Is the x-mas tree growing wings?

The asshole who ruined x-mas

or

I’m never doing this again.

or

the ballad of the X-mas ornaments

The basic instructions for making a cast and mold ( like say..one for making the x-mas ornaments) are as follows.

make sculpture.  make a box slightly bigger than the sculpture.  Put the sculpture in the box.  pour the mold making goo into the box filling it. wait until it dries to a rubbery mold. cut out the sculpture.  pour the cast making resin into the mold. wait for it to cure. remove. repeat as per number of casts needed. sand off any burs. paint cast.

not complicated.

Not when you put it like that.

That’s how the rest of the world does it.

Here’s how I did it.

Make sculpture.  make box.  Upon making the box I remembered that air bubbles are the enemy. If  air bubbles get trapped on the bottom parts  there will be a zillion round shapes on the mold resulting in a zillion round tumors on the copies.   SO, I put my nigh genius level i.q. to solving that problem.  the problem with having a nigh genius level i.q. is the “nigh” part.  the elusive 2 points or so that keep me out of officially being a genius seems to be vital.  I created a crank/screw/rotisserie thing on the side of the box and screwed the sculpt into the side so IN THEORY, I could spin it around so the air bubbles harmlessly floated to the top and did not stick to the bottom. And I used plexiglass so I could see the thing the whole time. What a great Idea. NOT.

The mold goo starts out about as thick a syrup that has been in the refrigerator and quickly thickens to the consistency of jelly in about 10 minutes and then to peanut butter in about 5 more minutes then dries totally in about 6 hours. Also…the goo isn’t really as transparent as I remember and I could really only  see the top.  SO after I poured it in and spun it the only result was that I could see the offending air bubbles easier.  Which resulted in my trying to poke them with a fork through the goo while trying to spin the bastard around in quickly thickening goo. Which resulted in the thing coming undone from the crank and slowly, defiantly sinking to the bottom. Which resulted in me trying to reach in and reposition it. Which resulted in rubber goo getting everywhere but inside the box and a rubberized ball of crap inside a box with a vinyl glove attached to it.

Okay…a day lost. No big deal, I planned way ahead this time. Oh…what’s that local store? You don’t have any more mold goo? No problem I planned way ahead, I’ll order some online. Which resulted in the dumbass at UPS allowing the two-part mold goo to freeze in his truck rendering it useless. kay…now we’re getting a little tight on time. I picked up the second shipment of goo right from the UPS hub. …let’s try this again.

This time more gingerly I put the sculpt contraption together and brushed on a layer of goo ensuring all the creases were filled and had no air pockets or bubbles, let it set, THEN poured in the rest of the goo. SUCCESS!

Hours later I cut the sculpt out and off we go.

The main problem now becomes I am doing all this in my kitchen because my new apartment, while very nice (well…it was very nice) has no basement or garage. The label clearly states “use in a well ventilated area”.  A warning I often see that I usually view as more of a challenge than a hard and fast rule. The fumes from this stuff though will knock you right on your ass, also the resin comes in two parts that you mix together and then harden in about three minutes. I have been told that while the mixing of the chemicals will result in a hard cast, the mixing of the fumes of the chemicals in you lungs will also result in a hard cast. This may have been my friend screwing with me but why take chances. I put an old school industrial metal box fan ( the kind this country made back when it was great, it weighs about 40 pounds and makes the lights dim when you turn it on) in the doorway to suck the fumes out. I began mixing with a mask on and turned on the fan. It sucked out the fumes, it also sucked out paper work , blew around the plastic solo cups I was using to mix things and inhaled and chewed up the stack of paper towels. While I tried to deal with the blizzard of crap the first mixture hardened in the cup.

Okay…take two. Everything is secured, fan is on, chemicals are mixed and poured. One cast is done. How many of these do I need again?…oh dear…

The math in my head is painting a grim but doable picture. I’m going to be up for awhile, but the ornament looks good.

Fast forward about 3 days. The kitchen looks like Walter white and Jessie had a fist fight while doing a “cook”. There are cups of half used resin, puddles of resin, stirring tools, a cordless drill with a blender attachment screwed into it that has a layer of mold goo on it, and the cast are being created from the third attempt at making a mold.  what happened to the second mold? I don’t remember…it broke or something.  I also don’t remember what day it is, the last time I ate, how to spell my last name, or how to count to ten…all Ido remember it the warning label ” use in a well ventilated area”. I also remember the retarded guy at the gym struggling to zip up his winter coat. He’s got some from of retardation, what kind I don’t know, but it hinders his manual dexterity to the point that watching him try to connect the tabs on his zipper is a painful 5 minute ordeal. This image is in my head as I struggle with my own zipper for 6 minutes before going out to get a new dremil tool to sand off the burs on the casts. Where is my old dremil? I don’t know…but I do know it is covered in resin and was hurled southward out of the kitchen and the sound wave of my cursing followed just behind it.

Fast forward a couple more days. The final casts are being completed while I air brush the base layer of paint onto the completed casts…in my kitchen. Hell I already inhaled the resin fumes…and the dust off the casts as I dremiled them…might as well inhale some paint so at my autopsy the coroner can pull a complete ornament out of my lungs. Time is quickly running out anyway, and I have gone this far, no time to start doing things right or worrying about safety now.

At this point my lovely assistant is doing something at the table.  Something. She’s plotting against me I think to myself. They are all against me…YOU are against me too…enablers who keep me in business so I can destroy myself with stress, fatigue and stupidity, you orders are not so much orders to be entertained by my work but to be entertained by my slow ridiculous demise…AREN’T THEY?! AREN’T THEY?????  I swish away a cloud of paint fog and peer at her…narrowing my eyes with suspicion. “When did she get here?” I think to myself. I have a hazy recollection of asking her for help. I think it was after I asked Jesus, buddha , Satan or anyone who could hear my cries for help. I seem to recall Satan showing up with a contract, looking around, checking the calender and saying “you’re on your own.”

My assistant peers back through the fog.  Her face is twisted with aggravation, annoyance…perhaps a hint of pity as well…she is sort of changing into a stress monster, like when tweety bird drank that potion and turned into a giant green monster bird…then she beings to change again into something like a lava lamp. I begin to realize that it is not her disposition changing her appearance but more likley my own brain damage as I look around and everything looks like a lava lamp.

The ornaments get painted in waves and hung on the shower curtain rod to dry.  After which I begin the touch ups and finally the eyes. Why I ask myself did I post a picture of this thing with all the eyes painted? It was fine just being all red. Kind of neat just like that actually. But Noooo…I wanted this to be better than that. I didn’t want this to just be an ornament, I wanted this to have a base and be just as nice on a shelf all year long next to any other busts or collectables people had. So…the next step paint three dozen eyes onto each ornament. The math is now completely against me. It could take an hour to do each one, and any screw up would need to dry before it got corrected. Well…I am a world class illustrator, I simply won’t make a mistake. I’ve only been awake for two days…with no more than 4 hours sleep in any of the previous 7 days, all the while inhaling fumes, I’ll just take the brush and gently..DAMN IT!…okay…one mistake. I’ll just relieve some stress by hurling it out the window. Ah…much better. Back to work.

Fast forward another day. I cannot really describe the conditions of the apartment, on a good day a gifted wordsmith would have trouble painting a visual picture that did justice to the scene. “Cluttered” doesn’t really cut it, because none of the clutter belongs in an apartment. It is surreal. There are air compressors, air brushes, brushes, drills, sand paper, tarps, cans and jugs of resins and chemicals and thinners, of all kinds. Rags that were used to clean up spilled resin and tossed to the side have dried into twisted horrific muppet looking things…like cookie monster got captured by boba fett and frozen in that …stuff they put han solo in, except whiteish . There is only a four by four area of resistance against the clutter left now. It is my desk were I continue to touch up the ornaments. In a fume induced OCD reaction to the chaos that is the rest of the apartment I correct every mark, every burr and mistake. crevasses no one will ever see. tighten up lines no one will ever notice. smooth out details that could only been seen by staring at the ornament for five entire minutes. At least I think that’s what I’m doing. I could very well naked in an alley be painting “kilroy was here” and hallucinating that I am still painting ornaments. And where is my assistant? Did she leave? I live near a hospital and hear ambulance sirens on an hourly basis. I try to recall if one of those ambulances came here and took her?

I don’t know…

I do know some of you will begetting these too late for x-mas…unless the USPS employs x-mas fairy’s who sense a package is due on x-mas and ignore standard operating procedure and legal holidays.

It’s my fault, I’m an asshole. I should have been able to get this all done, and was well on my way to doing so until the wheels came off. You can still have them on your tree for the weekend and new years eve though…and have them sitting in the base all year-long. And it is a good collectible to have because it is the project that pushed me over the edge. I’m never doing this again. No more of this extra curricular merch that I end up making .45 and hour on after all the time spent screwing up. I’m writing and drawing comic books. period. I’m not a silk screener, or a mold maker, are a sculptor. I’m a writer and an illustrator. This ornament on the way to your home is a resin cast testament to me finally learning my lesson. Any other merch is going to be farmed out to someone else or not done at all.  No more of this.  No more of me doing everything myself.  No more of me thinking every single aspect of a project has to be touched by my own hands.

That’s my new years resolution.

If This was to be a gift (I overnight-ed the ones I was told were gifts) you can send the would be recipient to this page so that they know you did not forget you simple invested in a clusterf*ck and that it will be in your hands shortly.  AND as soon as my brain recovers I will come up with some way to make it up to you.

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