Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Chairman's Meow

In the category of "other things"....

That would be a seven foot tall cat sculpture.
It's for the photo op area in the main lobby at Norwescon 39, and it's called, "The Chairman's Meow".  Our convention chairman, Kathy, thought it would be nice to honor our Writer Guest of Honor with a huge cat sculpture, since cats feature in many of her books, and I was dumb enough to say, "I could probably make that."

There is *way* better info on how to do awesome paper mache at the  Ultimate Paper Mache website  - that's where I got all my info, and I totally should have watched her cat tutorial one more time before I jumped into the head on mine.  But either way, here's a quickie photo montage of how the cat came together.

First step, actually, was to mount a piece of galvanized pipe to a plumbing flange on a piece of plywood.  Then, we ordered a couple of new desks at work, and they came packed in these nice, large, pieces of styrofoam.  I found a photo of a cat online, and gridded it up, and came up with this:

I know, stunning, right?  If only it wasn't so.... two dimensional.

I buy masking tape in the Contractor's Pack!

Once it was mostly the shape I wanted, I covered the whole thing with blue paper shop towels and wallpaper paste.  I have celiac disease, and don't want to have wheat flour in my house - so I bought a big jug of the pre-made stuff.

Then I made a batch of the air-dry paper clay (toilet paper, joint compound, elmer's glue, cornstarch, linseed oil) and started sculpting the face.  This is where I learned that I really should have watched that cat tutorial again, because I really just wasn't getting it.  On the other hand, it ended up looking cat-like, so good enough.

Next, some trials with texture.  I wanted the ears and head to be less furry, so I went with toilet paper, joint compound, and glue. 

Then back to the blue shop towels for the lower, furrier parts.

Once the head was mostly done, it could go up on it's base - a 2 foot tall box. 

The fur texture was done by first painting on a layer of joint compound mixed with Elmer's glue (half and half).  Then, a diagonally torn towel was painted on one side with the mixture.  The wet side was applied to the cat, and the towel scrunched up until it looked like fur.  Then more of the joint compound/glue mixture was painted over the top.

Once it was all covered, it went up to the garage for a coat of paint.  Two coats, actually.  A first coat with a slightly more textured spray paint, followed by fourteen cans of "Caribbean Sand" colored stone texture paint. 

On the Tuesday before the convention, the fantastic transportation team stopped at the house and loaded it up. 

They took very nice care of the cat, and it was enjoyed by many in the main lobby of the convention.

And now, it lives somewhere in or near the Tri-Cities.  Because it wasn't coming home with me.