Saturday, March 27, 2010

Growing Pond of You

When Cirelle started coming over for Girl Fridays Halfland Help I thought it was fantastic to have a pair of talented hands taking care of some of the less-demanding production tasks. But that's not what has happened. What's getting more clear is that she is a superb creative partner.

Take today for example, I saw how expert Cirelle was with making faux plants look natural on my test tasks for her. I thought after we made the cottage window treatments together, I'd get her to plant the Time Frog's pond on the main set. I showed her the array of faux reeds, cattails, and other grasses I'd collected for the purpose. I showed her the Conscious Stones, the papier maché rocks, the photos of lily pads and prop lotus blooms I'd made last year. As she started placing the rocks and describing where she wanted to plant the foliage, I was impressed with her understanding of how nature works. She's actually excited to be helping me plant the set! [Thank you, God!]

Then the unexpected Cirelle bonus struck again. As the Time Frog's actual size stand-in looked on from his position in the pond, as Cirelle started arranging the reeds to be planted at the water's edge, we soon realized that the water needed to be worked out first so we'd know the waterline level and how to have the reeds growing in the water itself. My original idea of using several tubs of hair gel soon paled next to the spontaneous development of a perfect hand made Halfland pond that I'm terribly fond of.

After various creative idea tossing, we landed on the idea of three layers of fabrics; an algae-like green ultrasuede murky bottom attached at the depth of the hole, a softly crumpled middle layer of bright blue tulle [whose gentle contours looks exactly like water even in person] and topped with a shimmer of translucent pale green silk, wired at the edges, made as taut as possible, to become the ponds surface. Lotus leaves and flowers can float on top. (Above Cirelle and I test out various color combinations.)

This solution THRILLS me to the bone. I love the way it looks. And not only does it look amazing from above, but when the easily removable under layer is taken away (or even through a hole in the fabric!), the camera can shoot straight up from under the water, through the lotus tendrils, under their leaves floating on the water's surface, to the brighter world above. I screamed a little when we saw that.

In the last few minutes of our time together today, Cirelle and I scrambled to get her started with a sculpt of her original Halfland character (It will appear in a cameo in Halfland series and then possibly become the FIRST Halfland spin-off series of it's own, that she will make for and by herself! I love the idea of people making their OWN Halfland films! YAY!) She wanted something creative to work on for herself at home. She's so incredibly intelligent that she absorbed my triple-speed tutorial on stop mo puppet sculpting, as our hands flew, twisting a wire base. Her delicate character sketch is in the background.


  1. This is going to be wonderful! I love the fabric for water. It's perfect.


  2. Cirelle looks like the goddess of the pond in her blue-green stripes. :)

  3. Thanks, Jody! Me too.

    You're right, Jessica! Cirelle IS a pond goddess actually! She tells me about the years she gave docent tours at a nature park near Los Angeles. She knows a world of nature that I don't even imagine exists (because I don't really go outside much at all.) It's good she's here.

  4. Again, you both did a terrific job!

    It's as much satisfying to finally place the the things and to see it all coming together as much as finishing the final piece, isn't it? Your setting looks amazing, especially through the eyes of the camera!

    Well done, girls! Two such talented arists collaborating seems to produce great work!

  5. Thanks so much, Jessica!

    that's so nice of you to say, both about how the set looks and about the fun we are having building it now.

    I'm trying to get Cirelle to comment here herself! Hello?! Cirelle...?

    [Cricket chirp]

  6. I can see how hard it would be to swamp yourself outwith hair gel! I can imagine it would stink and the set could be damaged afterwards. I'm not sure the 'fabric water' really fits in with halfland, it doesn't fit in with the miniature world like the rest of the set. I do however love the idea of the lilies in the water, the rocks on the side look very realistic. I can imagine a similar scene in real life, are you thinking of adding rustic stone steps down to the pond so Rana can get her water more easily? Ben

  7. Completely right, Ben--hair gel is out for the stream and for the pond!

    But layers of silk are in for both the stream and the pond now! Don't worry. I sincerely believe it will look perfect in Halfland, not like fabric at all.

    The sky doesn't look like plastic sheeting does it!?

    Plus the silk waters on the set will be the basis for further special digital effects should they be needed. In the end, everything in Halfland will appear how we most wish it would.

    Keep the feedback coming.

    There is indeed a sweet gravel stairway path for Rana to get her water from the moving stream, rater than the still pond. She collects i in the rain barrel. Did you see the rain barrel?

  8. love that you can shoot up through the water like that. can't wait to see that.

  9. Wooo Hoo! Me too, Rich!

    I just figured today that I'll we'd need do is cut a hole for the camera's tube that can be covered over with a matching fabric flap when shot from above.

  10. Shelley, I love the lilies and the idea of Cirelle making her own Halfland film! Spreading Art Love! How great... Also waiting for Cirelle's comments here. Please say hi to her.

  11. Hi Yaz! I made an even better lotus flower for the pond now! I'll show upcoming post set.

    Totally spreading art love, yes! Cirelle feels like her world is opening up. What's better than that!?

    She was able to comment once so far. For some reason her computer makes her sneak up on Blogger. She said it was tricky to do. I'll say hi to her Friday for sure!


  12. Wow.. great. Waiting to see that lotus flower. I am sure it is beautiful.

    Her world is opening up! Yep.. I know that feeling very well. It happened to me when I first started stop motion and you know who was there with me :-)

  13. Hi back to you Yaz - I feel like I have a whole new family out there. I'm thrilled head to toe to be part of this scrumptious adventure.
    Mighty hugs all around!

  14. YAY! How nice to see you commenting now, Cirelle! Welcome to Halfland and Notes from Halfland! Thrilled thrilled thrilled to have you here!

  15. Hi Cirelle - Great to see your message. I am following up all of the wonderful things you make here. Hugs from your family in Turkey too :))


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