Last night in studio I finished a “proof of concept” test component for a new piece I’m working on. So far, I’m soldering copper wire and sewing paper to it, and I needed to confirm that I could solder the flat faces, sew the paper on, and then go back and solder more pieces to create the 3D form, without the burning the paper or thread in the last step. Success! Stay tuned for more shots at this stage, as I’ll be making several pieces before pulling them together into what I expect will the the final form.
Also! If you’re seeing this post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, that means I’ve successfully figured out how to make Process posts to my new website and share them automatically. I did a full overhaul of rachelmello.com this spring, creating a new, cleaner site completely from scratch. I hope you’ll check it out!
Here is our dragon, ready to be loaded on a Nevada-bound container tomorrow. Whereas for Figment Boston we could just wrap the pieces in blankets and pile the rest of the bits in a rental van, for her next journey she needs to be far more robustly packed. Five crates of plywood panels, 3 ALCs of pieces, parts, hardware, and tools, two frames, a training stand, one wheel, and a tube of drive-shafts and pipe segments. Next stop, Black Rock City!
Here is a test of the rear gear, tail wagging mechanism. This is the last big element of our dragon we still have left to resolve. The push rod will be routed through the back haunches, represented in the video by those two black plastic clips. So this works! …in theory. There are still a lot of details to work out.
Today our friend finally got ears! We’ve had cardboard placeholders on from time to time, but today we had a community art day, and our friend Abby came and sewed some ears for MAL out of the same upcycled vinyl advertising banners I’ve used in my work in the past. Her whole face is improved! (The dragon’s that is- Abby’s whole face has always been lovely.)
Thanks to generous help from many friends and community members, MAL is ready for her final decorative painting. All panels have their base coats – teal on the outsides, purple base coat on the tail; the interior faces of the panels have a base of yellow, topped with a shiny, shiny metallic gold. Why put so much energy into painting the interior sides of the panels? Wait until you see her with lights..!
Progress at this stage of a project can sometimes be hard to see. Today’s major milestone was that now the bolts in all four legs line up correctly and fit. Some had to be pulled out and re-drilled to get here. Some hardware had stripped out and needed to be replaced, and we needed to re-engineer some parts of the back haunches to resist warping.
Several pieces got a first of two coats of paint, too, which is important progress but doesn’t photograph well. I think I want to make her ears soon, just to make the photos look better. 🙂