Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vibrating "Curious Sofa" controller needs a paint job

The finished tabletop

An industrial arts organization for which I volunteer is making a vibrating sofa for this year's Edwardian Ball in San Francisco to go with the theme of Edward Gorey's "Curious Sofa". It has a variac and motor concealed in a nightstand to control the amount of vibration but the nightstand was boring so I was asked to paint it. The settings are from asleep (off) through orgasm (the big "O" where angels sing) to overload (off limits!).

Unfortunately I was asked to do it a week before the Ball and asked to finish as soon as possible so the device could be used for pre event testing. I had to come up with a design on the spot and execute it quickly.

The black and gold floral design is modified from a design in a Dover Art Nouveau black and white images book I own, the rest came straight out of my head. I wish I'd had more time to make it truly spectacular and more technically perfect, but considering the time constraints I think I did a good job.

First I rough sanded the existing stained and varnished finish. Next I primed with arcylic gesso and painted in the black areas except the top. I then drew the designs freehand in pencil and painted over that with black paint. After that I sponge painted the top with titanium buff acrylic paint. Next I repainted all the black areas on the top, including the lettering, floral design, and outlines for the angels and mushroom cloud. Then I painted the gold and color. To finish off the painting I retouched black on the angels and mushroom cloud. The next day I varnished with wipe on polyurethane, followed up with a second coat the day after that. Then I was out of time.

The gold paint was Pearl Ex powdered pigment that I mixed with Golden's GAC 100 Acrylic medium. If I hadn't been in such a hurry I might not have mixed it with a brush handle in an old yogurt cup; it was a bit lumpy from inadequate mixing. A few of the colors were professional grade acrylics but mostly they were student quality acrylics in big plastic tubes and tubs that I ordinarily use for cartoneria (paper mache).

The original tabletop