Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Snug as a Bug

So glad to share this with you. I got lucky with the light the last few days which enabled some proper great shots as I was delightedly making and/or finalizing these tiny bug puppets for the mushroom cafe night time party scene in the film.

(And this post will be especially useful for Cirelle as a helpful guide to the emerging bug characters at the "Mimizard's Birthday Party" storybook she'll be writing with the same cast too. I'm going to show you the finished bugs here and tell you what I know about them and then she can take up the story making from there as she likes!)

This guy is either a beetle or a roach made from a natural seed pod body and has micro twigs for legs. He wears a golden pod cap with leaf pennant as all the party guests are decked out in their nature's best finery. His mouth is a very small stem end painted with nectar as he's been enjoying the party fare.

This guest is the largest and looks the most important. He's brought a wrapped present on a leaf and wears a small gold calyx crown. His wings sparkle from the front and are more moth like from the back. I call all the party bugs "Drab Bugs" in special party wear. They all should be rather dull, not flashy in their day to day lives, but dressed up with great excitement for this big event. I used pressed plant material for the phalanges on his back and carefully flocked the transitions to his body. His wire legs are positionable and his head turns. I think he is high ranking in this bugdom. Well regarded.

Distorted view through a magnifying lens of the spider guest with gold microbead cluster eyes and two flower petals tied onto his back like a cape. He is also known as a performer and came to the party wearing eight tiny sparkly tap shoes!

Under him we see one of the caterpillar guests, there will be several there, inching their way up the mushrooms for a seat for the festivities. He's got a gold crown too, so I'm thinking these are like party hats for them. I made him from a purple and black silk selvage wrapped onto a twig shaped like a worm coil that had all the weft tips painted with florescent orange. I put three eyes on him, two visible in any position he might need to be in.

Hopper is the waiter for the catered affair. He is serving fresh pollen cupcakes with tiny mushroom decorations on his leaf tray and wearing his crisp white apron. His legs are made to attach to the overhead party lantern streamers as he offers a cake to bugs at each table. (I should be using exclamation points after each of these--so fun will this be to see!!!!)
This fellow you've seen in the post about making his bouquet, but here's a better view of his now woolly body and damask pattern wings. He has two mates with him at the party, like attendants fluttering in the background. His legs are posable and he's on a wire to fly.

Here's one of the flies, an enormous one, ten times bigger than the ones inside the Time Frog, with peacock fond feather hairs on each of his six legs. His front four legs are holding the striped straw he's using to get all the delicious nectar from one of the tea cups at a mushroom table. His wings are made from a dried leaf (reinforced with several coats of matte medium or as I call it, Halfland magic maker.) And he's sporting a rather hilarious bright green curly mohawk. Paaar-tay! w00t!

These two clumsy flies were from my first attempts at Musca Tempora making. I made them into background party guests rather than to waste them. They are a couple. I added tiny blossom party hats and one is in a seated position sipping her nectar tea. The other can applaud all the dance performances with his two front legs I figure.

More background extras as it will take a lot of bugs to make a real full party scene. The top guy uses a pair of the initial Handicapped Butterfly wings (I have decided to scrap those puppets and have finally figured what I want them to look like and how to build them (brief peek in next post). His repurposed drab-a-fied wings are hinged to open and close and his woolly body made with snipped fibers from a wool sweater is finished with yellow pollen SHOES! (couldn't help adding that "!" because I love the idea of some of the bugs using the pollen to make dressy shoes for this! Ack!)

Below him are two little horrible bedbugs or fleas with petal wings and sparkle eyes. These are crude bugs and will gossip in the background as I first made the bodies with thick silly wire waaaaaaay back in 1993 (!) for this project. I didn't know about the party back then but I knew that even the bugs in Halfland would be puppets. I used paperclay which I now know sucks for most puppets--too fragile and back then I didn't know wire came in different gauges.

I like that I've used nearly every single bug body that I started way back then, nothing has gone to waste. I've found a way to move everything forward. I think I'm a lot more skillful with my hands than I was back then. (I think it's all the tiny Christmas presents I made back in 2007 that did it.) I feel as though I can build anything I want, the way I want now. At least to my likes.


  1. This is gorgeous! I don't know which one I like best... Probably Hopper, or no, wait... Uhm...
    – All of them are beautiful! And I'm pretty sure they'll make an awesome party!

  2. Thanks, Jessica! You know you are invited, right?!

  3. Wow, wowowowowow... all looking amazing Shelley. Many precious art pieces here.

  4. D'awwwww ! Thanks, Yaz! I really like these and I've made 4 more moths with 4 more caterpillars coming!

    I could make these all the time they are so fun!

  5. Yep! Looks like a lot of fun. Waiting to see moooooreeeeee.. :))

  6. HTTG is me by the way:)

  7. Anonymous5:13 PM

    looking at an advertisement for Lytro, i stumbled upon your website.
    although i hate them in real life, i just love your little bugs,
    wonderful work!

  8. Oh my gosh, Gee!!! Yours is the first Lytro interested person to discover Halfland! I'm so please that you like these bugs. So do I! I could enjoy making more and more and more!

    I'm afraid 1/2L might get over run! But they are so fun to make!
    Thank you again!!!!


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