Saturday, October 23, 2010

My New Roommate

Adam/Jake Fish shared the draft of his first encounter with the Guildmistress. Adam's description of the Guildmistress and Jake's thoughts and reactions made me laugh. A few days ago, I was given this lovely marionette. She is around 1 metre 20 tall. Other people found her scary, but I liked her, even though she did look somewhat stern.

When I got her home, I found a space to hang her and then we had a nice little conversation. In the days that followed, her eyes, though piercing, took on a more kindly look, and her smile seemed to widen. Rather than frightening, she now appears regal and authoritative.

She has lost her hair and looks as though she's undergone chemotherapy, so I'll need to find a solution for that problem. I also intend to change some of ther clothing, as she is very glitzy at the moment. I think I want to tone that down by using new accessories.

The Making of Alba's Map

This is Alba's map. I'd say it's around two-thirds of the way completed, but that seems right for now. I have a hunch Alba will learn more about the map tomorrow, and the rest will become evident as she journeys.

I started out with two A4 sheets of heavy watercolour paper, because that's all I had that was suitable. You don't really want to use flimsy paper when drawing maps, as it might tear when adding colour or erasing things. I taped the sheets together to create a larger canvas. I may take the map apart again, when I decide how to fold and transport it (for Alba). The first thing I did after that was singe the edges of the paper all round. I did it first to prevent burning away some of the work I intended to do. That said, it might have been equally interesting and possibly more mysteriousd to do precisely that.

Then I drew the outlines of country and islands and sounds. I like islands, so I alway include some. My islands are almost always to the north.

The next step was to mark in the major geographical features like mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. I like to draw topographical mountains. I'm sure there are some geographic impossibilities on my map, but this is about fantasy rather than perfection. Then came the colouring fun. I used watercolour pencils and watercolour crayons.

That done, I sat down to mark and name locations. This part of the process is fascinating, because events tend to pop into my mind as I name places and landscape features. The story begins to tell itself to me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Making of Alba's Doll

Alba's doll took a while to manifest. I actively considered several options, with paper being my default choice. However, this was not, apparently, what Alba had in mind.

Walking through the local park, I'd find myself scouring the ground for something I couldn't define. A few days ago, I picked up a couple of twigs and intuitively knew they were the basis for Alba's doll.

When I held the twigs together, they looked like a figure with raised arms. So, I taped them together to keep them in position and then bound them with some rather rustic twine.

In the next step she got an underskirt of black netting, which was simply gathered, tied around her waist, then slashed to make it easier to fluff out. Using the same twine I used to bind the twigs, I crocheted a skirt band and threaded strings through the holes. Tucked away in my stash, I had some paper tubes which I cut to make beads of various lengths, which I threaded onto the strings, along with some wooden beads. Then I draped more of the netting around her upper body to make a blouse. She seemed to feel the cold, so I knitted up a shawl from some pretty yarn I'd had lying around for years.

Back in the park, I gather a few reeds and some twigs that bore little cones and bound a tiny wreath for a headdress. Some of the material is still tinged with green but will darken as it dries.

The paper clay face is from a mould I have. I make 20-30 faces at a time and toss them into a box for when I need them. The face is glazed with gold acrylic but otherwise unadorned.

She had a nasty cold gap at the waist, so I found a scrap of bejewelled trim in one of my boxes and made her a waistband.

I may add a touch of something here or there in the days to come, but essentially, Alba is now completed.

Yesterday, a friend visited and saw Alba. She asked me if Alba was a voodoo doll. (Nothing would surprise her when it comes to me and my art.) I said "no", but if she needs a voodoo doll, I could show her...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Making of Alba's Travelling Box

This project is part of my prep for the Travelling Artist's Guild Journey

My travelling box started out as two wooden three-bottle wine crates. The feet were a lucky find. Someone tossed away wooden rings and the end stoppers for wooden curtain poles in the local park. I found them, and hey presto, I had the perfect feet for my box and a collection of rings for
another project I have in mind.

The inside is lined with paper from a roll of gift wrap.

After thinking about the outside for a while, I tossed my original idea of varnishing the box and decided to distress it. I covered the surfaces with some scrapbook paper I'd had for years, then papered over the edges with book pages. After that, I sanded the edges to blend the various papers and gave the outside of the box a couple of coats of acrylic glaze.

I attached the box lids to the outside of the new box to form "wings". Then I created additional storage possibilities by adding pockets to one wing. I'll be doing something similar with the other wing, too.

The hinges and closures came from my collection of metal parts. I also added some bands as hinges to prevent the wings from sagging. The current solution is not quite as good as it could be. I'm on the lookout for an old brown leather belt, cracked and supple with age, that I can cut up to use as hinges. I'll affix them on top of the existing hinges, as I like the idea of something looking old and often-repaired.

The outside is decorated to an extent where I can say, I can off on my journey. I know I'll be adding to the box as I travel. The inside is still to be completed. Here, too, I think I'll work as I travel. My intention is to add drawers and compartments to house various items I already have and will find as my journey progresses.