Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fairy Wings: Got It...Just About

I'm fairly certain I've got it worked out the way I want now, just need some minor adjustments. I've figured out how to make the wings perfectly symmetrical, having a metallic iridescence when front-lit and a vibrant jewel tone glow when back-lit. The only thing is I'm only really finding iridescent cello in green/pink or blue/pink. It would be ideal to find a silver toned cello so that it reflects pure white light but also allows light to pass through when back-lit.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fairy Wings: Good Blots

Now this is more like it. I’ve figured out how to successfully blot the painted layers on the fairy wings – so long as I’m not going for detail. Turns out they look better when the paint is really wet and blurry since there is so much detailed being put into the veining instead.

Even this blot turned out to work just fine. I thought it was a failure; that there wasn’t enough alcohol in the wash and the colors were too harshly separated. But when I added a layer of veining over it everything came together.

I’ve also been finding that if I don’t plan anything out but just work freehand and do everything on the fly then, the pieces turn out much more interesting. This is true for both the paint wash layer and the veining.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fairy Wings: Almost but Not Quite

Fairy Wing Sample

I'm getting closer to the intended effect using alcohol inks for the fairy wings. This sample is almost there, but not quite. There are still a lot of adjustments to be made in my process. At least I think I have the materials right now, and this is the right idea.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fairy Wings: Rorschach

Failed Rorschach Blot - too dry

It is essential, in my opinion, that if I'm going to make painted fairy wings they must be symmetrical. It would just be odd to imitate any sort of insect wings without symmetry. The only solution I could come up with for perfect symmetry on hand painted plastic was to do a Rorschach blot. Simple enough - except it turns out to be quite tricky with alcohol paints which dry very quickly.

Alcohol paints can be blended with denatured alcohol; too much makes everything a soupy mess though and dilutes the colors, while too little doesn't keep the paint wet long enough to blot. The blotting process itself has a tendency to destroy any detail if there is too much paint or too much alcohol. I'm finding it very difficult to get a complete transfer and detail, so I may have to settle for less detail.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Small Angel Wings: Faux Feathers

Faux Feathers in Process

I've switched to using completely different materials and methods for making my faux feathers. For months now I've been experimenting with different means of achieving a compound curve in each feather, blacker black, and detailed texture so that the fake feathers will match the turkey feathers perfectly. I couldn't stand having such a disconnect between the real and fake feathers. For a while it seemed my only option was to make wings with only fake feathers which would mean a lot more hours of work on each piece.

BUT, I believe I've found the solution. I've switched from fabric to foam. It is a well known fact among wing makers online that good faux feathers are made by laminated layers of fabric with an adhesive. Usually these feathers are made with light weight fabrics and have some sort of shaft sandwiched between the layers. This works to produces great feathers, but it is very time consuming, somewhat costly, and there is always the problem of trying to get a true black.

I now use foam. I've found a way to mold the foam quickly so that I can have the feathers curve like the turkey quills. I've devised a means of adding texture quickly and inexpensively. I've also developed a means of stiffening the feathers so they hold the curve permanently after I've shaped them. They also take paint much better than fabric which means I can achieve a true deep black. The only thing that is not so simple is attaching shafts - I'm still working on this part but may have come up with a solution. As it is - structural shafts (as opposed to painted) are entirely unnecessary for wings that do not open or close.

That's all I can say for now. As far as I can tell, no one else is really doing this, so for now my method is a trade secret.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Small Angel Wings: Patterning

Small Angel Wings Paper Pattern

I've pretty much worked out the sizes I'll be offering for Fixed Frame Angel Wings. Starting with SM at 2ft tall up to XL at 5ft tall. All of them will have faux feathers which are what make them more realistic and proportional. Right now I am only working with a fantasy design which requires far fewer feathers. I may perhaps offer a realistic line latter which would be more strictly based on actual bird wings.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Small Angel Wings

Small Fixed Frame Angel Wings in process

I've a plan for making smaller angel wings that will soon be available to buy online. These wings are Fixed Frame meaning they don't open or close - but they still look pretty dang good.

So I've developed a method to produce them more efficiently so I can start making them more affordable to the public (yay) I've also begun experimenting with an entirely new method of making the faux feathers, which are key in setting my designs apart from others available online.

More on faux feathers to follow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fairy Wings: Paint on Plastic

Experimental Fairy Wing Layers

Because angel wings simply aren't enough...

There seems to be quite a market for fairy wings. I figure while I'm already on a roll with getting an online store for angel wings I ought to add fairy wings to the collection as well. I don't plan on doing what's so widely available online though - which is bent wire frames sandwiched between layers of iridescent cellophane. This method of fairy wings making is beautiful but it's been done, over and over. Not wanting to be limited by the colors of cellophane I can find easily
I decided to add paint to the mix.

So right now I'm working on the fastest, easiest and most repeatable way to make painted fairy wings. The trick will be developing an method for achieving symmetry since everything is hand painted.