Thursday, January 22, 2009
The Bed Post
There now, a cozy bed that I would want to climb into on a quiet day with soft sheets, warm blankets, comfortable stack of hay under the mattress, all framed in a finely carved cherry wood sleigh-bed. This prop piece for the cottage was yet another huge question mark on how I could make it. It's finally complete and I'm very happy with it.
All these years, whenever I saw a style of wooden moulding in a lumber yard, I'd buy a foot length of it with the idea in mind of using it to construct Rana's bed. How various pieces of moulding could take on the shape I had in mind was unknown to me. I started by taping the shapes together like a child playing with building blocks (upper left). The bed grew taller and taller still as I went back and forth with it to check how it fit in the bed alcove on the cottage set. I wasn't expecting it to be a high bed as it is, but as I built it suddenly the alcove's window being so high made sense! I knew I wanted part of Rana the goat woman's bed to be made of straw. And at the same time part of it had to be rustic folk cottage style proper furniture too. I like the balance I got with that in the end. When I got the profiles stacked the way I liked, I used stainable wood glue to hold them together (upper right). I tried using a Dremel tool to cut out end caps for each edge of the head and foot boards but it was so weak I did a better job by brute strength. I used a metal point tool and an Exacto™ blade to perforate the shape out of 1/8" plywood (upper middle). Sanded the pieces down and glued them in place, and then filled the gaps with wood putty paste (lower middle). I fastened all the bed pieces together with small "L" brackets screwed on the inside (lower left). Mixed a stain out of Indian Red Oxide acrylic with gloss medium, linseed oil and beeswax, to get color and sheen right.
Made the haystack to fit the bedframe out of a cardboard box base, edges softened with newspaper/masking tape bumps, then painted with a mustard undercoat. When the base was dry, I sprinkled it with loose hay after it was coated with matte medium. I kept layering up the hay with more matte medium until it looked like a stack, sculpting it piece by piece in the front corners so they would remain solid when they extended past the mattress. The matte medium is entirely invisible when dry, even when examining the hay up close it looks completely natural.
The back of the finished bed, that won't be seen in the film as the set's alcove covers it, looks like a fine piano with its polished curves. There's an extra vool blanket over the foot board in case it's chilly in the night. I attached the carved wooden ornament I found at the fabulous Kit Kraft Shop to a moulding base and painted the berries red, the bow mustard. The gap between it and the angle of the surface of the base moulding was filled in with wood putty to make it look as if carved from one piece. How the bed looks in position on the unfinished set (lower right).
The hand stitched duvet cover was one of the first things I made for the project years ago but this week I sewed on a backing of aluminum gutter guard mesh to it so it would be positionable for filming, I then added a thin layer of foam and wine colored silk to the underside to conceal the metal mesh.
I built two additional set pieces... but I can't talk about them today as this is The Bed Post.