Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Wings Finished

I just yesterday finished this commissioned pair of 4' tall non-articulated angel wings. I love them and want to build a pair for myself - but I think I have enough of my own.

I hope to have wings like these along with some smaller models available on an etsy store within the year. I might be switching to foam feathers rather than fabric though. We'll have to see. Up next will by my experiments with that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Merchant's Cart: On Stage

Merchant of Venice

To finish up an early thread, the cart I had been working on this spring made its way onto the stage in STC's production of "The Merchant of Venice." It looks pretty much the way I had left it at the end of my internship. Some parts were simplified, which I think is really a good thing - it was a very busy cart before. The cheese wheel, maybe some baskets and the clothesline for meat products and other hanging what-nots was removed. Looks like the pole for the cheese wheel was re-purposed. Definitely some final touches were done after I had gone, like some more set dressing and paint treatment. I'm very happy with the outcome. I'll try to find a photo where the whole cart is visible.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Headless Body: Completed

Severed Neck Detailing

And for the final touches: make it gross. Cloton's head was cut off so, it needed to look like such. I built up the neck with various blocks and coils of upholstery foam. The esophagus was a bit of carved down pipe foam. The bit of spine was simply a piece of white felt cut to shape and given some dimension and sheen with hot melt glue. More hot melt glue was generously.

The painting got a little tricky since one type of paint would stick to the latex but not the glue and the other type of paint would stick to the glue and not the latex. I found that I could apply the first paint and wipe it off wherever it wasn't going to stick and repeat the process with the second paint. This seamed to work alright. In any case everything got tinted and didn't seem to rub off excessively anywhere. I knew that more paint and reel blood was going to be added later anyhow.

Oh yes, the neck also needed to have a hollow in it which I built into the esophagus. In the production of Cymbeline, grief stricken Imogen marks herself with blood from the body, thinking it's the body of Posthumus. Therefore we tucked a little squeezey-toy full of reel blood into the neck of the body so it would be easy for the actor to access without leaking fake blood all over stage.

In the end the fake body still looked like a fake body, BUT it was a pretty darn good fake body with a pretty darn gross severed neck. Hopefully it will see some stage time again in the future.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Headless Body: Skin

Headless Body with Top Coat

Nearly completed now. With all the foam and poly batting in place to build out the form, the headless body was ready for skin. Nylon is the easiest and least expensive material I have found for making skin. We had a lot of large pairs of nylon tights in stock in the shop so I just took a couple pairs and with some whip stitching and clever wrapping I was able to cover the whole body in two layers of nylon quickly and easily.

As a final step in building the skin layer I coated the nylon with a thinned down layer of latex. In retrospect I ought to have skipped this step as it greatly reduced flexibility. I later had to cut back into the form and remove some of the padding to regain the lost flexibility. The intention was to make the nylon a little more durable so that it wouldn't snag and run. The thought was good but the material needs to be even more stretchy or more lightly applied than the latex I used.

Demonstration of Flexibility

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Headless Body: Padding

Headless Body with Polyester Batting

After the frame was completed I started to build up the form. Starting with the torso I placed layer upon layer of poly batting to build out a sort of simplified musculature. The arms and legs needed quite a bit more padding than the torso So I began building out the limbs with some cheap 1" upholstery foam. Fabri-tac and hot glue held it all in place. I didn't worry to much about using a super permanent adhesive since I knew that all the layers would be held in place with the final skin.