I’ve been neglecting my Spam the Cat maquette for the last couple of weeks (see the previous posts here and here) because I had run into a problem I had to think about for a while. I realized after looking at him in profile that his neck was too long! He looked like a giraffe cat! Which would be fine if that were the effect I was trying for, but Spam is a fluffy little ginger tabby, not a giraffe-cat. Maybe I’ll make one of those later. Anyway, here’s the problem:
See? It also makes his head look too small. The only thing I could think of was to *gasp* decapitate him. I really, really didn’t want to do this, because I knew it would weaken the internal structure of the armature. So I decided to do a bit of plastic surgery. Or maybe that should be polymer surgery…
I figured I needed to take off about three quarters of an inch, so I made incisions all the way around at two levels. Don’t worry, I used polymer clay anesthetic.
I was able to peel off the extra clay, but the foil padding around the wire had to be more or less wrestled off with a pair of pliers.
I found that I could wiggle his head down into position without cutting the wire. *whew*
I added a little snake of clay to fill in the difference in the width of the two neck sections…
… and blended it into the area that will be his neck ruff. That’s Spam’s friend Mak in the background. He’s been acting as a model, even though Spam will be a different colour. Mak helped me get Spam’s nose just right today; it was a little wide.
Here’s Spam’s new neck length; it still looks a bit long, but that’s because I haven’t added the fur layer yet. At this point, he was getting too heavy for his little legs to support him (I’ve really got to get some of the heavier armature wire), and I had to put a support under him to keep his legs from bowing out. I decided that I would fire him at this stage so that there would be a good solid structure when I added the fur.
I’ve had another maquette going that I wanted to do an interim firing as well before I add her hair, but I had been putting off doing her ears — ears are hard! But I finished her up and put them both in the oven at the recommended 275F for 20 minutes, allowing them to cool in the oven after I turned it off. They came out fine, no cracks. Spam has aluminum foil shielding his thinner bits, his ears and tail, so they won’t burn. I propped him up with a stack of tart tins left over from all the mince-meat tarts that got eaten over the Christmas season. They’re really useful around the studio so I always save them.
Next: fur and hair — this will take me a few days, so in the meantime I’ll go back to posting some other art.