Wednesday, February 23, 2011

(Almost Spring) Cleaning, Part Deux

As I mentioned yesterday, Sunday was a pretty productive day. The studio space got about as cleared out as it can get for the time being, and I got some throwing done. Since I'm re-learning how to throw from my new teacher, I feel like I'm going back to being almost as bad as I was when I first started throwing. Of course, that's my own "monkey mind" messing with me and undermining my confidence, muttering about how nothing I make is good enough.  (I'm not fishing for compliments, I'm just sharing how silly that monkey mind is, and how we should learn to ignore it!)

Of course, I have only to go back to the pictures I took of my very first season of making pumpkins to see how much of a liar that other mind is! (I swear, I saw these at the Davis's house and just cringed! Thanks, Chris, for supporting a beginning artist!) The other two are still too wet to carve, thanks to the cold, wet weather, but I hope to take another run at them today.

In all honesty, I'm very pleased that I'm going back to the beginning now, before I develop any more bad habits. We all know that the longer we do things incorrectly, the harder it is to change. My teacher is half Japanese and after he got his MFA, went back to Japan to train there for awhile. For those not in the know, Japanese pottery is pretty freaking amazing, and in certain areas is still taught the same way it was taught 1000 years ago.

I also took the time to break out my  plaster of Paris and pour up my life cast. Yes, those are the hairs that were yanked out in the process of pulling off the silicone mold.

I showed it to Mr. ShellHawk and got a similar reaction to that scene in Beetlejuice. While he complimented me on how well it turned out, he had some reservations.

"I'm fascinated and freaked out, all at the same time," he told me. He also told me to please keep it in the garage so he didn't have to see it. Oh, well.

So the question I have to throw out to you all is, how do I make a cast of this that will stand on its own, without having to invest in various latex chemicals, etcetera? I'd like to use it for a Madame Leota effect, like Mr. Chicken's, so that requires it to stand like a wig head, I assume. I actually got a little projector from Woot!, so I'm pretty sure I can get everything synced up once I get one of my friends to film me doing the Madame Leota spiel. I plan to take a Dremel tool and smooth down the eyelids, to give it that open-eye look, but maybe that's not the best idea. I don't know!

Thanks in advance for your feedback on this. This is the first cast I'll be working on, as well as my first projection effect.


  1. Not exactly sure which method would be best -- my instinct is to pour another plaster cast but place a wighead in tight behind it as it sets up. You can shave off the front of the wighead to avoid anything poking through to the face.

    Then you can sand the edges of the plaster to be flush with the foam head (any seams can be covered with whatever wispy white hair you will use in that crystal ball).

    You will need to blank out the eyelashes as you mentioned, but also blank the lips/mouth, or at least soften it considerably. There should be very little definition there (it'll mess up your mouth in the video).

    I did a simple front projection Madame Leota in 2009, video of the effect can be seen in the archives at the ol' S&P. It was a simple, quick set up but still worked fine -- yours ought to be that much more tremendous!

    Good luck, keep us posted!

  2. Mike- Would you mind sending me the link? I'd love to see the work!

  3. I guess I never really chronicled the making of it, but the end result video from Hallowe'en night '09 can be seen here:

    The face is a foam head to which I simply slapped on some white Model Magic and built up a brow ridge, a nose and a chin. I projected a still (paused) image of the Leota video for the right proportions while I built up the nearly blank face.

    I honestly just hot glued a white wig around her head and put her in a big plastic ball I got online (I'll find the link if you need it)
    and aimed the projector at her. Simple.

  4. Mike, that is FUN! Great work. I can see why people were so enthralled by this!

  5. Shell, we can help you on the projector end.... maybe if you can my up to WCHC :D



  6. Unfortunately Chris, the budget was only for Transworld this year. :o( Unless a bunch of my stuff sells, I'm stuck at home.


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