Tag Archives: Art project

Pet Trilobites

Super awesome decorated trilobites I created from fossils.

Chrome-plated, bug-eyed trilobites I created from fossils.  C – U – T – E !!!

Does anyone recall the pet rock craze from the 1970’s?  Here’s a photo I found that explains the phenomenon, in case you missed it.

Ah, the '70's.  Neon-haired trolls, Gremlins, and pet rocks.

Ah, the ’70’s. Neon-haired troll dolls, Gremlins, and pet rocks.

Recently my lovely son, Sam, spent a week at the Mataguay Boy Scout Ranch, which is in the Cuyamaca Mountains near Julian, CA.  On our way out of town after picking him and his grimy friends up (they didn’t wash, brush their teeth, or change their underwear for a week), we stopped at Dudley’s Famous Bakery and Gift Shop.  Julian is an old mining town, and the gift shop there was a big draw because the boys are rock hounds.  At the gift shop I found the trilobites, and bought them with the idea of jazzing them up some.

Gratuitous photo of my favorite Boy Scout.

Gratuitous photo of my favorite Boy Scout.

I brought the trilobites home and it took me several tries to work out what I wanted to do.  I used various paints, but nothing really was working.  Finally I just blasted them all with chrome spray paint.  Perfect!  I was seriously considering, for about a half an hour, filling in their eyes with tiny seed beads so they would look like jeweled compound eyes, but then sanity returned.  I dug out my bucket of glass beads, and glued them on over the eyes, to give my pet trilobites that super cute, doe-eyed, anime-style adorableness.  Below are more pictures of the trilobites with my favorite cat, Julius.

Julius and the triplets.

Julius and the triplets.

Hello little buddy.  If you were alive today I would totally eat you.

Hello little buddy. If you were alive today I would totally eat you.

Since I had taken out my beads in a moment of madness (see compound eye idea above), I decided to make a few bead bugs while I was at it (see my post The Cheeseburger Head Spider and Other Rare Arthropods).  I made a little centipedey sort of thing.  It reminds me of Flashdance a bit, since it looks like it is wearing leg warmers.

Julius+bug

Now for some sciencey stuff.  Trilobites were marine arthropods that lived between 500 and 250 million years ago.  Most trilobites died out during the Devonian, the final orders became extinct in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian.  This extinction event, which occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary (250 mya), was the most severe in Earth’s history, with 96% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrates being lost.  Trilobites weren’t the only species to be wiped out, though they may have been the cutest.

Emma, at the Permian extinction exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. several years ago.  She loved this, we had to go back at least 4 times over a couple of days.

Emma, at the Permian extinction exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. several years ago. She loved this, we had to go back at least 4 times over a couple of days.  Notice the naked, upside down Barbie clutched in her hand.  Barbie was not a big extinct marine invertebrate fan, she much preferred the Gem and Minerals hall.  The Hope Diamond!  I hope Ken gives one to me someday…

Trilobite facts and pictures.  Trilobites have three lobes on their bodies, which is how they get their name.

Trilobite pictures. Trilobites have three lobes on their bodies, which is where they get their name.

Emma and Sam checking out extinct marine invertebrates in the NHM in D.C.  Look at the giant trilobite on the upper left!

Emma and Sam checking out extinct marine invertebrates in the NHM in D.C. Look at the giant trilobite on the upper left!

One last trilobite for the road.  Pic I took at NHM.  Have I mentioned how cool I think trilobites are?

One last trilobite for the road. Pic I took at the NHM. Have I mentioned how cool I think trilobites are?

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Science

The Cheeseburger Head Spider and Other Rare Arthropods

Here it is, the Cheeseburger Head Spider.

Here it is, the Cheeseburger Head Spider.

It has happened again.  I was wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble (yes, bookstores do still exist), and I found a craft book that I was compelled to buy.  It was Bead Bugs by Amy Kopperude.  When I find books like these they invariably add to my list of random skills, which I am hoping will one day coalesce into some sort of monetizable activity, but this has not yet happened.  See my posts “It’s Every Sock’s Dream to Become a Sock Doll” and “I Stole My Daughter’s Present and Made Art With It” to get an idea of the wide range of my incredible talents.

So I bought the book and brought it home.  I already had a few bins of beads and wire tools, as I make jewelry occasionally.  And can you believe it, the Gem and Jewelry Show made its way to San Diego just a few weeks after I bought the book.  So my son Sam and I (check out his cool blog on my blog roll) went to the show, picked up even MORE beads and some wire, and I got to work.  In the book I bought the artist was diligent about keeping her bugs on the realistic side.  I wasn’t really, and I blame my son.  He insisted we buy these glass beads shaped like cheeseburgers, and then when I asked him what kind of spider he wanted me to make for him he replied, “A cheeseburger head spider”.

Some pics of my creations are below.  I also happened to buy some glass owl beads at the show, and there happened to be a project with an owl in cage in my new book that I adapted for my owl beads.  It came out wonderfully.

There are a few take home lessons from this blog post.

1.  You may think you have enough beads, but you never really do.

2.  I’m pretty sure cheeseburger head spiders don’t exist, but they should.  Wanna hear my joke? What do cheeseburger head spiders eat?  French flies.  Oh yeah, I’ve still got it…

3.  If brick and mortar book stores disappear, serendipitous finds like my bug book won’t happen nearly as often, and I won’t be able to continue to add skills like Bead Bugger to my resume of life.

Three beetles having a meeting.  The turquoise bug to the left is one of my favorites.

Three beetles having a meeting.

A caterpillar and and ant.  Isn't there a fable by Aesop with that title?  There should be...

The caterpillar and the ant. Isn’t there a fable by Aesop with that title? Or am I thinking of the joke where they walk into a bar?

Cats.  I know, I have issues.  The same place that I got the owl beads, cheeseburger beads, and octopus beads had cat beads.  Which I bought.  Because I have an illness.  How can you not love cats???

Cats. I know, I have issues. The same place that I got the owl beads, cheeseburger beads, and octopus beads had cat beads. Which I bought. Because I have an illness. How can you not love cats???

One of my absolute favorite things I have made lately.  I hung my caged owl in my garage/lounge/art studio, over my corner table.  Perfect!

One of my absolute favorite things I have made lately. I hung my caged owl in my garage/lounge/art studio, over my corner table. Perfect!

Wine.charms

A set of wine charms I made for my friend Leslie for her birthday. I still have to put the little attachment rings on them. I found another use for those awesome owl beads!

2 Comments

Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography

I Stole My Daughter’s Present and Made Art With It

Our friends the Tibbetts (see the 12 Tonys page and the post on Pretty Baby, Tony’s porche) gave Emma a present for Christmas.  A set of six small black canvases and some gel pens.  They have been sitting in the kitchen, waiting for Emma to open them up and use them.  She waited too long…

A bit of back story is required at this point.  The kids’ elementary school has a wonderful art program called Fine Artists.  The lessons are designed by our resident artist Kathleen Kane Murrell (http://kathleenkanemurrell.com/), who teaches them to the parents, who then teach them to the students.  The parents get to make the art themselves during workshops, and a recent lesson was based on decorated matchboxes by Picasso.  I thought my “identity box” was so much fun to make, since I really, really like little things (see my post Microworlds).  I glued many things on that box, like a single purple plastic high top tennis shoe that I found on the ground a least a decade ago and have kept for no particular reason since.  I also glued things with particular meaning to me, like a small Buddha because I collect them, and a thimble because I sew sock dolls (see my post It is Every Sock’s Dream to Become a Sock Doll), and a grey cat because I must always own a grey cat (the current is Julius).  I enjoyed scouring the house, all my shelves, and bowls, and hidey holes, for small objects to attach to my box.

Mo.ID.box

Now, remember, these canvases are just sitting there in the kitchen, and I probably pass them by 4 or 5 times a day.  About a week ago, after the kids were in bed, I was hanging out by the fire in the living room, and checked out the bookshelves for something to page through before bed.  I lit on Mixed-media Doll Making by O’Brien and Opie.  There is a chapter on making dolls using a canvas turned backwards as the body (this creates a small space or stage to work in), and then attaching found objects for the head, arms, and legs.  AHHH, those little canvases, just sitting there, for like, at least a week and a half…

In my defense, I did invite Emma AND Sam to make a canvas doll with me, they both declined.  So the other night I broke out the paints and papers, dug through boxes and drawers, got out all my beading and button bins, and went to town.  The result is six little canvas dolls, ready to hang on the wall.  Since I also stole Emma’s angel coin for “Guardian Angel”, she has claimed that one to hang by her bed.

So this is a warning to all of Emma’s and Sam’s friends and relatives.  If you are going to give them presents, clothing in their size (not socks, since I make sock dolls!), toys, or books would be a better option than art supplies, since I obviously have no shame about pilfering presents.  But as I like to remind them, I gave them the gift of life, so they are forever in my debt.

Guardian Angel

Guardian.angel.3

Samurai

Samuai.2

Heartbreak

Brokenhearted.2

Universe Man

Universe.man.2

Oh Canada

Oh.Canada

Good Doggie

Fido

4 Comments

Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography