Today is my birthday and the presents I gave myself are a guilt-free day off from Tookies production and a new no-deadline plaster cloth project.
I got this papier mache black sheep at a 2nd hand shop several years ago. It was kind of banged up when I got it, but I loved it -- it was made by the same artist who made other papier mache animal sculptures in my collection. Twink never once bothered any of the art pieces. Bootsy left them alone as well -- until a couple of weeks ago. Bootsy is not exactly clumsy, but he is less aware of himself than Twink is. Twink can leap and land on a dime. Bootsy hurls himself into the air and lands wherever...that sort of thing. I don't know if it has been this stupid weather or what, but the last few weeks the cats have really been tearing around the house. And while Twink can take corners at full speed and then slide on the hardwood floor and act like he meant to, Bootsy looks like a cartoon when he does it. And that is how the black sheep got knocked over a few times...Bootsy spinning out and barreling into it.
Last week one of the sheep's ears was snapped off. A couple of days ago I found the sheep on its side and the other ear was totally cracked and barely attached. Today I couldn't bear to look at the broken sheep anymore and I really didn't want to throw it out.
My sister graciously stopped by and helped me move a table into the cat room so I could set up a plaster cloth area to work in. (The studio is still too cluttered and un-cleared to work in.) Ha -- they break my sheep and I commandeer their room to work on it.
At first I was going to try to just repair the sheep.
The first broken off ear.
The other wrecked ear.
Some of those marks were there when I bought the sheep from the second hand shop.
The more I sat and looked at the sheep the more I realized I wouldn't be able to repair it. I needed to alter it and make it into one of my guys.
I felt really weird/bad about it, but I don't have a problem with repurposing paintings from yard sales and Salvation Army -- and that is how I acquired the sheep...so what is the problem? I am not sure, but I am still kind of conflicted about it.
Finally I got a grip and got to work...
I was sketching it this morning and I knew I wanted to extend the legs and make it taller.
This afternoon I thought I would just be adding hard cardboard tubes to the legs...but no. It required sawing the feeties off.
THAT was tough!
But oh well...then I needed to saw up the tubes.
I measured off 18 inches on the tubes and then tried them on for height. I was fairly happy with that, but when I cut the second set of tubes for the hind legs, the legs were angled too much for the tubes...more cutting was required higher up. Gah!
I got the hind tubes on.
Then I put him on the floor and kept walking around him to see how I felt about the beginnings of his new look.
His legs are a bit gangly at the moment but I wanted to give it a go.
I imagine I will end up altering most of him...but I will keep these eyes.
Ha ha -- he is about Irish wolfhound height right now.
This is the surface of his body. It looks really cool and I can only imagine how long it must have taken to achieve. But it was really dirty when I bought it and it is just about impossible to clean those low sections.
I rolled up my sleeves and got to work -- it seems like it has been so long since I have worked with plaster cloth and I have really missed it!
There are small gaps between the tops of the tubes and the sheep's legs. They needed to have the plaster cloth really worked into them. This is the first layer...just to attach the legs to see if I like how it is going so far.
Getting more of a "feel" for it...working the plaster cloth into the grooves. And while that is happening (slowly), it is also wetting that dust and wetting the old newspaper where the cuts have been made. Cough, cough.
I will need to even up the bottoms of the legs eventually. Maybe I will make hoofy feet, maybe some other kind of feet, maybe just attach it to a base...I don't know...that is a long, long way off yet.
This was taken after he'd been left to dry for a few hours. The plaster cloth is still a bit damp, but I think it just might hold together. It will take many more layers and lots of attention to filling in gaps.
I like him so far. I am starting to think of some back story for him.
I know for sure he isn't going to look much like his old self once I am done.