Friday, November 18, 2011

Kea - the remake

As you may know, I often repeat animals. Bats and axolotls are frequently revisited species here at Cretur Fetur. But I've remade other things, like the hoatzin. I intend to make some awesome hyenas soon, too. Before them, though, I remade another bird.

Weighing in at about two pounds, it's the clever little New Zealand parrot, the clown of the mountains, the terror of sheep livers, the kea!

New and improved Nestor notabilis!
There's many things I did differently here. First, the embroidery. That was an adventure! I've never embroidered anything before, and I think sadly in some places it kinda shows.

Well, it's not too bad.
Second, the feet. I seem to have discovered the Terrible Secret of Bird Feet. I'm positively thrilled by the results!


Third, proportions. I seem to have a better grasp on that nowadays.


In summary, remakes are not always a bad idea. And it's always good to remember where you started and keep experimenting!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The happy versatility of spherecreturs

For a while back in my youth (i.e. about two years ago) I made little spherepigs. They were clumsy beginner things, cute but not really the most impressive shows of craftsmanship.

Musclepig, unloved for all his lifetime, now a permanent resident of the Cretur Box.
Apricot pig. ... That's all there is to say, really.
So I tried to make them more interesting. First there was a holiday-themed one that ended up being given away at a craft fair. I don't know who got it, or even if anyone ever did; for all I know it floats in the ether and makes woeful little snorting sounds at midnight on Halloween:

Pumpkin pig. Getting better.
Then one ended up pink for some reason, so I decided to take it all the way and experiment with adding appendages:

My favorite part is the little swirly dollop of hair

After the moderate success of the flying pink pig, there were no more pigs for a long time. I didn't want to repeat the pink one and cash in on cuteness; instead, I wanted to start a deal where anyone would be able to make up their own completely custom spherepig. But no one seemed interested in the idea. After a lot of awkward marketing, someone finally took me up on the offer, and I was so happy to make this:
Sort of the evil twin of the pink one

But then it never happened again.

In fact, after that, several aspects of life converged to make a big mess and there were no creturs at all for a while. I lost practice and inspiration, and despite how much I love what I do, I couldn't bring myself to start a good respectable sculpture.

One day, sitting in front of the computer and a bottle of beer, I forced myself to do a warmup exercise. This is what happened:

Ninja Turtles make everything better. Revived by the triumph of my decapitated 80's nostalgia trophy, I rediscovered COURAGE and HONOR and PIZZA and I started poking wool constantly again.

And so, all spherecreturs since have been a lot more interesting and I am actually proud of them. THANK YOU, LEONARDO.

This one, which you may remember from a previous post, is based on a doodle by Stevan Zivadinovic and was given to Phil Barbato as a Christmas present:

Another one where my favorite part is the hair. Little nub-hair!

Then I made two more pigs, very quickly, to contribute to a team challenge from the Plush Team:

I seem to have gotten better at eyes, at least.

The last two were both made last month, were both commissions, and have not been posted here before. They also both like long walks on the beach and mimosas, probably.

The first is a ladybug, pretty straightforward, first cretur where I've dared to use bare pipe cleaners as limbs:

Ladybug, or ladybird, or lady beetle (Coccinella magnifica)

And the second is a wintertime quail, poofing up to keep warm:

California quail (Callipepla californica)

I don't know what the lesson is in all of this but I am sure there is one.

Anyway, I never liked pigs. I know, I know, pigs are cool, pigs are smart, pigs can eat anything, pigs have 6-hour-long orgasms, etc. For a person who has been keenly interested in animals her whole life, I am sure it is pretty weird that I don't like pigs, but listen: they are so smart and so fleshy that they just make me think of gross people. It's an uncanny valley sort of feeling. Did I start making spherepigs as a subconscious way to cope with my strong dislike of pigs? Probably not, or if I did it certainly didn't work. But at least it yielded a lot of experiments and learning opportunities, and looking at the whole history of spherecreturs makes me feel like, at least, I'm advancing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tamandua, or lesser anteater

There are two species in the anteater genus Tamandua: the Northern Tamandua, which lives in the jungles of Mexico and usually has a well-defined "vest", and the Southern Tamandua, whose vest is a bit blurrier around the edges. There are also some differences in skull shape and gestation periods, but since both species have a lot of individual color variation, it's really difficult to tell the difference between them just by looking, even if you have a specimen of each side by side.

Having said all of that, when I made this one I had the Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) in mind. But if it makes any difference to you, you can imagine that it's a Northern (Tamandua mexicana).

Tamandua tetradactyla
More photos: