Saturday, September 22, 2012

Audrey II (large) Part I

Oye. That was a bit of a long day today Definitely going to feel a bit sore tomorrow. With the help of the wonderful Sarah coming at a ridiculously early hour, we got started on the basic outline of the frame. We first did measuring of the front porch where the Audrey II was going to be. 45 by 45 inches is the basic area that will allow for trick or treaters to still get to the door, and give the door clearance.

We made a basic plan of two large pieces, basically two half ovals, one for the upper jaw and one of the lower. I'm planning on having the mouth be wide open, ready to eat little trick or treaters (insert evil laughter here:)) On the left are the scribblings of our plan, the orange, or flat side that will serve as the mouth we measured off at 4 feet. The blue, or dome side, we cut off at just under six feet at 67 inches.

So since neither of us had ever dealt with chicken wire before, our first initial cuttings and forms were somewhat tentative. We eventually ended up laying flat the orange side, and tacking down the blue side at the top and bottom, and one side, then curving half the sides inward to attempt to achieve an oval shape. It ended up looking like a large envelope...or a clam. 
The picture of the wire is super hard to figure out wtf it is cause, well, wire. So here's a bit of a color coded picture below to help a bit. So the orange line is the flat piece lying on the ground, the blue piece is in a curve over it. The pink is where we tacked it down with wire, and the green is where we ended up curling in the edges to give it the oval shape.

We had decided it needed some structure to it so that it wouldn't collapse in case the paper mache/paint/etc. got heavy, so we loaded up a garbage back full of balloons and double bagged it in another garbage bag (cause of the sharp wire). So we took the balloon bag and slipped it into the 'envelope' then tacked down the other side, again curling the sides of the wire to go for the oval shape. The second one of these that we did (or rather, the one we picked as having a nicer shape) we deemed the upper jaw (that will have the most form showing) and wired a hook onto the back of the 'head' (the blue side) so that it could be propped up with the use of a bungee cord and held up for display.

Once we had both forms tacked together, we took them onto the porch, just to make sure they fit. And as it turns out--any larger, and it would have invaded the house.

The next step was to go over them again with duct tape, taping down various pointy parts, fine tuning the shape, etc. before doing paper mache. Special attention was paid to the snout.
We mixed up some wallpaper paste and diluted with a bit of water. Sarah took care of the mixture ratio on this--and it was more of a consistency testing point until it felt about like the flour and water kind of paper mache.

We used a different technique that neither of us had quite tried before. It was some advice I had picked up on someone's diy site for their large scale paper mache project that advised making a grid system with wet strips, then placing whole large sheets down, painting on paste with brushes, then doing another layer of newspaper. This turned out to be a pretty good technique for large coverage. It went faster, the paste stretched farther, and it dried fairly quickly. So we managed to do three layers on both of the larger, domed sides of each piece. At this point we were exhausted and out of paste anyway, so we decided to stop for the day. Plus, both sides needed to dry before we flip them over and do the other sides.

So there's still the flip sides to do, and the veins to tape on (with clothesline to simulate plant veins), and then a final layer of paper mache with dark green tissue paper. I'm going to see what it looks like after this layer and see how much I want/need to paint it further. The mouth will definitely have to be painted, and I'll probably end up using the expandable foam for the tongue and mouth, which will probably need some slightly better detail. I also need to add some paper mache teeth before finishing it all up.

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