Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Secret Formula

Two years worth of tiny self-portrait avatars made for the blog

Time Flys... It's a Bloggoversary Already!
March 31st, 2006 was my first blog post ever. As I'm sure it's true for you as well, the internet and its marvels have forever altered the course and richness of my life. A day doesn't go by that I'm not in awe of what is possible to do online, directly person to person, with the intelligent tools available now. I can create a piece of art and send it to a friend for them to see while we are talking on the phone together, that fast.

Having this blog in particular, hearing from the fine people who read it, has caused a complete turnaround in the project. I can share and document my progress with Halfland here and have people from every corner of the world deeply root for me and offer their help and suggestions. It's made all the difference.

Looking back, I'd say the biggest and most crucial secret formula I've been given over the course of the last two years has been simply to do the film the way I want, exactly how I want, when I want, without a shred of worry that there's a better way to do it (of course there is! always!) or that I'm doing it wrongly (of course I am! I couldn't care less though!). Having that approach inside has turned the project around from being a daunting impossible burden to an out and out thrilling pleasure to engage with.

No *success* yet, but a ton of fun trying! I made three small foam clay heads and bodies based on a fly photo Paul found. After they were mae I thought of making their bodies instead out of real watch gears and parts. Reader, Enrica Prazzoli, suggested a resource, Alpha Stamps for buying watch parts. I bought 6 tins full and have been trying to use them in a plaster mold with glue to shape them.

More interesting to me than common real world house flies, a photo Paul found inspired me to make Halfland's Time Flies (Musca Tempora) enlongated and orange winged. When I used a clear crackle medium for the heads (lower right above) in the mold, the parts rusted but looked like a conglomerate of watch parts like I'd like. The body didn't hold the shape so I tried embedding the parts in hot glue, which doesn't read like watch part well enough. I'll figure a way. I'm going to use tiny springs (maybe uncoiled accupuncture needles) for antenna and painted fine mesh for wings.


  1. Great avatars...although I notice there's not a donkey amongst them...

    The broken glasses one is definitely my favourite! Celebrating your inner-nerd :)

  2. happy bloggiversary! i'm definitely looking forward to the time flies. :)

  3. Anonymous7:16 AM

    He is using something a bit bigger than a fly....but have you seen this guy's work? Might give you some inspiration on using watch parts.


  4. @Rich "here's not a donkey amongst them" That's a matter of opinion! snort!

    @gl weeeee! tanks!

    @Crimsann! Who are you?! You angel of angels! That is a spectacular watch part gear insect find! Holy cow! You just cool hunted for me!!!!!

    I can't thank you enough for adding that link. It does indeed inspire a better solution! Thank you for reading!

  5. Crikey! The spiders and scorpions on that site are incredible. Not sure I'd want to be making art that included insect and arachnid parts though.

  6. Wow.. so exciting to read of your latest doings Shelley - I am so in awe of your huge film and thing it will be a wonderful world indeed... Great to see the detailed minutiae of your workings :) Congratulations on two years of a wonderful project...
    x Rima

  7. @ Rich, I wrote to the artist, Mike Libby, that crimsann thoughtfully linked, asking for his permission to make the time flys like his incredible Insect Lab creatures, only not with real bugs. I didn't want him to feel ripped off in any way. His solutions are so entirely perfect for this! yee haw.

    Amazing Rima, this is where I confess one thing out of two:

    This project has been underway or 15 years not two!

    (The other confession will have to wait until the project emerges a bit more to see whether you specifically have any resonance with it.)

    (hee hee hee)

  8. Anonymous8:45 AM

    (huge smile!) Glad I was able to help. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago while I was getting ideas for a miniature fairy garden class I took...I was immediately side-tracked going through all the amazing little details you post about here. Your blog gave me a lot of ideas...most I didn't have time to implement before the class, but I'm already thinking about next year. I'm thrilled to have been able to lend a small idea to the process, and I'm for sure going to be sticking around to watch Halfland take shape!

    - Natalie

  9. Congrajafalations on the 2 years bloggin!!

    it will be with you to look back at after its all over{DIGITAL MEMORIES} ....and wont that be fun!!


  10. The Alice in wonderland type one was the one you used when I started visiting your Blog

  11. @Crimsann so glad you are out there! I hope you'll enjoy watching!

    @justin thankuverymuchinus!

    @Ben wondering which one looks like Alice in Vonderland? hmmmm.

  12. Are you still working on the book or are you busily trying to trap insects? :)

    Yeah, it's always better to collaborate than plunder. I hope Mr Libby is cool with it. A mate of mine sent me this link the other day http://www.zune-arts.net/ it has some great animators displaying their works there. I particularly liked the Zombie Puppets.

  13. Hi Rich, yes, working on book now now now arghhhhghghgh. Why? Why? Why? It isn't for the $ because if so, that'd be for pennies a day.

    so.... yes! The talented and generous Mike Libby came through with a big ok, bless him. My flys could never be in the same league as his, just the general watch parts in bugs concept is all I was trying to give him a heads up about.

    Great stuff on Zune, didn't see no zombies though.

  14. Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm about to start doing fortnightly player development videos for a Aussie premier league football (soccer) club. After the hours of filming and editing it really won't work out to much more than working for the Golden Arches. But it IS camera work.

    That's great that Mike Libby was cool with it. Really great!

    Oh, sorry, it's under Artists -> Three Legged Legs.

  15. happy bloggiversary!

    You always have the best avatars!

  16. I loved seeing all your photos! And such an amazing job in doing your paper mache landscape! Lucky you to have an intern too! BRAVO! and now I want to wish you HAPPY ANNIVERSARY my dear, may you have many many more!

  17. Thank you Kim and Ulla! Both of you inspire me constantly with your tremendous gifts, multi-talents, and eye for the most interesting art!


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