Biggles the Destroyer

Portrait of a noble and distinguished pupper: Biggles the Destroyer. This photograph was an absolute delight to work from.
India ink with a dip-pen over a pencil sketch on bristol board, then coloured using Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolours, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Deep Sea Mermaid Costume

A ‘Deep Sea Mermaid’ costume for a 20,000 leagues under the sea party. Hand-made high waisted fishtail dress with petticoats and glowing lateral lines and frills around the ‘tail’, head-dress with spines from behind ear and top of head, with glowing anglerfish style lure. Not pictured: a glowing jellyfish companion (umbrella). Much to my chagrin, we didn’t get photos of that, which is a pity as moved, flowed and pulsed beautifully, and really made the outfit.

‘Making Tuesdays’ Crocodile

A common lament amongst other creative people I know is struggling to find time and to feel it’s ‘OK’ to work on your personal projects – it always feels like some other obligation takes precedence over doing that thing you’re passionate about – including socialising. I instituted ‘Making Tuesdays’ to combat this – a weekly open house for friends to come together and socialise at the same time as working on personal projects or collaborations, and get help, be it trouble-shooting, an extra pair of hands or just someone to say ‘that is cool’.

Over the year+ it ran for, we made custom dressmakers dummies, printed t-shirts, built kites, wrote stories, made papier-mache sailing ships, painted miniatures, sculpted tiny silly clay creatures, worked on a CNC router, cooked fantastic dinners and consumed a lot of home-made cookies.

Inspired by this ‘Get Excited and Make Things’ poster, I designed this happy dancing crocodile to be our mascot and carry the sentiment. I’ve printed it on tshirts, laser-cut it into a plaque for my door, and it’s made a nifty wallpaper too.

Nameless Red Fluffmonster

To be named by its recipient, a blank-faced red fleece-and-felt fluffmonster with big ears, horns, wings, and a magnificent mane galore.

Perhaps my biggest monster to date, it stands about 18″ high, with stuffing beads weighting the bottom, a satin belly, and makes a perfect armful for cuddling.

Synthetic fleece, satin, felt, pipe-cleaners, sheep’s fleece, stuffing fluff, stuffing beads,

Shoulder puppet – Beauregard

For some reason, the idea of a pirate with a pet sea slug seemed dreadfully amusing. Of course it would perch as a parrot might, be brightly coloured, and wave vaguely around in response to passers-by.

This translucent and delightfully frilly nudibranch has trembling antennae and can rear its body up from the wearer’s shoulder – see the video.

Starting with a length of aquarium tubing, I hammered half-toothpicks halfway through the tube to anchor thermoplastic vertibrae. These brace the articulating wire cable, so that it can pass from the head, down the length of the body, and rejoin the base tube at the tail end, which carries it down to a discrete handle. Sandwiching foam sheets around the tube made a base for the body, floaty gauze fabric fleshed it out, and guitar-string wires make satisfyingly twangy antennae.

The whole thing can be mounted on the shoulder with a thermoplastic bracket over or under clothes, and the handle’s surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

I love thermoplastic.

Ram’s horns

I hope to find the making-of photos for these some day (and confirm creation date), but this is a lightweight pair of ridged, textured ram’s-style horns, mounted on a broad headband. Suitable for costumes including demons, tieflings, aliens, monsters, sheep (presumably), puck, satyrs, and Tim the Enchanter.

These started life as a cardboard box (or three), which was cut (with scissors) into 2 sets of 45 circles, each 0.5mm different in radius. Then I used the pair of compasses (spikes both ends) to pierce the centre and an extra hole, and created similarly pierced small squares to act as spacers.

Each of these sets was then threaded onto a doubled-over piece of wire, starting with the smallest and with cardboard spacers between. Once I was happy with the conical structure produced, I twisted them into matching spirals, attached them to big bits of card, and set to work with plaster-of-paris impregnated fabric – mod rock, I think it’s called? This stretched nicely over the splayed ridges of the cardboard (although the excess water did imperil the structural integrity of the ridges), and smooshed down into the grooves. Once two layers of that had set hard, I added another layer of plaster to conceal the fabric texture. Some tea to dull the brilliance, twisting the wire into the latticework of a broad plastic hair-band, and I had a truly epic pair of horns to wear around the place.

It’s surprisingly easy to style my hair to conceal the band, and they look very solidly rooted.

I’ve been using these at least a couple of times a year since I made them, and they’re comfortable and light enough to wear all night, although people will want a go with them :P They’ve borne up pretty well, but the plaster is flaking and the headband starting go give up.

Photo is a hungover ‘steampunk alien’ me, with ‘space nazi’ Scary.