Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I managed to finish my gourd on time to meet Monday's deadline, but it was a struggle. Nonetheless, I was happy with the results. I sculpted the elephant on the top from polymer clay. The lotus petals and base are pieces of other gourds. I painted the main gourd and the base with acrylic paint. This piece is basically a shallow bowl with a lid. The jagged line at the top of the petals painted on the main gourd is where the cut is.
In case you're interested, I drew the three elephant groups without any particular regard for size - just whatever was comfortable. Then I reduced them on my printer/copier and cut them out. After changing sizes a few times and shifting them around experimentally on the gourd I decided where I wanted them and transfered them to the gourd. I loosely designed the other elements in my mind, added a few guide lines, and started painting! The mountains and sky were first, then the groups of trees (except the bit foreground one with the ibis) then the grassy areas and water, then the elephants. The tree with the ibis was next, then the group of water lilies. The waterfall reflections in the water were last - and the hardest part of the painting. After painting so small, it was a mental shift to move to the base with it's large areas.
The big problem at the end was the gap between the gourd base and the bottom piece of the main gourd - the seam was uneven and didn't look too good. Fortunately, I had a piece of kumihimo braid that was the right length and color. I glued it in place to cover the seam in the gourds then made the two tassels (from silk embroidery thread) and the little polymer clay frog to cover the ends of the cord.
As for the epoxy clay that I was trying out as an adhesive to attach the gourd petals to the gourd ring of the base, it worked but wasn't what I hoped it would be. I expected it to work like clay, but it was pretty sticky - too sticky to model in any precise way. It fills gaps and gives a good bond but I had a difficult time getting the epoxy clay to be smooth enough to show on the finished piece. Now that I've worked with it I'll know better next time how to use it. And I definitely will use it again. I recommend this product, but it takes some experimenting - as everything else - to get to know how to best use it.
The name of the epoxy clay product is APOXIE SCULPT and I found it at http://www.arizonagourds.com