Day 16

Oh the lengthy process of getting ready to paint I was hoping to finish up the boat today, but working with Chelsea taught me that it’s not quite as simple as picking your favorite colour and spraying it on the object.

First, the tin had to be prepped with a couple of coats of shellac – otherwise the paint would just flake off. Once that’s done I was ready to dive in, but again, Chelsea explained that a better, more interesting result will come from multiple thin layers of different colours, with some sanding to create an uneven final look. This gives the object more depth and life.

But even knowing that, I couldn’t just pick the colours and go to – no! I had to run a bunch of tests on scrap pieces to make sure I end up with the best result.

So out I went:

White: matte white on tin, gloss white on tin, gloss white on matte white on tin, matte white on black, gloss white on black, gloss white on matte white on black.

Red: red on tin, red on primer on tin, red on black, red on primer on black.

By the time everything was dry it was time to go home, so I never did get to paint the boat. Monday. It’ll happen Monday.

In the meantime, I was given the job of creating feet for the elves. We’re still not sure if they’re actually going to have feet, or if the shot with feet in them will just be feet. But Judd figured I might as well get started and lets see where it goes.

I thought leather would be a nice technique to use – for one, I want to work with leather, and for two it means that just by making boots, the elves are fully shod. So I took about 10 minutes whipping off a rough boot out of wood and then spent hours making patterns out of paper that will give me the shape that I want. This one’s too big, that one has funny seams, this one looks good but will require me to stitch 10 separate pieces together (making me a real elf-cobbler). I finally got s shape I was happy with out of only 2 pieces, so I took my soaked leather, tied it to the wooden form, hammered it on and left it in the sun to dry. Here’s the result:

2013-05-03 18.18.54

Kind of shitty. Recognizably a foot – but really more of a mukluk than a boot. Which isn’t bad – just the wrong aesthetic. I talked it over with Judd and we decided that even if I could make the shape better, to really make it beautiful is going to require a lot of tiny stitching and an enormous investment of time. So he suggested trying to make castable rubber boots. Since I’ve never cast anything, I thought it was a great idea. That’ll be tomorrow’s project.

Finally, I built a new handle for the Old Man elf that incorporates my trigger design. Here’s Judd giving it a try.

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