Friday, February 5, 2010

what do I do all day?

People often ask me how I make my Urban Artifaks, so I thought I would take some photos showing what I do.

Since I now live in the apartment to take care of my dad, my home has become a working studio. It's 15 min. away-just far enough that when I go, I stay there all day. Takes too much gas to keep running back and forth.

This is my bottle stash (most of it). You can see all my Grey Goose Vodkas on the bottom shelf, then a couple shelves up are my Absoluts. On the other side, you can see my cobalt blue Skyy Vodkas, aqua blue Bombay Sapphires, the last of my turquoise Cabo Wabo Tequilas, my Patrons, and tons of wine bottles in every shape and color.

I know, I have a lot of bottles...and yet, I can't turn them down...And I'm always on the look-out for bottles I don't have. Like I posted on FB, I'm probably the only person who goes window shopping at the state liquor store!

When I go to my studio, I'll spend the whole day working on bottles. I generally work in stages.

The first stage is to cut the tops and bottoms off a LOT of bottles...I'll do about 60 bottles at a time. Next I cut them in half and keep only the parts I need. The rest goes into the recycling bin.

~a box full of treasures!~

I'll spend a couple days doing this because I use a wet saw and it's messy--and noisy. It's not bad once I get going, but it's probably my least favorite part of the process. (It's also when I cut myself the most. Right now it's difficult to type because of the cuts on my fingers and thumb.)

After I separate the fronts and backs, I cut them into sections. In this case, I have something particular in mind for the bowl of oranges on the back of the Grey Goose La'Orange, so I separate that section from the top and bottom.

Here it is, cut into sections.
Below shows the entire bottle back with the different sections and shapes. The top part will become frosted hearts. I like the slight concave shape. The middle painted part will become rectangular pendants, and the bottom with the text will become funky teardrops.

Here's a pile of pieces I've rough-cut.

I'll spend a few days just doing this stage until I have 2-3 trays of pieces like this. Not all of them will end up as pendants-sometimes the cut didn't come out just right, or it was too uninteresting or it just plain broke!

So, of the 60 or so bottles I've cut, about a third of them will be cut up into pieces right away and the rest of the bottle halves stored til next session. That way I can jump in and start cutting without having to get the saw out first.

I've never used all the pieces I've cut...partly because I cut so many, and partly because I don't always "see" anything in a piece right then. It might get picked out at a later session because that time I'm looking for something different.

Each time I work, I have a certain focus whether shape, embellishment, or design. (hmm, I wonder if in the future, you'll be able to tell which batch a piece came from, just like what year a wine was vinted?)

Enough work for one day: here's a small selection of what I accomplished:

Next visit, I start grinding the shapes into Shape. I might use tile nippers to chip away at the corners on the teardrops and hearts but I do this carefully. This is the time I often lose a good piece. Yesterday, when I was doing this batch, I had a beautiful teardrop from Three Olives Grape that perfectly framed the cascade of grapes...I nipped at the corner and it cracked in 3 small pieces. Gone forever...the only grape bottle I had, too. Oh well.

Here is 3 hours work--64 pieces, shaped and ground smooth, ready to foil:

When I finish this batch of necklaces, I'll post more pictures. See you then!

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