6 Tips for Planning Your Special Event

524384551-56a2b3625f9b58b7d0cd876bWhether you’re planning a wedding or an office party, it’s important to know how to make the most of your time and resources. Follow these tips to make the planning process less of a hassle as you get ready for the big day.

Know Your Budget

Your budget is the first thing to consider when planning your event. Draw up a detailed budget for food, transportation, entertainment, reservations, and anything else you plan to include. You can look online to get an idea of approximate prices or call ahead to ask for detailed estimates from companies in your area. Remember to set a little aside for last-minute emergencies in case something doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Hire an Event Planner

If it fits into your budget, hiring an event planner is one of the best ways to make sure your event goes smoothly. Your event planner should know the ins and outs of your location and work with you (and your budget) to make sure you have everything you need. He or she will coordinate with the other people involved in planning your event, such as a chef for Boston private dining, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. This lets you stay involved in the planning process but saves you the headache of arranging all the details yourself. An event planner also lets you spend more time enjoying the event once the big day arrives.

Book as Early as Possible

The best venues are often booked months (or more) in advance, so act quickly to make sure you don’t miss out! As soon as you know what you need, start making arrangements as soon as possible. This goes for your venue, your caterer, and anyone else you need to make your event a success. Scheduling your event ahead of time also cuts down on stress when you don’t have to worry about making last-minute arrangements.

Explore Lodging Possibilities

If you’re planning an out-of-town trip or a multi-day event, make sure your guests have somewhere to stay overnight. You don’t want to suddenly find out that another event is in town and all the hotel rooms are already booked. By booking ahead for your whole group, you can also take advantage of group discounts to help cut down on costs.

For out-of-town trips, you will also want to look into transportation arrangements. Hire a private bus to shuttle your guests for the event or contact car rental companies to make sure they can accommodate you and your guests.

Choose the Right Venue

Choosing the venue for your event can seem like a chore, but it can also be very fun if you find the right place! The right location can determine the success or failure of your whole event, so choose wisely. Keep in mind that the “best” location doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Find a venue that has special meaning to you or is a good fit for your company. Many groups take advantage of outdoor venues for their events. While these can be tricky to handle if the weather doesn’t cooperate, they can also make for extremely unique and memorable events.

Plan Your Schedule

Once you know the basics of your event, plan a detailed schedule to help you manage your time effectively during the event itself.

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Using the Einstein Technique to Boost Your Artistic Creativity

downloadAlbert Einstein was once asked how many feet are in a mile. Einstein’s reply was “I don’t know. Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book? In fact in today’s Google era, answers are far faster than that. Type in the question and the answer is delivered at the speed of light; a concept that would have tickled Einstein in an ironic way. Einstein certainly had a unique way of looking at the world, by removing extraneous matters and then to reduce complicated concepts into their component parts making them easier to understand.

Think about his formula, E=MC2. Many can recite it, but few know its significance. This simple formula distilled from a highly diverse, and seemingly unrelated systems proves that mass and energy are related. But more importantly it also answers the question of how much energy is created when mass is converted into it. The elegance by which the formula ties together three seemingly disparate parts of nature, energy, the speed of light and mass, is profound in its simplicity. Yet Einstein never knew how long a mile was.

A small, brown notebook, known as the Zurich notebook, was found among his papers after Einstein’s death in 1955. It was filled with all of his private calculations from 1907-1915. That was the time during which Einstein was working on this theory of relativity, resulting in his formula, E=MC2. The entire notebook can be viewed on Internet for all to see his genius.

How does all this relate to your artistic creativity? It does so with the understanding of several key observations of Einstein’s work processes. First, Einstein disliked trivial and ancillary information, the kind that was easy to look up. It cluttered his mind, he stated. He wished to keep his mind clear for his creative thought experiments. Secondly, he also kept a notebook whereby he documented his creative ideas. The documenting allowed him to build on his creative concepts and then clear his mind for more artistic creativity. So if we artists wish to build on our creativity, what better mentor to follow than Einstein himself, now that we know his secret to his creativity? Who are we to argue with his genius?

That is, if you the model maker, artist or sculptor want to improve your creativity in your art don’t dwell over remembering such details as mold material set times, pot life, cure times, mix ratios and so on. This information is clearly marked on the material packaging. If you are using a special or new technique, then write it down in your studio notebook. As you brain storm ideas for art pieces, also write them down in your notebook. Then from time to time review your notebook and your ideas, as with Einstein, the results will often lead you to a much greater serendipitous ideas that would not have been produced had you not written out your thoughts in your own Zurich notebook, for future reference. By clearing your head of non-essential information and writing down your creative ideas as you go along, over time you will discipline your creativity to out produce itself in ways that will surprise you and provide you with greater artistic rewards.

Though Albert Einstein may not have been a painter, sculptor or mold maker, no one can argue about his superior creative successes. His work habits helped him accomplish his extraordinary revelations that changed the world. Who are we as artists to argue with his methods that resulted in such great creativity? Get a notebook, write down your art ideas and forget the mundane details that are readily available on the Internet. You will increase your creativity in ways you never imagined, thanks to Albert.

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Various Timelines in Mold Making and Casting

b097cc38ab56401d463029e2069f56afThere are a lot of basic things that beginners need to know about working with mold making and casting materials like alginate, clay, plaster, polyurethane resin, silicone rubber, liquid latex rubber and thermoset mold rubber.

Pot time (or Pot Life) and cure time are routinely mentioned by mold makers and this determines everything from the quantity of a mold making or casting material that mold maker will mix in one go, to the amount of time it will take for the mold or cast to be complete and ready.

Let’s look at some of these terms:

Pot time – Also known as pot life, gel time or working time, this is the amount of time you have to work with the product after it is mixed until it starts to set. After this, the material will start getting viscous and cannot be applied properly. The working time varies widely for different materials – some may need to be used within minutes, whereas some may give you a window of even up to an hour. Therefore, you should only mix as much quantity of the base material with the catalyst or hardener as you can comfortably use within the given period. For instance, life casters mix small quantities of alginate,perhaps a pound at a time as it tends to set very quickly.

Cure time – This is the time that a material will take to completely set. It can range from a few hours to as long as a few days. It is generally measured at normal room temperature and can vary depending on the atmospheric and climatic conditions. At times, a hot air dryer or dehumidifier is used to hasten the cure time, like for plaster casting.

De-mold time – At times, the de-mold time may be different from the cure time. It means that the mold or cast has cured to the point that it can be removed from the object or mold without distortion. You are now free to use the object or mold again. However, keep in mind that the mold or cast is only partially cured at this time. The cure time is longer and you will have to wait for it to be properly cured to avoid getting smudges or fingerprints.

Shelf life – This defines the length of time that a product can be stored before it becomes unusable. It is like an expiry date beyond which the product starts deteriorating in quality and will not function as expected. It may start to set in the container or may not mix/cure properly when used. In simple terms, shelf life is an indication of how long you can expect a product to last on the shelf. It tends to vary depending on whether the container has been opened or not and also whether it is being stored properly as directed.

Pot time, cure time and shelf life are generally mentioned on the product containers and should be strictly adhered to at all times, irrespective of whether you are making alginate molds, silicone casts or plaster casting.

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The Art of the Life Casting

Life casting or body casting as some like to call it continues to be a controversial topic within most art circles. Many in the art world feel that it is far from an art form since it is just someone copying the body requiring no artistic skill whatsoever. So what is body casting to those artists and sculptors who engage in it? Is it just a substitute for artistic talent? That is what this brief article will attempt to answer.

To begin, one might as well ask what photography is as it is somewhat analogous. A short answer is that it is a method of reproducing an exact likeness of a three-dimensional object in two dimensions. That definitely is a technical answer, but far from an adequate one. When photography first emerged in the 1800’s, there were just as many critics deriding this new art over the great talents of traditional painters and sculptors. Yet today, few would doubt the artistic skills of such renowned photographers as Ansell Adams, Annie Liebovitz and Robert Cappa to name just a few greats. They have taken the mechanical craft of photography, added their own style and perspective, and created high art forms that are admired the world over.

The same can also be said for life casting – an art form often denigrated by artistic purists as nothing more than copying – but think photography. In the hands of amateurs, one cannot disagree with these critics. However all one has to do is to view the works of John DeAndrea, Duane Hanson and George Segal the holy trinity of body casting artists and it most certainly would dispel that criticism. More recently the work of another talented life casting artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, comes to mind with his crowds of underwater sculptures creating artificial coral reefs throughout the world.

What these talented body casting artists would tell us if they were asked is that life casting is more than simply taking a mold from the human body. For it is what the artist does to create the initial mold (analogous to a photographic plate) – how he/she poses the model, the medium used to create the casting, the finishes applied and the resulting story the finished piece tells. In fact when properly executed, life casting, like painting, dancing, playing an instrument or sculpting it is an art form all to itself.

Life casting is about craftsmanship – as much as it is with a cabinetmaker or a fine furniture designer. It is about technique – just as is with an accomplished painter. It is about dimensional visualization – just as in sculpting and in photography. For great body casting is a blend of all these skill, the sculptor, the painter, the craftsman and the photographer.

In recent years, life casting artists have found themselves competing with each other to create artistic and beautiful front torso life casts. Most are without limbs and head simply a study of the torso. Such artistic pieces can be found in galleries throughout the world in a variety of poses, materials and finishes. For those interested in trying their hand at this unique art form, a torso casting is a great place to start as there are kits available with all the materials you need that can be found online.

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