|Plaster urn with hand sculpted greenman face, as game table base|
|One broken table + one crumbling urn + handsaw + paperclay + paint = one new table|
So, really, back to the urn. I hauled it in from the garage (It hadn't yet made it to the Great Trash Heap Below), and sure enough, I loved the shape and scale of it with the chairs. Next, I went foraging down the rabbit hole for a table top. I figured I would have to temporarily use an old window, while awaiting the appearance of just the right thing. However, I had the top of a table missing it's little Duncan Pfyfe-style splayed legs, which although I was sure would be a tad too small, and a bit too clean lined, actually worked perfectly, once I patiently sawed off the remainder of the base. Reminder to self: handsaws and humid days are not a pleasant combination. Whew!
Next, I had to decide what to do about the chips. Cindy had figured I could patch the bad spots, or maybe glue on silk flowers, but I had another idea. I wanted to make it look like some fabulous antique European thing, maybe with a lion's head. Problem is, lions are Cindy's motif, and she'd be trying to either steal it back, or talk me into selling it to her, if I did that. My motif? Well, I'm not exactly a fairy person, as in cute little Tinkerbell sorts, but I love the old stories of forest sprites and nature deities, like those remembered for us by J.R.R. Tolkien and others, so the idea of sculpting a greenman was obvious for me.
|My fairies tend to be a bit more wildish than cute. This one was an Art Group challenge that another artist gave us, based on the greenman idea.|
|The finished face. It is serious, but doesn't look quite so solemn in person.|
I also like the fact that this watchful spirit is located in the part of my home that feng shui associates with helpful people and travel. I don't rigidly follow feng shui practices, but energy follows intention, and honoring unseen helpers seems a good idea. Besides, what I did find online about this symbol, which is frequently found in churches with carved or sculpted ornamentation, despite it's pagan origins, is that like the saints that replaced the earlier Gods of this and that, he's the patron of inspiration to the committed artist. He can come as white light or a gleam on a blade of grass. The sign of his presence is "the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one's normal capacities". I wish I remembered from research I've done on Catholic saints where I read that description before! At any rate, in a home full of symbolism, I really like this one right in the hub of things, watching the front door, positioned to keep an eye on me where I write in the adjacent living room, and where I can see him as I run up and down the stairs between the computer and the work table.
The only bad thing may be its intended purpose as the base for a game table (mainly for Scrabble tournaments with my friend Carol). See, feng shui gets all picky about where you store games, and probably has something against putting games in proximity to helpful people energy, as it might invite normally helpful folks to play games with me. Well, hell. This is why I don't rigidly follow feng shui rules. If I did, based on the layout of the rooms in my house, I'd probably have to store Scrabble in the bathroom, and keep my lingerie on the back porch, which would make for some pretty awkward explanations when visitors come knocking at my door. I'll play the trump card on this one: If one consciously chooses to direct it, energy follows intention, and I intend this sculpture only to remind me that helpful people are always out there, cheering on my latest endeavor, and waiting to celebrate my successes...or maybe just waiting to give me their cast-off junk to play with. Whichever!
Are you looking for furnishings that are a little more than just decorative? Check out my portfolio of possibilities at theartofthehome.com, where you will also find all the info on how to hire me to create something absolutely one-of a kind for your home.
Want to try this yourself? Use a concrete bonding agent, like Weldbond, or even just Elmer's Glue-All on the dust-free chipped plaster (or whatever at least slightly porous surface you are sculpting on-glass and tile are doable, but adhesion is trickier). While it's wet, smooth on the air-dry clay of your choice, building up your sculpture. Many sculptors like Creative Paperclay, but I prefer Das (Prang) Modeling Compound, which is a paper clay, but doesn't say so on the package. You can order it through dickblick.com, if your local art supply store doesn't have it, though check the kiddie craft section, as it's sometimes there. I use cheapie basic clay sculpting tools, and a few sizes of knitting needles for all my shaping, along with my fingers. maureencarlson.com is a great resource for sculpting books (the techniques for polymer work just fine on any clay, and her instruction is the best for beginners!) I learned all my technique from her, first by book, and now in person. If you run into questions, feel free to email me, at email@example.com, and I'll do my best to clarify.