Happy Birthday Us! This is the 52nd posting, so one year has passed since your beloved fearless leader took the helm of the S.S. MECO Blog - so far, no ice bergs in sight! Soon we will be toddling around unaided, throwing small fits, and otherwise generally soaking up life as we know it.
On a side note, do I know how to mix metaphors, or what?
It is also the last weekend in September. Can you believe it? Well, I suppose if you can't, there is no reasoning with you, but either way it is true. This week, besides studying a seemingly never ending group of modules I have to do for work, I have been pondering inspiration. This is not new ground I tread -many have contemplated where artists get their ideas, because it seems a rather fantastical feat for a species not that long out of the trees to have been able to accomplish so much and in such magical ways. My favourite author, Sir Terry Pratchett, wrote once that inspiration sleets through the universe randomly as small energy packets, which strike quite randomly and create that elusive muse of inspiration, and we are totally helpless to where it lands and what note it strikes. Often, unfortunately, these inspirations hit absolutely the wrong sort, and you have some duck being struck with the notion that it could cure the common cold, or some poor illiterate schlock in the 14th century having a really good idea for an iphone App - totally inappropriate and such inspiration is thus wasted. Some people act as a lightening rod, and there is no end of ideas that are gathered - if they happen in the right time to the right person, then magic happens. Others never get an idea and remain uninspired for their entire lives, sadly. There might be some help, though ... Jim Davis - upon being asked where his ideas came from - answered eloquently in one word "Schenectady". Never been, but I suspect it is a magical place of wonder if that is where inspiration is found. It was a rather oddly inspired answer, either way.
In truth, who knows how we come up with things, we just do. Often for me, my inspiration grows gradually and organically (with helpful heaps of...well, you can carry an analogy too far, so I will stop now). At any rate, I try something, it doesn't work, I go another way, it does - an answer invariably presents itself. Very rarely, however, does an image form in my mind that is exactly as I make it in the end. Occasionally, however, I get one of those flashes of inspiration and what I dreamed, becomes real. I had one of those inspirations this week, in fact. My friend, who is an author, was telling us about her work. She tends to work in the romance genre, and specifically the bodice-ripping, bosoms heaving, heavy breathing, questionably legal/moral/or impossible to do without the aid of a llama, two dwarfs and a feather kind of romance novel. To be honest, I don't read romances (being a science nerd who likes explosions and men in brightly coloured lycra suits and/or riding around in police boxes), but as I listened to her tell of her latest book, and her forbidding us to read it lest we look at her in a funny way, and mentioning a rather scathing review that made me wonder why the person felt it necessary to read a romance book from stem to stern when every one KNOWS where the author is leading up to in such literature so it couldn't have been THAT much of a surprise, I had a vision of one of my bathing beauties reading her book, totally scandalized by my friend's book, but unable to put down her summer reading material because it had a grip on her very soul.
In short, Deidre was born. She appeared in my mind exactly as she appears in this blog, and I sculpted her with no aid from my moulds at all. She is all free style, baby!
Deidre, as with Miranda and Penelope, started out with a wire armature. Deidre is looking a little bit simian here, but no worries, I gave her a slightly larger skull.
I changed her ears a little too - these ones were a little too "elf", or possibly "golem".
I straightened out the hands too, and ended up remodelling the fingers. If you ever wonder if your doll is looking right, take a picture. You will see immediately the flaws that you don't see in real time.
Here is when I decided she needed a bigger head. Also, Deidre has a little more meat on her than the usual girls you find in the dollhouse community, , so I realized - her neck has to be fleshed out a bit more, so I added more clay.
Deidre, painted. I painted her before she went into the oven this time. I needed to get at her lips because it would be impossible after the clay was set. This did mean gluing a few things later on to keep them from separating in the curing process. She has a purple bikini with little polka hearts, and her nails have all been painted. I wouldn't have painted her flesh tones today, except I kept managing to get bits into the clay, so to keep her looking like she hadn't been rolling in mud, I flesh toned her with paint. Shame, too, because her hands had just the right kind of lucency but I couldn't let them say as they were because then they didn't match up to the arms.
When I first envisioned her I saw her as a blonde girl, and I used a tannish colour of embroidery floss. It is curious what hair will do for the head, and it really made her quite pretty.
Deidre, up close. I think I nailed the whole shocked look, although if you do look past her hand, you can see she is trying to suppress a nervous smile.
Of course, now I needed something for Deidre to be shocked by. I took a screen shot of the cover of my scandalous novel, and I resized it and "floated" it over a pre-existing scanned book cover - such as on this site. I resized again to fit the cover I wanted. I found that the actual pages of the book supplied were too small, so I did an image search of "book pages", did a little copy/paste/resize magic, and had pages for my book. I didn't fill my book completely up with printed copy (although that was an option), I just wanted the pages to be "open" for Deidre to read.
Just a sample of the covers I could have used.
Deidre, reading. Okay, they did what? With the what now? What is next?!!?
OMG. Really? How was that even possible?!??
Hey! No reading over her shoulder! Whoa. Paragraph 3, second sentence in....ooooohkay then! I think we can call it a night right there.
Hope you enjoyed the evolution and corruption of my poor Deidre. We will leave her to read the rest of the book, which should be an education in itself for this lovely shell on the beach.
I will leave you today with a tutorial on how to make a book, and I hope you enjoy it! Until next time, my slightly tarnished angels...