C (in a Roman sense)…

This is the 100th post here on Surfing the Zeitgeist. Since I began this project the subjects have ranged from legend to futurism. From creative process to both profession writing and sculpture. From who I have been to who I aspire to be.

Maintaining a nearly weekly schedule on a blog has helped focus my thinking, which as you’ve seen can range across a wide range of topics. That’s fine for amusement but when there’s a task at hand it helps to have a structure and/or outline. There have been a few personal landmarks along the way – not the least of which being the loss of Leonard Nimoy.

I’ve also been able to celebrate my collaborations with Leanna Renee Hieber, the Nerdy Duo, and Simon Berman. There have been links to my other blog-work at Criminal Element. Through all the past 99 posts I have enjoyed tracking the nations from which Visits and Likes have come. The number of countries on that tally coincidentally sits at 99. It’s fun to have a bet with myself on the next addition to the list but I’m nearly always surprised, though I am fairly certain № 100 will not be North Korea.

99

Apart from providing insight to how I go about my projects I’ve given a few glimpses at my philosophy – hopefully without being controversial. My heroes and notions of civics don’t have to be yours; if we all agreed on every point what would be the purpose of a blog anyway?

A hero’s journey and a personal one may both fall under the rubric of per aspera ad astra (through hardships to the stars). High hopes lead to higher aim. My motto for the past 25 years has been, “The only raw material required to manufacture hope is time.”


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per mutatio…

In art nouveau, and particularly the work of Alphonse Mucha, we frequently see an arc of ever-smaller circles around both sides of a round frame. Mr. Mucha found this structure fascinating and, I must admit, I do as well. I won’t go as far as to suggest it counts as part of sacred geometry (either for myself of for Mr. Mucha). But it is very appealing to my aesthetic.

In mathematics, such a figure is called either a Pappus chain or Steiner chain – depending on specific tangency. I’m certain it has a name in art world but I haven’t rediscovered the term (yet).

As you may have seen in previous posts to this blog, I am creating sculpture and art in addition to written fiction. The Star Trek-inspired novel¹ on which I am in progress has introduced a sister muse. The television series and motion pictures showed us very little Vulcan art. Much as I might prefer otherwise, I do understand that Vulcan culture is not the main point of Star Trek. But it is the emphasis you’ll find on The Taan Shop².

ta'an 2Just this week I was able to blend two examples of Vulcan art and symbolism (the IDIC and the coffin-shaped chime/gong) with the Mucha crescent. The words shown are kau and yehtwise and true, respectively.

Pandora’s Pets are creatures of expressed emotion. The items presented on The Taan Shop could count as the opposite. Or maybe not. Fans of Star Trek know that Vulcans embrace logic. We know from the salute of “Live long and prosper” and the philosophy of “Infinite diversity in infinite combination” that their perspective is more nuanced than commonly thought. It seems more likely that the Pets and the ta’an are two sides of the same flag.

Both projects are evolving and I feel they should. You are invited to pay a visit.

Vulcan Tarot frame


¹ “All We Now Hold True
² More accurately, the Vulcan word for gift would be transliterated as ta’an but that would confuse the URL.


Note: The Vulcan font was designed and provided in beta form by Britton Watkins. He is the developer and director of conlanging, a documentary on the art of making fictional languages and writing systems.

i⁽ᵗ/ᵉ⁾ = :)

Postulate: There is a very easy way to determine if one has an artist’s soul.

The formula/title of this entry presented in words would be – “(the) imaginary, raised to the power of time divided by energy (or effort), yields a smile“.

If – while engaged in the act of creation – one smiles, one is likely an artist or may “soon” be.

“Soon” is a variable. The specifics of the act may also not be a constant. Both the process and product might seem radical and/or irrational. If the creation, intended or not, proves smile-inducing – should it not count as art?

Pandora’s Pets are part of my art and process. As individual creations, I smile at each one as they evolve. I have been fortunate enough to sell nearly 50 of them – not counting the Pets out on consignment.

As a group – and as the subject of an evolving “mythology” – they satisfy the need to remind myself of patience, innocence, and hope. They will also be featured in an illustrated book for inner children (in progress). It deals with emotions and stars Pandora and her bestie, Hope.

Pandora's Pets 3

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”
Henry Ford in his autobiography, “My Life and Work” (1922), speaking about the Model T in 1909.

The Pets‘ horns and black coloration are obvious but they are intended and presented as creatures of hope (ἐλπίς, or elpís, in the original myths). Their appearance and presence in my own mythology probably dates to about my first birthday during college.

I can no longer say for certain but they might have stemmed from “personification” of attention to detail. The tiny and good devils in the detail, if you will.

The most frequently used word regarding Pandora’s Pets when I am presenting them to potential customers is “adorable”.

They just make me smile.

Tales from the Hereafternoon…

The concept of the Audience of One has always fascinated me and said Audience is not necessarily always also the Muse. In brief, the concept pertains to circumstances when – if an artist’s work is seen by only a specific, intended viewer the artist can be content. (There’s a bit of that notion in this post’s title).

There was a time when I could reliably be expected to spend most of my day in thought, listening to good music, and engaging in rampantly philosophical discussions with one of my dearest friends – Randy Reitz. We both still do all of those things but for the past 15 years there has been 1,100 miles between.

This past week (with a few extra days added for good measure), he and I picked up about where we left off, and without much lost momentum.

He hasn’t been able to take the whole week off so I’ve been working on a new batch of Pandora’s Pets, which we debated might be called the “Worry Warts” batch. (The first set are called “Millstones”.)

Randy and I have always had an interest in the arts; all of them. I think it’s fair to say it took him longer to find his own. It’s also true that, once discovered, his art enjoyed a wider audience than did mine. Until recently, it rather surprised me when anyone but Randy took an interest in my creations. We have both, I believe, always tried to encourage each other but making art must come from the artist – regardless of how much encouragement there may ever be.

While making sculpture in his home, I realized that I tend to “hmmm” while in the process. The unconscious comes very near the surface as these tiny little demi-demons are summoned. The process is almost meditative, maybe. It isn’t only a metaphoric exorcism. Earlier today, between stages of making today’s Pets, I realized that my fingernails and fingertips are no longer stained from having been a smoker. When out “finding oneself”, no matter how often one needs a reminder, ask the folk who know who you have wanted to be.

I’ll be offering Pandora’s Pets for sale via ebay and etsy very soon. There will be a post about that once a few more details have been taken care of.

Future Toys from the Attic…

While in preparation for making Millstones (aka Pandora’s Pets), I knew I’d have to get some polymer clay and extra tools. Before a trip to the store(s), however, I went to explore the attic.

I’ve spent more time there during the past six months or so than I had in some while. The attic is a study in non-Euclidean storage and sorting; recent trips revealed a few sculpting tools in random places. Once I’d begun a diligent search for what I might need I found more than what I’d thought I might have to buy.

Cards from an art supplies shop had been given during the Christmas Holiday season, though, so I would have to go “buy” some. The almost-forgotten reserve in the attic meant the new selections could be of things I did not have. I got two sets of metal tools that will probably replace the plastic set – once I’ve had time to experiment with the new batch.

A Millstone, I should say, is part of an imaginary environment. Each one is be about half the volume of a baseball. They an easily sit in the palm. I see Millstones as a collage of positive emotion and good intention, built from a state of near-serenity, with the intent to help people find all of those ingredients. (And for those who might think that sounds a bit hokey, I’m told the Millstones are adorably cute.)

It has always been true that when I am sculpting I smile the entire time. Making any sculpture is one of two sources of a completely at ease and pleased state. As a former scientist, I cannot claim that art made in such a state carries energy to the eventual owner. As a very, if oddly, spiritual man – I can hope. And do.

Coming soon…

Millstones logo

Wandering the Hallways of my Mind…

For a very long time – perhaps since the late-‘70’s/early-‘80’s – I’ve mused about small creatures in the background of most stories I imagine. They didn’t always have relevance to a plotline. By the late-‘90’s, they were still poking around my imagination, holding little processions and carrying tiny flags. They made frequent, vignette appearances in an online, shared fiction community I ran at the time.

More recently, I discovered a sketch I’d done of a small band of them. I don’t remember branding them as “Minions” but that was the word at the top of the page. The art and notes were from about 2003. Obviously, I couldn’t sculpt and sell Minions; Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment might have something to say about that (even though mine look nothing like what they’re calling by that name).

The sculpting started last week and I do intend to sell them at conventions and via certain online shops. They will be called Millstones and/or Pandora’s Pets. I’m thinking of them as standing in proxy for what ever worry a presumed customer may have in mind during the purchase. I don’t recommend them as an actual worry stone. One of these Millstones is part totem and part ward.

When I do sell a Millstone, I imagine the customer selecting a name for the “critter” at the moment of sale.

What’s seen below is a picture of three works-in-progress. Later Millstones will be of two distinct types – Lesser and Greater. The second type will be larger and more elaborate. They’re made of polymer clay and not-entirely-random findings from the attic.

10628627_10153088362553623_343024229707624041_n

The next step for these three is refinement and detail. Then I’ll have to determine a fair price.