Tag Archives: insect sculpture

West Berlin mantis party redux, five years later!

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020My UV resin experiments just continue to get wilder.

I made this mantis using a green floral wire armature, then layers of green and yellow filament from my 3D printer pen.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne ForbesThe 3D printer pen filament helped to bulk out and define the structure, while still letting light through.

I like using the pen because it is fast and dirty construction, which suits my essential nature. I also used a piece of pretty green metallic foil I had saved from a package or something to fill out the mantis’s butt.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes 2Then I started wiring thousands of green glass beads all over it.

I strung the beads, crystals and pearls on fine gauge colored craft wire that I looped in and out of the wire armature.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes About halfway into the beading I started stabilizing the bead strands with blobs of green-tinted UV resin!

This was during the very intense August heat wave in Berlin, so I was hanging out in the library with my husband in the air-conditioning. I used both the sunlight coming in the window and my high-powered nail artist’s uv lamp to cure the resin.

3d printer pen and UV resin Mantis Work in Progress by Suzanne Forbes I needed more sunlight to make the drips, though!

Because UV resin cures almost instantly in sunlight, I could sit out on our balcony dripping and dropping blobs of resin all over the armature, creating transparent structure and threads of color. It was very hot, but I figure it was good to get the vitamin D in.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020I made the wings using florists wire and some green glitter tulle I got five years ago.

The first summer we were here, I had very limited art materials. I had a sketchbook, pencils and pens, and the embroidery materials and fabric that Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Eva Galperin bought me at the craft store at the mall at Stadtmitte.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis and alien venus flytrap by Suzanne Forbes sept 30 2020Of course, I keep every scrap of everything.

(See making of the Giant Alien Venus Flytrap, seen above, here!) So I had green tulle left over from when I made the jewelled mantis that summer of 2015, and I used it to cover the floral wire wing shapes, attaching it with UV resin.

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes face sept 30 2020I attached the wings and antenna with UV resin, because it is an amazing adhesive.

It is faster than superglue/CA in direct sunlight, and you can use an instantly hardening bolus of it as a base to hold something steady. In the mantis post from 2015 I talk a lot about my lifelong obsession with transparent mediums, and my frustration with the ones available. Which is funny because I have now found a transparent material I really love working with at last!

UV resin and 3d printer pen mantis by Suzanne Forbes 1 sept 30 2020Finishing this mantis on the balcony today, I could really feel the difference in the sun.

Autumn is here and Winter is coming,

So the resin drip art will be ending til next year. We don’t get enough sunlight to make Vitamin D or cure UV resin in the winters here! That’s ok, I have plenty of other weird insect art projects in the pipeline 🙂

The other articulated mantis sculpture is here.

Crazy 10am Mantis-Kitty Party in West Berlin!

I finally finished the jeweled mantis. Whew!

I am most delighted. Here you can also preview the drowningly deep teal, the color of Homer’s wine-dark sea, that I have painted the atelier. The room is so big it echoes.

Mantis sculptures by Suzanne Forbes 2015To the left of the jeweled mantis is another mantis, an experiment that failed. The thing I love most about the jeweled mantis is that you can see the scribbly wire armature through the gauzy layers of organza, paper and thread. So…

I have a long-standing obsession with translucent/transparent resins and plastics and I thought maybe I could do something similar with Translucent Fimo.

I made another armature of green florist’s wire and covered it with translucent FImo, as in actually the brand Fimo. In Germany you can get one or two brands or something, not fifty, and of course Fimo is a German company.

In the US I had used translucent Sculpey, which I’d had good results from. (This pin on my Sculpting Tips board explains all the different translucent clays amazingly.) I put the mantis in the toaster oven, since we haven’t had money to get our oven hooked up yet.

Probably it was ill-advised to put painted wire in the toaster oven, but I put liquid LSD in my eyeballs when I was fourteen, so I’m a little cavalier about toxins.

Mantis by Suzanne Forbes 2015Sadly, the Fimo developed “plaques”, just as predicted on the wonderful Blue Bottle Tree. I went to the art store (two minutes’ walk to the U, a two-minute one-stop ride, there’s an entrance to Idee in the U-Bahn station) and bought some translucent green Fimo, and put a coat over the white.

Upon rebaking, it was clear I wasn’t going to get the result I wanted. Which is ok! Because I have another project that requires a posable mantis with a wire armature, a gold mantis, so I’ll just paint that little lady once I finish the sculpt.

Meanwhile, this shot in our kitchen kinda shows the jeweled mantis’ terrifying eyes, which have a luminous focal point that moves with your gaze.

This is because of a subsurface specularity in the beads I used. I learned about subsurface specularity and scattering when I worked in digital effects, and it’s remained an important concept to me when talking about painting human skin. It’s sort of related to my translucency obsession with materials.

In the last picture you can see Viviane is so over this mantis shit and has tipped out to Berghain to dance to techno.

I hope you like my creepy things!