Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wings for fantasy animals.experiment tutorial...part 1

Nancy Drew by John Baldessari in a book titled Chance. The book was edited by Margaret Iversen and is one of a series of books called Documents of Contemporary Art.

The passage reads as follows:

(It would) be unbearable if our intentions were regularly frustrated. Yet there is something terribly arid, not to say mechanistic, in the idea of a world where all our purposes result in predictable consequences, where we are completely transparent to ourselves and where intentions always result in expected actions. We value the degree of interference in human intentional activity offered by the unconscious, by language, by the apparatus of the camera or computer, by the instruction performed 'blind.' In short, we desire to see what will happen.

I can't recall the blog I found this on, but I think the quote explains part of how I create and why I create . I do not climb the mountain because it "is there", but because I am curious what is on the top and the challenge of trying to find new paths to get there . There is a greater chance of falling into a crevasse but perhaps a better chance of stumbling on a Yeti . (in my naive imaginary world were Yeti's are cute, cuddly and would rather share a granola bar then eat me).

So, I set off on trying to find a way to make wings for my "dragon-fly" . I decided not to use fantasy film because I was worried that it might tear in shipment , leather is heavy and nylon became easily misshapen when I added decoupage . The first thing I found, was expensive but  I was unaware at the time that there was a cheaper alternative. It is a plastic film that you can buy by the foot to add texture on glass .

I chose the simplest (least expensive) clear kind but they really have some gorgeous stuff there if I had the money to spend you could skip most of the tutorial and just use the film as is without bothering with the fabric . 

(The above shows the awful glare of a night camera shot but also a bit of the cool texture on this film) 

The second error I made.....(no Yeti's yet)....was the idea that I could attach the wings by making my own hook and closures....(like the kind that are used on some pants/skirts . ) This was a complicated, messy process resulting in .......

The above . The way I visualized this was that the sodered hook would slide into a corresponding loop that I sewed onto the dragons body . Nope....end result was less then stable . (try, try again . ) 

What I ended up doing was cutting off the the bent wire ends and wrapping them together in wire and wrapping the wire in black electrical tape...... which you could also just soldier  . The end result was two sets of connected wings . Because I had already felted into the body, a very stiff spine of wet felt material, it was an easy jump to just putting a small slit where I could slide the wing frame . This makes it very easy to remove and ship the wings and for the new owner to set up . 

Following are the materials I used....

soldering iron
solder with built in flux
thick wire for wing frame
thin wire to wrap wire before sodering
wire cutter
plastic that can be ironed onto fabric 
wax paper
bottle of water with an old sock for a bottle cover......(actually that has nothing to do with this project but it's important to stay hydrated and I find that filling a Gatorade bottle half full with water and freezing them makes the perfect ice cold beverage for hours the cap for taking it with you and never buy bottled water again...and the old sock makes the perfect bottle cover....  )

First step is cutting out the fabric and plastic several inches larger then your intend wing using the wire frame as a template . Center wire frame onto plastic . If your using the plastic window film that I mentioned above, it has it's own adhesive built into it that is strong enough to hold the wire into place . However, I think there is a cheaper method that you might want to try . There is an iron on plastic made to water proof fabric . I don't believe it has the adhesive on it but you could wrap the wire in two sided tape and stick it down . Some people may want to try hot glue or super glue but you definitely need to consider that the wire doesn't tend to lay perfectly flat and you need to make sure that all the edges are touching .

The next step, I was working totally blind . My intention was to have the plastic melt into the wire without melting it through . I attempted this by holding the hot soldering iron on the wire to heat it into the plastic . Problem is that because the adhesive was sticking to the wire, I couldn't really tell if the plastic was melting onto the wire as I wanted . 

I decided it was a good time to add the fabric and trim it to size . This worked easily with the adhesive already on the plastic . I liked the texture of the window film I used but found a much cheaper way to do this in the future.....

The above seems to suggest that you can use the less vinyl tacky "contact paper" used for shelving and book covers and sold at many stores . It's certainly worth trying but I'm still not sure how well the adhesive last over time and think the iron on is supposed to be both lighter and more secure  . you have a piece of vinyl attached to fabric with a wire between . The question is how secure is that wire after you trim the edges . That is where "part two" comes in . The above video claims that this stuff can be sewn which you can certainly do but I'm going to offer an alternative in my next blog along with some of my other new experiments....clay claws and feather wings . 

Happy felting !

1 comment:

  1. Looking good! Ive never tried this technique for wings.. bit scary for me with the soldering iron & melting..
    In my past life as a doll-maker :) I used organza, thin wire & pretty thread in my sewing machine;
    I bent the wire into the wing shape, sandwiched it between organza & carefully stitched over the wire with a close zig-zag stitch (careful not to hit wire). For dragonfly type wings I often straight stitched detail (like veins)afterwards.
    The wire ends sticking out I would poke into the body and then stitch to hold them permenantly.



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