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About Artisan Crafts / Hobbyist Official Beta Tester Brandy StarkFemale/United States Recent Activity
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Bride 2 2015 by metalpug
Bride 2 2015
Finished a work that has been sitting here for a long time.  I started her with the GCAA opening reception March 5.  Been....unmotivated with the art.  However, this one just really wanted to be done.  The veil is a wrap from a mint from a high tea. :)  I wanted to go with the bridal idea so kept the colors very simple (lots of silver; she is a brunette).
Ireland by metalpug
I ended up reworking a piece.  I had "The Bridge Between Time" as my first work for 2015.  She was being shown and when I brought her home I didn't pack her well enough; the filaments sustained a bit of damage.  Since she didn't get the praise I'd hoped, I ended up reworking her.  Though she was made on Friday the 13th, I'm calling her "Ireland" because her form seems to mimic the intricate landscapes that I see (green, ground, and even a bit of orange for the Irish family came from that line). Entering this for the Craftart March challenge.  I do like this work and I think that the Irish are, themselves, a bit of the magic.  This entry was made for #CRArtisanCrafts's challenge + March Artisan Crafts Monthly ChallengeIt's time again for another monthly challenge! This month we'll be doing luck-focused crafts. As always, the theme is open to the interpretation of all your creative minds!

The theme for March is "Luck". 


Artisan Crafts and/or Traditional > Sculpture only!Join #CRArtisanCrafts and submit to the Monthly Contest Folder. In your artist comment box please write that this entry was made for #CRArtisanCrafts's challenge + add a link to this journal.The entry must be new and submitted between March 1st and 31th.One submission per deviant. 
By:  Brandy Stark

Butterfly Mask 1 by metalpug (Self portrait in a butterfly mask made with wire and 3-D pen).

I am a wire artist by trade; as such, I wrote a piece for Project Educate on wire wrapping.  However, when there was a call for information for the artist's tool box, I wanted to share my latest endeavor: 3-D pens.  

Initially, I wanted to see if I could create prints of my sculptures with a 3-D printer.  There is a local center associated with my college that does do limited free projects, but the scanning and input technology has not caught up to my bending practices.  Unless I can make a computer file (which is complicated by my standards), 3-D printing was not in my future.  However, a friend of mine noted the interest I had with the printer and suggested that I try a new item:  the 3-D pen.

 3-D Pen Mermaid by metalpug                            Bridge piece 2014-15 by metalpug                                Black and White Mermaid by metalpug
(First - third attempts)

The first time I looked up 3-D pens was with a Kickstarter project; I opted to wait and see what happened with these results.  I checked again about 8 months later and discovered a small array of pens available.  I chose my first one, an inexpensive model that came from China.  I waited with baited breath until the day it was delivered.  I used the pen for a total of 3 hours before it broke in the middle of my first wire/3-D pen construct. However, it was enough for me to be hooked.

The basic design is such that the pen contains an internal heating element that melts a specialized plastic filament.  Once extruded through the end of the device, which is shaped somewhat like an over-sized pen tip, the filament dries within a matter of seconds.  In essence, the artist is drawing with all three dimensions with the filament hardening into the shape desired.

In the manner of technique, the pens do require a bit of practice.  The filaments are not difficult to use but it can be a little work to get them properly wrapped around the metal wire.  In order for the filament to hold its form well, the extruded plastic needs to be connected with itself.  However, I have been able to make fairly intricate patterns with the pens; I can pull the filament straight or leave it in curly masses.  Moving my hand faster produces a thinner line; concentrating on a smaller area makes the filament thicker.  The various colors make my wire works really pop since the filaments are brighter than colored wire and easier to control than metal paints.  I find working with the pens very relaxing as I enjoy creating the abstracted patterns of skins over my sculptures; the best way for me to describe the sensation is similar to a spider spinning a web (though without the messiness of any biological factors).

Bacl of 3-D pen fairy by metalpug3-D Pen Fairy by metalpug  (Less pen, more metal)

Be aware that the pens have small fans within them and do make a humming sound when plugged in.  I have noticed that some of the pens start out fairly quiet but the hum does reach louder, though not unbearable, sound levels. The pen tips do heat up a lot – to the level of skin burning with prolonged contact.   I have not had an issue burning myself (the secret is to not touch the metal tip), but with longer use the entire pen can become slightly uncomfortable to hold due to the heat emitted.  

My current assessment of the 3-D pen is this:  the technology is there, but it’s not yet perfected.  I have tried about 8 different pens ranging through four different models in approximately 5 months.  I have not tried so many by choice; they break quite easily. I just answered a question from a woman whose pen worked only one time before it broke (I advised her to contact the manufacturer to see what could be done). Because they are new I was able to get refunds or replacements for several pens, but the time delay remains a frustration.  I have learned that one should only use the pen for an hour to two at a time; they have small parts that do not seem to hold up well with periods of longer use.

Teal Hair Mermaid with 3-D pen by metalpug                 3-D pen Dragon by metalpug         Black, white and red by metalpug

(Diversity, practice)

The type of filament used is also important.  There are different qualities of plastics utilized; the first type I tried dried into such a brittle form that I could not handle the sculpture.  Currently, I use filament kits that I order off of Amazon ranging from $10 to $20 for 5 shorter strands of different colors; these produce a much stronger result.  Colors range from monochromes (black, white, greys and silvers) to all shades of the rainbow, glow-in-the-dark [I am awaiting my first spool to come this week], solid colors and clear/opaques.  Oddly, I have found that the clear filaments are much more brittle in their original state and more likely to cause pen jams. I offer an additional word of advice with these kits as well:  they give one plenty to experiment with but none of the colors will go far.  A best, though costly, practice is to order larger spools of single colors (which I believe are also used by 3-D printers) for about $40 each.  

The pens also fluctuate in price. The cheapest pen I have tried sold for about $30; the most expensive was about $150.  Since I started exploring the 3-D pen, the prices have gone down considerably but they still average $50 - $120. I did engage in a second Kickstarter campaign for the next generation of 3-D pen ($150, including 5 tips for texture, a stand, and several longer strands of sample color filaments).  The newer model, I hope, will resolve some of these issues.  I cannot wait for it to arrive!

3-D pen and metla mermaid front shot by metalpug                       3D pen green yellow and black by metalpug                       REH mermaid by metalpug

(Most current works)

As an artist, I find the possibilities that the 3-D pens offer as intriguing.  I am going to continue to practice with my metal and materials to see what works best.  Regardless of purpose, these things really are fun and open up avenues of creativity even to satisfy curiosity as to how they work.  I have gotten a lot of compliments on the wire/filament pieces.  I have written a few pieces on my experiences and have been asked to talk about my experiences to a few groups.  Artists seem excited by this new medium and the public is curious, but I still find that my fully metal works have an easier time finding new homes than the hybrid works. It may be, in part, that I am still in an experimental state and have not found my full artistic voice with this medium as of yet.  

Questions?  Comments?  Other pen users out there?  Please offer some feedback.  Regardless of art sales, I am excited to keep trying this new product.  I feel that it does elevate the status of my works to a new level of artisan craft.  I cannot wait to see where it goes from here!
Mermaid at Suntan by metalpug
Mermaid at Suntan
Do you see all of the art?  I made this work while volunteering at the Suntan Art Center today.  She is in the Craftsmen Gallery at present. :)  Three types of wire and upcycled found beads.
Black and Gold Fairy by metalpug
Black and Gold Fairy
Made this last night in conjunction with "A Stitch in Time" (up until well past 12:30 doing art).  Painted wire, brass, upcycled flower ornament (wings) and the upcycled earring (I think) for her breast piece.


Brandy Stark
Artist | Hobbyist | Artisan Crafts
United States
Current Residence: St. Petersburg, Florida
Favourite genre of music: Various
Favourite style of art: Black and White
Operating System: Windows
MP3 player of choice: I'm too primitive to have one.
Favourite cartoon character: Optimus Prime
Personal Quote: If the word "heresey" is attached to your name, it means that you lost the arguement.



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rwellmaker Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Pug Power!
metalpug Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Poopycakes-makes Featured By Owner May 17, 2014   Artisan Crafter
thanks so much for the mention :)
Duzloo Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
Thanks a lot for :+fav:ing! :iconratwinkplz:
metalpug Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Saphira001 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love your art! It's all so pretty! And we have the same first name lol!
metalpug Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks. :) And keep up the good name! ;)
Saphira001 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Pabeard Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2011
Welcome to the Traditional-Images group!
Your gallery has great images that will fit the artistic
mission of our group.

We welcome you!:iconchampagneplz: :iconwhiteroseplz:
metalpug Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the invite. One of the shows that I'm hosting is in the paper. That's me with my work with the article: [link]
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