I started this little Alien Carnivorous plant cutie using an aluminium loaf pan and FIMO. I had a lot of old green FIMO lying around, brought here in the shipping container, and I wanted to use it up. I cut the loaf pan in half, and shaped it into two cupped buds. I attempted to cover it with FIMO. I knew the translucent properties of polymer clay would give a great leaf surface.
But using polymer clay hurts my hands, especially when it’s old. And although I love how it looks, I hate the way polymer clay feels and smells. So I baked the partly covered leaf cups and abandoned the project. For four years.
But as I have said before, for artists the long game is often the only game in town.
This January, after using and enjoying air-dry clay for small Audreys, I decided to cover the leaf cups with that.
I wound up trying a kind of mixed materials approach, where I covered the old polymer clay with the air dry clay and let it cure for a couple days, then used Apoxie Sculpt to reinforce and fill cracks. Air dry clay is prone to cracking in thicker applications and areas where a lot of water is used to smooth. It’s physically easier to smooth than Apoxie Sculpt though, which nice on my hands, which are already showing signs of arthritis according to our hand und knie spezialist.
Working back and forth with layers of air-dry and then layers of epoxy clay turned out well!
Of course I had to wait for each layer to cure, but since I was also working on the head of Fly Dolly (post coming soon!) with the same two materials, I could work on both and leave them to cure. You can see Fly Dolly’s head being test-fitted above.
I always have a terrible idea. I wondered if using my Mr Surfacer500, the Japanese model primer that created a disaster the last time I tried to use it, might help me get a smooth surface on the pods. HA HA HA NOOOO! Not only is it goopy, gloppy stuff, the solvent in the mostly empty jar had evaporated off enough to make it even thicker! But I tried it anyway! It was… a disaster!
I wiped off what goopy globs I could, used the goopiest part to thicken the veins, and sanded off the parts that looked terrible.
The whole point of bricolage is to try things. It’s fine.
Once I had sanded down the mess, used some more air-dry clay for a final smoothing, sanded the whole fucking thing some more, and primed it with plain white primer, it was ready to paint!
First, I put five isolation coats of Mod Podge thinned with water on it.
I had tried googling “Can you thin Mod Podge with water?” on several occasions, because unthinned Mod Podge shows brush marks and does not self-level. However, google results for “thinning Mod Podge with water” only got me a bunch of Mod Podge loyalists decrying the practise of using thinned white glue as a substitute for Mod Podge.
You can thin Mod Podge with water to the liquidity of heavy cream, and use it to brush on smooth coats. Using Mod Podge Matte, I even got a lovely smooth plastic quality that was exactly what I wanted. It took a while, but the thinned Mod Podge dried faster, and I really like the results. Then I painted over the MP with artists acrylic, the Windsor-Newton Galeria I always use, also thinned a bit. Then, I tried another new thing – colored glue gun glue! I used red glue glue to make the leaf veins even more prominent, and also translucent. It worked great!
I did a wash of contrast colors over the whole thing, with some drybrushing and some wiping down, then sealed it all with two more coats of Matte Mod Podge thinned with water. It looked wonderfully plasticky, perfect since it would be surrounded by plastic plants! I also coated the tongue with UV resin and made a dangling saliva drop with it. Extra glossy and creepy!
Incredibly, while I was working on it, Cory Doctorow tweeted about Swamp Thing action figures from 1990, which I did not know about. So I had to check eBay, and I totally want the Transducer with Mutated Insect! Anyway, once the last coat had cured, I drilled holes through the sides of the “jaws” and wired the whole thing together with green floral wire to make a thick stem (4 o’clock in the picture above).
It worked great, so I decided to go that way again! I went out to the balcony, grabbed this huge planter that was out there when we moved in, dumped the cigarette butts out of it, dusted it off, and packed it with foil. I also used some plastic trash from our recycling bag to add volume and structure that would support the Audrey 2, which is pretty heavy!
I glued the whole thing together with glue gun glue and wire, including green glue gun glue (say that five times fast!) at the end where it could be seen (it looks great!) and took it out to the balcony and put it on the plant stand.
It’s a good luck charm, a place holder towards the days when we’ll be able to have parties again. Some poor innocent will go out to the balcony to smoke, and will look over and say, “You finally got a plant for out herRRRR AUUGGHH!!!”
I live for moments like that, as you know.
The finale (well, before this one!)