Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
Each word on this blog is the original creation of the writer. You better not copy it!
No comment is directed towards any individual/group.
Happy Reading!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The stuff we learn...

You know how it feels when you think you're more mature than you ever were, and you think back to the past and want to kick yourself because what you thought/did/talked about was so stupid? I think this feeling is a constant, as we continue to change each day. I was (kind of still am) a believer in the permanence of things, but I suppose it's a silly thought. Even if you manage to preserve something for centuries (ancient stuff found in museums or even mummies), they're not the same as they were. We change, things change, and in the process, if you're receptive, you'll learn to be at peace with it and even enjoy it. The past few days, I've been thinking about the stuff I used to get so worked up about and wished I hadn't wasted time on it. But then, how was I supposed to know unless I've 'been-there-done-that'? This thought is a consolation, and particularly now, I feel lighter than ever, having made conscious choices and decisions and realizing what suits me best.

It's been hard, because I've felt like I belonged someplace else, ever since I was small. Be it any institution - school, coaching centers, colleges - there's always been this feeling of temporariness. 'I'll leave this place soon. Let me make the most of it and ignore the hurt that comes. I'll be free soon.' I'm not sure what to make of it, but I have no complaints. I've always been a happy kid. Delighted, even. Getting upset at things normal kids get used to get upset at. Till then of course, I hadn't experienced sadness or tragedy, but whatever. The point is, it has been now, when I finally feel free to make my life as I want, that I feel truly liberated. And light. And very much normal. Looking back, it's worth noting how, when we're bound to a place or situation, we want to make the most of it and form relationships around. Of course, each experience feels great, even exhilarating because that's how it felt right at that time, but it's an entirely different feeling to feel liberated from all of those, to feel the relief that you're not bound, or expected to do a certain thing. Maybe in some people's perspective, you still are, but you don't feel it that way. Or perhaps it's about priorities. I feel I'm beyond trying to be nice just to be nice, to go out of my way just because it's expected of me, to do what is supposedly right but doesn't feel right. Barring a few close people (family and friends), I'm not bound to anybody. Even those few people don't make me feel 'bound'; just feel-goody connected. It may feel like I'm stating the obvious, but if you've been through this transition stage, you'd know what I mean. We think we always know it, but we don't. Not really.

Pic credit: Google

What I feel suits me well:

1. Keeping true to myself and to the rest: Pretense is just not my thing. Having been in places and situations where I definitely had to pretend to feel good when I certainly wasn't, I had started feeling that maybe I did actually feel happy, and was scared to think of the opposite. But now when I'm free from them, I do realize I was internally, miserable. I couldn't pretend, really. Did I make many friends? No. Did I manage to heavily applaud someone on an achievement when I hadn't really felt like it? No. Will I try to befriend someone just because it 'should' be done? Most probably not. If I don't want to talk you, I wouldn't. Just don't expect me to make small talk or whatever just because it should be done. There are no 'should's. In the same beat, I can't force myself to talk nicely or however is expected if I don't feel like it. I can't just pretend.

2. Always having something to work on: Staying idle is a nightmare. So is non-clarity of how I perceive my present and future. I want to know everything that matters. It's difficult to stay idle even day-to-day. I sometimes feel irritated when someone says they're getting bored. More often than not, they'd complain that they're getting bored, as if it's our job to keep them entertained. I used to feel guilty whenever someone in my company said they're bored. Bullies and stupid kids in school called me a bore, whereas I hardly ever get bored myself, even in the most yawn-inducing lectures or situations. Mind it people, it's not other people, but your own capacity and mind that makes you feel bored. It's your own outlook and what you choose to feel.

In a larger perspective, I always need a larger goal, whatever it is, so I can stop feeling idle and work towards attaining something. Of course, nothingness has its own charm, but it works for a little while. Getting one of the top ranks, or crossing a particular score as my personal best, finishing formal education with as little pain as possible (I've hated most of my formal education years. However much you try to improve the universities, it won't make much difference if you don't start improving the early schooling years), getting into the publishing industry because working anywhere else seemed like a nightmare and incredibly terrifying. Of course, you don't always achieve what you set out for, but knowing what you're working for gives an immense amount of satisfaction and higher chances of succeeding. Sometimes you may end up worse, but mostly you'd end up much better than what you thought. Like I luckily did. Most people don't get it; why I'm happily settling for something so different from my peers, or from what is the norm, and I don't feel obligated to even attempt to explain why. But now that I've been where I wanted to be, I need a new goal, however small it might be.

3. I can't write, for long, for other people: I've attempted being a part of some webzines, but in most of them, we're required to write on specific topics or by fixed deadlines and I realized I just couldn't manage that. I'm having to ghostwrite a bit even now, and although I've learned quite a lot from it, it's not something I can manage for long. I am a firm believer in writing as an art; it's not something mechanical. Plus, good writing is always in which the author truly believes, not what he should be writing because that's what people want. People don't actually know what they want, like how Steve Jobs proved it. I'd happily write what I believe in, even if I have a minuscule readership. In this industry, I've unfortunately observed how sometimes people write just for the perks of being an author. There's no morality involved, no love for writing, no consideration for what's being put out in the market, in the hands of people. I don't care if anyone calls me old-school or whatever, but I strongly believe in the power of good books and good writing (like many others before, please don't ask me to define 'good'. You know it as well as I do) and it's important to see what you're putting inside other people's minds. Books have a power to influence and it's a responsible job to be an author. I'm not against entertainment, but I'm definitely against mindless production and consumption of entertainment.

4. I have a thing for not following strict schedules and deadlines: I think my fetish for having it all planned in advance is just so I can break/bend the rules. If I do it on impulse, I'd feel totally 'unplanned', and that's not a good feeling, but if I'd do just a little part of the whole on impulse or in a sudden mood swing when I'd planned something different, it'd feel like an adventure. It's the same with deadlines, although I try very hard not to break those deadlines, but when it comes to setting them up, I'm known to have accepted quite unrealistic ones. Like right now. I'm seriously supposed to be working continuously and that is how I'd be able to reach the deadline with completed work, but I just cannot get myself to work. It's not that I have an aversion to dates; in this case it's the work. I'm certain that if it's something I don't like, no one, absolutely no one can get me to do it. :| However, I do feel the need to become more organized. I have a tendency to take work home, and then I can't give in to those bursts of want when there's a book I want to read instead.
Just the thing we need to do
5. I'm independent and I want to stay that way: I don't even want to be dependent on anyone about how I feel, not even a friend or someone in the family. This doesn't mean I don't want to consider them at all, but I'm not particularly inclined towards having people tell me how I should feel. Like that one time a well-meaning friend was adamant that there's something wrong in my life and I can't see it. I know you mean well, but I feel alright and you don't know as much about my life as I do. I've had bad moments, but I'm an optimistic person. I neither have the inclination, nor the energy to feel negative for long. There's a lot I have to do in my life, and I can't let small things matter so much that it takes all my focus. I want to have a fantastic career, in the sense that I do what I enjoy, to the best of my capacity and in a way that benefits others. I want to travel a lot, and document it all and use it well. I want to laugh and make people laugh. I want to enjoy all sorts of adventure sports and meet new people from different places. I do not want to look at anyone and get a stereotyped thought. So yes, you need to know that I wouldn't give it a lot of thought as long as I'm happy.  

6. Not trying too hard to be unique or make a mark: I used to spend time thinking about creative ways to make my blogs and posts different and interesting. It was definitely fun then, and maybe when I feel like it again, it would be nice, but it's a free feeling to know that I don't really want to do all that. I believe that being ordinary is so rare that it is actually what extraordinary is. I want to stop being so dependent on social media to feel knowledgeable, when all I actually end up reading is stuff I won't remember or have much use for. It feels like an illusion. I want to spend time talking to people in real, to go out in the evenings and enjoy good weather with those I love. I want to stop worrying about things that don't matter and how I feel left out or backward when I don't know the Facebook latest and all those silly things. I guess I've started feeling that way already. I'm light, free and I intend to stay that way.  

Now. Now is the time when I should seriously get back to work. Praying that I manage to complete it well on time! Please pray for me and shower some motivation, people! I so so so need it right now!

PS- “There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 
I read this just now, after having posted this post. I feel somewhat relieved with this!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Papier Mache Tutorial: Making Bangles! Or anything else, basically.

I think I have reached that stage when I can proudly state, smugly, 'this post is the result of popular demand', even though it's been this one friend who demanded. But still, that counts, right? Here you go Gunsheen! Sorry to make it so late. :P

Papier mache has been fascinating for me for quite some time. If you'd remember, more than two years ago, I posted about a wacky mask I made during vacations, using the layering papier mache technique! The mask hangs still solid (albeit among frequent cobwebs - just slight ones) on a wall in my room. ^_^ God, re-reading that post brought back memories of an innocently awesome time. *sighs*

Anyway, this time, I decided I'd go with the pulp technique and make something cute and lovely. I don't honestly remember where I get such ideas from, but this just happened. I was also looking forward to making the pulp. Y'know, the gooey gooeness of it? I Googled some, YouTubed lots and basically ended up with lots of raw material and clicked pictures step by step because I really wanted to make a blog-post-tutorial! Let us, finally, 'are we all settled down?', begin. :P

This post would have examples of bangles and a bowl I made for a friend. Here's how the final product(s) looked:
Pretty and colorful, right? :D
Step # 1: Collecting raw material
To make papier mache objects, you need:

Some stuff
1. Paper (of course!): It can be newspaper, kitchen towel paper, computer printing paper or even toilet paper! Although the best kind to use in the pulp technique is plain old newspaper. 
2. Glue
3. Flour 
4. Salt
5. Mixing bowls (preferably plastic you won't need later)
6. Mixer/Grinder/Hand-held grinder 
7. A stove (just for the initial heating)
8. Water
9. Your creativity, I suppose. And patience. 

Step # 2: Making the pulp
This is the most important step because the pulp will ultimately determine the quality and strength of your product (in this example, a bangle). 

- Cut small pieces of newspaper and collect them in a bowl. You can use a big enough container and fill the newspaper up to the top, because it's anyway going to be mashed into a pulp and hence, reduced in size.  Make sure to cut as small pieces of the paper you can. It's easier to work with, later on. However, use your own idea of the quantity of pulp you wish to make. I made enough for 6 bangles and a whole bowl made of paper! Since the pulp (according to what I know) won't last for more than a couple of days in the same gooey freshness, you could simply use it to shape different objects within those two-three days and let them dry for the next few days.

Pieces of paper. 
- Add hot water to the paper in the bowl. Immerse all the paper completely, and let it stand overnight.

- The next day, transfer the now-soggy paper into another bowl, or simply drain the excess water from the original bowl. Break the wet paper pieces into even smaller, stickier, mashed up pieces. Keep enough water for you to use it in a mixer/grinder. I used a hand-held grinder to further make the pulp into goo. (Just in appearance)

Move your head 90 degrees to the right!
I tried thrice to straighten it, I promise.
- Use a sieve to remove excess water. The pulp should not be too dry, but it shouldn't be liquidated either. You'll know it when you do it. Just keep a little bit of water in it and get rid of the rest. 

- Now transfer the soft pulp (no, it's not ready yet!) into a plastic bowl that you'd use to store it for the time you'd be working. Then take a tube of fevicol, hold it over the mashed up paper and squirt. To make it less boring, I prefer making spirals in white over the grey while squirting. Do it liberally. 

- Add half a cup of flour. At first, I hadn't known the wonders of adding flour. My pulp was too soft and wasn't just sticking together when my eleven year old niece came up and asked me to add flour. Talk about smart kids! Flour helps stick the paper together, adds substance, and basically is something you cannot do without. Fevicol is awesome (as the ads say) but not enough for this pulp!

- Add half a spoon of salt. It does nothing more than ensure/prevent/delay fungus or whatever on the pulp so your project/object lasts longer!

- Now, the best part! Put your hands in the pulp: all sticky and scratchy, and mix it all together. Keep on doing it for a good few minutes till you feel the pulp is similar to soft clay and can be shaped into something. (I had made a video for it, but now it's not in the archives!) A good way to know whether the pulp is ready yet, is to take a bit of it and roll it into a ball. If it becomes a perfect, round shape, not breaking away, you're good enough to go forward. If not, consider adding a bit more flour and glue.

This ball seemed good enough
Your pulp is ready!

Step # 3: Making shapes of objects
What is your project? I made some bangles and a bowl for a friend. Let's begin with the bangles.

- It's best to have a mold to help with the circular shape. I used that thin wire we used in school when making flowers (don't remember what it's called), shaped it into a circle, twisted the ends together and it was ready! After that, use the pulp and put it across the mold, as shown in the picture below. You'd need to spend some time on the shaping of these bangles, depending on how you want to make them: what breadth or shape (circular, flat).

The initial phase of putting pulp across the wire
- Once you have shaped them all, you simply need to leave them to dry for three-four days, till you feel they're solid enough to get painted!

All those circular ones for bangles!
You can use sandpaper to rub over the molds/shapes to make them smoother if little bumps etc disturb you. I like the imperfectness of the shapes, so I don't use that a lot. 

For the bowl:
- I used a balloon to act as a mould here. The base of the balloon is round, and you can stick your pulp on to the base and leave it to dry for the same number of days as the bangles. 

Let it stay like this, attached with the balloon till the time you're ready to use it. The balloon would pop off on its own, or you could use a pin. Also, the outer surface here was pretty rough. If you prefer smoother surfaces, you could look up videos for pulp-making and see how to make them really soft. Most of them are by people residing in other countries and some ingredients don't match, hence, I couldn't make it smoother. If you find a way, let me know!

Step # 4: Painting and decorating
Now your shapes are ready to be turned into useful, colorful, pretty objects you can gift or use to decorate your home! I used poster colors to create a basic color paint on the shapes, and then added glitter, or embellishments or other paint to make simple designs. 

Base colors!
These four were decorated differently.

Golden paint added with cotton, to give
an effect of .... well, something ancient :P

Pink decorative gems stuck with fevicol.
This one was my favorite of the lot!

Simple stripes added with white poster color
For the bowl:
A lot, and I mean A LOT of golden paint was used on this. Basically, I didn't have enough poster color for one big bowl, and the golden, shiny paint left over from the time I painted the walls of my room looked like the perfect solution! I'm actually quite proud of it. It did look good. :D


Step # 5: Finishing
Most of the stuff can be left like that once you're done with decorating it. However, in some cases when you want to extend the life of your creative pieces, you can add a coat of varnish to the items and preferably leave them to dry for a couple of days. Adding this prevents them from getting spoiled from water. Kind of like makes them water-proof, although I haven't seen the proof of it, having sent those off before the varnish coat even dried properly!

End result :)
What do you think? Like it? Do these look like something you'd try? :D

If you have any questions, although I don't claim to be anywhere close to good at it, you can still ask me. :P


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...