Friday, December 05, 2008

Easier Chair

Another 2 days' work on a single prop, but again, this one was a biggie. It's the only major piece of furniture in the cottage interior and has loomed large in my mind as a giant question of how I was to do it.

It's a cheat in that I bought the chair (for $10 (!) from a discount department store several years ago) You should have seen my glee at finding a ready made perfect-style upholstered chair for Rana to settle in while sipping tea in her home. It was pale green satin and a shy too large for the cottage scale however.

Dyeing the damask fabric was easy, I just doused it with tons of intense paints and pigment until it was for the most part a fit for Rana's interior palette of wines, ochres, and pinks. I used the dyed chair in a few test animations (see below's before shots) but avoided chopping it down for ages. 1. At one point I took the chair completely apart with the thought of using the pieces as patterns. I intended to reduce the fabric pieces on a copier, buy new fabric and build a chair from scratch from that exact pattern. Then I thought--wait, I'll just axe this guy down and refashion him. It'd be faster and easier and that's good right now.

2. I sawed off about 2" in the length of the arms and reduced the width by about the same. 3. I used Gorilla duct tape to reassemble the cut down pieces. 4. I cut down the original foam and taped it on as well. I took off about 1/2 HA! an inch off the height of the legs as well. The chair remained extremely sturdy surprisingly. 5. Then began the laborious task of re-tailoring the existing fabric pieces onto the newly smaller chair. 6. By the time I got to closing off the last part on the back I was able to use curved needles to stitch an invisible seam.

(A rough idea of the size change.) I believe that having the store bought chair to work from made the result better and more quickly done than if I'd started with nothing.

UPDATE: Completing Things (more on that concept later)

I'm delighted to report that workshop guest, Nicole did actually finish the artwork she started here and sent along photos of it! (It struck me how so rare and wonderful it is to see someone actually finish something they started without the grueling burdensome delay that drags on them for years. Ahem. Memememememeeeee) So, hats off to Nicole. I really love what she made. It represents to her a wonderful experience she had in China recently. And I especially love that when the little fabric flower lanterns she'd made here wouldn't fit inside the small shadow box, she simply added them on a dangling wire to the assemblage. Beautiful job, Nicole!

Goodnight from Halfland. Stay warm and cozy where you are.


  1. You always have such creative post titles. Now THIS post is weird...actually more of a coincidence. I can't say anymore....but you'll soon find out what I mean when you receive your Xmas package. Hope I didn't just ruin the surprise! :o

    Of course, spectacular prop work!!

  2. This is incredibly lovely. The chair, the colours you've chosen to rework the fabric with, and the warmth of the scene... Beautiful! I want to snuggle up in there, like that cat! And the chair even has a happy face in it :)

  3. Hi Michael, woo, that's intriguing! I look forward to seeing this surprise coincidental mystery you have made!

    Ah ha, Stephanie! Thank you for mentioning the face in the chair. I wanted it to be there but not there, just a suggestion or gesture of one.

    I don't want the chair to be a character in and of itself, more like when the light plays tricks on the eyes and we see things that aren't there in the contours of fabric.

    And thank you so much for the snuggle desire. Just wait until the set is finished and dressed with all the lovely HAND WOVEN woolen blankets and such! It's a nap haven in Halfland; birds, water, crickets, dusk falling... hot soup and tea, good friends quietly resting. Sheer Heaven.

  4. Nick H10:16 PM

    Another great piece... you don't stop do you? At least the puppets can put their feet up!
    The cat on the chair adds the purrfect touch.

  5. Thanks, Nick! This is my big leg-up push until the end of the year. I'll have to begin to take on graphics projects in the new year. But I already feel the mojo for how to move the project forward while handling add'l obligations.

    I'm enjoying making Halfland more than I thought I would.

    I think I'll slightly rework the chair's face a little because I saw a perfect face ad formed on the back of a woman sweater today. It was FABULOUS! So expressive yet hardly there!! That's what I want on the chair.

  6. That is a seriously comfy looking chair!


  7. Thanks, Justin! I am often so attracted to Halfland for its peace and comfort. I think that's why I'm making it!

  8. Wonderful work on the chair Shelley! Looks just right to relac in and read a good book... But who could bring themselves to tell the cat to move!?

  9. Thanks, Paul--I know! I have a personal rule in my house that if a cat is sleeping on me I stay put until they decide otherwise, hee. It's all about the cats here.

    The sleeping snoring cat in Halfland, Bosq, will have to snooze somewhere near the hearth because the Birds in Hats will have to drop one of their hats on his head in the script. I'll see the blocking when I get to setting up that scene.

  10. Nice job as usual, Shell! And that last shot is just gorgeous....

    I have to say, 'Bravo!' to your dedication and progress over the last year or so....seems not long ago, you were down about procrastination, and now look at you go!
    (hey, I think that rhymes a little bit) :)

  11. That chair looks like something to be found in my Dutch Grandmothers house (minus the smile - she was meeean). And as a result Halfland now has smell to it for me anyway). I think it's a subtle combination of spiced ginger biscuits and lavender :)

  12. Thanks, Jeffery! YES! thanks for noticing the change in me. I think I'm understanding the causes for my procrastination and how to overcome it now. I'm doing it one of the hardest ways possible. Forming grit where there was none. I love working on it more than ever. I swoon with thrills of what I see developing with it.

    Thanks, Rich! I worked on the face a bit more today and improved it a lot. I'm also adding doilies to the arms and the back which really sell the grandma feel.

    Lavender and spiced ginger biscuits?! How mean could this woman be!???? :)

  13. Grrrr......developing grit!

    thats a post in itself.


  14. Yo, J! yep. A post about GRrrrit and another about the mental judgments that block taking an action! Or wait, better, one about how vitally important it is not to judge how badly we do things or whether we don't do things! Whoop!

    Looking back over my life the only things I regret in hindsight are the times I was mean to others or myself.

    So now, everyday I try to accept what I'm able to do and what I'm not without feeling badly or being mean, (like Rich's granma. :)) either way. It's just life, I'm doing whatever I can do.

    A post like that would be good at some point later on.

    Right now, I've got to get my Christmas on.

  15. Hey, that chair is easy like sunday morning!!

    It seems to lend its smiling countenance to the cottage, and by extension to all of Halfland, lounging there at the center of its universe. I love the indoor/outdoor feel of that last pic... as if the weather is so perfect you don't need glass in the windows or doors... let the boundaries between inside and outside dissolve. I know that's not how it's going to be in the film... you're making windows and doors etc... but just a nice thought.

  16. Thanks, Mike! A very good thought indeed. Even though I'll be having doors and windows there will be an indoor/outdoor feel for sure.

    The roses growing outside on a trellis grown through a cracked pane of glass into the house and become the pattern of wallpaper.

  17. Nick H4:24 PM

    Roses becoming wallpaper... Fantastic idea! It's in writing for all to see, so you gotta do it!

  18. Just when I think I cannot possibly get any more amazed at this incredible undertaking, I do!

  19. NO Way! Not Scarlett! I had no idea you visited here?! That's so fabulous! You're one of my favorite writers and creative visual artists!

    Thank you for following long here. I can't wait to get back to make progress even more now.

    Thank you for your support!


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