ferrumaeternum: (sif the harvester)
I almost don’t know how to compose an entry that doesn’t have anything to do with art I’ve made, my tattoo progress, or a concert I’ve just been to. D: This needs to change, and it will, starting now.

So, this has been popping up on various LOTR-related sites over the past week and is just too cute not to share.

There are sheep living in abandoned hobbit holes! Well, probably not right now as the set is under construction, but come on, how adorable is that!?

It’s a good thing I didn’t sign up for any yoga classes because I’ve been so busy working on Dybbuk’s MySpace layout that I really wouldn’t have had time for them. Their first show is already this Friday at Vnuk’s Lounge, so I’ve been hurrying to make sure it will be ready before then. MySpace’s coding is incredibly frustrating to work with, and I recently learned that the layout I designed will be obsolete in the near (or hopefully not so near) future. Most band profiles use the Version 1 layout, and I’ve read that it’s just a matter of time before MySpace forces everyone to switch over to Version 2, where nothing is aligned or centered in a way that makes sense or is visually appealing for the artist pages. Just look at Amon Amarth’s new layout on Version 2. What an ugly mess! The main problem now is that there are very little HTML or CSS resources out now for this version, but I’m hoping once it does switch over, tutorials for the coding will follow shortly after or else there’s going to be some really messed-up looking band layouts for a while. Unfortunately, with MySpace you can’t just use a nice, organized CSS stylesheet like you can with LiveJournal customizations. I’ve just got it all sorted out so that it works in Safari and Firefox, but I still need to check it using Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera. It looks great on my MacBook Pro and my sister’s Asus laptop, but I’m also going to check it on the ancient PC my parents use just to make sure. I also have to finish the illustration for the header image today, and then it’ll be finished.

I just want Dybbuk to have the layout before the show in case they want me to make any changes. I think their MySpace page will get a spike in visitors after they see them perform live and hopefully want to know more about the band. Here’s the link to their MySpace if you want to check out a couple samples of their music. (I’ll also repost a link once they have the new layout up so you guys can check that out as well if you’re interested.) They’ve been in the studio recording their first EP this summer, which will be out in fall. I know it’s my friends’ band and all, but there aren’t many good bands from Milwaukee, so I have a lot of faith in them to improve the scene. Dybbuk started out playing progressive technical death metal, but found this power metal singer from up north, which I think makes for an interesting combination. Since I’m taking photos for the band at the show, I get to be let in as part of the band and get free drinks all night! It should definitely be a good time, even if all the other bands sound like a bunch of chaotic death metal noise. I’m a little disappointed I’ll be missing the Young Dubliners at Irish Fest that night, since I’ll have to go tomorrow instead and they’re not playing then. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers will be there, though, so I’m sure it will still be fun. I’m also finally old enough to try some of their mead, so I’m crossing my fingers they still have it there! ;) I refuse to go over the weekend because $15 for a ticket and another $15 for parking is ridiculous. At least admission is free on Thursday with a donation of school supplies!

While I’m on the topic of metal, you’ve got to check out this animated video for Ensiferum’s "One More Magic Potion" if you haven’t seen it already. This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I just love all the imagery from the Norse myths and the Kalevala.

'One More Magic Potion' Animated Tribute from Celine Lester on Vimeo.

ferrumaeternum: (a light from the shadows shall spring)
For the final project in my printmaking class, we had to make an artist’s book that reflects the previous work we presented in class as well as who we are as artists. I didn’t want to keep beating my poor classmates over the head with intense symbolism and mythology, so I decided to keep it simple and illustrate an excerpt from one of my favorite poems. I also chose to tone it down a bit because we would be trading two of our books with two other classmates, and I wanted it to be something they could relate to and take something away from in the end. (I’ll post pictures of the two books I received soon because they’re really neat!) I also have to say that I hate the entire concept of the artist’s book. I had to make one a few years ago for an assignment, and I didn’t do so well on it. The whole idea of it is so pretentious (even for myself!) and abstract, and it’s more craft-oriented than fine art. Like I mentioned before, art is about communication, and if you can’t successfully portray your idea to your audience, you’ve failed as an artist in my opinion. The only way to make it bearable for myself while fulfilling the project’s requirements was to illustrate a story, so I naturally chose one by my favorite author. Tolkien’s nature and mythological themes in his works also reflect my previous prints this semester. I actually had a lot of fun making it once I found a balance between the book as literature and art, so I hope you guys enjoy it!

I designed it all in Adobe PhotoShop CS3, added a dot print to the image, and printed it on a pronto plate with toner-based ink. For those who don’t know what lithography is, it requires the ink on your plate to have an oily surface. You take a wet sponge and wipe the plate down and immediate roll printing ink over it before the water evaporates (which takes only about five seconds, as I found out the hard way). After you do this several times, wiping with the sponge in between every roll, you run it through a printing press. Unfortunately, you don’t get as much detail with this process as other methods, so my prints aren’t nearly as clear as my digital images. I’m still kind of miffed about this because they would have been if I had increased the contrast, but I’ve never done this before and didn’t have a clue how much detail you could get with this method of printmaking. My printmaking teacher told me my prints would be fine after I sent her a concerned e-mail and they turned out just as I had dreaded. Luckily I don’t think you really need to see all the images perfectly to be able to understand the piece. I’m thinking about making a few more books but with prints directly printed on paper from PhotoShop instead of lithographs. The books were constructed by hand using three pieces of matboard, decorative paper, and a bit of glue mixed with water.

+ 7 original digital images )

+ 7 pictures of the book )

ferrumaeternum: (wooden pints - katie cook)
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.

We had a screenprinting workshop in my printmaking class, so I wanted to make something I’d actually wear if I spent the time making it. I think it turned out pretty well for my first endeavor in this medium. The scarf was only $5 on clearance, and I love how it fades from white to blue. (It also really needs to be ironed!) The fabric is thin, so the ink soaked through to the other side, and I also printed another tree on the opposite end of the scarf. I know only the white tree in bloom has the crown of the king of Gondor, but I decided to add it so it wasn’t strictly Tolkien’s design and to fill in the negative space in the original drawing. It’s a glimmer of hope that one day we will rebuild this world that we may share in the days of peace.

+ 1 of the entire scarf )
ferrumaeternum: (vittu)
I’ve put off updating this journal for so long I don’t even know where to start.

Now that summer has come to an end, here’s the abridged version of what I was up to this past season:

Besides the festivals, concerts, and mini-vacation, all I did this summer was work. I only saw my best friend once before school started. What was supposed to be a part-time job turned out to be full time, but at least I made well over two thousand dollars and am still working one day on the weekends. Many times I’ve wanted to post a huge rant about all the reverse racism I experience at work, but it won’t change the fact that every issue in Milwaukee is always about social class or race because the city is ridiculously segregated in terms of living space. Although I technically work in Brookfield, which is known for its uppity white residents, the store is on the border of Milwaukee and just down the road from the north side. Until another employee transferred from another store a few weeks ago, I was the only white person there out of all the cashiers and customer service associates. Needless to say, I was not welcome. After a few months, most of them have accepted me, but the customers sure as hell don’t. For some reason, all the blacks living in the ghetto of Milwaukee think all the white people around here are racist. I still have yet to meet one, so I’m not sure where they’re getting this mentality, but I am so sick of it. If I ever get around to typing up the dialogue, I’ve got a top 10 worst customers of the summer list that could be entertaining depending on your sense of humor. And trust me, it was very difficult narrowing it down to just ten. I honestly don’t mind working customer service in retail. It’s just the customers and coworkers that are insufferable.

The good news is I have enough money to continue financing my tattoo and study abroad in Ireland this summer (if I still want to when the time comes). Gaelic isn’t too difficult so far and the grammar has been a lot nicer than German. It’s actually the easiest out of all my classes. I would’ve loved to study abroad in Germany, but all the programs are for business, engineering and mathematics majors.

I’m also back in the dorms again this year, since my sister needs my car for the hour-long commute to community college. The only bus I can take goes through the ghetto. In fact, the very place I’d pick it up is the parking lot outside my work where people get robbed on a daily basis. I’ve ridden it before, and you guessed it, I was the only white person on it. At least my suitemates this year are rather quiet and keep to themselves. The girls next door to me have been dating each other for three years, and there have already been some nasty arguments between the two, but at least they make an effort to be friendly when they see me. We never see the girls in the other room because one is usually off with her douchebag boyfriend and the other is from a very rural area and seems frightened of us. But if that’s the worst of it, I can deal.

This semester I’m going to make an effort to post more of my artwork on here, since I’m taking figure drawing and printmaking. Unfortunately, my professors still have all the work I planned on posting here on display, so that’s going to have to be pushed back a week or so. I’m just relieved I’m still one of the top students in my class after not having had the time to draw anything in over a year. I really don’t feel like I accomplished much at all this summer except catching up on movies I’d been meaning to see and rereading Tolkien’s trilogy. (I actually only got through the first two, but I’m starting RotK tonight as today marks Frodo & Bilbo Baggins’ birthdays and the day they both left the Shire.) Speaking of birthdays, I also turned 21 earlier this month and ended up embarrassingly tipsy at Houlihan's over an orange juice glass-sized amount of Bailey's.



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