Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Props for Dr. Sketchy Brighton

For several weeks now I've had this idea bouncing around my noggin of making actual toadstools (amanita muscaria) for November's Dr. Sketchy Brighton. I finally came up with the theme "The Dark Forest" just so they would make sense! Chicken or egg? Dark forest or toadstool? Who cares. I actually did it!

It all came together when I was walking Poppy in the Ashdown Forest early last week and found two freshly cut wood rounds.

After drying them up against the radiator for several days, and giving the bark a good filing and dusting off, I was able to start. As with most things I create, I like to use materials I have at hand, so I'm pleased to say that these cost less than a fiver a piece to make. And they're sturdy little buggers too!

I have a "secret" place where I've been collecting scrap wood for a few years now, and it's on one of the busiest streets in the North Laines of Brighton. When I'm in town, I always have a little stroll past North Road Timber and pick up as many free offcuts as I can carry. They stack them neatly outside for little magpies to carry off. So, the tops, bases and "stems" were all free! A trip to the 99p Store yielded metal bowls, pillows and rockin' green mop heads that became the "moss."

I started looping on finding red upholstery vinyl for the mushroom tops – no, seriously LOOPing – and spent many hours trying to find the best price on ebay and everywhere else online. Can I just say how expensive two meters of red upholstery vinyl is once you add postage? Yikes. Then it occurred to me that I was going to have to address the quintessential white spots of the toadstool. To sew or not to sew? To loop on white upholstery vinyl, or not to loop on white upholstery vinyl?

CANVAS!! FABRIC PAINT! I had both. And now it became a matter of working out how to design and sew it to make it work. (Did I mention I've never made anything like this before?)

Painting on canvas (heat-fixed paint) gave me exactly the effect I was after. And sewing it was a breeze. I'm pretty sure I would have made an expensive mess of the vinyl.

The other key was to think everything through, ensuring that it was all done in the right order. What to paint when, what to screw to what . . .

And then came the stuffing. Good lord, one little toadstool needs a lot of innards! The 99p pillow was only the start. But I will say that two of these guys did a great job of getting rid of all those paint covered t-shirts, old socks and a few other odds and ends . . .

And believe it or not, they're actually quite comfortable! Be sure to come to Dr. Sketchy Brighton's event on Sunday, November 28, 2010 (3-6pm) to see them in action. They'll give our fabulous models somewhere comfy to sit . . . in The Dark Forest.

and here they are in action at Dr. Sketchy Brighton!


Anonymous said...

These are amazing. You are so creative. Someday, I would love to have you do a portrait of me for an album cover. That would be cool!

ramey holsman said...

Thanks Paul. Love to do your portrait! x

Melanie said...

Holy freakin' CRAP, Ramey!!!! Those are tooo adorable for words! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEM!!!!!!

G Blechman said...

1) I've been paging through your blog and it's super impressive and creative. Definately not something I could do.
2)I am starting up a networking community for writers, readers, and supporters of the LGBT community called Everything LGBT. We will be discussing LGBT novels, movies, music, rights/issues, current events, etc. I would love it if you would joing and share the link with whomever you can. Thanks.


<3 Gina Blechman

P.S. Tipping the Velvet let me to your blog