Lucas Ainsworth & Alyssa Hamel have a Kickstarter appeal going for these cool mechanical creatures made in kit form out of cardboard. The animal moves either with a manual winding mechanism, or by itself if you build in an additional the gear kit.
This is an origami shell sculpture I made a while ago for a special present. It’s folded from a large brown manila envelope, and measures 20cm both lengthwise and across the widest end. The ends are held in place with wires threaded with tiny beads.
The custom softie I was making last week was “Officer Dan”, the face of a new board game called Highway Patrol. He will be part of the game promotion when its inventors travel to the International Toy Trade Show in New York next week.
Continuing on with my pattern making, once the clay sculpt is done I cover it first with aluminium foil, and then with masking tape. The foil covers the complex contours easily and stays in place, and the masking tape holds the foil shape together when it comes off the maquette.
I draw cutting lines keeping in mind both where to cut to get the pattern off the model easily, and where seams are going to be best for assembling the final pattern in fabric. I also sometimes mark midlines or possible dart lines that might be useful later.
It’s also good to label the pieces before they are cut off, because they are not alway easy to identify once they are cut up. These are still not 2D; they’ll need to have some further cuts made in them, but I haven’t chosen fabric yet, and if it’s stretchy I may not need as many cuts.
I began a new project yesterday, a commissioned soft plush toy. I can’t disclose exactly what at the moment, but can show some indistinct making shots. A clay maquette is probably a weird way to start a softie, but I find drawing a 2D dressmaking style pattern with darts and tucks difficult. It’s much quicker for me to start with a 3D shape and make a pattern from that.
Here’s the rough wire armature intended to hold the clay up,
followed by chicken wire and some crumpled newspaper to fill out the space.
Then the clay is sculpted on top, embedding in the wire.
I ended up making four of these replica skippets some years ago. They are used as hands-on items in school tours, so they have a hard life, and they are back for repair. There is also an intrinsic weakness, since the cast resin lid is heavy in comparison to the slight anchoring available for the hinge. I keep thinking that the ideal solution in future will be 3D scanning and printing in metal.
And this is a photo that I like from yesterday. The blue feathers probably belong to crimson rosellas. Our new floor makes a great background!
I’ve spent some days giving my studio a huge clean-up, including moving and cleaning shelving, washing down the walls, and some reorganising. It took a lot of effort but it feels worthwhile. Apart from anything else, my work often generates a lot of dust and particles that settle everywhere, and although I use safety gear I worry a little about the health risk.
There seems to be so much surface space, though I know it won’t last for long!
This is a giant remote control snail that I recently made for The Fool Factory for their promotion of National Science Week 2011. It’s about a metre long, fitted onto the chassis of a remote control car, and has eyes that move from side to side. It’s made to look somewhat like Australia’s largest land snail, the Giant Panda Snail, which inhabits sub-tropical forests in Queensland.
I’m also like the following picture of the snail in my studio, although it reminds me of when we first moved into our house and there was a small crack by the back door where leopard slugs used to come in during the night to eat the cat food in the laundry! Worse was when they used venture further into the house and we could accidentally tread on them barefoot if we were up in the night tending babies – eew!
The windmill prop I mentioned previously was made for the National Museum of Australia‘s July school holiday program Little BIG Things. It ran in conjunction with the museum’s new Landmarks exhibition, which explores a broad history of Australia through stories of places and their peoples.. The kids visiting the Discovery Centre drop-in activity area could make small sculptures of a big thing from where they came from, and then write a story about it to place on the blades of the windmill.
Against the huge windows in the foyer of the museum the windmill looks quite small despite being 3 metres tall. At home when I did a trial assembly of the windmill outside my studio window, it looked enormous! There are some more photos of the windmill in my Flickr photoset.
This is a ladybird glove puppet I recently made for the Riverstone Family Centre’s early literacy program. She has a little leather library bag over her shoulder in which she is carrying a little book!