Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Imagination Corporation, Day 4

The workshop concluded on an inspiring note, with a talk from Dan about fun, creativity, ideas, dreams, and life. We spent the rest of the day working and asking lots of questions about anything that was left to learn. I finished up my ant, paint and all! The painting techniques I used were very new to me, and thus the ant turned out much different than he would have if I had done him in my own studio. I was pretty pleased with the final result.

I even found myself having some extra time, so started a mini version of my ever-present apple tree. Dan showed my some techniques for achieving incredible bark textures. I love this stuff!

I will paint him back in Minneapolis.

Here is a link to Dan's blog post about the experience. These few entries don't even begin to sum up the experience I had over the last few days. I met great people, learned everything I could ever want to or need to know about routing signs and making durable, dimensional and cartoon style sculptures. Even after 10 hour workshop days, I would go back to my room at night and be up sketching for hours. I am flooded with ideas, and confident I have the capability and knowledge to make them come to life. Now it's time to get busy in the studio and start working on my thesis show! In progress documentation to come...

Imagination Corporation, Day 3

Day 3 started with some more lessons on designing in EnRoute. We each got some hands on computer time, where we designed small letter plates. In the afternoon we learned a variety of glazing and painting techniques, which were subsequently applied to our sample letters. You can see everyone's in-progress works drying in front of the fan. I'm officially addicted to metallic paints!

With ample work time, my MagicSculp ant was beginning to take shape. Here, he is assembled, with some detail sculpting left to do. At this point Dan and I decided he needed a base to stand on, so I designed a picnic blanket in EnRoute, which was cut out of composite board.

After about 15 mins. of cutting time, the router is just about done with my base.

After it was routed, I decided to cut the sides to look more wavy like a blanket (something I could've done in EnRoute but didn't think of until after). I used the dremel to clean up the edges.
And proceeded to paint.

We also took a little trip down the road to check out Beck and Phoenix's house (Dan's daughter and son-in-law). The in-progress exterior is a photo realistic version of stone and wood, all done completely with the sculpted cement technique!

Imagination Corporation, Day 2

After some much needed rest and a hearty breakfast, we began the first official full day. All morning Dan gave presentations on his own work and inspirations as well as on using EnRoute 4, which is the Software both he and the UofM use for their routers. I learned a lot of tricks and found that the program is surprisingly straightforward.

After lunch, Dan took us to Giggle Ridge, a miniature golf course on Lake Cultus which he designed, built and owns. We went for a round of golf-as research, of course- I even won a free game on the last hole! The entire course was made using the sculpted cement techniques we learned the night before.

After golf we went back to the shop and started our first project, called "B is for Bug." The goal was to use MagicSculp, an epoxy putty, in combo with a router letter. I did some sketches and decided I would make an ant, in a tuxedo, carrying a bottle of wine.

We even managed to find time to start painting some sample letter boards.

Imagination Corporation, Day 1

Just hours ago I returned from an incredible trip which included visiting friends for my first time in Seattle and attending Dan Sawatzky's 3-day workshop at his Imagination Corporation in Yarrow, British Columbia. What an amazing vacation! In Seattle, the boys did a great job of showing me around. I went to Pike's Place, the water front, the Space Needle, Leavenworth, Kirkland, Queen Anne, Mukilteo, the Boeing Factory tour, row boating on Lake Union, Freemont, Pioneer Square, Golden Gardens, Archie McPhee, and much more. I ate lots of seafood, toured the mountains and water, and even ran into Anthony Bourdain!

Then on Thursday, after some minor mishaps, I rented a car and drove about 3 hours up to British Columbia. The landscape up there is so beautiful. Here is a view of my first stop, Hazelgreen Bed and Breakfast.After settling into my room (which just so happened to be pink and have a jacuzzi in it-added bonus!), I headed over to the much anticipated Imagination Corporation. And it certainly did not disappoint! Dan's workshop is a magical and incredible place. Here is his sign on the main road.

And as you pull into the driveway, you pass by this turret as you pass through iron gates.And arrive at the most magical workshop and studio I've ever encountered. It was like a dream. If you look on the right you can even see the little train station attached to the workshop, complete with a rusty locomotive.

Inside the shop is just as amazing as the exterior. The right part of the building is the main workspace and the left side is a library/studio space. Here are some images of the architecture, as well as some signs around the shop.

That evening I got to meet Dan, his daughter Beck, and adorable granddaughter Phoebe, along with the fellow attendees: Ryan, a sign maker from Vancouver Island; Gary, from Fresno, CA, who was just starting up in the sign business; Doug, another newcomer into the sign shop business who drove from IL with his family and a pop-up camper; Jonathan, a local carpenter who loved things to be straight; and Dave, a local carpenter who makes cabinets using a CNC router. As I suspected, I was the youngest, and the only female, but those guys were a blast to work with!

After a casual dinner, we got right to work. Dan taught us the secrets to sculpting concrete and even let us try it out on an in-progress sign.

This is the rock I carved. Pretty neat, huh?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

High School Graduation Parties