Sunday, April 13, 2008

Le Speed Maché (ou; Le Méthode de Vitesse du Papier)

I kept going after my helpers left and continued to speed maché* another session today. Layer 1: DONE; several more to go. Good thing I ADORE doing papier maché. Love it love it.

These pictures from last Sunday give me a lot of joy. I think it's because these sweet girls, my new intern Sophie (in the foreground), and her sister Tash, are pitching in and getting the papier maché stage finally underway. All the fast flying hands working on the project make me giddy with delight.

I didn't/couldn't plan this but I've had an olive tree on my desk for a few years that surprised me this year by blooming with tiny white flowers and then... tiny olives! I've harvested them while they are still small for 1/2. scale and am curing them as one really would so they'll last on the set as olives for Rana.

*My favorite Maché method for large structures: I use several types of papers, switching them up between each layer. I like thin painter's masking paper for fidelity to shapes; thick red resin paper for dense areas that need super strength; newspaper for a good free source for a lot of it; and torn up brown grocery bags.

The medium I prefer is undiluted liquid starch straight from the jug. I quickly tear the papers into piles of types in lengths and pieces first to keep things rolling fast. I wear dishwashing gloves with long cuffs as it speeds the process up. I pour the starch into shallow trays and use my gloved hand as an applicator of it to the sheet of paper, swoosh, swoosh, slap, press, again. These papers stay strong when whetted and so I can load them up and press the wet sheets onto the set shapes and smooth them down firmly with my hands, sculpting the paper onto the set. Let dry throughly between layers to ensure an iron clad firmness. A layer on this entire set can be covered in a day's session in this way.


  1. Anonymous12:41 AM

    Tres bien! J'aime beaucoupe votre methode vite, et le terrain de papier mache. Mais, c'est trop difficile a ecriver en francais!

    Where your puppets will walk over the ground with tie-downs, you may need something harder over the paper. I use plaster reinforced with fibreglass matting or burlap for a shell that can stand up to tightening screws down onto it. But there'ssomething nice about the paper itself, as distinct from how well it imitates the ground surface.

  2. Anonymous2:34 AM

    Dayum!!!! Now THAT'S a lot of paper!!!! And..... INTERNS!!!!

    And TINY OLIVESES!!!!!

    Strider (who can't seem to log in)

  3. Mercy BooCoop, Mr. Nick! I didn't know your parlaid les Franckie! Tray Bean!

    I'm ALL over the reinforcement for tiedowns, thanks! Today is about doing just that!

    I tested a bunch of no tox methods 2 years ago? (yikes!) and chose aluminium rain gutter mesh. It's cheap and flexible, like me!

    I'm layering it on the walkways next and will be using plaster with the paper (plaster maché) near the top layer.

    Hi Anostridymous! Tanks a lot! (fye: I intend to put up some larger Flickr photos of the progress when it gets a bit more noteworthy;)

    Thanks for writing, my brothers!

  4. the interns rock, but the tiny olives are killer!

  5. Squee! gl! They are turning, funnily enough, olive green now after several days soaking in sea salted water. They sink now too. huh. I wish more had grown on the tree but there might be more coming. They just look like pepercorns right now. Do you grow olives?

  6. Tell me the olives aren't in the same type of bottle that was used for the Xmas trees! Because that's super Kawaii!

    Great to see another leap in HalfLand.

  7. HI Rich! Dude, that little bottle is so much smaller than the Christmas bottle, about 1/3 the size! These olives are the size of... orange pips!

    Thanks for coming by!

  8. WOW! That set is really coming along! I've been wondering what you've been up to these past two weeks. Looking great!

  9. Anonymous9:50 PM

    "They are turning, funnily enough, olive green now after several days soaking in sea salted water. They sink now too. huh. I wish more had grown on the tree but there might be more coming. They just look like pepercorns right now."

    ... The Interns? Really?



  10. Thanks, Ryan! Two weeks seems a really long time for so little progress to me. I still struggle with how to get more done on the project.

    Strider... Rahg rahg rahg, u fuuny! Curing what ails ya!

  11. Anonymous2:07 AM

    Going great Shelley! The landscape is really coming together brilliantly! Hope all is well in Halfland!

    -Paul (Vortex42)


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