Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Demented Doodles - My in built safety mechanism

Soft and Wavy

Random animal companions

All kinds of everything

Calming Swirls

Swirls and Lines - To calm and concentrate

More Lines for focus

Birds and Bunnies - my mind wanted free

Curly Swirlys - these were the best at keeping my head calm and composed

Tenticles - Trying to concentrate getting stressed
I was talking to a co-worker about mental health the other day.  It is a strange thing that in this age we spend hundreds sometimes thousands, on how we look.  We spend so much time and money on beauty products, clothes, gyms, strange diets and for some surgery.  Yet when it comes to good mental health few people spend even a minute considering it.  The word ‘mental’ even when paired with something as important as health seems to make it a subject people are eager to avoid.

 While we discussed this subject I thought of my own mental health and of times when it was not 100% and I was reminded of these doodles of mine.  These are drawings I made some years ago when I worked in a job-from-hell in a call centre.  At the time, I had put myself in a position where I was stuck in this horrible job that I hated but could not afford to leave for reasons I'll not bore you with here.  I would sit at the computer in a severe depression and literally be on the verge of bursting into tears and only be prevented from doing so by having to answer the random individual on the other end of the phone.  The one thing that kept me occupied and calm during this time was my constant doodling as I worked.  I filled notepads with these doodles and shapes day after day.

Later when I moved home to recover myself I found a book in my local library on graphology that had some very interesting information.  In the book it mentions a series of drawings used to help train adults and children to improve their handwriting.  These drawings are also thought to help modify an individual’s mental attitude.  The idea being that, if you improve your handwriting you also improve your life overall.

Now reading a claim like that I would normally be very sceptical about its value.  However when I saw the two examples given I was amazed.  The first was a set of jagged, pointy shapes that are used to sharpen concentration and the second was a series of curly, swirls that are meant to help to calm the mind.  When I saw these I rooted through all my boxes to see if any of my 'demented doodles' - as I used to refer to them, survived.  Sure enough there was one unfinished notebook that had these images in them.

Finding this notebook and discovering this information was a great comfort to me.  It said to me that, when I felt most despairing and unhinged that somewhere in the depths of my brain there was this hidden knowledge that helped me survive.  This might sound very dramatic but it is very difficult to describe just how bad the place I was in and yet somewhere underneath all that hurt there was hope in a lowly doodle notebook.  I think that is amazing.

I would guess that there are many people that have this built-in safety switch and not even know it.  Do you doodle?  There are many purposes a simple doodle can have and if you do find yourself absentmindedly scrawling on random bits of paper I would encourage you to keep them.  What you might dismiss as a useless doodle could actually be a thing of rare beauty.

I could not find the original book where I first found this information but I did a bit of quick googling and found this link for those interested:

I understand that this area of graphology is referred to as graphotherapy.  I cannot say for certain that this type of therapy works.  (One blog I read made, what seemed to me, outrageous claims.)  Please don't take this post as a recommendation for it.  I just wanted to relate my tale.  The point of my story, for me, is that without even realising it I found hope in a simple drawing and with that hope I found the courage to look for help.  I believe there is great strength, hope and opportunity to be found in Art and creativity no matter how small or simple the act.

Friday, 12 August 2011

I have a cunning plan....

3/4 View of Desk - Resin Cast with Bronze Powder

Front View of Desk

So, back again!  My posting has been a bit random as I've just started a new job.  Unfortunately it is not in Model Making but fortunately it is helping to pay the bills, so I'm not complaining too much.  Now that I've been trained up, I expect my timetable to be more predictable so that should help in letting me get to the computer to post.

My photos this week are of a piece that was part of my final project.  For this project, I made a segment of an animation set that was set in an old world library.  This was a desk that was placed in the centre.

A lot of being creative and making things is about going with the flow and letting things happen naturally.  However, one thing this project has definitely taught me is that there are times for letting things happen and then there are times when you MUST have a plan.  I should have planned my time and actions much better when I made this table.  I thought I had it all worked out in my head, then I tried to make it and it all went horribly wrong.

The legs were not too bad.  Only minor disasters when I was making those.  Such as, forgetting to weigh my sculpt before I boxed it up to make a silicone mould, and thus having to (guess)estimate the weight of silicone needed and getting it very wrong.  I was short a 100g and had to frantically mix a second batch before the first set.  This too went wrong, because when I poured that in I was still short.  Aaargh.  It was Friday and College was closing in 5mins and I still had an almighty mess to tidy up.  Aaaaaaaarggh.  Luckily for me my tutor walked in at this point and helped me rescue the situation with a genius solution.  By placing some sticks into the corners away from where the main mould was the level of silicone was pushed up to fully cover the sculpt.  Yeaay!

Until I came in on Monday morning and found one of the sticks had fallen over aaaaaarrrgh!!!!  Luckily it had just missed the sculpt and so the mould was still useable.  Phew.  You would think that this would have taught me a lesson but I really like learning things the hard way and so onto more fantastic blunders with the table top.

I started with a square slate tile that I picked up in a home ware store.  It had a really good texture and I thought it would work really nicely as a table top.  Then when it came time to use it I realised that it was squint.  Damn.  Thinking about it though the Griffin legs were bronze (a resin cast with bronze powder) and the bronze and slate may not have worked together and so it was probably just as well.  So, add the slate tile to the pile labelled 'This might be useful for something else later'.

I got some wood, added some plasteline detailing and made a plaster cast of this.  Lovely, now one resin cast of the plaster mould and presto - one fine looking table top.  Yeah, good plan as long as you don't forget to put mould release on the plaster mould.  Doh!  In the end I coated the wood original in a gel coat resin mixed with bronze powder.  This worked reasonably well and rescued the situation.

I could have saved myself a lot of time and headache if I had only planned my project and time better.  This makes perfect sense to me and I understand the principle very well but despite this knowledge I still find it difficult to break every detail down before I start a project.  Still I guess that all comes together with practise.  Here's hoping.