  my sister visited here this summer and ordered bunches of really high class stuff that she’d pay ten times the amount for at home, and i got all the packing materials.  i remember using her shoeboxes to great effect when packing all my art supply for my recent residency.

so this wrap is small bubbles, backed on both sides with a plastic sheet.  the one side is like plastic wrap you use in the kitchen.  the other side is stiffer.  the stuff is so strong you could make a box out of it.  so i cut uniform strips, two bubbles and a half wide, and tested it to make sure gel medium would actually stick to it, and now that it’s dried on the sample and is still sticking, i’ve smeared gel medium onto the strips and patted them into place at the crook of the collar.

altho, i can hear something crackling over there, so excuse me while i check on the seal.  acrylic doesn’t really set until it’s mostly dry, and then it magically turns gluey before hardening to a stiff clear plastic.  no, it’s all right.  must be the fairies trying to skin it back.

later, while jim’s asleep, i’ll get up and creep down here in my housecoat and glue another layer of bubble wrap on top of the first one.  this one will be thinner, with one intact bubble.  but at the front of the collar, where it’s wider and flares out more, i’m going to build it up with three and four layers of wider-cut wrap.  i haven’t gotten to that part yet, but the end result will be a smooth-laying collar that comes out away from the body.  then i’ll paint over it and use shadows to hide the buildup.  it’ll be light and sturdy, and won’t offer prying fingers much of a purchase please god.

it’s too bad i can’t use the collar structurally to help hold the roll of plans.  it’s so close to the flipper-pit where the plans will run.  i’m going to wrap the plans around a length of pvc pipe, probably the same pipe i use for the big pipes at the base, and probably only two feet in length.  maybe i can make it 18″.  the shorter i can make it, the less leverage vandals can use to wrench it off.

i was going to go to home depot with my aquarium mockup, but stuff happened.  one of the puppies found a home.  hurry, there’s only one left.

maybe i’ll get to home depot tomorrow.  i’m so bad about getting out.  i’ve already blown off delivering our donation to the georgia lawyers for the arts auction (they still need donors hey) until the day after their deadline, and just for me they extended it until december the first, so come on artists, pony up and donate.  you get a free ticket to the auction, and as artists, you’re required to load up on the free food and drink.  and since they’re fancy lawyers, the food and drink is better than top shelf.  think about it.  the auction’s december 3.  you too can be an artist and win a free $100 ticket for a good cause.



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