Wednesday, September 30, 2009

100 Days: Filament of my Imagination

Waiter, there's a fly in my film.

As part of Rana's sewing box prop, I thought I needed to have a small version, at least, of a Time Fly sticking in it. Making Time Flys, or as Nick puts it, Musca Tempora, has been a real challenge for me before now. I had collected large amounts of various loose watch parts from online sources and then Halfland's Official Naturalist sent me tons of larger vintage pocket watch parts to work with. I had various grand plans involving building the flies out of watch parts but it wasn't coming together.

I had the thought a while ago to go back to the Halfland creative mojo and to make the flies as I had originally envisioned them 16 years ago. Using three perfect fly shades of metallic green filament and shiny pearlized green metallic pigment powder that I had bought way back then for the purpose of making these flies.

I started by tightly wrapping the filament into a shape shape that I then tied off with strong thread into insect body segments and re-wrapped in the bright filaments in stripes. The body was dusted with the pearlized powder which gave the whole thing the effect of being a real common housefly. So much so, that I kept thinking I needed to shoo it away forgetting I was making it.

The wings were real (I think either sent by HON Marci or weirdly found and collected by me along the way.) They were dusted with red/gold pigment powder in order to brighten their coffee color.

When I make additional flies, I'll be using much finer gauge wire and painting it black for the six legs as the jewelry wire used here is a bit coarse for me. Tiny milky red glass seed beads were glued on for eyes and then dotted with clear glossy diamond drop paint. The mouth piece is an actual watch gear glued in. Tiny hairy leg filamentous outgrowths were glued on paint brush bristles dyed black with sumi-e ink.

As part of Rana's fabulously detailed seashell sewing box, Halfland's first Time Fly would look wonderful one day under a glass dome display as part of a exhibit on the film.


  1. This reminds me - I have 2 sets of cicada wings. Since cicadas won't appear around here for probably another 10ish years, they're pretty rare - do you want them?

    All of these new posts are just what the doctor ordered on a cloudy, cool autumn morning. I may actually make it to work today. :)

  2. WHAT? that fly looks so real!

  3. Oh, Elva! How sweet! I *think* Marci sent me about 6 cicada wings from Atlanta in her package last year. When I make more Time Flys at that larger size/scale, I would love to have them, yes!, I'll know in a few months. So sweet of you to share such a rare treasure.

    Please save them for our next exchange!

    Hi DJ! Thanks! I kept getting up from the table and thinking there was a fly on it when I came back! hee.

  4. ".to make the flies as I had originally envisioned them 16 years ago.." and "..Halfland's first Time Fly would look wonderful one day under a glass dome display as part of a exhibit on the film."

    There is nothing I can say... I am speechless!

  5. Thank you, Yaz, In reading your comment, I thought of an idea for a much later Halfland vignette, to be made after al the rest are done. Maybe the Time Flys/Flies could stop to build little watch mechanisms when they land places.

    I always feel as though Flys are busy doing something when they land. They're always rubbing their hands together as if getting ready to do something. Maybe building a watch is the answer to what that is. And it'll tie them into being *Time* Flys more directly.

    What can I say about the 16 year timeline of making this project? It's simply true, that's what has happened. I'm learning so much about time, the theme for your main project too, from working on this one.

    Exhibiting the set and puppets idea came to me from watching Julie Taymor up close in New York. I happened to be working in the studio when she made a phone call to a big deal art curator at Lincoln Center. I heard her naturalness at urging the woman to make an installation either for her opera Odepus or her first feature Fool's Fire (both were done), as she said to her that, "...the costumes and details are amazing, you have to see them."

    That made a huge impression on me at the time. That someone as hugely talented as she would essentially drum up her own exhibition. And to do it so simply. I thought, why not!

  6. Shelley this is a wonderful idea: "Maybe the Time Flys/Flies could stop to build little watch mechanisms when they land places." Yes! directly related to "time" flies.

    Learning so much about time.. yeah... I am learning, I have been learning how meritless the time is. I am trying to learn how to not to be a slave of time through the process of my film.

    Julie Taymor... I had read about you working with her in Mike's blog when I first met you online. It should have been an amazing experience. You explained it perfectly and I can see her talking on the phone.

    You know what; one day I will tell people my memories with you. -this is not a compliment at all, this is what I feel- I will tell how huge an impression you made on me as a brave, talented woman working on a 16 years long (and it continues) amazing project!!


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