Monday, 5 May 2014

A base for the mermaid

I meant to get this post up sooner, but my parents decided to visit and we all know how that goes:  "Aaargh!  The floor needs vacuuming!  My fridge is a biohazard!  The toilet needs cleaning!  The bathtub has a ring around it!"   If you've ever seen the Footrot Flats movie, picture the scene* where Wal is frantically tidying up before his Aunt Dolly arrives, and you have a good idea of how I spent my weekend.



The Feejee mermaid, sitting on its nice new base.


Anyway, let's talk sculpture bases.  I don't know why it is, but here in New Zealand I find it almost impossible to get hold of bases to mount my sculpture on.  In fact I even have trouble getting suitable substitutes like lamp stands or doll stands.  But that's okay.  Orson Welles once said "the enemy of art is the absence of limitations".

Last time I mounted a sculpture on a base I used the bottom of a dismembered candlestick.  This time I'll be exploring the almost unlimited possibilities of cardboard, faux suede, and paint.





The base for my Feejee mermaid project is covered in decorative mosaic tiles.  I've simply taken a piece of cardboard and given it an iridescent coating in green and blue tones, then cut it into tiles that are 10 millimeters square, give or take the odd millimeter.  I found that lining them all up on 10 millimeter graph paper helped to keep them in line when I wrapped them around the base, which is simply a cylinder made of cardboard.  The cylinder is slightly raised in the middle, and the raised part is covered in fake suede.

Fake suede is a good material for covering a base because it doesn't fray too much, and it's thick enough that the glue doesn't tend to seep through and make marks.  Cut it on the bias and stick it down carefully, and you can persuade it to bend around almost any corner.  Felt or leather would also be good choices.

I've decorated the tiles with letters of the alphabet because I have a soft spot for using letters as decorative elements.  Also, since I'm making my own base, I might as well sign it.

Add a couple of wire posts to hold the sculpture in place, and we're done.  Next time, I'll put up some more pictures of the mermaid on its base, and a puzzle for you to have some fun with.



*The only clip of this scene I could find on YouTube is dubbed into German, but if you don't speak German you'll still get the gist of it.