you never know what comes in handy when

I never expected my work on Cadmium would one day come in handy for my thesis MRP, but I just realized the question of how to lay out Cadmium was exactly the same problem as how to lay out the questionnaire needed for my thesis MRP.

And the funny thing is that I don’t even need to build a prototype to test whether the thickness will work, because I already know: The issue of Cadmium that I designed is my prototype, with precisely the thickness that I need to test. The only difference is that I’m now doing it half size; that’s all.

i just realized i should not have thrown away my many failed casts

Earlier today I mentioned to Martha (the one who’s doing the plates) that things aren’t looking good for me because I’m having too many rejects. (“I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to do something that’s really hard.”) And what did she say? She’s having lots of rejects too. “This is ceramics,” she quipped.

But throwing isn’t like this. I’ve never had so many rejects when I throw and I can even reclaim the clay if a piece turns out to be a reject, so long as it hasn’t been fired. But for my thesis MRP I find the number of failed casts simply staggering. I was mentioning to Polina (I think) yesterday that I was starting to worry about running out of slip, even though I have been using the studio’s giant bucket of reclaimed slip instead of my own. At this rate I will very soon use up all the slip in there.

So a couple of hours ago a thought suddenly came upon me: What if I translated those damaged casts back into print? I even did a mental rundown of what I would do to the failed cast I was holding.

But obviously, I didn’t think too much about it, because right afterwards I just threw that failed cast into the trash can.

Then while I was on my way home I suddenly realized I should not have thrown away any of those casts because they can be repurposed as an installation. And—imagine my surprise—that would even be a very “32 Pigeons” installation.

Martha thought I was in Sculpture and Installation. I guess there’s a reason. Or maybe it was Martha’s guess that was what got my idea going.

we aren’t even making our own exhibits

I had always thought we’d have no place at the Grad Ex. So imagine my surprise a few days ago when I got an email from our Associate Dean that our work will be featured at the Grad Ex this year.

But what caveat: Only some of us will have our work shown; not everyone’s work.

And an additional caveat I got from today’s email: Only for those who can make it to finish in June.

(So I’m out, but I am so far behind I was hesistant to believe I could have anything by Grad Ex in the first place, so this was not a terrible shocker.)

While these were all bad news to me, the worst news (for me) in today’s email was the part that reads “If you could please provide these details to me by Friday end of day, so that we can get this to our Graphic Designer by early next week?”

When I read we’re going to be part of Grad Ex I thought we’ll be designing our own exhibits, or at least our own posters. I was revelling at the mere possibility that some of us will be doing some happy graphic design (or maybe even environmental graphic design). How sad, how disappointing that we won’t even be doing this design ourselves, for the few of us that will even make it there.

A dream (yes, I actually remembered this...)

It’s 9:05am and I just woke up from a dream. Not exactly a nightmare but not a pleasant thing. The dream went like this before I woke up:

I was at school working (never mind the building in the dream didn’t actually look like any building in OCAD) while there was going to be a ticketed event of some kind going on, then I went out of the building for a break of some kind. When I was going to get back in I found that the doors were already locked. It was like 6:50pm and it was also Thursday in the dream. (Or maybe Wednesday, I don’t remember any more.) (The event had not started yet. It was going to start at 7pm or so.) And it was extended hours also in the dream. So I was shocked.

I was not exactly angry but definitely wanted to complain, so I sort of started walking around the building and trying to remember how to spell security’s Twitter handle; I also wanted to text a friend to open the doors for me but I wasn’t sure who was inside. (Obviously I still had a flip phone in the dream.) And while I was looking around I saw below me (remember, I mentioned the campus in the dream didn’t actually look like OCAD, I was on a terrace of some kind looking at some sort of wide stairs going down leading to an entrance below me. This doesn’t exist in OCAD. More like some sort of civic building or maybe some university in Hong Kong.) trying to walk towards the stairs leading to the building and the students below me found the entire edge of the building locked with a glass wall.

As they turned around (presumably giving up and leaving) a back door to the building next to me opened. (As I mentioned this didn’t look like OCAD. It was a white building instead of a building with a glass wall.) I ran towards the door and got in, and yelled to the students at the entrance that Security had already locked the doors but they didn’t seem to get what I was saying from their blank looks (probably because they also didn’t expect this so they thought I was crazy). I ran up the stairs and saw another group of students working on some sort of a flattish piece of installation (never mind it was still inside the stairwell and that one of the students was Bing :) and I again yelled at them The doors has been locked. Everyone don’t get out.

Then I continued running up the stairs trying to think about how to tweet a complaint or somehow write one. Then I reached the floor I wanted to reach and opened the door. (Yes, a single door. Weird. And never mind it was the wrong building. Maybe the OCAD in my dream finally built tunnels between its buildings.) It was a grand interior (remember, the campus I saw in the dream didn’t look like OCAD. It looked more like the lobby of a big convention centre or maybe UW’s new student centre.) with a ceiling that’s at least two storeys high with huge floor-to-floor glass walls looking at the pretty sky outside….

Then I woke up. I was dazed for a few seconds, then I looked at the clock. It was 9:05.

Not early. But not exactly too late, I suppose.

fourth test mould

It looks like a ball tool is not the best choice for carving into plaster, simply because you can’t carve into plaster with a ball; you need a knife of some kind. At this point it looks like a small drill bit might actually do it, though whether this is true won’t be known until 2 days later when I make a test cast.

And while doing a pilot “drill” with the needle tool looks like an attractive idea, it looks like it’s a really bad idea because when you hear that reassuring “pop” sound the needle has already gone too far into the plaster. So how do I do the pilot drill with something else? I’m not too sure. And I don’t really like the idea of making more and more test moulds. I don’t have time. I won’t have access to the shops very soon.

random fantastical thought

A random fantastical thought literally just came upon me a few minutes ago: When I was in the studio earlier today I briefly contemplated making some slipcast bowls, so what if I went further and merged my thesis MRP with Empty Bowls?

I really don’t know how feasible that would be: This seems to be a lot of work for a “small scale experiment”, and there will probably be a ton of problems doing this for thesis MRP. But this will actually be a very “32 Pigeons” thing to do (that is, “any work we do must be in response to a real art call”), which is actually kind of cool—but odd, since 32 Pigeons has not been active for almost a year already.

Maybe the simple slipcast bowls will be the real “small scale experiment” (and if that works out I will attempt “blocking and casing” and then carving into the mould), and if that works out I’ll propose merging my thesis MRP with Empty Bowls.

Somehow.

Dabbling with plaster

So I took some time to try making something with plaster the first time, without any guidance. It’s kind of a disaster.

First I had no “feel” or when I have added enough plaster, so I stirred the plaster mixture too early. I didn’t realize I had to vaseline the base, and I probably poured the plaster twice. Then the school building closed for the day, so I could not work on it when it was still workable.

So when I got back to the plaster studio today I was surprised the thing was still wet. But of course I couldn’t do anything with it any more. If I use a scraper to dislodge it from the base, it just breaks, and weirdly enough the plaster seems to be in two layers.

Anyway, I could still do my experiment, so I took my ball tool and tried to poke some dots on the plaster, and the dots were not well-formed.

I really don’t know what to say now. It seems that I can’t really work on the mould as I originally planned, or maybe it’s just because I was not working it when it was still workable. So I suppose this calls for a second experiment—one where I would have enough time to try working the plaster when it was still workable.

In the meantime, my project now looks even less feasible than I thought.

I’m probably going to pass probation

Tuesday I bumped into Jane, one of the gammas, and told her that technically I still don’t have an advisor because I’m just on probation, so to speak.

Yesterday I had another consultation, and the good news is that it looks like I’m going to go out of probation soon, which while in itself is significant, it’s also important because it’s an objective evaluation that I’m probably really back on track—even if it looks like everything it still hosed up.

Hopefully it will be the first option I told Jane instead of the second option.

The C-5 worked, but not the A-5 or the B-5

So I spent about 10 minutes testing the nibs I got a couple of weeks ago. The C-5 worked, but not the A-5 or the B-5. In fact neither the A-5 nor the B-5 even did anything.

It is possible to write relatively small with the C-5. In fact it is very difficult to write large.

Happy too soon…

ATutor’s email links are still un-RESTful. The bug has not been fixed.

Since I am sure it worked a few days ago, I’d say the bug has become even more serious than before: It now occurs randomly

Sigh. How long does it really take for the ATutor devs to fix these serious usability bugs?

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