Faerie Skin, Part One

I started this step of my polymer clay faerie project with the armature done.  The next step pf the project was to cover the foil and wire with previously conditioned and mixed flesh-tone clay.  A human female figure kneeling with skin-colored clay from the neck down and wings coming from her back.  Her neck is a piece of wire and her head is a ball of aluminum foil.I got the flesh colored skin on the armature from the neck down before I had to stop the project for a while.  My next step will be to create the head and face or to create the detail of the skin such as the hands and feet and elbows.  Once both of those are done I’ll be able to bake the figure and create her dress and jewelry before I start working on the rest of the scene.  I have her on the small pie tray because it will be what I bake her on in my small oven.  Since she is now mostly covered in clay, it will be easier to leave her on one surface to work with than to keep moving her around, possibly smudging details as I go.

Putting Armature On My Faerie

Last night I started with the wire frame of my faerie finished and my polymer clay for the skin conditioned.A pieces of wire wrapped around a metal jig to form the outline of a wing  The next part of the project was to create the wings.  I could have put the armature on before doing the wings but I planned to make the armature out of aluminum foil.  Wrapping the wing wires around loose aluminum didn’t sound too easy so I created the wire frames for the wings before adding the aluminum foil.  I created my wings on a Wig Jig out of 20 gauge wire.  I wrapped the wire around the first peg a few times to hold it in place and get some extra wire on that side.  I wrapped the end piece around the first peg once and left a long piece hanging before I cut the wire.  The I took the wire off the jig and unraveled the starting piece as well as the ending piece, then put my pliers where the first peg would have been on each side and twisted the two ends together a few times.  That way the two ends stayed together, there are long enough pieces to attach the wings to the skeleton, and the wings will stand out some from the skeleton so the wings will look like they are coming from her back, not her spine.

The silver wire skeleton of the faerie now complete with wings laying on a white surface.The next step was to add the two wing parts to the skeleton.  First I took the long ends on each piece and twisted them together twice.  That way they would stay together if bent instead of leaving dents in the clay if the wings were attached straight to the spine and not each other.  Finally I wrapped each wire to the body a little below the shoulders.  It may look more majestic to have the huge wings coming from between the shoulder blades but I have a small oven so I thought it best to have the wings end not too much higher than the head.  I attached two strands of the wire (one from each wing) to the spine above the wings and the other ends I twisted around the spine below the wings.  Hopefully if the wings are evenly anchored, they won’t droop or bend up but stand straight like real wings might.

The last part of the project for today was adding the aluminum foil to create what I had called the armature.  I did some research and found out that the armature in art is the skeleton.  Things like wire or paper is used in professional art in order to stabilize the sculpture while being created and is often removed before curing since they would burn in a kiln.  In polymer clay, the oven that pieces get cured in does not get hot enough to explode the metal wire or melt aluminum foil so the armature usually stays in when cured and after.  Many polymer clay artists add aluminum foil to their skeletons to add stability and reduce the amount of clay used, which reduces the weight of the finished project.A wire skeleton, with wings, wrapped from waist to shoulders in aluminum foil with a foil ball for a head.

I added the aluminum foil to my wire skeleton in layers, one piece wrapping around the top of the wing pieces and another wrapping underneath the wing pieces to create the waist and hips.  I then rolled a ball of foil for the head and stuck it in place.  The next step will be to cover the armature with flesh colored clay and create the face.

Starting My Faerie

A white faerie in black clothes with clear dark blue wings and long black hair reaches for a skull in a rippling pond.

Immortal Flight by Anne Stokes

Wow, it has been so long since I added anything here.  In my defense, I moved in May and, um, procrastinated the rest of the time.  I’m finally settled for the summer (I go to college in the fall so I’ll move at least once this year and I’ll travel some more this summer).  Last weekend I went to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and decided it was time to start a project I had put off, a faerie based off an art tile I had picked up by Anne Stokes.

I plan to reproduce much of this image in polymer clay with a wire armature.   Below are some of the colors I will use to make the sculpture.

A few different colors of FIMO polymer clay, most of them still in their wrapping

Since that picture I have picked up a few skin tone squares to make her very pale skin and I’m still deciding how I will do her eyes, which are half closed in the tile.  In case you’re wondering why I am writing “faerie” instead of “fairy”, it is intentional.  When I think of “fairy” I think of the cutsy, small Tinkerbell version of fairies that children are taught of but “faeries” are the newer, more adult version of nearly human creatures, often with some sort of wing, that are not so bright, pure, and innocent.  Faeries have lived a long time and seen Mother Nature angry, sad, and happy.  They live beside dragons, elves, dwarfs, trolls, witches, werewolves, and ancient gods like Hera and demigods like Perseus.  These creatures protect the planet and forests, helping grow crops and sometimes helping Mother Nature in her devastation.   Faeries are not light and innocent, but many shades of gray and darker colors, in this case dark blues and purples.  I want to be able to sculpt these creatures, and all that inhabit the world of myth, in a way to show the beauty of that world.  However, I’m not that good at drawing or seeing the creatures in my head yet so I will use this tile as my guide to practice on and see what all will go into one figure and the scene around it.  If needed I have two other art tiles of Anne Stokes to recreate.

First things first though.  Now I have all the clay I think I’ll need, my oven nearby for when I finish, and a few decorations for the final scene.  Time to start the creating process.  Looking at the faerie, I assume she is sitting on her feet under her dress as she reaches for the skull.  That tells me that her legs and feet will be under skirt and aren’t as important as the rest of the skin will be.  With that in mind, I make the wire frame for the armature:A few pieces of wire bent to resemble a line drawing of a person sitting on their feet

I realize it doesn’t look like a lot at this point.  I’ve been told the legs should be longer and the wire for the neck is probably too long but the head wire can be cut and extra clay can be added to make the legs longer.  At least it looks like a human.  My next step is to add wings and aluminum foil to complete the armature so I can put clay on it.  (Don’t worry, I’ll explain the armature next time when I complete mine.)

So for now: Have a nice day and enjoy crafting!