This afternoon I took some progress shots on the new Spam the Cat maquette. I forgot to take pictures in the wire armature stage, sorry! I’ll remember on my next one, which will either be Renfrew the Raccoon or The Sasquatch. But to fill in with words where my pictures are lacking, I start with a sort of skeleton, really more like a stick figure, made of armature wire, a very flexible aluminum wire. Then I fill in with wads of aluminum foil (I save and wash it from my cooking uses!) to bulk out and strengthen the armature. I hold together wire joints and foil ends with floral tape, a lightly sticky, stretchy tape that sticks to itself but is easy to remove and reposition if needed. It really helps me keep from getting stuck with loose wire ends, and eliminates the need for extra hands or a prehensile tail while putting the clay over the foil.
When I get the armature bulked out enough (I have to factor in that I am going to put at least a quarter inch of polymer clay on the outside, so I try not to make it too fat!), I can start covering it with the clay. I’m using Super Sculpey here; it’s much stronger than the coloured kinds of regular Sculpey. You have to knead it a bit and warm it up to make it flexible enough to work. My fingers are kind of tender tonight from kneading and blending the clay onto the maquette. Here you can see a bit of the floral tape.
Here I’ve started giving Spam some skin. It’s a bit less then a quarter inch.
I moved Spam over to the window for a little better light. Yes, that’s an ostrich egg. I think the other one might be an emu egg, I’ll have to ask my teachers, whose eggs those are. Wait, I don’t mean my teachers are an ostrich and an emu — oh, never mind, just look at the kitty-to-be.
I added a muzzle made of two equal balls for each side, a little fat crescent for the chin, and a long triangular piece for the top of the nose that fit into the two balls. I just sort of squashed them on for now; later I’ll take care of the details.
I added some side whiskers. It looks really strange right now, more like a puppy’s ears, but will look better when I put those pointy kitty ears on him, and some eyes!
I’ve also started adding some bulk for his neck ruff. This will get carved into waves and curls, and eventually surface textured for the fine detail. That’s my favourite blending tool at the bottom right; it’s a printmaking burnisher. It really helps when my fingers get tired, which they certainly were by this point!
And this is as far as I’ve gotten today; he’s already full of incipient personality, don’t you think?