Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sooner or Later ...

I had to hit a snag on something. However, this is more of a "good" snag than anything else. It definitely does not rise to the level of a "Greg Podgorny".

Andrea was busily finishing up the Minbari ranger outfit when she got to the belt/baldric buckle. We thought we could dress something up using a leather buckle and some Angelus silver paint, but she wasn't happy with the results.

Given the way we both feel about how a costume should look, we agreed that we'd have to find an alternative for the buckle. More like a real metal buckle. But this thing is going to be BIG. About 5.5 by 4.5 inches big. And it would have to match the "feel" of the rest of the outfit.

Enter my hero, savior, and all-around partner-in-crime, Russ Sharek of the Minbari Ranger badge fame. Russ will do the buckle and will send it down to Andrea for it's final fitting. I wanted something that will complement the badge and we've discussed using his renowned "Mitsuro" technique to create an organic-type buckle for the outfit.

For those not in the know, here's a description of the process, directly from the Master's website:

Mitsuro is a 1300-year-old Japanese sculpture technique which was almost lost to history. Originally used in Nara era Japan in the construction of Daibatsu, the Great Buddha, Mitsuro is a veritable fusion of alchemy and artistry. In 2002 artistan-jeweler Russ Sharek of The Morpheus Company revived this ancient technique.

Western lost-wax sculpture methods involve either carving pieces from a larger block or building up a design in successive layers of wax, clay, or other material. By contrast, the Mitsuro technique is a dynamic, organic process.

Small pieces of the material are warmed in the hands to body temperature, and then the entire mass can be stretched, pulled, twisted and formed in a highly kinetic manner. By careful folding and twisting, natural line patterns called hikime are formed in the Mitsuro, further adding to the organic look the technique produces.

Mitsuro is a demanding technique, which requires great focus and an incredibly delicate touch. The slightest over-handling can ruin the delicate textures created or even work the wax to the point where it becomes unusable.

Mitsuro's working properties are affected by many variables. Humidity, temperature and even the body chemistry and fingerprints of the artist cause every piece to have its own signature hikime patterns. These details are so delicate that they can not be duplicated with any kind of molding process; making each piece of Mitsuro completely unique.

So, the outfit will take a little longer to finish, but I'll be 100% satisfied with the completed work of art.

What would I do without these two??

Preparing for Glory ... Part III: The Greaves

Well, JJ has been busy with many things, my stuff included. I don't know if he's working on my sandals and shield yet, but I've emailed him and wait with bated breath for an answer. I have several folks - Andrea and Russ among them - waiting to see what I look like in the full outfit (or lack thereof). I'm really looking forward to it too.

I got WIP (work in progress) photos of my greaves and they indeed look spectacular. I know they will be comfortable since this is the same expert that did my LOTR greaves. JJ is going to put straps on the greaves rather than the lacing in the movie version. From his experience and mine, straps on steel on your arms and/or legs are a LOT more comfortable than lacing.

"Steel, not bronze?" I hear you say? Well, bronze is harder to work with according to JJ and also doesn't last as well. We decided to chemically and heat treat the steel to give it that burnished look and it's also is a good deal lighter to wear. Excellent reasons for using modern materials!!