Unit 3 – Reflective Report

Unit 3 Reflective Journal – Jay Surma

This Unit we have been given different projects as it has progressed all of which don’t need to be done until the end of the unit.  This left us to finish each at our own pace and order. We had a pretty wide range of different projects. Some being tough or tedious, others fairly simple, but all of them taught us something.

First project was the Hellraiser cube. The cube we all did together as a class and I was able to knock it out pretty quickly (thank you junior high shop class). The painting was fairly difficult. I had never done a wood grain before and I had to paint it twice to be happy with it. I tried to find a laser cutting place to help out with the faces. I called about seven different places that did it and no one was very happy to help out. I gave in and decided to do it with cardstock but it is a very lengthy process. If I did this as a commission I would definitely just hire a laser cutter to have them done. It’s quicker and would deliver a better result.

Second was the flintlock pistol. I started out with base as all and had a couple images I was using.  I was going for a large double barreled flintlock to begin with but quickly began to hate that idea. I decided instead to think outside the box and make a crossbow flintlock pistol. I was really quite pleased with how the idea turned out. I ran into a couple problems along the way. I didn’t design it perfectly and ran into an issue with the hammer being in the way of the bow string. Also I wasn’t very good at metallic finishes and had to repaint the barrel three times before I was happy with it. Next time I would be able to tell a lot better what kind of finish I want. It’s always been a slight challenge to me. Now however I understand a few different types of metal finishes.

The custard cream I found in a way to be the most difficult. The shaping of the biscuit was really simple and extremely enjoyable but the details on the faces of it took a long time to cut out. It was possible to do at home though so I just took a week and spent a couple hours each night doing it. I then had my first run in with Scrim and Hardkote. The scrim was pretty simple as I have done fiberglassing and paper mache before. The hardkote though was a very difficult substance. It was tough to mix and didn’t want to stick to the surface of the custard cream. In the end I was pretty happy with it though. Next time the thing I would do differently would be to do both sides of the biscuit and the cream as separate pieces and then glue them together in the end. The reason is because I found it near impossible to get the desired texture to the cream having to work in such a tight space.

A small thing we did in between the others was to make something small out of super sculpey to be moulded to learn about vinamould. I made an amulet that I designed a couple years ago for Dungeons and Dragons. It was a nice little break where I could make something I just wanted to and not something specific. It turned out well I just had to sand it a bit and paint it. This was the first time I used the yacht varnish and found out that it is really effective and strong. I can just toss the amulet about all day and it won’t scratch. If I did this one again I would make it a little more intricate. I didn’t anticipate on vinamould being very good at picking up detail but it did.

The Masks as a whole were fun. I never have a problem working with clay so that was fine. The plaster, latex, fiberglass and all of the molds went smoothly. The vacuum forming had a less than stellar result though. I had the problem of the nose being too pointed and it wouldn’t form up underneath it. To fix this I tried to screw a few holes in the face but it didn’t solve the problem. In the future I would keep in mind difficulties with the plastic like that and try to modify the piece around that. In the end though I fixed any imperfections in the masks with some filler and they turned out great. It was just a matter of painting and adding a little flair to them.

The puppet head I think is of the projects that turned out the best. I decided with it to try and make an accurate and slightly cartoony version of myself. The plaster mould worked out really well. I saw others had leaking problems but mine was bone dry. The only issue I had along the way was that I got a little greedy and tried to paint over top of the first layer of latex paint too quickly and it started to peel off. It ended up making little balls and tears that I had no choice but to try and smooth over with more layers of paint. Next time I would probably just make it a three part mould because of the chin and nose area. They ended up not getting perfect detail underneath and made it difficult to pull the mould apar

We made scale model chairs. This is one of the projects that went the smoothest for me. I measured it up cut it and everything went as planned. I found it fun in a way. It was interesting to work on such a small scale. I would be driven mad to make a lot of them, but I found it suited me well. I painted the second chair and it actually looked really nice for such a small work. If I did this again I would probably just make a table to match it. That would be fun. Maybe a couple little 1/25th scale people as well.

All of the projects helped me with experience in things I tend to struggle with or taught me something completely new. I found the most challenging ones the most rewarding. All of the wood working and painting I found the most useful. The tedious things I had done before were frustrating and so I tended to procrastinate on but I’m still really pleased with how everything turned out. My favorite project was likely the Flintlock pistol because it had the most elements to bring together. There was nothing I really didn’t like, even if the idea of it didn’t please me there was something about each project I found fun.


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