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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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..
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
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.
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
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.
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.
I 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.
After 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”
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
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
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
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.
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
So, 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
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
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.
sometimes I feel talent is wasted on me