Entries in Category Artworks

Letterpress and Bookbinding: Book Arts 101

I recently took a workshop titled "Book Arts 101" at Florida Atlantic University's Jaffe Center for the Book Arts, which, besides introducing us to a world I had only barely-glimpsed before, that of artist's books, taught us to dabble in those arts themselves, using the techniques of letterpress printing and hand book-binding.

After ogling the extensive collection of the Jaffe Center, we printed covers on a vintage proof press (a Vandercook 4) set with wood block type, then bound them into neat pamphlets using needle and thread. The residents of South Florida are truly lucky to have such a world-class collection at hand. I extend my thanks to John Cutrone of the Jaffe Center and Lake Worth's Convivio Bookworks for teaching this workshop and allowing us to experiment with this at-once anachronistic and up-and-coming craft.

Mjolnir Pendants—Yet Another Skill for My Mythbusting Résumé (New Year's Eve Part 3)

I made some Mjolnir (that would be the hammer of Thor for those who don't speak pagan-geek :) ) pendants for viking party costumes. It was also an opportunity to try my hand at sculpting and moldmaking, bringing me one step closer to living the life of a mythbuster—that is, a mythbuster without his own television show. I based the design on this one (found on google images); for the price, I probably should have just bought that one instead, but that's not really in the creative spirit of this whole New Year's Eve theme party thing.

The first step: I melted down some old bits of candle wax and cast them into a puck shape, from which I carved the original pattern using one of my very favorite tools, the X-Acto knife.

From the Fury of the Norsemen, O Lord Save Us! (New Year's Eve Part 1)

New Year's Eve 2007 was the latest in what has become a Martinson tradition: a themed costume party. The theme this year? Vikings! As always, this party involved a great deal of creative work beforehand in making the costumes, props, fireworks show, and all the rest of what our guests have come to expect out of a not-so-typical New Year's Eve. I can't publicly thank everyone responsible for these preparations, but you know who you are, and I know what you did. Thank you all. This post (and the ones to follow), however, is more for the benefit of those who weren't at the party, but are interested in some of the projects completed for it. First, my viking shield:

This is probably the only costume item that bears any similarity at all to actual viking kit, or at least measures up to a reasonable re-enactor's standard. Yes, it is plywood (11/32") rather than joined planks, and the fanciful dragon motif (taken from a shield on display at the Norway pavilion in EPCOT center) was probably never seen in actual dark age combat, but other than that, it's not bad. The plywood blank I cut out with a jigsaw. The steel boss was made by an armourer named Mad Matt (it's the "satin-finished" round boss available on his site)—a solid, economical choice I'm very happy with. I also applied an edge-banding of 3" wide rawhide strips (soak a large rawhide dogbone till it unravels, apply when moist and flexible) nailed over the edge with blued carpet tacks. The grip in the back picture is just a bit of hardware-store mild steel bar, drilled and riveted through to the boss.