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It’s just a little Lumpy

On 19 October 2012 I attended the 24 Hour Sew-a-Thon for Breast Cancer charity event hosted by Craftland at Town Centre in Dubai.  Before my scheduled time slot, I had a quick supper at Cafe Ceramique and painted this very expressive wall-climbing frog.

It was difficult to get all the details right with the thick, misshapen brushes they provide, but I was quite happy with my efforts.  It was difficult to imagine the finished product as I was working.   The staff reminded me to paint at least 3 coats on each section to ensure that the final colour would be rich and solid, otherwise it would come out looking like watercolour paints.

I had hoped the detailing on the back would show up well – it took a long time to draw on with the little squeeze bottles.  The bottles themselves were very small, some of them were too thick and some would make an air bubble just as I was getting somewhere with the line work.

Painting done, I reported for duty at the charity event, worked from 8pm until 10pm and was able to help finish off the last pieces of the day.  The next day (the second half of the 24 hour session), I worked from just after 7pm until 10pm.  Like last year, I met some amazing ladies and even a few guys who were inspired to come and help with the assembly, stitching and filling of the under-arm cushions and drainage bag totes.  These bags and cushions are distributed to breast cancer surgery patients to help with their post-operative care.

One week later, Lumpy came back from his firing at the kiln and this is what he looked like:

What a transformation!

I am very glad I chose 2 shades of pink, it added some interest to his body.  The gray was also a nice balance to help even out the contrast with the black.  All in all, I think Lumpy would look great on some large tropical leaf in a jungle!

I love how the spots on the legs turned out:

Although I was a bit disappointed with the pink details on his back that ran together instead of staying as distinct as the white details:

Some lessons were learned for next time:

One, take my own brushes.

Two, have some idea beforehand of what I want to achieve and take some visual inspiration with me (another object, photograph or even cool printed fabric).

Three, don’t rush the design.  Relax, drink a coffee, and enjoy creative time well spent.

Foray into clay sculpture

Years ago, I purchased a few packets of air dry clay. Never had a chance to use them though.  It is hard to spend a few hours of daylight time playing with clay, uninterrupted, with two little children and their fast hands flying about your workplace.  Then I saw this pretty sculpture at my friend’s house.  Such smooth lines and elegant simplicity, I can almost hear her snobbish words dripping sarcastically from those trout lips!

The Lady with the Lips inspired me to finally scrape together my courage and a few nights ago, I opened one of the packets.  It was actually still workable, remarkable for something I bought almost 9 years ago!  The terracotta clay by Jovi was in fact, almost too soft for my liking.  It flopped about a bit.  Obviously, I will have to experiment more with armature and other delightful support mechanisms.

Here is my first attempt at a face:

I think this looks more like a death mask of someone very old and very ill, lol, but at least I managed to get some of the propertions right.  The clay was drying out very fast and I had a lot of little dried bits sticking to the main portion when I worked with it.  I kept a stiff bristle brush in a little bowl of water and every so often, I’d brush over the face to keep the clay moist.  I had a lot of fun modelling the nose.  Especially as I was scheduled to have septoplasty done on Thursday, 10 November.  Fortunately for me, the surgery was successful and my nose hopefully looks a lot better than the death mask’s nose!

I had half a packet of clay left and could not decide what to sculpt with it.  It was getting late, my hands were icky with dry clay and I’d had enough of the floppy stuff.  So I looked at my crumbly fist and decided to give a go of copying it.  Here’s my “fist of clay”:

It was a very interesting experience to try and capture the angles of the finger bones and the knuckles.  I think I managed to get the finger lengths right.  The clay was too soft to make a hand resting on a wrist, it just kept on collapsing.  So, I decided not to fight it and just let it rest on the base as it wanted to.  They are curing right now.  The weather has cooled down and the humidity is stable.  I hope they don’t crack too much in the drying process.