Friday, November 04, 2011

The Pinpillar

As Rana sits in the light of dusk in her cozy easy chair, with her stitching on her lap, we will see a large, striped, pincushion caterpillar slowly making its way up the arm of the chair toward her sewing box to offer his black-topped tailor pins.
This was a spontaneous addition to the cottage puppets, easily and quickly executed. It went from notion--seeing a hotdog shaped pincushion I had made looking like a caterpillar--to the installed critter in less than a day. upper left is the real life pincushion and a photo of a pillar along with the nubbly wooly shaped I'd sewn for something else on the project and abandoned. Below that, you see the progress after adding small dollops of crackle gel onto the heads of many 1/2" gold sequin pins, after painting them glossy black and securing each one into the wired shape with glue. I striped him after the fact with permanent marker which I do realize is the hard way as I had to touch up the pins afterward. But it was only after seeing him covered in pins that I saw he needed more cheer and color. He needed to read more like a caterpillar as well as a pin cushion. The stripes did that for me.

He attaches to the upholstered chair via matching-headed long needles as tie-downs (in silver so I can find them while animating him crawling.)
When we enter the cottage we will see him curled up in Rana's sewing basket on her chairitable. Then the next time you see him, he'll be moving on the chair. It's a small touch but it adds quite a lot of depth to the scenes. It adds to whatever is behind the other decorative pins in Rana's sewing kit which are made of ladybugs and flies as well as pearls and jewels. It adds another creature that is half organic/half inanimate; things that look like other things, etc.

And making it prompted me to have to actually install the other sewing kit on the arm of the chair, which included gluing in each of those pins as well. And sewing the shell box onnto the chair with thread that I then painted over to match where it lay. I had to stiffen up all the dangling threads on both settings and fasten them down.

I can count on one hand the number of things left to do in the cottage before it is ready to begin shooting its scenes.


  1. Hi Shelley, don't remember how I got here, probably tricked by the name or a photo in someone's sidebar ... . and now I'm catching up bit by bit and getting more end more amazed ! I will need a lot longer before I truelly "get" the whole picture of what you're doing!
    So far I'm more or less flabbergasted! It's really wonderful and very creative! Lots of succes! I'll be coming around again ;-)

  2. I am thrilled to have you here, Els!! Welcome, a hearty welcome to you! Thanks so much for commenting and appreciating what's going on here!

    I'm off to get your links....

  3. Ah yes! You're the fiber artist with all the pretty rainbow colors from the Netherlands that I noticed had begun to follow this blog! Yes, welcome and lots of success to you as well!

  4. Hey Shelly!

    great character and concept...My grandma used tohave those cushions as a kid...and I would play with their squishy beadedness all the time as she worked..

    i cant believe how close you are!!! super exciting!!!


  5. Thanks, Justin. I have to really thank you for the honor of your following the project so closely when you have so much crazy to do up there! You are a true friend. Thank you!

  6. I don't know how I missed this but, wow ... its just so incredible! You have such a talent for the miniatures.

  7. uh--likewise, Jeff! I just showed Paul your video blog of you sketching Han Solo and he was blown away. You have a new fan.

    We can't understand how you can take so little money for such phenomenal work!

  8. That is so cool! What a great little character.
    I almost see the face of Gumby in the chair back!
    Terrific and inspiring stuff!

  9. Thanks, Mike! Kind of you notice the almost face. I want everything in Halfland to feel senscient in some degree. Yet I don't want everything to be a character with an obvious face. Do you know what I mean? Like everything is alive but not everything has a goofy name.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hey, Shelley, have you seen this 1820 automaton caterpillar?

    I saw it and immediately thought of you.

  11. Ugh, oh, Tea Rose, that bejeweled pillar automata is so incredible. I love it! You were right!

    I'd need on that would just keep going all the time though, like a Roomba© carpet sweeper. And it would have go super slowly like a real pillar.

    And it would be a puppet that I make.

    Yeah, that would be great.

  12. Hello Shelley, wow I have been getting a feel for miniature stuff with my is quite the meditation. Just painting the dots on my lanterns took hours and hours! I was i out of my mind. but I really love how they turned out. I love this post with the rose chair and the mustard lace ...yummy yummy exquisite colors. I am now much more appreciative of what it takes to do miniature work!!! Yours is stunning! blessings to you and the work you do. can't wait to se stuff moving down the road. By the way where are you located in the LA area?

  13. Hi Heidi Ann, I'm a follower and fan of your works. Halfland is near downtown. You are invited to visit.

    Just email me nobledesign[at]sbcglobal[dot]net if you'd like more info.

    Address not-for-public for security please.


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