Sunday, July 15, 2012

Follow Up from Last post...

FOLLOW UP to My previous post:  (I copied this from my email conversation with a peer)...I have been crying a lot this weekend over this. 

I started this up so long ago because there was a need for a resource such as this. When I was making sculpts, I really wanted special eyes for my pieces. At that time, the only available sources were taxidermy shops, or Asian glass eye markets. I knew of the company in CT, and another in California, but even their options were limited, and the prices were outrageous! I actually invested in a couple of pairs from Masterpiece, and they took over three months to arrive, and for the huge price I paid per pair, they came, and I was disappointed. I was so angry, that I took them apart to see why I paid so much for such shoddy work...I figured out that there HAS to be a better way to get nice eyes for my sculpts.

Then I started browsing the internet for materials, and did my research. I began to experiment. The first trials were epic failures in many ways. I refined, simplified, and tried even more materials until I found a consistent outcome. Unfortunately the best, and most reliable material to use was Polyester Resin. In its un-cured state, it is very hazardous to inhale. Once it is cured, it is inert. I do not use a gas mask, but make sure there is ample ventilation. I have damaged my health, i'm sure...but it is a small sacrifice to make. I figure the toxins cannot be any different than what most artists come in contact with making their various Arts anyways.

The idea of trying to expand into tutorials is a good one, and I think I will consider it over the off season. Some of the materials I use  can be made available for individuals via shops, but some of the equipment can get pricey. I think the most important tool in my arsenal is my Dremel. Without it...Production would be impractical, at best....even impossible. If most clients have one, that is a major cost cut. The second most expensive material is the silicone needed to make the molds needed for eye casting. The molds do break down, no matter how well one can take care of them. The truth is, the cheaper types do not last at all. I can only afford to purchase 1 Lb quantities of the higher quality putty used. So, I am meticulous about the care of my molds. I would think the hardest items to mass produce for "Make your own" castings, would be the lacquer I use for the semi-metallic treatments. Most of them are all hand mixed from pigments, micas, and powders, into a solvent-based carrier. Usually Acetone being the main ingredient. 100% Acetone is harder to find than one would think, and does not ship well at all. Water based items do not re-act well to the resin, or the coated papers I use for the base. Pigments are expensive too. Storage of the lacquer is tough. I use recycled Nail polish bottles. They seem to be the only way to store the mixed colors without the Acetone evaporating out. 

I think I could supply the dry mixes to the public, but they would all have to use their own solvents, and carriers. And keep their empty nail polish bottles!!!! 

As far as the studio issues well...We really need professional contractors to finish the renovations needed by law in our town. :( I think for the next year, or so I will still be stuck in my congested 12X12 space.

It feels re-assuring to know that you all are here for me, and I accept all the support I can get. Thank you so very much! <3

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CAUTION! Long Narrative is ensuing. ......

Feeling Overwhelmed.<__> I think I took on too many orders this last month. They were all the usual 10 I take on queue every month during the season, but, This time, they were all large quantity....exactly like the month prior, which I am still struggling to catch up on. I love my sis, but she wasn't around as much as I would have liked to help with the workload from Junes orders, and I am still feeling the congested Production backing up. Besides... the the unexpected re-casts because of negligence of the Postal Service doesn't help either. :(  I should have been done with this season by the end of this month, but it looks like it will overflow into August too. 

The joy of eye-making is rapidly disintegrating week, by week. I am AN ARTIST, NOT a manufacturer! I am inches away from stopping eye casting. I thought I could have Kristin take on the responsibility of production, but I cannot seem to get consistent attendance. I cannot hire someone "off the street" to do this, because the studio situation is not ideal.  NOTHING is ideal 'round here, Our House is in shambles, there is an entire 2 LEVELS being unused, and becoming a catch all for all sorts of "Overflow" It is supposed to become my Real Studio! Hubby can only do so much, and nether can I do anything about it either. Money is an issue, labor is an issue, Time...Is a BIG Issue. I simply cannot take this casting business to a more productive level until these issues can be resolved. 

I am so frustrated, and disheartened...We need some sort of cash windfall, or some sort of grant, to get things in order. I do not know now, if it will ever be possible. I am saddened that I cannot give everyone the attention they need, and I really enjoyed offering my peers such an affordable supply option for all their creative needs, I really do not want to let every one down, worldwide. It took 5 tough years to get things to this point, and now...This "concrete wall". I need any ideas, suggestions, Tips, connections, ANYTHING, to save all this hard work I've done! I really do not want to throw it all away. I feel so helpless.