Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake:
Rose Scented Fare Ready for the Bug Party

The bugs at the bug party are excited to sample the little cakes I built as one of the last props for the big event. (click to enlarge)
The cake stand was made from a slice of branch, the stem of a seed pod, and a coconut button on the bottom. The cakes themselves were cut from small pieces of foam with flavors of paint and heavy gloss gel frosting and filling. I sliced up the cakes to reduce the scale of the filling layer. It took 3 coats of frosting to cover the foam texture.

The frosting flowers were made from small paper roses and rosebuds coated with clear heavy gloss gel to lessen their detail and make them look as if they were made of frosting. I also used sesame seeds, pressed, preserved and painted mini rose leaves, paper punch shapes as smaller leaves, and real micro pods painted to make them look like scale rose buds for the tops.

I made two cakes of about the same size as well as a few slices and lumps that will later be seen on the white spot plates on the mushroom table settings as the party goes late into the night. To present the cakes, I punched small holes on painted real leaves to suggest the paper dollies that typically line cake stands. I wanted it to look half like fancy cake doily and almost as though the bugs ate the leaves in that pattern for the party. They are going all out for this.
Everyone will be invited to taste a little at the party. Gretchin Lair suggested having small rose scented cakes for guests at the Halfland launch party! Brilliant idea! Done!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

How will I ever catch you up?: Cottage Nightstand

I don't think I ever got to show you this piece of furniture for the cottage? It's a little side table for Rana's bed. It will hold the oil lamp at night and a bowl of yarn balls where the Knitting Beetles will be busy at work.

It was made from miscellaneous wooden shapes, glued and melded together with cement, sanded and painted, and sanded, patina stained, etc. The top was lid of a square box with a hole cut through to house the light works for the lamp.  There are ants marching around the table base, as if they are carved. Can you spot them?
Preview of how the little setting will look next to the comfortable bed. The right hand shot was taken through the hole in the roof where the tree's branch extends over the bed and grows through the roof.

Sand Zoom

 Wow! Action packed progress on the desert set for the foreground in the final scenes of the film series. Sherie has built with and for me this incredible palm (with purple dates wink wink, Sherie) and the Serpent sage's beautiful tent seen here still in progress on the new desert sand fabric being made below.
Sherie started Friday night by painting the cream flannel queen size flat sheet retired for this use. It struck me recently that rather than trying to build another enormous desert set for these scenes I could instead simply finish a piece of fabric with real sand and then drape it over crumpled paper to alter the dune topography at will. No more heavy, unwieldy set pieces to build and stow. This one can easily roll up on a cardboard tube and be put away when not in use.

So far it's working really well. I need to go buy more matte medium and bags of pale sparkly scenic sand for finishing off a top coat.

When the paint was dry the next morning I set about laying in patches of matte medium and sand that Sherie (my accomplice) and I stole from Santa Monica beach where we were attending an annual Easter event. It also happened to be my AnniverSherie as this time last year is when I meet Sherie and invited her to help with the project. I have assigned her all the desert set elements because it seemed a fit for her and boy, was that right. She's done so well. Without her coming over when she could, I know for certain none of the desert set would have been built. Now I can't imagine them any other way.

Normally, I am truly loathe to do anything against the rules such as stealing public sand from a beach, even the single zip lock bag full I did. I realize that if everyone took sand off the beach there'd be no beach. I had already bought a lot of sand for this, all of which was too coarse for this application. I had one small bag of fine sand like I used on the seat of my Day at the Beach chair last year but I couldn't remember where I got it at the time. I really had to wrestle with my sense of principles and values. I had to reflect on what rules would I follow and which I wouldn't. It got way philosophical for this set building discussion.

In the end, I decided to opt for the modest thievery with gratitude to the beach for making a contribution to the project. I promised it fame (among dozens) and a kind of lasting adventure not too many grains, except those that get to ride in our cars after hiding in our shoes, get to experience.

After a couple days of coating the cloth with medium and sand, sweeping off the excess half a dozen times, it's got its complete first layer. In the lower right hand image above, on the left hand side you can see a paler patch that already has the softer second layer applied.

When it's all done, I can install the palm and tent through cut slits in the fabric and place gentle rolling paper shapes underneath it all for contouring. I was going to go make two more sheets at the beach (via a quicker method of soaking the sheets in medium and then rolling them into the beach itself.) to use as distant dunes. But will likely instead use composited stills of this same sheet, in differing hill shapes, for the background(s).

Dandelying: part 2

One of my new jumbo method of Dandelying stuck in a pot of real dandelion leaves that I grew for reference. I'm not trying to recreate the world in Halfland, just a kind of crude handmade sketch of it.
Making these "God's way" is so much easier! I took the faux grass seed heads like before only this time I glued individual natural paint brush bristles into the nap of it. I took a couple of passes at sticking these in on each jumbo dandelion (for the macro large scale garden on set). It didn't take long, certainly not as long as the method from part 1.

Next I tipped each bristle with glue and daubed them with cut fibers off of a white faux fur. Couple coats of that gave a nearly full globe shape. It's not perfect, but I was quite thrilled with the results and how natural they look. It was a little wild, while trimming the fluff into a round shape, to objectively look down at my table now and again to see these in their stages of being made. I felt a wee bit like god (little g) producing the natural world.
 (left) shows a jumbo dande with the Halfland smaller scale dandeleaves. (center) shows small dandeleaves in the making. (right) shows where the small dandes will mainly grow, on the roof of the cottage over the kitchen. The roots seen previously there are, it's now decided, dandelion roots.

For the leaves, I took flat dried real dande leaves that I had picked while out weeks back. I'd sandwiched it in clear contact paper to preserve/strengthen it. I cut a small one in half vertically and used it as a pattern to cut out many copies in lightweight green tissue paper. Thin green wires were sandwiched in between two of each cutouts (seen center image on the left). Then these were all painted between my fingers with acrylic paints (seen center image on the right).

Also being finished are flat yellow flower heads to be part of the dande cluster and lots more leaves in various sizes needed. We're going to have dandies over here anywheres we might want, yo.
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