Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My First Bit of Art(?) Made in the New Studio

Things have been busy here. Life in general (farming, sunflowers, Farmers Markets) and getting Julia back to school and me back to work after a few weeks of vacation. I'm still behind and I am trying desperately to catch up. On Wednesday I leave for The Creative Connection in Minneapolis. I am really excited about getting out of town by myself and meeting many, many creative women. It should be a very good break for me.

Let's just say I haven't been amounting to much career-wise in the past month. After my last "Getting Stitched" class at our farm, I sunk into family life and trying to be a good mom for the rest of the summer. I did get roped into an additional project. The entire time I was doing it, I thought myself nuts. You probably know the feeling? But Julia helped a bit and we spent some time listening to her favorite music. And it wasn't a bad thing.

And here is what we were working on....... Drumroll please.......

A Paper Mache Sheep.

Yes, you saw it correctly - a Paper Mache Sheep..... Why? I'm sure you are asking.... Our wonderful neighbors, The Herrons (as in wild blueberries) were building a float for The Franklin County Fair Parade and Debbie asked me to make a Paper Mache Sheep. She had this grand plan and our farm was to be included. It is really hard to say no to Debbie and even though this was really the last thing I wanted nor needed to be doing, I took on the project.

At first I built my own form using a broken chair and a piece of wood and a sheep skull (courtesy of the coyotes) for a frame. I showed it to Debbie and she was at least happy I was trying. But then she told me that Tom, her totally handy daughter's boyfriend, might build me a better frame. (He had already built Debbie a cow frame.) One morning I drove my sad little frame up the road and showed it to Tom. He took a look at it and most likely was having a good laugh inside his head. He told me he could build me a metal frame from a broken aluminum gate and his handy dandy pipe bending thingie and his welding gun. I said fine - whatever.

Later that evening, my sheep frame arrived. I do not have a photo of it. I am sorry for that. Tom works at the local livestock auction and really knows animals. This frame was perfect. I could tell he knew sheep and their conformation intimately. This guy is an artist. The frame sat around for a while as the last days of summer drew to a close. As the pressure to deliver the sheep began, I had to get going.

I haven't done paper mache in probably 40 years. But I remembered - - 1 part flour to 2 parts water. Mix it up. Start adding the torn newspaper and begin. That is, after you have built out the sheep's body with leftover chicken wire and floral wire. I guess building all those paper mache pinatas did help me out somehow.

Into the new "dirty studio" we went. Julia and I ripped and dunked and slapped it all on - newspaper, flour, and water. It was a mess (still is - I've got to get that stuff off the floor). It was really hot and the sheep dried overnite. I had already molded the head around a sheep's skull I found out in the field. I cut the head in two and removed the skull and pasted the whole darn thing back together. The deadline was coming close. Here she is after the head and ears were added. I made the ears out of a self-hardening plaster/fabric material I found at the craft store. I added extra ear support with chicken wire and bamboo skewers.


Then it was time to paint.... I wanted her to have a "folk art feel". I purchased some of those "sample" 8 oz. jars of paint from the local hardware store and painted her a cream shade. Then I added details of curly locks, ears, eyes, nose and mouth. She was ready for her close-up.


I dressed her in Olympia's Felted Floral Lei and took her out into the field. It's much easier to photograph a paper mache sheep compared to a real one.



And for her modeling gig in front of our "lamb shack."


Tomorrow I'll show you where she went. Tutorial for paper mache here. Check out this woman's beautiful paper mache sheep. Oh, what art. I am humbled! Amazing!

On another note, President Obama visited my cousin John and his wife Nicole and their twins Trevor and Olivia for a Neighborhood Meeting at their home in Fairfax, VA. How cool is that? Wish I lived closer.

13 comments:

Virginia said...

That is awesome about the President. Super cool.

And I love the sheep. Absolutely fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Hi Krisitn:
You never cease to amaze me - that is a good thing! Your paper mache sheep is a hit with me. Debi/CT

MicheleinMaine said...

Your sheep stands right up to the other creations you show at the end. But the part about cutting the skull out of a sheep's head you found in the field gave me pause...

Susan said...

I love your sheep Kristin!!! It has so much character!!!! The one's you link to are nice, but yours is so much more fun!!!!!

Erin Leigh said...

I love your sheep!!! Awesome job!

avelinux said...

Your lamb is such a cutie with beautiful curlies. Absolutely awesome.

Kat said...

OMG that sheep is fantastic!

Missouri Gal Nicole said...

That is so cute even though it has a real skull...those bad coyotes! But I love it and want one myself!

Pysselfarmor from Sweden said...

So cute!

Evelyn said...

I like yours best. Love the folk-artsy look.

Alison said...

Oh my goodness, Kristin, that sheep is the cutest thing I think I've ever seen!...positively fantastic!...and I love her style—all curly with that Olympia's beautiful lei. We have had paper mache on the brain over here too. I had forgotten how satisfying it is...love the messy fun of it. Have fun in Minneapolis!

Luni said...

Excellent job on the sheep. I kept thinking that it is too thin, but then I realized it is sheared! :)
It reminds me of the goat in the play in the Sound of Music. I can hear the song, "...the lonely goat heard/goatherd..." when I look at that last photo. Must be the ears.

Lindsay said...

Yup, that's a pretty cool sheep too! What amazing creativity both sides of the Atlantic!