Saturday, July 02, 2011

Micro Set [very nearly] FINISHED!:
Mouse House Interior (part 1)

Oh, hello, Would you like to tour the newly finished Micro Set of Halfland's Writing Mouse House Interior? Follow me... First, we'll go back a bit...
Constance started me off when I assigned her to take the raw box materials (upper left) and the furnishings I'd made and arrange them to reflect how the Mouse's Chalet Exterior was configured (top center). She began installing the mantle and cutting away the tunnel and windows, which became the Answer Tree's face, and wiring in various roots for this subterranean lair. 

After she left, I started plastering the interior with Flexall (flexible cement) and with leftover sanded grout when I ran out of Flexall. I tried to "build-in"  the furniture and features as though the walls were earthen. I added slopes and bulk as needed with newspaper and masking tape and plastered over the surfaces again.

Next came several layers of acrylic paint in raw and burnt umber and terra cotta for the "flesh" areas. Highlights and lowlights were added with pastel chalks/pigments to emphasize the Face without being too direct. I like to keep everything as ambiguous as possible so the viewer can see at least two things at once in each element. Halfland.
The mouth/tunnel leading to the underside of Rana's cottage hearth as seen on the finished set, as well as during the progression of its development underneath. The lips were constructed out of some of the root pieces I nabbed on the curb after a tree removal a few years back. The teeth were a wired strand of natural beads called Job's Tears (nature already makes them all with holes for stringing!) that I'd tainted with a paint tarter patina.
The large scale main Face as finished (upper left) whose right eye is the Mouse's sleeping nook lined with colorful shred. As I went along building the root shapes and decorating the Mouse's house with stacks of seeds throughout, other less obvious faces started emerging as well. Their character was accented with various natural seeds, caps, and pods.

A large seed pod had several white and one black Job's Tears arranged inside of it in order to halfway suggest an iris and a rare pair of century-old eye glasses were wired over the opening (upper right). These glasses may be the only earth world scale actual objects used in the making of Halfland. The eyes on the creatures top center and lower left are natural b/w coloration (!) on the Love in a Puff pods that Halfland's Official Naturalist, Marcie sent me a few years back. Their teeth were tiny hard plant pods pickled with white. The red hair is Eucalyptus brush filament with another species of Eucalyptus button as a cap. They are eating red peppercorns.

The Writing Mouse wears nano-sized tiny specs himself as he spends his days listening to the questions asked of the Answer Tree in order to translate the wisdom of the crowd that personifies the Tree's roots. He transcribes the answers onto birch bark paper and seeds and buries them under the roots. In time, the answers he's written will grow out onto the leaves of the Tree. Of course, by then, no one will care what it is.

In Part 2; the Story of the Furnishings...


  1. This is absolutely amazing!!! I've been watching your progress for a while. Excellent job!

  2. Hooray! I'm so glad you said hello! I love knowing good people are out there watching. WElcome officially to 1/2L!


  3. Thanks, DJ! great to know you dig it!

  4. Shelley, this is amazing! This set is so full of details, and love! Again, I can't wait to see things start moving, er, being animated).

    The hidden faces remind me much of the paintings of Guiseppe Arcimboldo, even though those are much more obvious than the faces of the answer tree… Well done!

  5. Oh! OMG! Those faces - too wonderful! Oh!

  6. Thank you, Jessica! yes! Arcimboldo faces are fabulous and the root faces in the chalet here are fun in that vein.

    Thank you Nick, You inspired me to make more, planning to show the latest!


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