Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hey Mr. Beadman

Okay, so I have used this title before, but it still works.  I recently completed this guy
who posed in a seated position for this photograph.  In this view, you can't see the beads which he is displaying between his outstretched arms.

In the view that follows, you can see how it's all put together, although I forgot to have a picture of the back taken. 

When viewing the back, his cape is lifted up slightly at the hem, and in that section I put a little label, along with six Chinese characters in cane slices which say "good luck"
 as I hope luck will always be with him and his surroundings in his future travels.

The larger beads in his display are polymer and I have integrated a variety of other types in a coordinated palette, and they are a mixture of metal, glass, wood, seeds and pearl-types.  I like making these figures, although there's a fair bit of intermediate planning involved. There are a lot of things to consider when doing a compositions such as this, like... Do you add the hands (which I sculpt at the same time as the face) before the cape is put on or after?  I never write the process down for these wall dolls when I make them, and I suppose I would save myself having to rethink everything if I did make some notes at least.  However, I love doing these characters spontaneously as I feel that way they come together more 'intuitively'.  It is as if I am on some sort of roll, and don't want to interrupt the flow of ideas.

During the final assembly, I did run out of beads, as my original plan was just to have four strands hanging from his midsection. I changed it to eight when I started stringing them to help balance him out.  I had to remix a batch of clay for the beads between his hands, but since his bead display is just as spontaneous as my original work, it all comes together somehow.

One other thing I should mention regarding the composition is that after the second (and successive) bakings of the face, I cover the face completely and wrap any other light colored parts in cloth and fibre-fill.  These parts may get too dark after being in the oven for a total of more than four hours.  I  antiqued his face after the first baking which may have been in error, but I wanted to do that before I added the whites of his eyes.  For those, I simply inserted small round bits of white polymer in the orbit cavities I had originally created for the eyeparts.  I added a tiny spot of dark pigment for the iris/pupil part, which is barely discernable.

I suppose I could have gone the 'mold' route and made his face and hands less 'ethnic' but I wanted to retain the hand-made character of this guy rather than resort to using someone else's facial creation.  So, even if they're not anatomically perfect, his features
 are his and no one else's

He will be on display at thenext weekend's sale in Dryden, ON, and with that reminder, I'd better get to work.  For us, Thanksgiving is going to be chicken with a few trimmings as the majority of our family will be either at dog shows or out of town. 

Sometimes I need to be thankful for peace and quiet.

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