The process of creation.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had an idea for a new egg.  I was trying to find a way to work with the somewhat elongated egg shape I had, and most of the designs on my list work better with a more rounded egg shape. Finally, I sat down with my sketchpad and came up with this:


My idea was to get a twig to attach to the egg (either behind or through) that I could then decorate with some small sculpts and beads, carve some negative space out of the egg, and use sculpted material to shore up the positive space (leaving those areas unsculpted is an option but probably stupid on my part, as without that additional support I’d go through 100 of them before one would stay together. The sculpted part adds additional dimensional texture, but more importantly from a creation standpoint, it shores up the egg’s structure under carving conditions.)Then, I could use beads for the flowers.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever made before (In fact I don’t think I’ve ever done an egg with pink on it.), and seemed like a nice idea to try out.

So, first thing I did was go outside with a sandwich bag and collect some small twigs.  Fortunately I live right near a good place to find such things.  So I took a half hour to wander through the woods and get some likely candidates.IMAG0675

I actually didn’t find that many- most were too big or didn’t have good branching (I found a lot of straight sticks, but small, branched twigs were not as easy to find.). But I got to spend a half hour outside, which isn’t bad, and found some honeysuckle plants I didn’t know were in the neighborhood.  All in all, despite the relative scarcity of very small, branched twigs, it was a successful outing all the same.  I came home with about five different twigs I thought might work, and then sorted through them to find one that I thought would best suit my needs  .

After sifting through what I’d brought home, I found a likely candidate and set it aside once I got it aligned in a way I thought would work, marking the region of insertion on the back of the egg.  IMAG0678

I was kind of surprised I’d found a twig that so closely matched my original idea, but hey, I won’t complain about it.

After I’d gotten those areas marked out, I looked around online for some reference photos.  Even when I abstract a design I need to be sure it reads in a recognizable way once it’s finished.   For example,  I wanted to be sure I had the right number of petals on the flowers,  even if the flowers are abstracted due to their small size. I wanted to check how the flowers formed on the branches (one at a time? or in clusters?) and get a general sense of how to use those details to make the abstracted version recognizable in the finished product.

Then, I had to draw the design out onto the egg itself.  Mostly I just grabbed a pencil, put on

IMAG0679an episode of Face Off season 1 and started drawing. Since this design is organic, rather than strictly geometrical and does not require any kind of symmetry (just balance) it didn’t take me very long, and eventually, the egg was finished with a rough design I could then use as a template to which I could add sculpted material.

A couple people have asked what I use (and used for the tentacles on the tentacle monster.) The answer is Green Stuff (that’s an actual product name.)  It’s a two part epoxy sculpting medium, often used by miniature model makers.  It’s different from clay, and takes time getting used to (Im still learning), but it has some distinct advantages.  It’s not brittle, even when dry, so it’s not a huge breakage risk.  It air cures, so I don’t need any kind of heat firing process, and doesn’t have shrinkage issues.  I am still learning how to work with it, though, so it’s going to take me some time to become proficient. Fortunately, proficiency isn’t really needed for this design- in fact, roughness is better. as that would look more natural.

Most of my evening was spent applying green stuff to the egg, along the pattern I’d created for the branches.  I just workedIMAG0682

a little at a time, and eventually it all got covered. I trimmed off anything too wide or unsightly with an xacto knife and set it in the egg tray to cure up a little.  After a couple of hours I realized that most of the flower areas had rubbed off. This was an issue, as I needed to know where the flowers were likely to be, so I knew to carve out areas that weren’t too close to where the flowers were. Since I’m adding beads for the flowers, I don’t want the negative space coming too close to where the egg will have additional weight added on to it, especially in areas with potential undercuts.  Down that road lies breakage, and tears.  So I added the flowers roughly, using a couple of sharpies (I own sharpies in about 40 colors) and sketched on in grey (which isn’t in this photo) the areas that were safe to potentially carve out.

The big issue is how to handle the top of the egg.  Though I could remove it entirely, which could look really, really cool, I worry about shipping an egg like that without structure t hold it together at the top.  I’d have to figure out how to pack it, and at this point seriously, I have no clue .So I think that for this one, i’m going to leave the top on. Perhaps I can add another branch that will intersect with the top of the egg in a way that would include it in a way that makes sense (that’s probably the best idea right now.) IMAG0683

Once I figure out how to handle the top of the egg, and finalize the general area the flowers go in, I have to clean up any green stuff issues.  I need to make sure Im happy with how that looks, because once I carve the egg up, it’s very hard to fix it, as the underlying egg structure won’t be stable enough to handle much pressure.

Then, finally, I can carve the negative space I want to remove. But first I need to get to the bead store. I don’t even have any pink beads.  As much as I hate midtown (seriously, I don’t know how anyone works there without getting arrested for assaulting someone out of frustration, MOVE, people.) it’s a very good store, so I’ll brave it.  I need three bead colors in two sizes, and I keep meaning to pick up some beading needles (and forgetting.)

So, more soon.  We’ll see how it goes.


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