Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vacation work

One thing I wanted to do over the holiday was redo my studio. I had plans for a new work surface and needed to create a space for my new toy (Taig lathe). I finished up this afternoon. Over the years I've discovered that I cannot work amidst too much chaos. Another goal was to create a space that could be dedicated to photography. Hopefully, I'll be better about taking IP photos with this setup. My wife got me a portable photog studio that is looking very promising. I'm very happy with the way things have come together with the new studio. I think that it's more workable than before, even though the main workbench really didn't change that much. The fact is, that part worked fine anyway.

We're doing a New Year's Eve party this year. Our first in a few years. It should be a good time. We're planning on ten guests, no kids and a little bit of cheer. New Year's day will be spent recovering and eating the traditional black-eyed peas.

Progress continues on a handful of sculpts and one paintjob. I think I've gotten over a hurdle with a master I've been working on for way too long. Hopefully, things will continue positively. Photos next time. I've been looking more and more at Cool Mini or Not. I'm fascinated with the ideas on this site. There are some historical figures there too. I really like the Sci-fi figures and dioramas I see there. I think I'm going to do a few Sci-fi pieces soon. I feel a little odd that the characters I'm considering have no root in any body of work, but there's freedom in that too. I just don't want to have to explain what it it's supposed to be to anyone. More on this in the future.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Season

I have good deal of time off over the Christmas break. We plan to enjoy it more than usual this year. For the first time in a long time, we'll be free from visiting obligations this year. I have few projects in the hopper that I hope to spend some quality time with over the break. I'm well into the sculpting the characters for my shadow box of "Big Bad John" as written by Jimmy Dean. This will be my first try at such a project. I hope it measures out to what I see in my head. The figures seem to be going well. I'd like to do some other folk heroes in the future.

If you're not given to sentimentality, you can stop reading here. This season almost always fills me with nostalgia. In Sunday school today we were asked to discuss someone outside of our immediate family that had shown us love, this being the fourth Sunday of advent. I couldn't help being reminded of my Grandpa Crisp. Discussing my Grandma would have been a no-brainer. Her love for me was so simple and unconditional, I could have done little wrong in her eyes. My Grandpa was a different story. Our relationship was somewhat contentious, if not outwardly so. My demands on my Grandma for useless junk at the toy store must have been a constant source of frustration for him. If for no other reason than it was given out of proportion to his other grandkids. After I became older and needed work, I went to work for him is his television repair shop. It was a token job that paid enough to keep a fourteen year old interested. I don't think he expected much from me in the way of initiative. Time went on and I did the best I knew how. He found out I was a quick study and liked to stay busy. Over the next five years my responsibilities grew with my ability. Without any real intention he and I became immeasurably close. He was a Navy veteran of WWII, and was there at Leyte Gulf as well as other engagements. He told me that one of his proudest moments was piping Admiral Halsey aboard the USS Bon Homme Richards.

Well, one of my proudest moments came while I was working for him; It had been a very slow summer for business. Money was tight and I had been told that payday was going to be delayed as there just wasn't money to pay everyone. I could accept that. Then we got a couple of phone calls. A service call for poor reception at an apartment complex, and an install job at another. He needed to stay and run the store and my Uncle was away that day. The work was too good to turn down, and besides, these were faithful customers. I was pretty fresh to be working on my own at that level. My Grandpa had faith in me though. He sent me on both jobs. One I did in the morning and the other that same afternoon. I was dripping wet by the end of that hot July day. I brought in enough money to make payroll. It was my work that did it. I was seventeen years old. I couldn't have done it without knowing what I learned from working there and wouldn't have been sent if one man hadn't had confidence in me. A day rarely passes that I don't think about him and how he shaped me into who I have become. In that spirit, I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.