Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Larger Than Life: The Macro Garden Set Begins

A quickie mock up of the Macro Garden underway. The large snail puppet will make his way through a grassy trail dotted with over-sized dandelions (the one above is the size of a plum) and other flowers. See some of them below...
On the left, Carol helped me decide on the initial placement of the tall grasses for the large ambling snail puppet to stroll home through one rainy evening in the film. We found that if we positioned the tall foliage behind the cottage it couldn't be seen in the long shot of the cottage front on the other side. Carol does a great deal of gardening in real life and so she is a natural at taking whatever greenery I give her and making it look just right and completely natural. She's into it and comes every Friday that she's able.

Carol has begun the Macro Garden Set-on-Set on the far side of the cottage. First she coated the area with matte medium dusted with mulch and then when dried, vacuumed up the extra. Then she took pieces of scrap wood and started attaching large blades of faux grasses I had been collecting with hot glue and long staples.

A bonus accident was that by making these greenery tufts on moveable/tie-down-able pieces of wood I can take them away when the extreme scale of the giant grasses isn't right/or would show for a scene. A very flexible effect!

Carol also made these breathtaking Peony for the Macro Garden. She took palest pink doublette crepe paper (from THE source for crepe, Castle in the Air, owned by reader the marvelous Karima!) She cut all the peony petal shapes and shaped and formed each by hand. While she was gone I used the sun to gently fade the color even further. This gave delicate variation of shade to each petal so that when Carol put the blooms together, the effect was pretty life-like. I used Google to get reference images to copy the flocked floral center (center bottom).
I tried some too for no reason but my crepe paper colors were not as fugitive as the pale pink's and so the sun didn't change the colors at all. So I whipped out some bright fuschia silk dye powder and sprinkled a bit onto alcohol dampened petals for a variegated look. may or may not use them. I made larger flowers to get more familiar with the material and so might come at it again for the garden later on.
Meanwhile, I made a few in stark white as I thought a good way to transition from the macro garden scene might be to have the landscape turn to white (just by panning the camera across from full color world to an all white area) as we fade into Rose Red's (Jessica's) white paper puppet version of Halfland at the very end.....

It's the Answer!!

I've been processing photos of the unexpected progress I hinted at the other day in the tease. Got so many photos, there's no way I can tell the whole story tonight. But---wait no longer for the Answer (in so many ways)...
Surprise, the secret is (Yes, Nick!) the interior set for the Writing Mouse's House--built in a box. Seen here sitting on the work bench at night looking like a small world that dwells along side our own.
What started as a random cardboard box, saved roots, tape, and tubes, is turning into the little Mouse's house inside the roots of the Answer Tree. Much to be said about the fine furnishings as soon as possible...
 A midway progress shot of clumps of newsprint being added to shape the coving on floors and ceiling as well as facial features of the Answer Tree's persona in the back right-hand corner (not fully seen in this shot.)
As the flexible cement and sanded grout was applied, the (plastic bag protected) furniture gets sculpted in among the roots and "mud". The tunnel inside the Answer Tree's mouth will make for some nice reverse shot cut aways of the Mouse walking across his living area from deep down inside of it (center image). The marvelous acorn tea set made for me by talented Sharon Ferg in New Jersey, looks perfect at this in-between scale on the Mouse's sideboard, a cuppa waiting to be enjoyed by the fire. I used mesh plastic bags painted with copper base metal finish for the glass insets on the sideboard's display doors. I found that touching each juncture of the mesh with a toothpick dipped in morecopper paint added just the right scale effect to look like solder on metal for the door fronts.

This post only teases the fun further I'm afraid, but the next moment I have, I'll be thrilled to share the rest of this Mouse's tale. I had surprises myself making this set. One was the face that appeared as Constance began to layout where the furniture and features (like windows) would go. This screamed to evolve into the persona, the actual facial personification, the face, of the Answer Tree above. The tunnel through its mouth leads further into the Tree and emerges next to/behind the hearth inside Rana's side of the Tree where it is always toasty warm.

I can't wait to show you his library.... Seeds are Books you know (at least there are now in 1/2L!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Before I go on, I have been encouraged to show more of what's happening here, more often. (Paul was showing the blog to someone at his work and mentioned to me that I hadn't posted in a while when he got home. He's into it!)

So, in that regard, here from two months back, the finished wallpaper in Rana's bedroom with the rose vine growing through the trellis-mullion window and ending their life as images in the pattern.

Carol helped me place the full-color-fading-into-sepia toned bedroom wallpaper pattern that I had printed out onto inkjet decal paper. This is a material I was hoping would be easy to apply to the wall in tiled sheets, thus eliminating the decal material border around each rose shape. I had designed the pattern to move across the wall in a certain way, that would appear half organic near the 3D prop vine and halfway looking like straight ornate botanical vintage wallpaper. However the plaster texture of the wall wouldn't allow sheets of the decal to disappear and they trapped air bubbles in the pot holes.

We cut out each rose to place by hand instead. And it wasn't an easy method either. The decal print outs required a convoluted method of applying an adhesive sheet on the back that caused me to waste over half of each sheet in making mistakes. But I was in too far to turn back. If I was trying to do something like this again, I'd ORDER A YARD OF CUSTOM FABRIC INSTEAD!!! and apply it easily to the wall!!! It would have cost the same, and looked a bit better in the end.

Not to dwell though. The wall in the bedroom is done. I used tulle netting as a top layer, applied with matte medium, to lessen the halos and to even out the texture. I saw a real rose bush with rose hips and thought Halfland 's Tea Cup Rose Bush should have one too. This one, seen upper right, made from a hand-blown glass bead.

Do You Know The Answer?

Do you know this fellow? He has all the answers.
This is a teaser shot of another set-on-set near the end of it being completely built and done. It was started from zero just the other day. I've been obsessively working on it straight through, grabbing moments here, hours there, days too.

Whose house is this? Is it made of mud and roots? Is it furnished with hand-crafted traditional furnishings? What goes on behind the eye on the left?  Where does the tunnel mouth lead?

All the answers to your questions will be revealed in the next post...
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