How do you build these things?
Once I find the shape and decide what the form the object will take on, I have a few different methods of construction. Bad Mouth (shown on left) required a wire frame, which begins with the bending of a thick gauge wire to form the outside shape. Next, I use thinner wires to build up the relief, which connect one side of the shape to the other, eventually creating a wire grid. I then cut and bend chicken wire to cover the grid and, at that point, I attach a wire on the back for hanging. The sculpted chicken wire adds strength and gives me control over the exact relief, and also serves as a good base for the next step. I then use several layers of glue-dipped paper, or sometimes glue-dipped fabric, to cover the front of the wire structure. This hardens the piece and gives a good foundation for laying down fabric or gluing on a cast object. For Bad Mouth, after sealing the paper mache with an acrylic medium, I glued/stretched store-bought faux fur fabric to the object. Finally, came the time to use paint. I used several layers of acrylic paint, thinned with water and matte medium, which helps the fabric to absorb the paint. I scumbled with large brushes, and depending on the direction of the stroke, the fabric with be flat and smooth or will stick up, resembling a cowlick. For larger pieces, my final step is to fill the inside with pourable expanding foam for added strength and durability.
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