Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hey people.  Well you have not heard much from me lately because there has been tons going on.  I've been frantically getting ready for my next show (April 2nd), and dealing with a bunch of family stuff too.  It's been kind of a frustrating time, but here's an update (lots of pics).

This is one bracelet design for the show-- bikey.

 This is another one.  I like how it uses the colored steel I work with and I like the look.  In summer I like to pick a few bracelets and necklaces and wear them the whole season, almost like some kind of tribal thing.  I just never take them off.  This is that kind of bracelet.  It's adjustable, but it ties on.  You can get it on and off by tying and untying, but it's less of a pain to just leave it on.  Do you guys like this idea?  I can't tell if it's *just me* or if it's cool.

I've been working on commissions in between show stuff and it's been uncharacteristically disastrous.  Problem and after problem, mostly related to it being winter and the whole coloration process i use just not working that great indoors in the cool weather.  Next winter I'm not going to take any commissions because of this.   Here is a piece I've been working on for a couple of months trying to get the finish right on.  It takes a long time to build the layers of rust and color to have the depth I like.

I was happy with how this piece was coming out.  There are some really cool transitions where the color changes, and I was really digging the layers.

It's reds/rust in the middle, transitioning to blues on the top and bottom.  It IS going to be gorgeous, eventually.

BUT--  The rust isn't penetrating into the steel.  It was looking like it was, until this week, when the client was expecting it to be done.  Then, on a final rinse down-- disaster--- some of it just flaked off and rinsed away, revealing shiny as ever brand new steel underneath.  W.T.F. steel?  Why are you doing this to me NOW?

All over the finish is beginning to release and crackle.  I could attempt to dry it out completely, doctor the shiny patches with vinegar to get them some surface rust, and try to lacquer the thing into submission-- essentially gluing the finish to the steel, but, I'm afraid it will crackle and look like a hack job.  Probably what will happen is it will require weeks, or months of work, much of what has been done so far being washed away.  Sort of a do-over will need to take place on this one.

Often when this happens, the end result is that much cooler, because not every bit of the finish will release, so what is left will look that much more "archaeological" when it's finally done.

Then there is this table.  It's going to have a river of stones running through it.  I was really digging this effect.  I loved the depth and the reds bleeding through the greens looked cool to me-- but-- not to the client.  She wants it more rusty and less patterny looking. 

So now I'm trying to obliterate the patterns and greens, and this is not going well.  I feel like sanding it down and starting over, but at the same time I'm so sick of working on it.  It's not always super fun doing art for your job.

Since that first piece I showed you will likely result in a do-over, I started another replacement piece.  I basically don't have a chance in hell of finishing this by Mon, but I may as well start.  If the client bails, I'll still have something cool someone else will want.  This time I began with a piece that already had a layer of surface rust on it.  The initial red I used was pretty horrid, but it's just the base layer.

 The rustier it gets, the cooler it looks.  This is only from one day of layering.  Lots farther to go, but you can see already how the rust is coming through the paint.

Ugh-- I know.  This is super long. If you're still hanging in there, bless you.  This is a little bird design i worked out.  Trouble is-- it takes a ton of time to make just one, and looks like some cheap Indian import thing.   ~Fail.~  Totally not worth my time.

Then there was my brilliant rust printing idea from last weekend.  Here are a few of the designs I came up with.  Yes, that tree was a bitch to cut out, but it is pretty cool I think.  I also really like the jackalope.  

Annoyingly-- this is how the prints came out, after trying for 4 days to get a clear pattern.

I'm 99% sure the clear parts of the tree would be obliterated in the wash-- so  ~fail~.

Below is a birdbath design I'm unenthusiastically working on.  Everything feels really frustrating right now.  I'll make sure it's cool-- it's not done, but...  Not super psyched about anything for this show so far.

Much of this frustration is due to my new way of thinking about the art I do.  I'm very preoccupied with *new idea*--- which i am SO GLAD i haven't talked much about yet because it has completely changed since I first began chewing on it.  Even just last week it morphed drastically once again.  It's feeling like I'm getting really close though, to having a fully formed idea of it in my mind I can begin working towards and sharing with everyone soon though.


irishk said...

That sounds terribly frustrating Sue! You didn't even mention the discontinuance of your birdbath bowls:-( It is true, that non-artists tend to romanticize that life and wish, "If only." When you read this, you realize there are many times when the creative process becomes burdened by 'working' for others and by the physical art not cooperating with your mind's creations. I love the rusty tree, I'm sure it has a future in some manner. The little bird is pretty darn cool, even if they are challenging to work on. I hope things start to go a bit more smoothly tomorrow:-) But thanks for sharing!

b_elliott said...

Ah, Sue, sorry you're in a creative funk. I know how that goes and it can really bring you down. All the colors are gorgeous and if you weren't under such time pressure I'm are you'd feel much better about them. I LOVE the little bird but can sooooo understand the taking too much time thing. The rusty tree on fabric immediately reminded me of the ocean. Maybe you could do some sea scape like things? Super excited to hear about how "New Idea" has evolved. Hang in there! Spring is on it's way and that always helps!

Jill said...

I thought the bird was cute, but I can imagine that it did take a lot to weld all of the small pieces together. I also think that the crackled finish on the metal is really nice. So I guess that I like all of the fails... Ha ha...Even if the pristine parts of the metal show through, I still like the texture that the cracking had on the finish. That bird would make a great hood ornament. You are being too critical...your artwork is beautiful.

Maery Rose said...

I hope something comes together and feels right for you soon. Even if others can see "the coolness". if it doesn't feel right to you, it can feel pretty frustrating, especially when deadlines are looming. But knowing you, this pattern will end soon. You are trying lots of new stuff and something good will come out of it and I can't wait to see what that is.

As to your initial question, I really like the 2nd bracelet; I'm drawn to that flavor of green. If it holds up to showers, I'd like to have something like that. I like signature jewelry that means something to me that I can wear all the time. Like you said, tribal and usually symbolic of something I want more of in myself or my life.

I think with your commissions, if you were doing one for me, I'd want you to take all the time in the world to do it the way you think is best. I wouldn't mind the wait so hopefully neither will your real customers. Either way, it's out of your control, both the steel and the peoples.

Hopefully, the weather will allow some bike outings and that will rev you back up again.

pseudosu said...

As frustrating as stuff like this (and the bird bath thing) is, my long-view is that it's maybe not pleasant, but good to be pushed out of your zone. It forces you to experiment and grow. :)

Oh honey-- you DO know what I'm talking about don't you? Thanks for the support!

Thanks. Your positivity really made me feel a little better. :)

THANKS! I was hoping someone would weigh in on the bracelet. It is totally shower proof. :) I'm still developing this idea, maybe a double wrap is in the cards too. Not sure.

b_elliott said...

Oh, hey, I forgot to comment on the bracelet. I love the second one too and **pretty please** will you put one aside for me? I'd love to have one and don't want to miss out on the chance to buy one!!!

pseudosu said...

Sure thing-- chicken wing! I just made a double wrap one and LOVE. Hopefully you guys will like those too because that's what i'm going with. :)

b_elliott said...

WooHoo! Thanks Sue. Hopefully I can come to 50 on 50th but we may be out of town. Thanks for saving me one.

irishk said...

I think the bracelets should be some sort of secret society thing and each one has to be put on by another person who is already wearing one!! Well, I'm just having a moment here with myself:-) Musing away...