Finished Anteaters

I took my work down to the photography studio today in an effort to have some more professional looking photographs of my work, so here are the anteater sculptures I made in La Perdrix










La Perdrix 2015 – Anteaters

After pushing for the roll of being put in charge of the anteater candlestick in our project to make all the dinnerware for a starter of a meal for 17 people, I decided to go and sculpt some prototypes.

Considering I could barely remember what an anteater looked like aside from the basic shape and features, I needed to have a reference picture before I could do anything. I got up google images on my group member’s laptop and made some very quick sketches to refresh my memory

From these sketches I went and made a few small maquettes of anteaters holding candle sticks

anteater 2




I thought the idea of an anteater sat looking very displeased with a candle stuck in the middle of it’s head was quite amusing. I decided to do a close up of a displeased anteater head


After these initial prototypes, I was painfully aware that the anteaters were nowhere near up to the standard I wanted them to be, I envisioned the final thing as being a very real (or at least accurate) depiction of an anteater, and these just weren’t quite right. This was completely down to my lack of references to draw from, which I was fully aware of as I just didn’t have enough understanding of the shape and form. So, I went and borrowed my tutor Ingrid’s laptop, sat down, and drew lots and lots of anteaters.

anteater 4

anteater 5

anteater 6


anteater 7

anteater 3

I must say, this gave me a much deeper appreciation for anteaters, they are absolutely great, and such bizarrely shaped creatures. They start off so long and thin at the front, and then turn into a massive wedge at the back, with their front legs really out to the sides almost like a bear. What I didn’t realise before this was that anteaters walk on the knuckles of their front feet, with their two big claws facing upwards. This again makes them move very amusingly, and really makes them a lot of fun to draw and sculpt.

So, having a better understanding of the anteater, I then went and made some more maquettes




I was much happier with these sculptures, and feel they really capture the character and shape of the anteater. However, it was at that point my group came back to me and said they didn’t feel that the anteater fit with the theme any more, as their work had progressed in a specific direction and the anteater would be completely out of place.

While I completely agreed and understood, it was disheartening feeling that I had wasted my entire day working something which now had no place in the project, as well as the fact that I had been checking in with members of my groups all day asking their opinions and feedback and not once being given anything but positive feedback. But I understand that it might not have been evident until we all regrouped and reassessed all of the work being produced together that it became evident the anteater had no place. Despite being disheartened about the loss of the anteater (I was quite fond of them at this point), my biggest concern was that I would no longer have a place in the group. As I mentioned in the initial planning of the project, I have very little experience with ceramics and sculpting being my only talent, I had now lost the only main sculpting role in the group. While someone else in the group was doing some sculpting, I felt like she already had that in hand and there wouldn’t be any place for me. Not only this, but the next day I was put on cooking duty (everyone spends a day in the kitchen) and so it felt like everyone was going to progress without me. Needless to say I was feeling quite disheartened.

However, it all worked out in the end and I found a job to do which I will talk about in my other post, but I wanted to finish the little anteater sculptures I had made at least.

My anteaters were bisque fired, and ready to be glazed



Using the sepia underglaze, I painted the markings onto the, bisque fired anteaters


and then dipped them in transparent glaze. I had to make sure to clean the glaze off the bottom of their feet and any other area touching the ground so that the glaze didn’t fuse them to the ground in the kiln when the glaze melts.




And here we are – the finished anteaters! Unfortunately, they are not as glassy and smooth as I had hoped, which was apparently a problem with the clay being very porous and absorbing the clay. Despite this, I am still very happy with them, probably due to just the sheer novelty of them and my new found fondness for the creatures, although it’s disappointing that they lack the “finished” quality of a ceramic piece.

Not quite big enough to hold candles. Incense holders perhaps?

Wailmer beanbag – Finishing touches!








My work has finally paid off, after a last push of working the wailmer beanbag is finally finished! Here’s the final steps in making it.

For the first set of steps as I was working on it go to this blog post, and for the second set of steps go to the next blog post

IMAG1685 I cut another strip of tan fabric to go across the top section of the wailmer’s stomach/mouth area and I then cut a white strip of the same size for the teeth. Having the tan strip underneath stops the red lining showing through the teeth, as well as making the shape hold better, and the stomach extends towards the top of the corners of the mouth. This is all only pinned into place at this point



IMAG1686 I adjusted the white fabric so that it had the curved grinning teeth shape ontop of the tan stomach






IMAG1687 I unpinned the top tan strip with the teeth from the body of the wailmer, and then tacked the white teeth fabric in place









IMAG1688 I stitched black horizontal lines along the white fabric for the toothy grin







IMAG1690 I then sewed around the edge of the teeth with white thread, removed the tacking, and attached the tan strip with the teeth on onto the rest of the body






IMAG1692 Look at that grin! It only looks SLIGHTLY sinister.. Still needs its eyes and fins though!







IMAG1693It’s pretty large! perfect wailmer size










IMAG1700 I folded over the edges of the back area of the wailer, which I left unattached to each other so that the lining with the beans inside can be taken in and out if need be. I tacked these edges in place





IMAG1701 Stitching the back edge in place










IMAG1703 I bought a pack of snap fasteners in order to close the back of the beanbag.

NOTE: I have found that when anyone sits on the beanbag, all the fasteners unsnap, so I’m going to have to replace them with buttons. If you’re making a beanbag, I would recommend a zip (which I didn’t use because I couldn’t find a zip large enough) or failing that, buttons.






IMAG1704 These are the instructions for applying snap fasteners, in case you’re interested









IMAG1708 If you’re wondering why the top fastener is facing outwards, it was so that when fastened it would be hidden.

I don’t know if I had put the top fasteners facing inwards instead, perhaps the fasteners wouldn’t unsnap as they would be pulled in a different direction when the fabric becomes taught. This might not be the case however, and buttons/zips are an all around better option.


IMAG1710 I wasn’t sure what size buttons would look best for the eyes so I bought a few different sizes. I was doing my best not to make the beanbag look sinister, but ever since watching Coraline I can’t help but feel a little uneasy..





coraline-creepy-button-eyes I can’t explain why it’s unnerving, but it really is.






IMAG1711 The largest eyes look a little bit creepy in my opinion







IMAG1713 Medium sized eyes








IMAG1714 I settled on the smallest eyes in the end, and put them on upside down in order to reduce the Coraline effect as much as possible






IMAG1715 Now that the body’s done, I pinned the fins in place on the sides of the body.







IMAG1716 Pins in place.

I had to wait a while before I could stuff the fins, because I was waiting for the stuffing I ordered online to be delivered. In the meantime, I took some photos of my mostly finished beanbag















Massive wailmer sat in my bedroom


IMAG1733 Also, if you were wondering, this is what 10 kilos of stuffing looks like. It’s an awful lot. But it means I could finally stuff the fins!









IMAG1734 After stuffing the fins, and then sewing them in place, the wailmer is finally done! I will take some proper photos of the finished product tomorrow, and put them in their own blog post



Wailmer beanbag – more progress

I’ve done a bit more work on the beanbag, although it’s not quite completed, it’s certainly taking a more recognisable form. The aim is to make a wailmer (which is a pokemon)








I ordered more beans, seeing as the two 2.5 feet cubed bags I purchased from Hobbycraft were nowhere near enough, as well as being almost the double the price of beans I bought online. I bought a 6 cubic feet bag from here on amazon, which was a pretty good price as well as already coming in a round netted bag that you would find inside a beanbag from a shop. If I was making a beanbag in future I will buy a bag of beans first (in netting) and then build around it, rather than trying to transfer beans from one bag into another, which is an absolute nightmare. Also, as a note, I had a lot of problems when it came to ordering beans, because most bags were listed in x cubic feet, but hobbycraft’s bags were x feet cubed, and I had a lot of trouble figuring out if these were the same measurements or not. What I gathered after an extensive talk between two of my friends who studied mathematics (and watching them argue between themselves) what I have concluded is that while there is a TECHNICAL difference between the two, they are often interchanged because people don’t realise, and so the bags I got from hobbycraft and the bag I ordered online were using the same scale.

IMAG1608 This is the 6 cubic feet bag, which was half the amount of beans I needed. I hope you’re beginning to realise the scale of this, I know I am.







IMAG1609 I sewed up the lining of the bag that I had made, leaving a hole to funnel the beans into. I then made a makeshift funnel out of cardboard (I figured the polystyrene balls would get a lot of static on a plastic funnel), and proceeded to shovel/funnel beans from the bag into the lining… This was extremely tedious and frustrating, and by no means recommended. Just buy a bag the right size, and build around it.

Once the lining was full, I sewed up the hole





IMAG1623 I then began working on the outside cover (the actual wailmer bit), and I measured this with 50 as the radius rather than 42, just to give it a bit of looseness to be able to take it on and off easily. I did not make two of these, as only the top surface needs to be blue.







IMAG1625 Rather than working out the length of the strips going around the middle mathematically as I did with the lining, I just stretched the fabric around the body to see how much I would need.





IMAG1626 While I originally planned to make the top half all blue and the bottom half all tan, I feel like it works better with just the back half of the top section being blue, leaving room for the teeth on the other side.





IMAG1630I then made another circle for the bottom half, again 50 cm radius







IMAG1631 I cut the strip for the mid section based on the length I measured around the beanbag.  I made this 40cm wide as I wanted the stomach to be visible seeing as it will mostly be on the floor.








IMAG1632 I then attached the strip to the circle as I did with the lining bag. I only needed to plaid the one side, which will be the front side and then they can double as the stripes on wailmer’s stomach.





IMAG1634quick look at the beanbag with the covers on so far. Definitely resembling a wailmer a bit more!







IMAG1635I cut another strip to go around the top front half of the wailmer. I will then attach the mouth over this, as I thought if I just used the white mouth fabric the red lining would be too obvious. It looks pretty scruffy at the moment, but it is inside out showing the seams, hopefully it will look tidier once it’s finished.




IMAG1639I then stitched the plaids in place with a black line of thread, which also makes it look more like a wailmer’s stomach



















IMAG1641 a look at the finished bottom half on the beanbag, although the photo’s a bit blurry







IMAG1628 Then I set to work on making the fins, luckily I had the perfect amount of fabric left







IMAG1629 I wanted the “fingers” to have a nice thickness to them, so I added an extra strip between the two sides of the fins.






IMAG1642In order to get the more sectioned  effect of the fingers, I made the strip out of four separate pieces which I then sewed together.






IMAG1643After sewing the strip in place, I then sewed black lines stretching out from the fin sections that were visible in the strip, down the length of the fin, again to make it look more like the image of wailmer with his “fingers”








IMAG1644 Mostly finished fin, just need to buy some stuffing to fill them with now before attaching them to the main body.

Badger necklace

With the upcoming event of a friend’s birthday, I thought it would be nice to make her something personal and handmade. I settled upon a pewter necklace of a badger



badgers 2



First I got a piece of dry plaster, and made sure to flatten the surface


Then I began to etch the design into the surface



After tidying up the design, and creating a pouring hole and air vents, it’s ready to go!


Me, melting some pewter ready to pour




The back side has a really nice smooth finish from where it was against the clear block of plaster


It still needs a bit of tidying, but so far looking good


My own set of badgers


Unfortunately the plaster cracked during the process, leaving this hairline across the body of the badgers, but with a bit of filing and polishing that should be fixed




Wailmer beanbag (in progress)

So, seeing as I’m moving out soon, and my accommodation doesn’t have much furniture (as beautiful as it is) I figured making a beanbag would be the perfect project. However, rather than making just a standard beanbag I thought I would be a little more adventurous and artistic, and try to make something I’d been thinking about for a while, a Wailmer beanbag!





Wailmer is a pokemon, and with the upcoming release of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, it makes it topical as well as functional.


So, this is how I’m making the beanbag

IMAG1536 First I bought 3 meters of this red fabric. Obviously Wailmer isn’t red, as you can see from the picture above, but I will be using this fabric to create the lining bag which will hold the beans. While you can buy beans in a handy fabric case designed for beanbags, I thought it would be best to practice cutting and sewing the pattern before doing it for the actual outside, so that if something goes wrong I haven’t wasted valuable fabric and the mistakes can’t be seen from the outside.





IMAG1537I folded over the corner of the fabric to make a nice even square.








IMAG1539 I cut out two of these squares, which will be used for the top and bottom of the beanbag









IMAG1541 I measured from the centre of the square, to the edge which came to 41 centimetres. So it would seem the square of fabric I cut out was not a meter squared, which I really should have thought about earlier as this results in the beanbag being VERY LARGE. But ah well







IMAG1543 I then pivoted the tape measure around from the centre, placing a pin at 42 cm from the center at each position, making a reasonably accurate circle.






IMAG1546I then cut the circles out of both squares of fabric. As I said earlier, these will be the base and top pieces of the bean bag.






IMAG1548So, after a bit of maths, I have this VERY LONG piece of fabric. This will be the circumference of the beanbag, and there will be two of these strips, on around the top half and the other around the bottom, joined in the middle.

You can work out the circumference of a circle by using 2πr, with r being the radius of the circle, in my case 41. So, 2 x 3.14 x 41 = 257 cm, which is 2 meters and 57 cms of fabric. However, seeing as I want the beanbag to be rounded, rather than a simple cylinder, I want the radius of the centre to be wider than the top and base circles, so doing that calculation again with a radius of 60 cm, we have 2 x 3.14 x 60 = 377 cm (3 meters and 77 cms of fabric.)

I am using the longer length, and will have to fold the top off the fabric to fit the top and base circumference


The two strips are 30 cm wide each, which will form the middle of the beanbag, ideally making the height of the beanbag just under 1 meter tall










The same strip of fabric in a rough circle








IMAG1550 I have folded the top of the strip of fabrics into pleats in order to make the length of the top of the strip a smaller circumference to fit around the circle. I am not doing this in any sort of mathematical sense, simply folding in roughly even spaces to make it fit





IMAG1551 This is the strip pinned around one of the circles










IMAG1554 Me sitting on what is essentially a flat laid out beanbag. As you can see, it is a lot larger than an average beanbag…






IMAG1597I tacked all of the seams, holding them in place so that I can then sew them in place properly using the sewing machine









IMAG1599I’m not great with sewing machines, and I had a lot of frustration getting started and trying to set up the machine, so I had to go quite carefully when sewing.






IMAG1595…so I bought two, large bags of polystyrene beans, and as you can see, it is not enough beans. Not nearly enough beans. This beanbag is going to be VERY LARGE.

Realising this, I had a choice where I could cut down the fabric smaller, which would involve unstitching everything I’ve done so far, but making a more manageable sized bag. On the other hand, a bigger beanbag means buying more (surprisingly expensive) beans. However, it’s going to be awesome. So screw it. Huge beanbag it is.


A terrible pun


sometimes I feel talent is wasted on me