Symbols and Sympathy

pendantBit hot out, ain’t it? I don’t think I’ve managed a convocation with anyone in the past three days that hasn’t included some reference to the weather. I don’t have much to show you on the craft front. I’m still in the middle of a few big projects and catching up on bits and bobs. I did knock up a medallion for my dwarf character in Fools and Heroes that might fit the bill.

Soapstone is a really soft stone you can carve with a knife alone if you’re determined enough. Art and craft shops sell chunks of it, usually in a creamy off-white colour, or it’s light enough to get delivered without crazy postage prices. I had a few bits lying round I’d got in a sale that needed playing with, and adding some interesting little details to my Mardnotkiln kit seemed like a good enough excuse.

pendantbackI wanted something to link her to her dwarves clan, and a bit of pretty. The curve-based triangle on the front in the symbol of her clan, Min Stanroc, the runes on the back spell out the name ‘Mardnotkiln’ in Rhonish, the written language used in Fools and Heroes. I used a knife and my Dremel to hack out the basic shape in soapstone, starting by cutting out the outside shape, then hollowing out the front indent. that gave the rough shape so i could clean it up with rifler files and sandpaper. An engraving bit on the Dremel worked fine to carve the symbols on the back, then I went through various grades of wet/dry paper to sand it. I used black polymer clay (Sculpey) for the ‘inlay’ writing, and a mix of black and metallic silver for the front. The little stones on the front are a mixture of tiny semi-precious gem stones and some gravel chips nicked from my neighbours garden. Getting them to behave was a bloody nightmare, but it worked eventually. I tried to get a little lip of clay on each one to hold them firmly in place, then textured it with little dots to break up the surface.

After baking it and giving it a final sand and polish I gave the whole thing a good few coats of spray varnish. I did like the matt look of it beforehand, but I was a bit worried that the soapstone would get scratched a lot if I didn’t give it some protection. You can mark soapstone with a fingernail. I’m chuffed with the result. It’s a bit grey looking on the back because I didn’t leave a thick enough slice of soapstone there, but it’s barely noticeable. The varnish is keeping the whole thing a bit too clean too, it needs to get battered a bit more to look ‘real’. Still, it was an interesting make and an interesting technique for LARP heraldry.

sorehandIn other news, look at my poor hand!

Isn’t it awful? I love making things, I hate what it does to my hands. This weeks injuries include the hideous (and apparently foetus like) burn on my forefinger, cause by handling molten sugar while distracted by Topgear, a very painful, and deeper than it looks, tear down my middle finger caused by a nail sticking out of a bit of wood ripping it open and a nasty stab in my little finger, only noteworthy as the needle that caused it was a blunt tapestry one that slipped! I may have to start wearing gloves to cover up my revoltingly unladylike man hands.

Fate has also got hold of me. Last night the wonderful Jo Bath (who has a new book out) filled me in on her latest cunning plan, wearing a corset as much as possible to lose weight. That may sound crazy, but anyone who’s worn a corset for very long will know you don’t tend to eat as much in one. They squish your stomach, so you feel full sooner. I thought about giving it a go, then lo and behold, the postman delivered me a new corset this morning! Clearly, the universe is telling me to wear more corsetry.

FlowercorsetMy new pretty is acrylic boned. I was expecting it to feel more like a basque but it does give a fair amount of support without the squishing effect of steel boning. It’s probably no where near as effective in the stomach squishing department, but it should at least make me aware if I’m overdoing it while being a lot more comfortable for day wear. I’ve found it’s making me move round more often too, as I can’t slouch down or ought.

Take care folks, and enjoy the sunshine!

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