26 Dec 2004
Ysengrin was in the Dallas area last weekend, and went by Lance Pope's gravesite at Laurel Land cemetery (the upper picture; links to a broader view). Lance's friends are in the habit of leaving little items that Lance would like when we visit his grave; Ysengrin left a plush lion this time.
Ysengrin also visited at Haunted Verdun Manor to view Lance's cenotaph (the lower picture), erected by his parents.
19 Dec 2004
This is one of two Sphinxes outside the Rodgers crypt in Cypress Lawn, Colma. The entire crypt displays numerous Egyptian motifs.
One of the interments within is Arthur Rodgers, "a prominent attorney of San Francisco ... a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California, and one of the ablest lawyers in the State." Arthur came to California around 1865, and wrote home with the comment "I can buy land (unincorporated) in Santaclara county within 5 miles of Gilroy for $20.00 an acre."
My, how times have changed.
12 Dec 2004
05 Dec 2004
28 Nov 2004
21 Nov 2004
14 Nov 2004
Somebody asked last week if we'd caught any surfers - well, here's the proof! Ysengrin and Ed (from Club Ed Surf Camps) pose on Capitola Beach against the Pacific as a backdrop. That's Ed's board - Ysengrin doesn't know how to surf.
24 Oct 2004
17 Oct 2004
More funerary art from Colma, this time a classically draped female mourner dropping a lily blossom. The necklace of flowers in this case was both real and fresh. There was also an Graves family ornamental marble bench nearby with saytr (Pan?) heads.
Walker Coleman Graves was one of the leading attorneys of San Francisco, and was the presiding officer of the J. G. James Company, the foremost cattle business in California. Born in Kentucky, June 10, 1849, to Coleman and Virginia Graves, Mr. Graves graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1878. In 1882 Mr. Graves and Miss Maude James were married; together they had three children and remained happily married until Mr. Graves' demise in 1920. Mrs. Maude Graves remarried in 1923 but later divorced, eventually joining her first husband in Colma.
And what about Anton Winston Bakker? From this web page and this news article, it would appear that he was a senior at the University of Arizona at the time of his passing. On Sunday, Feb. 15, 1998 he was with a few friends in the Tucson Mountains when he jumped into a storm-swollen creek, courageously attempting to rescue a friend's dog. He and the dog were swept over two smaller waterfalls before going over the 80-foot Tanque Verde Falls. The dog's body was found three days later, Anton was found the day after that. He is Walker Coleman Graves' great great grandson (per an email Ysengrin got from his cousin). His marker is mounted into the top of the Graves marker.
10 Oct 2004
In Felton, California, in the heart of the Santa Cruz mountains, is the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. We had to visit, of course.
03 Oct 2004
26 Sep 2004
Colma, California is a true necropolis - a city of the dead. Over one and a half million people are interred in its many cemeteries.
One of the monuments there - in Cypress Lawn Cemetery - is this distraught lion.
He's based on the Sleeping Lion from the monument to Pope Clement XIII, St. Peterís Basilica, Rome, sculpted by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) - though the lion in Colma has his eyes open and a much sadder expression.
19 Sep 2004
We recently drove the Jeep over to Alice's Restaurant, up on Skyline Drive in the Santa Cruz mountains, up above Palo Alto. It, and the Skywood Trading Post across the street, are prime motorcycle hangouts. Alice's gets the crusiers and hogs, while the Trading Post gets the sport bikes; it's not that clear-cut a division, though, and there's a lot of mingling. It's the nest of nice, twisty mountain roads all around that draws the bikes. Alice's also has good food; I went for the chicken-fried steak breakfast, myself, while engaging in bike-watching.
And if you were wondering, no, this is not the Alice's Restaurant that Arlo Guthrie sings about.
12 Sep 2004
05 Sep 2004
We finally made the trip up to Berkeley to visit The Bone Room. They've got a wonderful selection of bones, both real and casts; a nice assortment of fossils, both real and casts; mounted insects; carved ivory oddities; things in amber that once lived; antique coffins and books. We were looking for something specific that was out of stock, but the staff was very helpful in locating alternatives. Now, we just have to save up and get that cave bear skull cast . . . and several other things.
The thumbnail is a very cropped portion of the full picture.
29 Aug 2004
Here's the way we usually foam-fill the hindpaws. DarkFang is the 'form' in this case, and is wearing the wet suit bootie that will become part of the hindpaw. His shin is wrapped in plastic wrap and has been treated with mold release. While the paw is still inside the mold (the top half has been removed for the picture) we pour in the polyurethane foam, then add the bootie. After the foam sets (about 30 minutes) the excess is removed along with DarkFang's foot.
22 Aug 2004
Ysengrin sculpts a new upper palette in oil based clay. A mold is made from the finished sculpture, and the palette is then cast in dental acrylic or resin as needed.
This is slightly different than the process shown back on 09 May 2004; in this case we were sculpting teeth and palette as a unit, working in a much harder grade of Plastalina. Results were mixed compared to setting finished teeth in a sculpted palette.
15 Aug 2004
08 Aug 2004
Making a lifecast in the workshop. In this case, a detailed lifecast was not needed, and a thin covering of plaster bandages was used. After the plaster sets, the bandages are carefully removed and soaked with plastic resin to make them more rigid. Plaster is then used to thicken the shell from the inside to make it strong enough to hold the roma clay for the sculpture.
01 Aug 2004
25 Jul 2004
18 Jul 2004
Another convention picture, this one from Further Confusion 2004. That's A New Bis (worn by Aetobatus) and Ysengrin, standing in front of the hotel elevators.
11 Jul 2004
04 Jul 2004
Ysengrin on his XR350, almost exactly twenty years ago. Amazingly, the cycle park where the picture was taken - Rocky Ridge Ranch - is apparently still open.
27 Jun 2004
20 Jun 2004
13 Jun 2004
06 Jun 2004
30 May 2004
Khrahl (see 21 March), not yet furred, being worn by DarkFang. As we normally do, the markings are in the latex, just "spiffied" up a bit with a touch of paint. We're intending to give him cheek ruffs and a big mane, and he should be available as soon as we finish fine-tuning him. Naturally, he'll be available in a wide range of markings.
23 May 2004
16 May 2004
09 May 2004
DarkFang is sculpting individual teeth (and fangs). We both sculpt many, many individual teeth in sculpey; they are embedded in clay palettes to create sets of teeth for particular masks. Once a set is made, we make flexible molds and either cast an actual set for use in dental acrylic or polymer resin depending on what is needed. The individual teeth are saved and re-used in other master sets of teeth.
02 May 2004
25 Apr 2004
Sometimes we have to take shortcuts. In this case, fitting a foam-filled mask (Khrahl, see 21 March) to a normal-sized human head. Using a plaster lifecast would be difficult to position correctly, and we didn't have a urethane(soft) head available, so DarkFang put on a breathing rig, we taped his head into a large plastic bag, and then he positioned his head in the mold. Urethane foam was poured into the mold and allowed to set (about 30 minutes). DarkFang's head was then successfully removed from the casting, and a flexible core made from the casting for future pulls.
The result is a snug-fitting, comfortable head that's extremely light.
18 Apr 2004
DarkFang is using a propane torch to melt and smooth a layer of Vaseline on one half of a mold before making the second half. The idea is to make it easier to seperate the mold afterwards, and to have a smooth surface that will not leak when latex is cast in the mold. The sculpture is of a new hind paw.
12 Apr 2004
This is actually looking down into the fresh-made mold of the head shown back on 21 March. Physically, this is a negative, not a positive - parts that seem to be closer, like the nose, are actually farther away. This image is actually a couple of weeks old; we've pulled a master from this mold and Ysengrin is working on the teeth for it now.
05 Apr 2004
28 Mar 2004
We were out at Natural Bridges State Beach (Santa Cruz - formerly known as Moore's Beach) this morning around low tide (for the day, still 3+ feet higher than real low tide); I just liked the back-lit remaining arch ... apparently there were three arches back a century ago, two have fallen during storms, the most recent collapse in the 1980's.
The monarch butterflies that winter over at the park were long gone.
29 Feb 2004
Who said everything we do is glamorous? Here DarkFang washes off an old core mold (a core mold is used inside the main mold to control the thickness of foam latex). It's one that will never be used as a core mold again, so after sealing it we'll use it as the base for new sculptures to save on the clay buildup needed compared to a human lifecast.
Yes, that means we're working on new heads.
22 Feb 2004
15 Feb 2004
08 Feb 2004
Why aren't there more pictures of DarkFang from FC2004 (well, like any pictures)? He was having to work over half the con, and could only suit up one night. We were both suited up that night, so no pictures.
01 Feb 2004
25 Jan 2004
From left to right - Siegfried, Ysengrin Blackpaw, and Mirko. Taken by DarkFang Blackpaw outside our hotel room at Further Confusion 2004.
11 Jan 2004
The town of Placerville, California is also known as Hangtown, apparently due to the rough-and-ready nature of justice here back during the gold rush days. This Hangman's Tree Historical Spot is actually a bar over the site of the original hanging tree, whose stump supposedly is still under the building. We visited the town recently and just had to share.
04 Jan 2004
Yes, that is an actual bottle of wine that DarkFang is holding. It's bottled by Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda. It was enjoyed with a wheel of smoked Gouda.