There are a few buildings in Tacoma that are rusting and abandoned, like Mater. But you know they once had a glory day. Much was established in Tacoma during the late 1800's and turn of the century. Fortunately, many buildings have been renovated or kept up at least somewhat. But others like the B.P.O.E. building sit rusted, empty, and quietly waiting for someone like McMenamins to bring it back to life, which they are in late 2014, so that people may again fill it's halls and make new memories for the walls and celings to relive at night when everyone is asleep in their beds.
On the front of the building is a bust of an Elk, to represent the Elk's Lodge. It is from about the collar bone up. Like your typical stuffed trophy piece. I saw this one day, after having seen it many times before and suddenly had a vision of what to make. I love it when the universe speaks to me in visions and songs!
I saw a buck, much like the Patronus that Harry Potter casts in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Silver and leaping straight out of the alter piece right at the viewer. A night scene, with a moon and stars and teal colors.
There were many firsts in this for me. My first time sculpting a 4-legged animal in an action pose. My first time ever sculpting a deer or even antlers. My first time creating a cantilevered object. In this case, cantilevered means a sculpture or component of the alter piece that sticks out at a right angle from the flat 2-D surface and if not secured properly with the right glues, screws, or a really tight fitting background wil cause the entire piece including the delicate deer sculpture to tumble and fall out. Boo to the falling out. Yay for a new challenge. Oh the engineering side of my mind gets to engage in this humble art project. Oh boy. I hope the artist on my right shoulder and engineer on my left don't clash like the devil & angel cartoons.
I figured the best place to start is to see if I could make a realistic looking half deer. See with it leaping out, no need for the butt end. Focus on the front half, belly up. From the 3 photos above, you can see that I have 2 sculptures.
Paper Clay, 1st Attempt
The white sculpture is my first attempt, which was done in paper clay. I did not start with enough foil for the body and head. Thus, it is quite heavy. Too heavy. And all the pieces I added (feet, head, etc) as separate while doing the original sculpture, detached themselves during the drying process. Hmm... let me try something different, a bit lighter and more apt to adheare to itself.
Polymer Clay, 2nd Attempt
The grey/silver buck is my 2nd attempt. I reduced the overall size by eyeballing it, made a wire frame again and sculpted this time in polymer. Better to start with the color I wanted in case I ran out of energy (been unwell lately). My polymer didn't quite cover all the wire, but I baked it anyway. Let's see how it turns out baked up, I thought. Out of the oven and it still looked great. Thanks to the wires I added for structure, nothing shifted, bent or oozed during baking - it came out pretty great. It looked like real buck and I could still add more clay and re-bake if I wanted to augment more. Good, good. I'm learning to take a step, evaluate, then take the next step instead of trying to do all the steps in one fell swoop. Whew. Crisis and stress averted.
Attaching the Damn Thing
Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I made a background and then began to think about how it needed to attach to the background. In retrospect, it would have been smoother for the overall creation if I had the idea for attachment before I did the first baking, but that was something I couldn't work out at the time. So instead of stressing, I just made the deer without attachment points. I rolled several attachment schemes around in my head:
- Screws from the back of the type drawer - through the wood and very permanent - into the polymer (screw heads would be on the back of the drawer)
- Glue on both [deer:background] and [background:type drawer]
- Brads of a sort
- Adding something with polymer clay to the belly of the deer
I cut several layers of cardboard to match the full size of the 2-7/8" x 3-1/4" space, plus several strips of cardboard 1/4" x 3-1/4" for top and bottom so I could build a space up for the brads to hang out in without making the background lumpy.
The background is made of watercolor paper which sprayed with Dylusions Inks and then created images with alcohol inks. It came from a sheet that looked like a night hillside. But wonder of wonders, that big ol spot, created by the splatting of Dylusions spray being too close to the paper, actually resembles more of a cloud in the sky than a blobby spot. Dabble on some glitter glue to make the shining stars and voila. Simple night sky.
Final Touch-Ups with Acrylic Paint on Baked Polymer
After researching what others have said about what paints and such to use on polymer: