Monday, August 29, 2016

Celtic Knot Belt

This started as a commission for the client's partner; a nice birthday buckle.  After drawing up the celtic knot everything seemed to be going pretty well.  It wasn't until after I'd finished staining, sealing, and conditioning the belt that I realized I'd stained it the wrong color.  The client had requested "wine" and I'd somehow gotten it in my head while I was carving that it was meant to be saddle tan.

An unfortunate mistake on my time that caused an unnecessary delay but I turned around made another belt to the correct specs that's just gone out this morning.  I don't get to use the wine mix very often so it's interesting to see how it develops while curing.  It goes on as a dark-medium brown and turns into more of a pinkish mahogany once it's fully developed.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bull Hood

This was a commission for a full mask resembling a bull.  I've made a few small masks (and a pair of goggles) but nothing that wraps around the entire head before so it made for some pretty interesting challenges.


An early task was trying to figure out how to manage the horns.  The obvious option was to special order some steer horns and install those somehow.  Natural steerhorns are 8-12" long through and would've been pretty unwieldy.  After shopping around for awhile I wound up printing the horns myself on my 3D printer.  After friction welding them to an elbow and a lot of sanding by hand I gave them an ink wash to mimic natural horn color.  The result turned out better than I expected at first.  If I didn't know the horns were plastic I'd probably think they were natural without picking them up and handling them.

The mask itself presented its own challenges but I'm more familiar with how to fold and interface leather to create a structure.  I made a series of paper prototypes to narrow in on the geometry and played the rest by ear during construction.

I wound up having to add an assembly to hold the horns mostly in order to move them back over the head (instead of on top of the forehead) and anchor the dorsal straps so they didn't slide down the head.  A big benefit of this was I was able to make the horns removable.  They're just secured with some snaps so they can pop on and off for easier shipping and storage.

One last element was the client requested chains running along the bottom of the mask.  We tossed around a few ways of making that happen (metal chains, 3D printed chains, braided bridle, etc) and settled on carved appliques.  At the client's request those are also held on with snaps so they can pop on and off.