Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A handful of nuts.

Narrator: On the twenty-third day of the month of September, in an early year of a decade not too long before our own, the human race suddenly encountered a deadly threat to its very existence. And this terrifying enemy surfaced, as such enemies often do, in the seemingly most innocent and unlikely of places...
Every project has to start somewhere, that little kernel of an idea, the seed or nut from which all things grow.  In my case it was, very literally, a nut, the humble walnut to be precise.  Before I go any further I need to acknowledge the work of someone I know only as Ssendam.  It was Ssendam's work that I stumbled across on the ‘Lead Adventure Forum’ and without that inspiration ‘Audrey II’ would not have been conceived.  Ssendam had used a walnut to form the head of his carnivorous plant and this, simple yet wonderfully effective idea, was what convinced me that I could actually achieve my goals – thank you Ssendam.
 With nuts in hand*, I got off to a truly nightmarish start, worried as I was about losing fingers whist battling to get inside the iron hard nut.  Finally in, and with the interior now cleaned out, I pondered my next move.  I had become fixated on a small plastic flowerpot that I had found and wanted to make it work but reluctantly had to accept that it was just too big.  In the end I cut it down to a more acceptable height, rebuilding the lip with built up strips of cartridge paper.
*Not a phrase that should be repeated out load I have subsequently discovered.
Although not the tiled floor of the flower shop, as seen in the film, the resin flagstones proved a useful base to fix the flowerpot to and so it was time to get cracking with the Milliput, something that I haven’t used before.  After a couple of false starts I started to tame the substance and the roots started to take shape.  Trying to give a sense of the plant’s ability to move, I had some breaking through the pot whilst others were crawling over the lip.
At this point my thoughts turned to leaves and tendrils.  Some paper covered florist’s wire might work for the tendrils with drops of super glue gel to give the effect of the petioles.  These had the added benefit of being flexible and could be bent to different positions.
A good rummage through a bag of discarded silk flowers and leaves** turned up a few likely suspects, but they needed some new stems.  Again reaching for the florist’s wire I needed to make these more secure with the glue gun, which had the added effect of disguising the bare wire – so far so good.
**Never throw anything away!
I started to think about fashioning the stem holding the head to the body by using some electrical cable, the flexibility of the material in turn leading to the possibility of a swivelling head.  In order for this to happen magnets were going to have to be employed!  A 5mm magnet was superglued to the top of the electrical cable.  This was then sited in the flower pot with more Milliput added.  Whilst necessary for the structural integrity of the piece it did rather take away the plant like quality I had previously achieved so out came the green stuff and thin tendril like shapes were rolled out and draped down the neck, hopefully restoring the illusion.
Finally soil, in the form of pumice gel, was added to the top of the pot and a little more around the roots where they had smashed through the terracotta retainer along with a few shards of plastic to represent the broken pot itself.  The final throes of the base build saw the leaves and wire tendrils pushed into the still soft Milliput and that, as they say, was that!

63 comments:

  1. Nice work so far Michael :)

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    1. Thank you Tamsin, more to come soon.

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    1. Thank you Michał, I'm certainly pleased with how it's coming together so far.

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  3. Looks really nice so far Michael! :)
    I am a complete novice when it comes to sculpting so if you don't mind me asking ... what type of Milliput is best for sculpting?

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    1. Thank you. I'm not sure that I am the best person to ask as this is my first attempt with Milliput, but I was surprised at how responsive it was and of course you can file it when dried, which is an added bonus. I used the standard version and I noticed that when I bent the thicker roots, it would start to crack. This might have been because I hadn't mixed it properly or the courser nature of the product. I understand that they do a finer version, which might have negated this issue.

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    2. Thanks Michael for sharing your knowledge!

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  4. Fantastic. It'll certainly look the part of a deadly flora when finished

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    1. Thank you Martin, everything is going surprisingly well at the moment!

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  6. I like what I see.
    I am sure it will be fantastic when finished.

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    1. Thank you Clint, I'm pleased with the progress so far.

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  7. Lookin good so far Michael :)

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  8. That looks very cool Michael!

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    1. Thank you Rodger, just need to sort the mouth out now.

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  9. Already looking the part! Very clever using all the different materials.

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    1. Thank you Brian, so far it hasn't cost me a penny!

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  10. Genius at work. Literally in a state of "wow" right now. Can't wait to see more!

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    1. No stop it, you'll make me blush. ;)

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  11. This is very nice modeling, sir.

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    1. Thank you Jay, phase two is underway.

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  12. Fantastic. Great work. I totally agree with the old adage of never throw anything away.

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    1. Thank you Mark, I just need to persuade the Saintly Mrs. Awdry that this is the way forward. ;)

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  13. This is awesome so far! Looking forward to seeing this finished!

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    1. Thank you Simon, hopefully not too long now.

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  14. Bloody brilliant Michael! It seems to me like your creativity doesn't know any limitations.

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    1. Thank you so much Nick, really enjoying this one. :)

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  15. Coming along very nicely! Can't wait to see the finished product!

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    1. Thank you Gordon, made some more progress so hopefully not too long.

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  16. Tasty tasty dentists....

    Looking very cool so far!

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    1. Thank you Dai, funny you should mention Dentists, I have a cunning idea!

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  17. Lovely stuff a modelling genius at work looking forward to the finished growth🙂

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    1. Thank you Matt, not sure about genius, but certainly pleased with the progress so far.

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  18. You Nutty Professor you! I will now never again look normally at the Walnut tree in my garden with it's thousands of little triffids...

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    1. You have a walnut tree!? that's superb, but wait until you see it with teeth! :D

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  19. Great stuff, re-posted to the FH site by the way.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thank you Roger and thank you re-posting too.

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  20. Shaping up nicely. It won't be long before she's crying "Feed me, Seymour!"

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  21. Simply marvelous Michael! Can't wait to see the finished product!

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    1. Thank you Terry, a little more progress has been made so hopefully another update soon.

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  22. That's stone cold genius. Bravo!

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  23. Very nice work, Michael. As Milliput is my sculpting medium of choice, I can offer some tips. I usually mix half and half of the standard and always have a tin lid with water to hand. Molding with damp fingers makes the putty easier to work with and smoothes out some of the cracking issues, as well as smoothing any fingerprints you may have left on the surface.

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    1. Thank you Jez. I belatedly discovered the water trick towards the end of my session and managed to fix a few issues. Some of the cracks are still there though as I was so pleased with the shape of the roots that I didn't want to risk not being able to replicate them again.

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    1. She is getting a bit demanding now Peter! ;)

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  25. Now, that already looks amazing.
    It's a lot of fun to read all your little observations and see the model grow. It reminds me a lot on how some movie props are made.

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  26. Looking forward to seeing this finished, really clever idea.

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  27. I'm still notbrave enough to tackle sculpting, having chipolatas for fingures doesn't help!
    Good luck with this, it's looking good so far.

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  28. Terrific idea, Michael! Looks great so far! Can't wait to see it finished. Feeeeeeed meeeeee!

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