Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet The Time Keepers

Had a total blast making tiny fly puppets for the inner clockworks and for The Time Frog puppet. I had to make a few very small flies to fit inside the Frog's paper gear clock works. The flies are swallowed by the Frog and they in turn operate the gears and give us all Time as a result. My hope is that everyone familiar with Halfland will wonder, just as a passing thought, whether they are seeing one of the Time Keeper flies when they see a common housefly in their real world lives.

Got the small flies and a few more for the Time Frog's pond scenes, one for close-ups on the big pink rubber tongue, etc. And at least THREE extra that I've promised to Mike Brent, Nick Hilligoss, and young Mariah for helping me especially with the production.

I wanted a mesh effect over the bright red fly eyes but I didn't want the mesh to be flattened out by glue. It was tricky to work out a technique for wrapping each micro glass bead in various types of silk tied with thread and glued from behind only (bottom left). At first all I had was red seed beads, but then I found smaller still delica beads (compare bottom right). On the puppet guts sized flies I just went with small dots of glossed paint as the whole fly would fit on your pinky nail.

I wasn't trying for the stunning realism that grand insect artist, Graham Owen gets in his astounding work. I needed these to look hand-made like the rest of Halfland and to have more comic character as puppets. But I did employ as much of Graham's techinques as I could manage to construct them. I learned from him about using Creatology Fun Foam Sheets cut into small strips as a base under it all. I tried to replicate the fine hair or lanugo of insect legs by wrapping different types of single fronds from feathers onto the leg wires. I found that making my own flocking fibers, by my roulad slicing method at felted wool, gave a nice hand-crafted look.

OH! And the BEST FIND of all was that Ice Resin, mentioned in the window pane post, when applied to all kinds of papers makes them perfectly transparent and yet completely stable! I slathered Ice Resin onto every kind of paper I had here--just to see what happens. And I was DELIGHTED at the various glass-like effects! For the fly wings, I found the very best of all tried to be common cheap white tissue paper! The nerve! I used also Ice Resin on white glassine above but it was the common gift wrap filler that was sublimely sheer and yet fully durable enough to be incised by a pin point! See what I mean upper left, click to enlarge, as always.

The fly hind segments were painted with Pearl Ex Duo Green-Yellow pigment  that looks for all the world like real fly backside. It is a true duo-chrome which means it's gives a certain shimmer that is neither just "iridescent" nor "opalescent". I can't explain it except that it looks like a fly. I saw it in an art supply store 17 years ago and bought it EXACTLY for the purpose you see above. Talk about having and holding a long view!


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  2. I love these little flies!
    The ones with the long legs remind me of the Salvador Dali picture with the elephants

  3. Thanks, Rob Ives, world famous paper engineer and all around genius!

    They do indeed look like Dali by golly!

  4. Hi Nick! Ewww, so creepy in a way to see flies squirming inside anyone's belly, and weirder still to be the queen of making them. BUT it's also a bit beautiful and interesting (photos coming soon)

    That's Halfland, creepily beautiful. Unintended!

    It's NOT my fault that frogs eat flies dammit.

  5. Time flies indeed!!! So much progress since I was last here! So, so exciting, I have flies in my tummy!

  6. oh I hope not, Peggy! (Butterflies yes, flies no!) You're so cute.


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