How to Chain Your Dragon

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I did it…I got the tutorial done for my dragon design.

YEA, ME!!!!

 

It was a monster of a project – almost as monstrous as all the design work that went into the form.  I lost sight of the actual photo count by the time I finished (added a few last minute shots, dropped a few others) but I had 251 pixs edited and lined up by the time I’d finished the photo work phase.

The final page count for the tutorial is 79 – but most of that space is taken up by the pictures.  It ended up a HUGE file in my hard drive.

Now, I’m no stranger to writing (duh!).  I’ve done ‘how to’s’ for employers in the past as they attempted to document JUST how a certain job is performed.  The writing of those little guides were usually dry, cold, impersonal and boring as hell, because there were higher-up’s involved who wouldn’t know a humorous phrase if it came up off the page and bit their noses off.

When I started the dragon tutorial, this was how the writing ‘clicked,’ because that’s my past experience with guides…a very ‘business impersonal’ style.

Took me a moment to realize what I was doing – and scrap the first draft.  I didn’t need to impersonalize this work, because there were no higher-ups between me and the publishing button.  The ONLY thing that would stop me from inserting my personality into this work was ME.

Can you see me cackling madly at my keyboard, yet?

If you want to make a dragon of your very own – here’s the listing:

How to Chain Your Dragon (a tutorial)

And if you want a dragon withOUT all the mucking about with pliers and little metal rings – I’ll make one for you:

My Pet Dragon

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in

 

 

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Alphabet Soup

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Maybe I need to not watch V for Vendetta as my bedtime  “yea, I can totally sleep to this” film.  I had visions of Guy Fawkes masks dancing through my dreams last night.

Of course, the guy wearing the mask was also riding a chainmaille dragon – but dreams are supposed to be weird.  That’s part of their charm.  And it’s a no-brainer as to why a dragon made of tiny little rings would feature so heavily in my dreams last night – I’ve agreed to write out a tutorial as to exactly HOW I make such a sculpture, much to the delight of the other Chainiacs in my chainmaille group.

Chainmaille Dragon Face close in

My little guy’s going public 😀

Anyway – I did some digging on one of my favorite films, and came up with the type-up of his introductory speech to Evey.

Voilà!

In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.

*[carves V into wall] *

The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.

[giggles]

Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

I love this little twiddle – simply because I’ve never experienced such an overabundance of words starting with the letter ‘V’ before.  The icing on the cake in this case is the performing actor.  Hugo Weaving has a very distinct and mesmerizing voice in this piece.

While I was searching for the write up, I realized I’m not the only one out there on the wider web kinda obsessed with this film…plenty of folks out there have taken this (and his other speeches in this film) quite seriously – breaking down the words to more fully explain the concepts behind them.  And – in the Reddit translation – they had a bit of fun – using other – more popular – letters of the alphabet to reconfigure his introductory soliloquy.  If you need a giggle today – go see what the fans have come up with 😀

Reddit V Translation

Quora Writer Examination

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Art Abandonment Project – 7th Drop

 

Art Abandonment logo

The weekend of August 12, the kids and I took a little trip half-way across the state to Madison…the justification being a new bra.

Once we tried on all kinds of over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and selected the ones we wanted – it was time for fun.

Not that bra shopping in an upscale boutique-y place isn’t fun when you get to embarrass the hell out of the lady assisting with the sizing, selection and trying-on of the things…but I digress.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit ‘coarse’ when discussing boobage.  ESPECIALLY my own.

We ended up on State Street.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Wisconsin’s Capital city – state street is the connecting street to the actual capital building and UWM’s campus.  It’s filled to the brim with an eclectic offering of tiny mom&pop shops:  eateries, bars, glasswares, clothing, artistic gifts, metaphysical stuff…etc.

It’s also interspersed with an amazing number of very well thought out urban ‘chill’ spaces – fountains, greenery, water amusements, seating areas, and the like.

Because Madison has taken such care in creating an attractive space around the actual Government building(s), State street is a magnet for a very interesting class of people.

To put it bluntly – you get the hippies.

I don’t mean this in a negative way – I LOVE the hippy vibe – these are people who, in any day and age the tag has been affixed, go against the standardized social ‘grain’ of the time.  These are the thinkers, the dreamers, the rebels, and the artisans.

In short – my kind of people.

With such an eccentric gathering, how could I NOT bring along a few little artworks to abandon?

Grouping

I picked a total of 5 pieces for this little trip – an offering of some of my best…and some forms that hadn’t been chosen for abandonment before this.

We’ll start with this little teashop on State Street.  The kids wanted something kinda sweet to drink, and I badly needed a bathroom – Sencha Tea Bar served to fulfill both functions.  I laughed so hard at the signage in their restroom, I HAD to leave an offering…so the multi-colored fin whirly was perched on the sign.  Although my little twiddle isn’t as beautiful as Beyonce – I hope whoever found the piece treasures it as much as I loved making it.

We then wandered down State Street in the direction of the college quad.  One of my favorite things about State Street is the mix of old & new.  Here…some ancient storefront architecture bracketed with modern high-rises.  Perfect if you need some bohemian foodstuffs 😀

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Once we emerged into the quad – we found a gathering of flow artists…doing their thing to the beat of a small drum-circle.  I don’t know if you can really call 2 drummers a ‘circle’…but I was willing to just go with it.  Besides – the beats they performed were infectious – I couldn’t keep my feet still throughout the entire performance.

I managed to drop the dude and the inverted whirly in the quad – the dude ended up between the railings behind the drum circle, and the inverted whirly on one of the concrete seating areas surrounding the quad.

 

The kids spun things along with the group…after all, they’re flow artists and knew some of these people…and I wandered about the quad with my cell phone camera.

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Art comes in many forms – this storm grate isn’t your standard piece of cast iron.  This kind of detail is what makes the State Street area something special to visit.  And look…I took a selfie of my feet 😀

 

 

 

 

 

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You know I live in Wisconsin – we worship cows ALMOST as much as we worship beer.  I couldn’t help but snap up this little cutie.  She was quite intrigued by the flow artist spinning his hoop in the grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don’t need to go to Europe to see a castle…we have one of our very own!

 

 

 

 

 

The last piece to be abandoned in the quad was the full Persian keychain.  This wasn’t my standard abandonment, however.  One of the flow artists was having a birthday.  The group stopped in the middle of their performance, and offered impromptu birthday wishes and a pretty green present.

As green was her favorite color…the FP keychain was just the thing – it had green scales attached.  S duly presented my little twiddle to her…and she ran over to give me the biggest hug I’d had in quite some time.

FP Keychain

We had 1 more stop to make.  Mimosa Books & Gifts on State Street is a familiar haunt for the kids – they offer a lot of metaphysical stuff, some Eastern-themed tchotchkes, and tumbled, carved and shaped mineral stones.

Lots of those.

I slipped my final whirly on a corner of the counter when we were checking out.

We then grabbed a bite at the Which-Wich.  I tell ya – their lettuce-wich’s are HUGE – and very keto friendly.

We then made our way back to the old cheap-jeep.

But first…

When a building demands a good goosing – who are we to disappoint?

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And the last shot I’ve got from the Madison trip?  This little gem, spotted as we were getting into the car.

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If there were ever any doubts about how Wisconsinites feel about their beer, their football team, and their major religion – I believe this photo has erased all of that – the only thing missing from the signage was an advertisement for bratwurst.  We worship hops, the Packers, grilled brats, and Christianity in this state (well, the majority do…I’m the weird one!) and in that order.

 

Art Abandonment Project – 5th Drop

Art Abandonment logo

Now that I’ve got my new cards for the Art Abandonment project – I like dropping stuff a lot more.  This time, I’m taking advantage of the kids going far and wide on their summer camping/festival runs, and I’ve sent a couple of things along with them to drop.

They have three:

Drop weekend of 7.27-7.30.17

These little pretties will be abandoned in Harmony Park, MN, as part of the Campfire Flow Fest going on the weekend of 7.28-7.30.17.  I don’t know where the kids are going to do the specific drops, but S has said she plans on doing the ‘deed’ early in the weekend, to allow plenty of time for my little pretties to be found.

Now…I can’t post pics of the actual drops yet, because they haven’t happened – but I’ll give you a little background on my pretties.

 

Chainmaille 8 point Byzantine Star Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

Yes, it’s another Byzantine Star pendant.  These are happy little charms – they’re some of the first forms I was able to make when I started chainmailling, and I just love to make ’em.  This is another 8 point star, in mixed copper & aluminum.

Chainmaille Whirly Bird Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

Whirlys also feature on my favorite things to make list.  This one has a reddish marble in it, from S’s big bag of antique marbles.  I added some red aluminum connector rings to accentuate the marble’s color.  These are my favorite little fiddle toys.  Because the cage is slightly loose around the marble (but not too loose to allow the marble to slip out) it can roll around in your hand or between your fingers.  The form is fluid and alive in your hand or wherever you play with it.

Chainmaille Celtic Pendant Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

And lastly – the 4 point Celtic Star.  This little guy was an early experiment in Maille.  I don’t think I’ve ever made another.  I do remember looking over the piece as I dragged it out of the storage case, and saying “Man…that’s a bad closure.  Oooooh – there’s another one…”  So pliers were applied to fix my ‘student’ closures before tucking him in his bag.  I might have to revisit making these stars, as they do look nice, and were fairly easy to put together.

 

Wish the kids stealth as they drop these pieces for the festies to find and cherish.

The Completion of the Dragon Project

I’ve done it.

Really done it.

No more experimentation.  No more half-realized wing patterns.  No more going to bed at night dreaming of chainmaille weaves and rings and toes.

I have a fully upright, free-standing chainmaille dragon that screams D.R.A.G.O.N.

Just look at him:

Chainmaille Dragon Front side

I’m absurdly pleased with my little creation…and although he doesn’t actually fly or growl or toast mine enemies to a golden brown, I’m claiming the title of ‘Mother of Dragons.’

Daenerys – eat your heart out.  Mine isN’T CGI.

Ok…I’ll admit to being a Game of Thrones fan.  The new season starts on SUNDAY!

MOAR Chainmaille!

Just a quickie today…as I hear the pliers calling me even now.

 

I got to put the finishing touches on a couple of things.

 

Not content with JUST making cubes with the Shippo Tsunagi weave – I tried my hand at using a single long strand as a choker.  I think it turned out rather well.

Shippo Tsunagi Choker

A new conjure princess-choker also emerged:

Conjure E4-1 red and black

This is my first attempt at different colors in the European 4 in 1 weave, and I added that step in the weave I find so very fantastic.  Soon (as directed by purchases of colored rings) I see myself sitting down and crafting an inlay.

Lemme explain…

An inaly, as defined by the chainmaille community, is a simple sheet weave, usually E4-1, where a pattern is woven into the thing with different colored rings.  Some people out there are coming up with INSANELY detailed stuff:

 

And, maybe one day, I’ll be that detailed, too.  But for now – I think, once I’m ready to tackle a longer range project like an inlay, I’ll stick with something really simple.

Or maybe I’ll go back and finish the dragons…the gold guy still doesn’t have feet.

The HoneyMoon’s over (Lake Michigan)

Originally published 6.15.2014 on The Tempest and the Teapot’s Google site.

This Friday, June 13th, 2014 – there was a rare event.  A full moon rising on Friday the 13th.  What made this moonrise even rarer was the coloration – a warm, amber-honey color was predicted for this rising.  Thus, the Honey Moon.

So, risking all the horrors of Friday the 13th – and when you’re carrying a DSLR camera to the beach/lakefront that’s a LOT of money to be daring the bad-luck fairy to look away from – the mythos of the full moon causing madness (ok…so I’m already crazy and didn’t need to worry too much about that one) and the SQO’s being bored, I dragged him into the car and off we went.

Once we got to the lake, I realized I had forgotten all about the whole ‘cooler by the lake’ thing, and was only wearing a light top with no sleeves.  Well…  Artists always suffer for their work.  My Turn!!!

We arrived a bit early – sunset was in full swing, but the moon hadn’t come up yet.   So, as I had some time to kill, I set up on my beach for some sunset shots.

I wasn’t disappointed – Mother Nature delivered a very purple sunset…

My beach on the Lake (and just to be clear, here, if I’ve gone to a location for shots 3x or more, it officially, at least in my mind, becomes ‘mine.’  My Beach, my Riverwalk, my Fountain, etc…) runs roughly northwest to southeast, so I can get both sunset and moonrise on the same location.

I foresee a foray out to my beach in my future…one VERY early morning.. to catch a sunrise.  

Two years, hasn’t happened yet.  Can I procrastinate, or what???

As we made our way up the concrete causeway to the round observatory extending into the Lake, I found – people.  Not many people, mind you…but just a few -as crazy as I am- with cameras extended toward the horizon to catch the Honey Moon rising.  Once again proving that I’m not the only nut-job in this state, but amongst a small, eccentric minority of slightly insane nature-lovers.

I snapped away.  Moonrise was well in progress, the color was fantastic, and the camera was singing in electronic joy.  Once I took my attention off the moon – I noticed the power plant further up the shoreline.  Beautiful, the way the reflections hit the water.

Say what you will about the cost of utilities these days, but I’ll forgive them my high-heat bill last winter for them putting out this spectacular light show on the shore.  But only last winter’s bills.  This winter, they’re on their own.

Now, I know I’ve mentioned that the SQO is a musician.  As a performer, he’s a natural in front of the camera.  I’ve lost count of the number of projects he’s appeared in – he’s always a willing vict…er…volunteer for whatever insane idea I have involving my camera.

I’d come across a number of forced perspective photos on the web – and naturally, the ‘what the hell’ just burst out of me in the throes of the moonrise (who am I to question the strange ideas blooming under the light of the full moon?)
Several moments of ‘just a bit to the right, now raise your hand JUUUUUUST a bit more, back to the left a hair, turn your head a little more, lower your chin, NOPE, too much, lower your hand a fraction of an inch,’ produced this ducky little shot.

 

And, as an aside – He was certainly more attentive to the Lakeshore temperature than I was – June, and he’s sensibly dressed in a leather jacket, hat, and scarf, while I’m doing the whole ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ thing.

Overall, the shoot went well – but I couldn’t tempt the wicked fates of Friday the 13th by getting great shots without paying the price for my success – even with being under dressed, freezing my bunz off, and succumbing to the influences of the light of the crazy-generating moon.  (where do you think the term ‘lunatic’ comes from?)

Finally, there were no more good shots to be had.  As the moon rose higher in the sky, the amber hue faded away, until only the standard white moon filled the sky.  Quite pleased with my shots, I quickly packed things up…because by this time I was shaking more than a bit, I believe I started acquiring a lovely shade of blue, and the mosquitoes were undaunted by the brisk night air.

In Wisconsin, the mosquitoes grow fur to combat the weather!

The DSLR came off the tripod and into its bag – close and clip.  The Canon with the mega-zoom got looped around my neck.  The tripod was folded, but the legs were still extended.  The teacup had its own little bag to stay secure in, along with a smallish brass chalice I’d picked up at Goodwill (seriously, folks, if you’re ever looking for awesome photo props that won’t break the bank – go to your local Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, or any other resale shop in your area), and they were both nestled inside.

We made haste to the car – up the concrete sidewalk toward shelter and warmth, when I heard it.

A metallic tink. Followed by the breaking of glass.

I had forgotten to zip the bag with the teacup.  Both it, and the chalice, launched from the bag in a misguided attempt to break for freedom.  My poor, brave, foolish little teacup.  I guess the pressures of stardom were too much for it.  It must have been depressed to never be pressed into service as a container for a hot bath of Earl Grey, surrounded with happy, crunchy bikkies on the side.  It ended its life of photographic supermodel-dom on the concrete walkway for the observatory on Bender Beach on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.

Rest in Pieces, little buddy. Friday the 13th took you from me, and the Honey Moon is now over…