Wednesday, January 6, 2016

17 Days and Counting ...

As of today, I have 17 days left of work. My company called it right-sizing. The truth of the matter is it's a combination of downsizing and outsourcing. About half of the technical writers in the office have been let go. In our old group about three quarters of the people will be gone (they had reorganized and our group didn't really have enough work to keep us busy despite other groups drowning). I've let friends know but that's about it. This is my first public post on the matter.

One of my favorite pieces
I woke up yesterday, and for the first time in weeks, I wasn't freaked out. Oh, I'm still a little worried that the family will go destitute, but I figure that I've got about 6 months before I really have to stress about not having a job. What changed? I now know what I'm doing on February 2, and I'm psyched to get started. Years ago, I used to do mosaics mostly out of broken dishes, and I'm starting that up again. My first project is a fireplace surround.

I've been thinking about different design ideas for a couple of weeks now, but it didn't really come together until the last few days. Our house was built in the 19-teens, so I was shooting for Art Deco, in keeping with the age of the house. My original idea was to have two pillars on the fireplace topped with something really cool like a woman's face or the figure of a gazelle or something. I spent a lot of time online looking at pottery, Art Deco reliefs, and anything I could think of. I went to thrift and antique malls looking for inspiration and nothing really jumped out at me. The problem is I needed two things that either matched or at least looked like they went together.

On Sunday, I decided that I should do something with ceramic masks. I went to Party City and got a cheap plastic mask so I could play around with designs. Then I happened on the idea that maybe I should do something Art Deco science fiction, like something out of Flash Gordon. It was with that in mind when I headed to another couple antique stores. The first I knew was mostly furniture, and I didn't expect to find anything there. The second had moved, but there was an architectural salvage place on the same block. There I found my inspiration below.

My inspiration piece
I imagined it as a the top of a space helmet or the head of a robot. I knew right away that this was something I could work with. The idea coalesced over the next day or two with the finishing touches hitting me yesterday morning in the shower. 

In the center of the hearth is a sun. Below it a floating city. On both sides are giant robot guardians. Their outside arms are at their sides; their inside are arms holding tall staffs. At the tops of the staffs are some sort of device pointing at the sun. I haven't decided yet whether it is an artificial sun being powered by the staffs, or a real sun that the staffs are drawing the sun's energy to power the city. The robot guardians are standing on pedestals in a stormy sea. Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen, global warming is real. The once fertile world has been transformed into a violent ocean covered planet where the inhabitants only recourse is to live in the clouds. Yes, Mom, I swear, I stopped doing drugs a long long time ago.

Artist rendition
I'm psyched. It's gonna be so cool. Still a bit freaked out about the job thing and the possibility of the family going destitute, but things usually have a way of working out. Toward that end, if you happen to see a Linked-In connection request from me, that would be why.

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