Thursday, September 28, 2006

Children's Books Display - Part 17

At this point there were only two characters left to make; the boy and the girl. The girl came first as she was an essential element of the permanent installation, while the boy was, literally, window dressing.

Like many of the prior characters her body was essentially a loaf shape of stuffed newspaper with garden hose and coathanger wire limbs. Her feet were blocks of wood. Her head was a big ball of wadded up newspaper.

She was initially paper mached without her hands, which were done seperately and paper mached to her wrists later. The hands themselves were simple carborad cutouts since no articulation was required.

Her facial features were added next. Her ears were cut from a cereal box. I used the same paper pulp/wheat paste mix as in prior characters to sculpt on her eyebrows, nose, lips and dimples...

...which are easy to see in this photo of her with her primary paint application.

Next, her skin was painted. I didn't bother with her torso since I knew it would be covered by clothing. The socks and mary jane shos were also painted, as were her teeth, lips, cheeks and eyebrows.

The eyes themselves are plastic stuffed animal eyes. The eyes were an initial concern. I was not attempting to make realistic looking children. When I've depicted children in my two dimensional collage art, they've all tended to have large eyes. I knew that merely painting the eyes onto the face would look flat and lifeless. I toyed with using ping pong balls, like I did in the cyclops and a few random paper mache creations I'd done in the past, but feared that on the children it would look freakish. As I'd already gone past my self imposed deadline due to uncooperative weather (it was necessary to construct everything outdoors), I didn't have time to experiment. I ended up deciding to go in the other direction, giving them small beady eyes, which ended up working pretty well I think.

A dress sewn by my wife specifically for this piece was added, followed by hair. This hair was actually a dress up wig which had started appearing in inexpensive abundance with Halloween right around the corner.


Books were added next and she was then installed. Originally, she was supposed to be posed in mid stride, with one foot elevated. I had some concern about all of her weight being held up by one foot screwed to the bridge, as her balance wasn't as evenly distributed as I had hoped, so at the last minute I decided to also screw her second foot to the bridge, which gives her a bit of a lean to her right. This is okay, as I figure she's compensating for the weight of the three books she's carrying, and simply walking with a bobbing weave like a kid listening to interior music.

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