Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making Fabric Flow

I thought I would post a little something on how to make fabric more interesting for our clients.
Fabric on small figures should be treated as if it was in scale with the figure. Too often artists will simply let the fabric hang on the figure without adding motion to the material. The result is that we have great sculpts with big, puffy clothing or a figure with no motion to the sculpture.
Here are some simple things which an be done to the fabric to add motion:

STARCH- many artists starch or otherwise treat the fabric. This works well but you run the risk of losing the form during shipping or using a much larger box to ship the "frozen" fabric. Larger box= more money!
HEAT- This is a very simple way to make minor adjustments in clothing. I like to use the heat gun to make clothing sag on the body as real clothing does on our frames.
WIRE- I like this technique because you can get more dramatic looks to cloth and they can still be shipped in a small space without worry of damaging the form of the cloth.
 I am adding material to the piece to add another layer of color and texture to try and make her more interesting.
I cut a piece of blue material for the draping.
 Using glue, I turn a hem in the edges. Into this I insert a 20 gauge jewelry wire. For those who can sew a small seam, I always recommend sewing over gluing.
 Three sides of the cloth have wire. The top edge is left without.
The cloth is draped over the body  so a wind-blown, flowing motion is created.

 The fabric is tacked to the body with Fabri-tac in a few spots where it will not be seen if the cloth shifts.

Extra folds are pinned in place then the fabric is heated with the heat gun to relax the fabric.

Feathers can be treated like cloth if you are careful. Support the feather with a rounded form (in this case I use the handle of my sculpting knife) and apply heat from a heat gun. Keep the gun about 12" away from the feathers and heat them gradually so they will curve away from the heat.

Here is the finished piece with the fabric and the feathers curved to add some wind to the piece. The hair was also heated from the same direction (your right) so it has tendrils which are blowing in the wind as well.
Thanks for looking and have a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Applying clay

I was asked to do a little on applying clay to the armature. we all have our methods but here is what I have found works for me:

 Clay needs to be softened and conditioned before applying. I have found this easy approach. Place the clay on a heating pad. The clay needs to be unopened or in a clean plastic bag to keep it clean.
Fold it over to sandwich the clay in the heating pad and let it warm up on "high" for about 15 minutes. The heating pad will not get the clay hot enough to start curing but will heat all the way through with out making the outside sticky.
 After 15 minutes, the clay will cut like soft butter. Slice off the largest piece you can work with.
This is the first squeeze of this warmed clay. You will see how soft it gets this way. 
 The clay needs to be rolled and squeezed until it is conditioned for use.
 The clay is ready when you can fold it over and it does not crack. You should be able to flatten the clay into a pancake and the edge will not crack either. If the edge cracks, keep rolling the clay between your hands.
Apply the clay as a large sheet or mass of clay. Compress the clay from all sides at once to work out air bubbles and fuse the soft clay together.
Do a general rough shaping with your hands.
 Take a sharp knife and shape the clay in a series of planes to the rough shape of your design.

Use your tools are fingers to smooth the final surface of the clay.
Hope this helps someone!
Have a great day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Break Time!

Hi all, taking a break to work on Christmas gifts! A finished sculpt a day. Here are the ones to date:

Have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hair Tut

I was asked to run a hair tutorial so here it is.

 For this piece, I am using a section of Tibetan Lamb's wool which was dyed on the hide.
 A layer of Fabri-Tac glue is applied to the back of the head at the nape of the neck. This layer is about 3/4" high and runs from ear to ear.
 A row of hair is separated from the rest of the hide, held with my thumb and forefinger then cut off the hide.
This is pressed into the lower 1/2 " of wet glue from ear to ear.
 Holding the hair against the back of the doll with one hand, I use my thumb of the other hand to drag the loose hairs on top of the row up into the last 1/4" of glue.
 Hair is applied on the sides of the head in the same manner.
The hair is worked around the head with the hair radiating out from the crown of the head.

The front rows of hair are applied in smaller sections with the hair radiating toward the front of the face.
 Continuing toward the crown of the head.
 All filled in.
The hair is allowed to dry then styled with hair spray and a heat gun.

Hope this helps for those who asked. have a great day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Update

Thinking hard about leaving the wolf off this.

Thanks for looking, have a great day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More activity on the three ladies.

Well, even with a trip to the in-laws and a morning of refocusing lights, I was able to get some work done on a few of these folks.

Here is the cape on Red. Wanted to keep it simple so I did a little fancy sticking on the edges with  red thread so it does not stand out.
 The face ended up looking like a relative of mine.

 The bodice and grieve are leather with patterns burnt into the surface with my "stitching tool". The aging is done with he barrel of the tool. For those of you who may have missed this earlier post, the tool is a wood burner which has the tip filed down to make a set of holes and a burn which looks like thread going from hole to hole.
She has red leather boots with stitching as well. Need to weather all the leather now.
Now I like her without the wolf so I need to decide if this will be a single piece or if I am adding the second figure to her.

 Added hair to the Alice figure.

And for the last one... did a bit of work on Dorothy. I will post a step by step on applying her hair next time. (This is a request from a Facebook friend.)
Details on her next time- have a great day!