Update Update Update!
I am so delighted with the response this is getting, there simply are not words. Keep backing, and keep spreading the word- I set the goal of 1600 as the least I could possibly complete this with. Any funding over the goal will lead to grander, more fantastic masks. Here's how:
The first thousand dollars donated will go directly to copper
The next 587.32 will cover my most conservative list of add-ons to the masks (nails, LEDs, stones, gold leaf, horse hair, two pearls, bells, glass eyes, muslin, silk thread, a tiny motor, a miniscule amount of gold wire, a small bit of silver wire, goose feathers, crystal tears, silver chains, copper chains, peacock feathers, porcupine quills, etc)
From 1587- 1750 will cover kickstarter fees
1750- 1825 will go towards expendables (saw blades, drill bits, sandpaper, bezel wire for stone setting). It would be very handy to be able to order all this at the beginning of the project and have it on hand when I need it. The less time I spend on logistics, the more time I spend on masks.
1825-1950 will go towards propane (for my forge) and acetylene (for my torch). This won't cover gas usage for the project, but it'll be a nice buffer.
Any amount over 1950 will allow some of the fancier things that I've sketched for this but thought were unrealistic, before all you folks came through so well. This may mean more copper and/or more (or more expensive) addons. For instance? I would love to make the Strong Toad as a full helm. I'd love the Amphisbena with scale maille. I'd love to put the LEDs on the A Bao A Qu on a timer such that they would slowly fade in and out. Just wait and see!
This is a labor of love; anything and everything you give me will go directly into the project.
The short story:
120 chapters, 161 creatures, 197 masks. Re-imagining beasts based entirely on Borges' 1967 text, The Book of Imaginary Beings, as translated by Norman Thomas diGiovanni.
The long story:
I've been making forged copper masks for a decade; this, though, is the grandest journey I've yet taken. I'm giving myself a year to do it, and at the end of that year, I will have an immense, complete body of work, ready to show. I've already begun the process, and am 20 masks in- I've been keeping a solid base of 3-5 masks a week since April 1st, and plan to be finished by April 1st, 2012. That is a fast pace, but based on what is already done, I can promise, without any fear of failing, that this will be done by the end of April, 2012.
Because these masks are made to be part of a group, they can have a dialogue with each other. This has been impossible in my previous work, where the making of one mask has been funding by selling a previous one. I have taken the occasional sabbatical, and allowed myself to make a mask I know I am unlikely to sell, but with the cost of materials, I simply can not do that often. This, of course, is where kickstarter comes in. I've read through "The Book of Imaginary Beings", sketched out my masks, and written up a very tight budget. The copper alone for this project will be nearly 1000 dollars. Then there are the bits and pieces that will make these masks what they are. The Squonk needs many tiny crystal tears (26USD) and chain from which to hang them (14USD). The Centaur needs horsehair for his mohawk (7USD). Azriel needs glass eyes (24USD). The A Bua a Quo needs blue LEDs (8USD). Those are just a few selections from a long list of things to buy to complete this series. Not all the masks need anything, luckily. Conservatively estimating, and utilizing what I have already in the shop wherever possible, my materials total comes to 1585.39. That does not include broken saw blades, gas for the forge, kickstarter fees, or bandages, all of which I am happy to put up myself. If we go about 400USD above the funding target, those will be covered, as well, allowing me to finish all the sooner. Inevitably, any over-funding beyond 2000USD will lead to more elaborate masks.
The techniques and materials from this project will inevitably pervade the rest of my work. So, even though these masks will not be for sale- or at least not till they are all done- you can think of this as an investment in Vagabond Jewelry R&D. And, of course, there are fabulous rewards- sketches, framable patterns, and, at only 75 dollars, actual masks. This will very likely be your only opportunity to own any of the masks in this series, as the editions will be closed after my fundraising goals are met.
And, finally- Why masks? Because they are the best and strongest way to express a beast that only lives because we believe in him. These creatures only ever existed in the heads of those who read about them, in the peripheral vision of those who thought they might have seen them. They are conjectures, full of what we need them to be. They are us, we are them, and, for better or worse, we play them all the time. Our choices of masks, and what we do once we believe we are hidden, show us more truly than our faces ever could. A Zoo may introduce us to the world, but a Bestiary introduces us to ourselves.
- (30 days)