Thursday, March 17, 2011
Very proud of this. Actually ahead of the game a bit with it. I've been tasking Sherie with the far away desert set building when she comes over. First she built the amazing palm tree seen above, then she and I started in on the tent. We labored hard over making a muslin pattern to get a paper pattern for the six tent segments to scale. It needed to look right next to the palm, be big enough for the puppet character that lives in it, and be hexagonal like Rana's cottage (don't know why that shape is a 1/2L. theme but it is).
The tent belongs to the serpent sage musician who's body is half snake and half powerful man. He sits and plays sacred music alone in the desert like a wise man. His music has a habit of causing flowers to begin to grow from his head and those who listen to it. The tent's pattern motif had to convey both serpent scales and floral petals (Cirelle's wonderful idea!) and I worked very hard to get a pattern that suggested both at the same time. It also has a slight Eastern flavor to it that works.
Sherie helped me sew the appliqué pattern onto the base. I felt the colors were too clear and the fabric too cheap looking. I wanted the tent to feel like an old oiled circus carnivale-type shelter. I tried various overlays but found the perfect solution was the simple tulle netting that a friend gave me from her old wedding dress. I matte medium'ed it over each panel and then the girls pitched in with using dilute acrylics and pigment chalks to shade and patina the now heavy canvas-like cloth (see middle right photos close by clicking)
I went over them repeatedly to unify the coloration/shading, pinned the panels together and used the machine to stitch and then top-stitch them into shape. It fit perfectly onto the support structure we had built, with a tweak here and there. I have to finish the very top and continue to design the rest of its construction, including the many prayer flags, saffron yellow satin cushettes, and carpets suitable for serpent sitting.