Category Archives: Sculpture

Stabbing Things with Needles – Twisted Stitches

Raiding the Stash

I have been putting a lot of emphasis on my Youtube channel and Let’s Play series this week, but fear not I have been working on some crafty things in the background. My artistic projects take a little more time to complete well, so these posts will probably be once a week or so.

Continuing with this month’s theme of stabbing things with needles, I came across my old embroidery hoops while cleaning my room. I have been on a mission to use up some of the crafting supplies I already own, so I decided to pull out my embroidery thread and see exactly how rusty I have become.

I love embroidery for the fact that with a few basic tricks and stitches you can make some pretty stunning compositions. Whether it is a pattern or more illustrative the entire picture is made up of a series of chain or cross stitches.

Wretched Resources

Gone are the days of your Gran’s “Home Sweet Home” framed cross stitches and heirloom embroidered table cloths. This should go without saying, but if you can draw or download a simple image from the internet you can turn pretty much anything into needlework.

Cross stitch makes this particularly easy because as long as you can line up an image to grid paper you can translate it into a sewing pattern. Same goes for embroidery, for which I play fast and loose and do much of my work free hand. I guess I am just a rebel like that…

For everything else there are literally endless resources for patterns on the internet or in books. Take for example my favourite: Twisted Stitches: 30 Corrupt Cross Stitch and Embroidery Designs.twisted-stitches As the title might suggest, this book does not contain any traditional cross stitch designs. Unless you think traditional cross stitch would have been better served with bunny roadkill imagery, in which case I would wholeheartedly agree.

This book is a nice combination of cross stitch pattern, sewing pattern and how-to book. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for completing 30 projects from start to finish. That way you don’t end up like me as a kid with a million useless patches of fabric that aren’t actually sewed into anything, but damn don’t they just look pretty. I still sometimes refer to this book when I need a refresher on certain types of finishes or stitches.

I got my copy on Amazon.ca but my friends in the states can also find it on Amazon.com. If graphic is not your thing Subversive Cross Stitch is another go-to of mine when I’m feeling particularly sassy.

What are your favourite unconventional stitching resources?

What I’ve Been Messing With

Over this past holiday Monday my friends and I had ourselves a good ol’ fashioned stitch-and-bitch party. Each of of brought our respective projects and sat around drinking ungodly amounts of caffeine and sugar.

As mentioned in the beginning, I decided to give embroidery another go. Lacking any patterns (I had not been able to dig out my copy of Twisted Stitches before I left the house) I did everything entirely freehand, which explains the horrid lettering in my first attempt. Oh well, at least the ventricles in my anatomical heart look pretty.

 

My second attempt yielded much more attractive results. They aren’t creepy exactly, but they are darn cute, and it also falls under the category of geeky. If it is not obvious I have Unravel on the brain. Unravel is a new platforming game out just this past week for xbox one and ps4. The main character being made of yarn lends itself well to being embroidered.

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It’s nowhere near finished yet, I am currently working on adding a background to match the style of the game. I aim to have it finished before the end of my Let’s Play. There may even be a speed-embroidery video in the coming weeks…

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Needles

 

Sometimes all a girl needs is a barbed needle and a video camera.

Welcome to Twisted Tales Studio’s first project video of the year! As promised I have been working on a needle felting project. It is a little belated due to some technical issues, but it is finally DONE.

Not gonna lie, at one point in this video I stab myself full force with the needle, and it was about as pleasant as one would expect. It’s not a successful craft project until you screw up and draw blood, now is it?

Up next I was thinking of maybe doing one of the skeleton and muscle diagrams as a project. Thoughts?

Starchip13

Stabbing Things with Barbed Needles

…Otherwise known as needle felting.

IMG_0367

For those not familiar with the craft, it is the art of stabbing various coloured wool with a barbed needle for hours on end. It is actually quite therapeutic after a bad day. Right up until the point when you stab yourself in the hand hard enough to draw blood. That may or may not have happened once in the making of this project already, but a teacher of mine once told me a project is not real until you bleed on it. That’s the rule.

I got into needle felting while in college when one of my textiles classmates literally blew my mind with a super adorable needle felt dragon in a tiny bird’s nest. I ended up making a ton of fun things a few years ago, including an shenani-goat for my D&D group (yes I do that too). Since then though I have seriously let it fall by the wayside and all of my rather expensive needle felting wool has been living in a tote under my bed.  IMG_0368

For my first video of the year has been seriously belated thus far and I was hoping to finish filming today, but a combination of my camera battery dying and losing the good natural light in my house has put it on hold for the night. I shall continue tomorrow with daylight and fresh batteries.

I hope to have this video up sometime early this week. Until then, here are some selfies with a white felted worm-looking-thing.

Starchip13

January 2015 Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods (Kirstie Williams)

Featured Artist: Curious Cephalopods

Deviantart Account: Deeed
Etsy Shop: CuriousCephalopods

I am glad to be back with this month’s round of featured artists for January 2015! This year we are starting with Curious Cephalopods, a curious nautical artist from Deviantart. Let’s get this year started on a good note.

Whilst clicking around on the internet for new and interesting things these cute little hair accessories caught my eye and I just had to share them. I see these pieces being ideal for fans of steampunk or anyone who wants to feel a little Lovecraftian. Need a hairpiece to spice up a wig or something to wear to a masquerade at a con? Or perhaps something interesting to wear any old day as an interesting conversation piece? Look no further.

I have always been a huge fan of process and new mediums, and these hairpieces make me feel inspired. Each piece is made with a ridged foam base with hair layered over top and styled with hairspray and paint. I give two thumbs up for this level of creativity. I have not come across anything like this before!

I highly recommend anyone looking to add some flare to a steampunk or fantasy cosplay to come to this shop. Just imagine one of these hair pieces putting the figurative bow on the top of a steampunk mermaid. Go ahead, I will wait.

These pieces can be purchased at the Curiouscephalopods etsy. The shop is looking a little empty at the moment, but the artist assures me that she is in the process of posting more pieces. If anyone is interested in purchasing a hairpiece in a particular colour, she does take requests. Simply send your request through the etsy shop or deviantart account.

If anyone has any suggestions for future featured artists please leave their name/shop in the comments. In the meantime I will continue to search the internet for curious, cute and creepy things!

Cheers,

Starchip13

November 2014 Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Featured Artist: Mythic Articulations

Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Jackalope by Mythic Creations
Website: Link
Etsy: Link
Facebook: Link
Twitter: Link
Tumblr: Link

My second featured artist for November I found while clicking around on etsy. Naturally, I spend my time looking up skeletons and mythical creatures, which took me to the Mythic Articulations shop.

Opened in 2013, the goal of mythic articulations is to create what nature won’t. Mythic articulations offers a variety of skeletons and skulls of all of the mythic creatures you could ever think of … and maybe some you have not.

With technology growing and becoming accessible there are new opportunities for makers to create things that would be impossible or impractical to make with traditional methods. The skeletons of Mythic Articulations are created with a 3D modeling program, which is then made into the final product with a 3D printer. Like traditional methods, this process is meticulous and time consuming in its own way, but the results are stunning. Check out the product for yourself.

Obviously one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing technology is that Mythic Articulations artists can create one digital “master” with incredibly small and fine pieces. Some of the items in this shop contain some crazy intricate detail. I am a huge fan of the 3D tribal skull!

For those interested in one of these pieces please visit the Mythic Articulations Etsy store. Please ensure that you order before the end of November if this is to be a Christmas gift … if you have someone in your life like me who would love a skeleton for Christmas. That is normal right? Skeletons are cool.

If anyone has a suggestion for the next featured artist please feel free to comment.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Featured Artist: J Shook

November 2014 Featured Artist: J Shook (B00ts)

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheDenTree
Tumblr: http://maskshop.tumblr.com/
Deviantart: http://b00ts.deviantart.com/
Asmodee by b00ts
Asmodee by b00ts

Welcome everyone to my very first featured artist section! As most of my readers can guess I love monsters and I love all things hand made. November’s first featured artist just so happens to fall into both of these categories.

Anybody who appreciates soft sculpture and craft will be drawn to these little monsters. I first stumbled across these cute little dolls on Deviantart.com under the screen name B00ts and I was instantly in love! Also, bonus points for the use of sculpy to make horns and embroidery detailing that gives them their personality.

J Shook (or B00ts) is also active on Tumblr and has an etsy shop where her patterns are available for purchase. Of course, I encourage anyone who enjoys sewing and doll making to check out her shop and make something of their own to add to the great online art community. Please give credit where credit is due! If you use these patterns please credit the artist! I know she would also love to see what everyone is making with her patterns, so pass along a quick picture to her tumblr or DA.

These types of dolls are accessible to all skill levels. Felt is an easy type of fabric to sew and work. Dolls can range from exceedingly simple to elaborate and complicated (see B00ts for examples of the latter). Add add as much or as little detail as you want, and make it your own.

Private commissions are also available, but do keep in mind that one-off dolls take a lot of time and energy, which means they are not cheap! An artist also has to be paid for their efforts, so keep this in mind when considering a commission. Please see her FAQ page for more information.

Jackalope Skull

Some of you probably recall me posting about my rabbit skull and skeleton studies a while back. For those of you just now joining me, the project currently holding my attention is a study on mythical creature anatomy and skeletons. To be specific, in this instance I have decided to begin my journey with something small and simple in design. Say hello to the mighty majestic Jackalope … or at least the rough base for what will be a jackalope.

Roughed out sculpt
Roughed out sculpt

The jackalope was made famous as a hoax in the 1930s when a couple of clever gentlemen grafted deer antlers to the head of a taxidermy hair. It has some basis in a disease known to cause abnormal bone growth in rabbits, but it was mostly just a way to rope in tourists as far as I can tell.

You can begin your jackalope journey here on the jackalope wiki page if you would like more information on the cutest hoax of the 1930s.

Moving onto the project proper, I of course began this journey by staring at a model rabbit skull for a few hours. To get a true sense of proper proportions I drew some preliminary sketches from side, bottom and top views. That is what professional artists do, right?

For this sculpt, I am using chavant (also known as monster clay). It is an oil based clay which behaves a lot like Plasticine. It is commonly used for sculpting movie makeup prosthetics because it does not dry out, it can be easily reheated and reused, and it is incredible for holding detail. It comes in three densities: soft, medium and hard. I prefer to use medium for my projects as soft holds less detail (and gets damaged easier when casting) and the hard version is a pain to work with (literally, it is killer on my wrists). One of these days perhaps I will do a sculpting tutorial with chavant to demonstrate different ways to sculpt with this material.

I happened to have a tub of recycled chavant left over from making my zombie makeup. Since the scale is going to be about one half of a true sized rabbit I decided I had more than enough for this project. It is refreshing to work on something small scale after spending weeks building a nine foot fur monster.

As you can see from the above picture, I have the size and overall shape of the skull mapped out. The next step in the process will be to add the horns and then start in with the details. I don’t use any sort of special tools for this job. Mainly I stick with a pin tool and a pointed wooden sculpting tool you can find in any beginner sculpting kit. For the final texturing I will be using a course sponge to give the illusion of porous bone. The sponge will also get rid of any unusual ridges or burs from the sculpting process.

From here it will be on to casting. I have personally never made a mold of something this small, and I am a little concerned about bubbles forming either in the silicone or in the plastic I will be using to make the copies.

I will post progress pictures as this project gets underway. There will likely be a delay in updates for the jackalope skull as my due date for my large monster project is fast approaching. If this turns out well perhaps I will start sculpting skulls for creatures of my own design. That could be a lot of fun!

Cheers,

Starchip13

Toxic Zombie Makeup

From face casting to running foam latex, my classmate Michelle got to be my model for my toxic zombie makeup project. In honor of the new season of The Walking Dead it is zombie week in class. I actually made this sculpt all the way back in the fall, but running the foam was delayed several months. It was worth the wait though. I am pretty happy with the final project.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

The assignment was simply to make a zombie makeup appliance from a live cast of one of our classmates. The mask was built to be applied in three parts: forehead, nose/cheeks and chin. This allows for greater range of movement for the actor and overall looks more natural. Gluing a solid sheet of foam latex to a person’s face can cause some weird folding and buckling to occur if you aren’t careful.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

For this look I decided to go with a toxic or viral zombie appearance. In my mind she was exposed to some sort of highly infectious or corrosive chemical which resulted in her zombie state.

I made sure to include a number of boils, open sores, and a nasty infected eye to complete the character. The colour palette for this character was kept mainly to the pale yellow and green end of the spectrum, with a bit of purple in the shadows just to make everything pop.

Unfortunately due to my prosthetic mold not closing properly I had a rather nasty blending edge along the top where her forehead meets her hair line. It also just so happened that her hair was cut short on that side. I didn’t want to get her hair covered in blue in latex, so it is not so smoothly disguised as a cut of some kind along her forehead.

Toxic Zombie
Toxic Zombie

If I were to change anything I would probably go in and darken some areas up just for contrast. I would particularly focus on the areas where the blood just looks super red. I feel like the blood needs to look a little less fresh for this zombie girl. I think she also could have used a little black took lacquer on her teeth. My girl Michelle’s teeth are too clean and perfect for a sickly zombie design!

 

I would like to give a huge thanks to my friend and model Michelle. She was a good sport about me trying to fix the goof with the bad edge on the forehead, and she rocked the impromptu photo shoot we held in the classroom.

Michelle also appears as my model for my lizard forehead prosthetic in my portfolio. For more pictures of makeup and prosthetic projects I have worked on please feel free to visit my makeup and costumes page here.

Let’s start a discussion here. What are your favourite variety of zombie designs from TV or other media? Is there a specific type of zombie infection you think is superior? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers,

Starchip13

Muppet Style Puppet

I am pleased to welcome a new puppet to the family! This little muppet puppet is Mr. Snuffles, a cute fluffy eared creature who might either be a rabbit or a cat, but it is really unclear.

My muppet style puppet
My muppet style puppet

Mr. Snuffles loves super snazzy top hats and thinks bow ties are cool (because they are).

In terms of technique this little guy has the simplest construction. He is essentially a sock puppet with a mouth plate installed. Think Kermit the frog muppet puppet. While he does have hand rods for easy puppeteering, he lacks armature wire in his fingers so his hands are (sadly) not adjustable. Unlike my other two puppets he also does not have much in way of foam body construction. He has a little foam in his hands for padding, but that is about all. I might add some foam to the inside of the top of his head later just to give his eyes a more stable platform. As it is right now sometimes his eyes lean in two different directions. This isn’t too much of an issue for still shots, but when he is moving (the way all puppet’s should) his eye focus goes all over the place. It could be considered a stylistic choice I suppose, but it will probably be adjusted later all the same.

Puppet side view
Puppet side view

Mr. Snuffles is made from hand dyed muppet fleece and acrylic fur. His eyes are ping-pong balls and his pupils are just googly eyes from the craft store painted with black nail polish. I spent an ungodly amount of time sitting in my living room trying to get the pupils to properly focus. For all the hand sewing involved with these puppets the eye focus is still probably the most tricky thing to get right. A pupil being even slightly off results in a far off gaze at best, and a drunken stare at worse. Looking back in the pictures I am still not convinced his eyes are quite right, but this is why I attached the pupils with double sided tape. I can keep taking them off and readjusting until this litter bugger finally looks at me.

This is the only puppet so far where I have made all his accessories from scratch (I bought a children’s bow tie for Mister Turtle). I say that, but the construction was still pretty simple. Mister Snuffles’ hat and bow tie are made from patterned sheet felt I found at the craft store. I found a nice neutral beige to match the colour of his muppet fleece. I love sewing with fleece because when you are in a time crunch, which always seems to be the case with me, fleece inexpensive and probably the easiest material to sew.

Bow ties are cool.
Bow ties are cool.

I also had the opportunity to stretch some old embroidery muscles I haven’t used probably since I was in middle school! All the trim on his hat and bow tie are hand stitched with inexpensive embroidery thread using the same stitch that is commonly used to finish the edges of blankets.  I even sewed on a few old buttons I had laying around just to give it a little extra cuteness.

This is the last of the small scale puppets I will be making for this year. Everything from here on out gets exponentially bigger. I have a couple large scale creature suit projects coming up that will keep me busy for the next few months. At least one of them I will unfortunately not be able to post for some time. The reason for this is that the monster suit is being made for TV, and I am unable to circulate pictures until after the episode airs. I promise that as soon as I am allowed to post pictures I will dedicate a post to each and every project!

If you wish to take a look at my previous puppet posts you can find Mister Turtle here. Included in this post is also a handy foam sculpting tutorial, which has a wide variety of potential applications for props and costumes!

Bennie the Rat can be found in his home on this page. He is a people-rat so please visit and show him some love.

A big thank you to my fiance who has been the puppeteer in all of my puppet photo shoots!

Bennie the Rat Puppet

Welcome back to more puppet fun!Today I would like to introduce Bennie the Rat Puppet to the world. Despite being a rat this guy is actually quite an honest fellow. He enjoys long walks in the countryside, and snuggling up with some cheese and wine to watch some movies. Ladies, he is single, but please no pushing! He can be a shy boy when it comes to crowds.

During my few weeks of absence I actually made 3 different puppets. All of my puppets will get their own post in the coming days.

Though this guy did not take me the longest to complete (that honor goes to Mister Turtle) he has the most complicated body construction of the 3 puppets. This guy comes complete with a rolled lip and dowel “arm bones” to give him a bit of structure (no Kermit noddle arms here). He is also sporting a cute little rat tail, though I regret to say I neglected to get a picture of his cute little tush.

Bennie the Rat
Bennie the Rat

Fun features of this puppet include fully poseable hands, two hand rods that are actually the same size (sorry Mr. Turtle), and eyes that rattle because they are googley eyes I painted with black nail polish. Depending on my wine intake he also dances and sings karaoke.

I made the mistake of sizing him to my dainty little hand. In this photo shoot this is the only puppet in which I am the puppeteer because my fiance could not fit his hand in the puppet’s head. I can just hear my pottery teacher in the back of my head giving me heck for making cup handles that could only fit my fingers comfortably. Oh well, I suppose that means I get to keep this guy all to myself.

Hansom mug
Handsome mug

The fur for this puppet was provided by my teacher. Bennie is the first of my puppets where I have experimented with trimming. I didn’t want his face and his hands to get lost in a sea of fluff, so I spent the better part of a day giving this little guy a hair cut. It was interesting to discover that under the main top coat of the fur this guy is actually spotted. His guy is sporting some super cute little polka dots due to the weaving of the lighter fur in the under-coat, which actually kind of works for him.

Another, more unpleasant, discovery I made while trimming this guy is the fact that this fur apparently sat in a warehouse collecting dust for a while before it ended up on my puppet. Cutting the fur released all the little dust bunnies which aggravated my allergies. This makes Bennie the first puppet to officially try to kill me by suffocation.

I am excited to have this body pattern stashed away with my sewing stuff because this is overall a very general body shape. Making small changes to the ear, tail and fur could turn this guy into any number of critters. I’ve already had a thought that this body might make a good wolf, or maybe even a super chubby dragon puppet. Thoughts for later in my ever growing to-do list I suppose.

So this is puppet 2/3, and he is by far the most cuddly.

Starchip13