17 May 2011
It definitely feels like the right time to revisit these six characters, which were commissioned by a professional poker player for his team, The Glenfiddich Gang! It all started with the Mole in the centre of the shot - the poker player's nickname is The Mole, and when he saw the Moles listed in my Folksy shop, he asked if I could make a Mole Card Protector.
A card protector (and I had to look this up) is like a paperweight which sits on top of discarded cards during a game, so they are not accidentally brought back into play. So these card protectors needed to be a bit heavier than polymer clay normally is. Solution? Put something heavy inside! I ended up using these large nuts that I found in my local hardware store (yes, they do still exist - and yes, I could buy these individually!) Each nut is 2cm wide and weighs about 20g. Perfect!
The Mole told me the characteristics of each of his team mates, and I came up with designs for each of them. I also had some miniature green bottles to which I stuck tiny JPG images of the Glenfiddich label (I even coloured in the cut edges of the paper black - attention to detail is indeed my middle name!)
So first up was the Mole. I put scrap clay in the middle of two nuts, laid the first one flat, and balanced the second one on its edge. I added more scrap clay to build up the mole shape, and then added thin slices from a mole fur cane. Blending the slices was a little harder than usual because the mole shape was fixed because of the nuts. For the glasses, I shaped these using black wire which I then dipped in fantasy film.
The Grumpy Wasp was next - this was more of a challenge, but I enjoyed it! I started with the abdomen first which I shaped from yellow clay, and then added black stripes, shaped to create the impression of segments. I used plain black clay for the thorax, and to this I attached the legs and wings. I encased wire with black clay for the legs, and the wings I dipped in clear fantasy film. It took a little while to work out the best design for the head, but I focused on the most important part - the eyes - and built up the facial structure to create a cross expression. The antennae are flower stamen with the white stem coloured in black. I'm not sure wasps will be appearing in the Quernus range any time soon, but I certainly enjoyed the challenge!
I was back on safer ground with the Squirrel, and the main challenge with him was getting the size right, because he was much larger than any of the other Squirrels I've made before.
I have to say that I'm very fond of the Turtle! It's all in the expression - he definitely looks like he's been partaking of the amber nectar already!
One of the team mates is a great Family Guy fan, and apparently also looks a bit like Peter Griffin. I had a great deal with fun with Brian - it's always a wonderful challenge to create a three dimensional representation of a two dimensional illustration. The last time I did that was when I created Turtle, and the trick is to bring the character to life in your mind, so you can then see what he looks like from every angle.
Last up was the Wide-Mouthed Sheep. I left him till last because I couldn't see clearly in my own mind for a while how he would look (and I have to be able to 'see' the design before I can make it). When it came down to it, and as so often happens, the clay suggested what his smile would look like, and he came together really quickly after that. This is a very cheesy grin - I love it!
To give you an idea of scale, the miniature bottles are 4cm tall, so you can tell that these creatures were quite a bit larger than my usual ones, and at least twice the weight because of the embedded nuts. And I understand that the team were quite delighted with them - you never know, these wee guys might appear on Poker.tv one of these days!