Saturday, March 21, 2009
WITH GRAPHIC JOBS DONE and a few days before a book project comes in, I got to spend Monday through Thursday this week in Halfland and it was pure heaven for me. It was a lot of creative problem solving and quality brut strength to move things forward. Among other things, I finished constructing the pathway from the cottage to the stream with 2-3 layers of making tape/newspaper/paper mache and my versatile formula of cellulose/mulch/vermiculite. Mini logs will be placed behind each pair of twig braces.
Over the course of the four days, whenever I sat inside the cottage I'd space out. I'd snap out of it after a while. It must be because it puts me nearly in Halfland (a very nice place) as though I'm living there. I'd always come back with lots of ideas for realistic, lived-in touches.
I got some fantastic prop work done while waiting for the layers of the pathway to dry. Here are the finished candle sconces started last year. There can never be enough texture in Halfland. The more texture on things the better I find. My newest favorite is IRON FILINGS base paint, dusted with BLACK SAND and the rusted out with antiquing solution. Zow!
Each sconce, while part of a pair, are slightly different; the shape of the dangling crystal, the type of ornament, etc. They have small spider webs on them as a foreshadowing of the larger more elaborately lace webs that will appear on the porch. The crystal theme is carried into the webs where they act as dew drops. I used what's called a "big eye" needle to thread the beads onto the long polyester web fibers. It's split down the middle to make things that can't be threaded easily be put through for sewing.
How I made these pillar candles was a total surprise to me. I had no idea they would glow on the inside as if real! Holy cow. The bases were made early on the project, while I still lived in New York. Made from odd bit of metals found at the super source, Space Surplus Metals on Canal Street. Go there. It's filled with things nobody but us wants and can give great ideas for making props out of the world's flotsam.
The candles were made out of a slice of pvc pipe covered at one end with an eyelet, painted white and then papered over with a transparent glassine disk on top. Inside was fitted with little battery powered LED light that are made to be put inside party balloons. I melted a small batch of rose colored beeswax in a double boiler and dipped and dribbled the faux pillars until they looked right. The wicks are snips of black wire. The candles remain removable in order to turn the eight hour light on and off. When the light is on the candle looks illuminated and also casts a practical light on whatever it's next to on the set.
I hung Downstairs Clare's wonderful cottage door on the set. Halfland friend and downstairs neighbor, Clare has been in a medical care facility since September, everyone. Prayers and good thoughts for him and The Jean That Goes With Clare, his loving wife, would be much appreciated I sure. He wasn't doing all that well for a long while and seemed to me to be gathering himself deeper inside himself further each week.
He was a professional set builder for decades in LA for the prestigious Music Center as well as a multi-talented multi-medium fine artist so, I always thought he'd *want* to come up here and help me build the set. But he never offered or asked to even though I kept dropping larger and larger hints. Finally, I asked him directly to please build me the door for the cottage. I was thrilled he said yes, and he went to great trouble to craft the door exactly as I had asked. He got as far as the perfect wood slat construction and iron nail heads. Thank you, Dear Clare.
I picked up the door from Jean when I was ready for it. I made a fun Doorplate for it with iron paint and rust solution on a carved wood piece and various metal stampings. It includes a keyhole made from an oval charm bracelet frame and hand-tooled copper.
I have no idea on earth how I knew how to cut leather strips from an old leather handbag into working twig hinges!? Where did this know-how come from, I've never seen leather hinges like that. Hmm. Past life recall? I'll show the whole door when it's all finished. In the photo above one can peer into the cottage and ooogle over the layers of fitted cardboard sub-flooring that evens out the set's platform bases and will have mini wood plank flooring with copper nail heads, hopefully right-soon.
Lastly today, I wanted to announce that reader Marcie of The Rustic Victorian in Alabama sent me two big boxes filled with wonderful things she's collected in an around her exotic Southern environment. I had admired the insect wings and puffy seed pods she featured on her blog and she up and mailed them to me! I spoke with her by phone and she mentioned several other things she had but wasn't in need of that I would dearly love to use for the set. It's as though she had been collecting things for this project for years without knowing it. I dubbed Marcie the "Halfland Official Naturalist" (HON for short) Above is just a sampling of things that she sent that will be used in the film. Thank you, Marcie HON.
Love in a Puffs as lanterns in the tree, real cotton still in their pods (!) that will be next to Rana's loom on her porch, tiny myrtle pods that will be strewn for ground debris and used as beads in Rana's necklaces, real birch bark from Washington State that is paper thin and will be rolled into scrolls for the Writing Mouse's work area. I've decided the 'writing' in Halfland will all be, what is in our world, natural markings. I do this so the viewer will imagine their worlds is filled with communications from nature, hoping they might look more closely.
She also sent boxes full of antique watch parts perfect for constructing the Time Flies.
There's a month's worth more to say, but for right now that'll do. Thank you so much for following the project. It's an unbelievable support.