Monday, March 26, 2012

Sail Fish cont'd...

There has been great progress on the Sail Fish Puppet.
First was the need to reduce the rough grain on the wood. Ideally...hand chisels and knives would do the trick...but for this lump of wood, it simply wouldn't take it. was time to get the Dremel and a special attachment to hone down the rough grain...
I always try to keep the sharp edges that are hand carved, as it adds to the overall character of the puppet...especially in the face.Now with the puppet looking great, it was time to hand carve in the "stripes" down the back of the fish.Then I needed to start thinking about the "mast" holes for the two sails that will act as the dorsal fin...
And of cause...its time to segment the body...And with the head separated, I was able to add in a little depth for the gills...And then came the sealing of the pieces...
It was at this stage that I began thinking about how I would be holding the segments together. I decided not to use my most common method - thick leather...and chose to experiment with the use of springs between each segment.
This choice then posed an interesting situation... what to do about the rear fins and tail as they are usually cut from the one spine piece of leather.
I decided to use "cane toad" leather! Yes...Cane Toad leather!
These toads are introduced pests in Australia and I don't think anyone in this country has any problem with the use of their skins! Besides... These critters have been responsible for way too much destruction in our country - I see it as artistic karma that the hides of such things be used to re-create a great creature of our waters!
Although very thin...this leather is actually very tough yet very flexible.
I then glued to pieces back to back as I wanted the great natural pattern to be on both sides of the final shapes. So I glued it up and clamped it nice and flat.While the leather was drying in the clamps...I got to work on placing the springs.
I needed to use thin springs to allow the fish to be moved easily...but I knew that this then posed an issues for the segments to sag more than I would like. The solution I came up with was to use multiple springs in a row per segment.
At this stage, it looks as if the springs will work fine...but I am yet to know for sure as they sill need to be set in place.
I then had to prepare the slots for the cane toad leather fins and tail...
Now to slow down the heart rate, put on some music and start the painting process...There is still a lot of work to be done on the painting of this great fish. But I am very pleased with the progress so far.

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