Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tinting Tenting

A very beautiful shaman's tent in progress next to the desert palm from the front and as seen from above, with its Flower of Life motif that will be visible in the very end of the film series as the Tarn character drifts up above the desert sand.

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).

I snatched the flimsy cotton cloth table skirting around my worktable that was already sewn half orange and yellow, and had David and Sherie start cutting out the six segments from it, along with dozens and dozens of heavy canvas petal shapes to use as appliqué on each side.

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.


  1. Wow!
    I love reading these updates. It's just amazing your resourcefulness and creativity in making all these things. And it's lovely to see so much progress!

  2. Tarn-ation, a whole swag of new posts!
    That be a colourful tent!

    Why hexagons? Because you and your guest artists are a bunch of busy bees!

  3. Why thank you so much for that, Jodi! Your rooting and cheering really fuel the whole thing! w00t!

    Thanks, Nick!!!!

    "Tarn-ation" [snort, chortle]

    And yes! Bee hives are Halfland-important. Although I ended up using a lotus pod for the honey comb in the end. But still! a Queen Bee is expected to arrive at some point!

  4. Oh my!!!
    It makes me dizzy to keep up with you! So much progress.... I love it!!

    Best wishes,

  5. Me too, Karima! Except there is so much more still to do!

  6. Honestly, Shelley: even though there's a lot of progress, it's great that there is still much more to do, isn't it?

    When I think of finishing my Orpheus film project, I'm already a tiny bit sad because it has been accompaning me for such a long time. – And this is nothing compared to Halfland and you! But it's also great to see things growing and changing; as I said: springtime!

  7. You are right, Jessica. I plan on always working on something, even *when* 1/2L is all done (2013 ideally)

    I plan on using the same sets and props as much as possible to amortize all the infrastructure being built!

    My poor husband is wondering when/if he can live in a normal sized space one day! HA! Dream on!

  8. his music makes flowers grow and out of people's heads...very cool

  9. Hi Rich!! YES!!!!!! It's called... Flowering Thoughts!!! yay!

  10. "His music has a habit of causing flowers to begin to grow from his head and those who listen to it...." I wanna be one of those who listen to this music. Such a great idea! What kind of instrument will he play here?

  11. OH! I hope you'll hear it, Yaz! That is to say I hope to make it so that we all can hear it!

    I'm glad you asked about the instrument. It's a strange tale....

    He was always envisioned from the beginning in 1993 as playing an instrument I thought I made up that is after an ancient design with a drum and strings played with a bow. But here's the weird thing, the made up character name is Urhu (you're-HU) and he is half snake/serpent, right?

    Well, a friend was here looking at the sketch above my desk and asked why I had a snake playing an.... ERHU! A real Japanese instrument that is... MADE OF SNAKE SKIN!???!!! That was such a weird moment to have something real collide with what I thought I had made up.

    He came back the next day and played one for me!

  12. Shelley, this is such a strange story about the intrument he will be playing... I have read the post from 2008 about it. Please please make it so we can all hear it. Actually, I think you have to make it.. I believe the magic of these kinds of coincidences. URHU was born to play ERHU... You saying " metaphor for the breath of spirit we ourselves vibrate to, as the strings do, like a god" reminded me of a Turkish/Arabic instrument called "ney" which I like a lot.

    I have just searched on the net for ERHU. I really like this one and want to send you the URL. Both music and he himself on the stage.. looks amazing.

  13. WOW! Thanks for tracking down such a fine example of that music, Yaz! I'll be striving to replicate certain aspects of that recording in Urhu's playing!

    You're the best! xoxox

  14. Woo, when master GUO GAN gets going at 4:02 on flowers started growing out of my head! HA! :)

  15. Just listened to GUOGAN again and arrived 4:02.... yehuuuu flowers :)) yes.. Tell you the truth I like the first part better.

    Cant wait to see Urhu playing enhu.



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