My Secret Pumpkin this year is crazy about cats (but not a crazy cat lady). I mulled for months over what to make her. I thought about doing a doll, but I’d never done one, and I knew the learning curve would be steep. Finally, I decided to go for it, even though I’d only sculpted two faces, ever, and had never sculpted a body.
I decided she would be called Bekku, the word in Kannada for “cat.” She would be a Guardian Demon.
I envisioned an Abyssinian with faceted red crystals for eyes. The biggest stumbling block: the dress. Because man, do I ever not sew. I mulled that for ages, finally realizing I could bead her dress! Yeah, okay, I’ve only dabbled in beading (though I have a whole lot of beads!), but I still thought it would be easier on my nerves than trying to sew.
I had this polyclay mold for a fairy, and thought I’d use that for the body. So, here’s the thing about those cheapo polyclay molds. They only get you a rough shape. I ended up using them to get things approximately the right size, and that’s it. Next time, I won’t even bother.
Stuff I learned:
- Always use an armature. It makes life easier. I admit, I stuffed a wire into some of the pieces after sculpting, because I am a dip.
- The problem with bi-lateral symmetry is that if you make better ankles on the second leg, you have to go back and make them nicer on the first leg, too.
- You have to smooth the clay. A lot. Like, for about six hours. Not even kidding.
I’m sure I’ll find better, faster ways to do things in the future. I managed to stretch her staff-holding hand in the process of baking, so I was going to have to deal with that later, but everything else went well.
I had all these beads I was trying for the staff, and nothing made me happy until I found a 50 cent necklace at a garage sale. Behold, a power crystal! I used a Dremel to carve tiny letters into a chopstick (not telling you what they say, that’s for Myra to figure out), filled them with red ink, and put a layer of Rub ‘n’ Buff over the top. The rest of the staff got stained, and I cut down some nice brass jump rings for accents. Much gluing and waiting ensued.
Next, it was time to stop avoiding the paint job. Boy, acrylic paint dries instantly on polyclay. I could have added extender, but I was okay with the zero wait time. I surprised myself by not painting over the eyes. Go me!
Finally, the dress. I’d been dying to play with my loom, and this was my opportunity. I drew out my pattern. Customizable graph paper helped a ton! I wove the beaded fabric in gold, red, and black delicas. I was seeing a two-piece thing, with the sides completely open.
I finished the front skirt, and discovered the loom, a Beadalon Jewel Loom, had broken. Alrighty then, new loom it is. Didn’t like the second one much, either. Who puts bendable warp rods on a loom? But that’s fixable, and I made it through the back skirt. Attached some square stitch to make the front and back halters, and good to go.
Last touches to the costume–a little belt with a cat charm, and earrings.
Finally, the stand. Of course I didn’t have a drill bit that was small enough to fit what I was using as a support rod, which may or may not have been a BBQ skewer, so I put a little washi tape at the bottom of the rod. A light coat of black paint on the stand finished things up. At a guess, I’d say 80 hours work, but a lot of that was my sheer inexperience.
I packed her in blocks of foam with cut-outs, and the PO put on a fragile sticker. They still managed to break her arm. DEMON ABUSE. GAH. But she’s gluable.
My favorite part:
So now all I want to do is make dolls. I already have an idea for the next one. Stay tuned.
Fabulous, just fabulous! I bet Myra was thrilled! So cool for you to do the tutorial, too, or sort of a tutorial…love the butt cheeks on that kitty, lol!
WOW!! that is SERIOUSLY COOL!!
. . . if’n you wanted to make a doll for me, i would not turn it down. then i’m coming to your house for lessons.
I am rather proud of her butt. 😉
Oh, Tigs, you would come over and we would just flounder together for a couple weeks. But it would be fun!
I’m speechless. Too impressed to come up with words. Hah . . . hah . . . man.