Is This the Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Made?

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Did you ever make something that’s just totally crazy?”

bug maskThe cicadas making their annual droning chorus that sounds like thousands of tiny chain saws reminded me of the bug mask I made several years ago. It was a fairly big project, so there were quite a few posts in that series.

I don’t know if anyone else ever made one, but if you have, I’d love to see it.

It was a helmet-style mask, and it would have been possible to wear it when I opened the door to Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween – but I didn’t want to give my neighbors’ small children nightmares, so I gave the mask to a friend.

I won’t be making another bug mask anytime soon, but those wings looked really nice. They would be perfect on a sculpture of a fairy.

If you’d like to see the entire process of making the silly bug mask, here are the links:

  1.  Bug-Face Mask – Just Starting
  2.  The Project Continues
  3. The Bug is Getting Bigger
  4. The Cicada Mask is Done

The Lizard Guy Mask I Wish I Hadn’t Ruined…

Magic Sculpt Character over Plaster CothOh well – sometimes our experiments just don’t work out. I can’t even remember what product or technique I used on this fellow to ruin him – but I do remember how disappointing it was.

But I also remember that the combination of plaster cloth and Magic Sculpt works really well. That’s why I was confident that it would work when I made the Rooster. Same products, same methods, but a very different outcome.

The Ballerina Bunny …

Bronzed Paper Mache Bunny
Bronzed Paper Mache Bunny

This was another long project, but one that I’m still really happy with. The Ballerina Bunny now lives with my daughter, Jessie Rasche. Jessie put the bunny to work, greeting visitors when she has a studio tour. I’m always happy when my sculpture find a good job to do. 🙂

  1. Getting started.
  2. Adding the head.
  3. Sculpting the tutu.
  4. Sculpting the eyes.
  5. Adding Paper Mache.
  6. Bronzing the ballerina bunny.

I mentioned the video that shows you how to make one of the flat silhouette-type patterns for the inside of your sculptures. I didn’t use one for the bunny, but you certainly could if you make your own. You can find that video here.

The Project I Most Regret Not Doing Yet – the Painted Faces

I can’t give you a link to something that doesn’t exist (…yet?), but if you’d like to do some portrait sculptures yourself (or maybe make a Santa for this year’s Christmas decorations), you can find the skull-shaped face sculpting form here.

That Other Project I Never Finished – the Paper Mache Dinosaur…

I did start my Therizinosaurus project, but the armature was as far as I got.

Several people commented that they’d love to make one, but I may have discouraged them by not finishing my own dinosaur. I do hope not! If you want to use my pattern and see how I made the armature, you can find it here.

If you went ahead and made one, even though I didn’t finish mine, I hope you’ll show it off on the Daily Sculptors page.

The Chimpanzee …

Chimpanzee SculptureI made two posts for the chimpanzee. I don’t think I owned a video camera yet, and I didn’t show the entire process. However, the first one, that shows how I made the armature for those hands, could be really useful for people sculptures, too.

The restaurant where the chimp went to live was the Home Skillet, in Bellingham, WA. It looks like he was put in with a lot of other critters, and someone, at some time, painted a clown face on him. Oh well – it’s not a good idea to take our art too seriously …

This post just shows you how he looked when he was done. I really wish I’d taken photos or video when I cast the head with the Aqua Resin. But, I didn’t… 🙁

Be sure to visit the Blue Rhino Studio if you’d like to see some amazing life-sized animal sculptures. If you’ve used any kind of resin to cast your sculptures, we’d love to know about it. You can show them off on the Daily Sculptors page. And while you’re there, take a look at how Holly decorated her giraffe with a resin pour.

The Piggy

I had to pick my piggy for the “cutest” one, because he’s been with me so long. He helped me write my book, too – so I owe him one. 🙂

I’d love to know what you’ve made that would go on this list – or think up your own list and tell us about it.

33 thoughts on “Is This the Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Made?”

  1. Hi Jonni and friends! After seeing this I thought of one that I made that I really regret I hope I can show a picture here.
    When you first start or a hobby sometimes you get very enthusiastic and go overboard. So I wanted to make a cat bed and are used one of them laundry basketS that are solid for a mold. I have so many layers it must be a quarter inch thick with Clay too. About 18 x 12 x 7” high. I then painted his face (My cat Jeffy J)on it and I think I did a really great job for the first time painting A life like cat. Long story shorter he laid in it once and then pissed in it. Lucky I had spray enamel on the inside cleaned it off quickly and put it on a high shelf but it takes up so much room don’t know what to do with it I’m thinking about just cutting out the portrait and tossing it out. Huge waste of effort!?

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  2. I love these stories. It’s crazy to even think about this because it has been my life for the past eight/nine years. I could write a novel, but I’ll try and contain myself with the adventures and misadventures. I was surprised the pig was your favorite. The first one I made (from your book), I took up to a neighbor in the country where me and my dog roamed over her property all the time. As I came into her lane, she came out to greet me (I didn’t know her), grabbed the pig and hugged it. I said, “I came to give you a pig but didn’t know if you wanted it. ” She said, “It’s mine already!” I love mine, also one of my favorites. The spots are codes for the dogs I’ve loved. (I have a thousand of these stories.) I have no giraffes, penguins, or koi. They get up and walk out. I have ten projects waiting to be finished. I’m excited now to be working on a griffin. Another of my favorites was a rhino. He was to be a ferocious beast but turned into this beautiful thing that has become best friends with my pig.

    Thank you, Jonni. No retirement! Paper mache has made the biggest difference in my life that I can imagine, all because I wanted to make a piggy bank for a baby.

    Joyce, make that pig. I can’t wait.

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      • I got thinking about after she took the pig, a couple of months later she stopped me. She was driving and I was walking the dogs. She said, “The pig is on my dining room table, and that is where it is going to stay.” A little closure there.

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  3. I’m so glad you made this list! Without, I would not have discovered your lovely chimpazee. I can see why you miss it. It is absolutely a great piece, so sad that it has a clown face now…I am very protective of my sculptures so to me this would be a disaster. I hope you will make a video on how to make a chimpanzee or other ape/monkey some day. I am making one for sure, probably a baby gorilla. It should measure about 30 cm tall (12 inches). Although I might just postpone that project, because another project has come to mind, and I am just too excited to wait… it’s a vintage carousel horse! We’ll use it as the center piece in our decoration for “Saint-Nicholas-day”.

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  4. Thank you so much for a really enjoyable post. My life, 92 years of it , is filled with, “I wish I had, could have done, wish I’d kept” and so on. The one sculpture I wish I had was the elf I gave to a friend. I posted a picture here some time ago. She passed away a couple of years ago and I’m I don’t know where Elf would go. As for projects I would like to do, my head is full of them, but my hands don’t follow. I would really like to make a pig, but after seeing this video, I know I would have to make mine a lot smaller. I think I mentioned that I didn’t have any newspaper to use and I told my son who lives a fair distance from me and hasn’t visited for 5 months because of COVID. and last week he brought me enough newspapers to build a house….maybe a small one! And I love your chimp and can understand your missing him.

    Joyce

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      • Yes, Jonni, that’s the one. I’ve never known the difference between a gnome and an elf so I probably called him an elf because it is easier to spell! Thanks for finding him. I think that was one of the last things I made from polymer clay except for a bunch of little cats. My oven was too unpredictable and this fellow turned out much darker than was intended.

        Joyce

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  5. That was a fun video. Everyone is so glum now, it is nice to see someone being cheerful. The pandemic underscores the value of a hobby in one’s life. I love your ballerina bunny. I have seen one of Degas’ dancer sculptures sooo many times in a local museum. You’ve captured her attitude perfectly. Cheeky. I love your cicada mask, too. I love the sound of cicadas; I listen carefully for them around the fourth of July every year and revel in their serenade. I think they shed their exoskeleton like a snake. The ants would find them boring. I rather admire them when I come across them. Your skull model reminded me a bit of Jason Limon. A bit. You might like his work. I’ll bet he’d like your lizard guy mask. I like it, too. I must admit I follow you and admire your work, but I’ve never taken the plunge into making a sculpture, well I did decades ago, but that was then. One odd thing I made was from cigarettes. We took a vacation in Russia, way back when it was still a communist country. There were few souvenirs to buy, except really fancy, expensive things. I bought a few packages of cigarettes because I liked the graphics. I took all the cigs out of the packages intending to throw them away, but I couldn’t. I made a shadow box out of some kind of wooden food package, fitted with a glass front. I lined the cigs up like soldiers across the bottom, and added a few Soviet enamel pins and some ephemera. I quite like it. No clue where those packages ended up. Sometimes you have to go with your instincts, and not with what would be considered “appropriate.”

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  6. Hi there, it’s lovely to hear from you. My latest project was during our covid 19 lockdown. I promised myself to make a baby giraffe for my new granddaughters room. My granddaughter arrived first though, which gave me a final push to get this done. I was searching for a pattern all-over, couldn’t find one and tried out my own…. inspiration Akila the baby giraffe. However, I ended up with her bigger sister instead. Now doing an almost live size giraffe in ones living room has been a challenge on its own. I had to lay her down to reach the head and sculpture the eyes, Wich was really difficult to do. You only see one side of the face at a time and kinda second guess the position of the other eye. When I hoisteded her back on her feet she kinda looked at me in a weird way like…hey you!! So I had to bring a ladder, climb up and fix those eyes…. I took them off several times and then on again, climbing up and down every time. Then I just had enough and left her be….. She looks different from each side and when standing in front of her, she could have been knocked down on the head and brought from Africa….haha. I kept her this way, not only because she looks funny but also because I thought she doesn’t needed to be like a real one….
    I regret that I was too enthusiastic to finish her without thinking it through thoroughly, especially because she kinda cost me a bit and kept me busy finding material for the fur on her back, tail and ears.
    In the long run I’m proud of my achievement, still can’t believe I pulled it off.
    I’m daring myself to make a white Tiger next but like our friend with the ostrich and the feathers, l dread the mane, paws and the fur….maybe someday.
    My cutest is still my baby elephant without the mouth, standing proud in my living room.
    Would like to upload pictures, but kinda forgot how to resize them.

    Reply
    • I absolutely have to see that giraffe! And with the new system, you don’t have to resize the pictures anymore. (Nobody could remember how, so the new system works a whole lot better.) You can upload photos by clicking on the yellow button on the Daily Sculptors page. Be sure to add your story, too, because a lot more people will see that page than this one, and it’s so much fun to see both the sculpture and the story behind it, all in the same place.

      I can’t wait to see that tiger, too. 🙂

      Reply
  7. I love all your work, each is so unique and I have learned so much. I am currently working on the Giraffe who I have name Geraldine and will post when done. This was the first one I followed a pattern for your instructions are excellent. I never knew cardboard was so versatile. I am making a small enhancement. She will have puffier lips and a tongue sticking out when I am done. This is definitely my most challenging.

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    • Yes, it was weird. But the actual bugs are not at all scary or creepy – just loud. I actually think that a cicada sculpture, perhaps for the wall or a shelf, would be great – but putting one on one’s head is a little strange, at least for someone of a certain age. 🙂

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  8. Has anybody made a Llama yet? I’m kind of in love with them and imagine making one some day myself…..but now I’ve got ostrich feathers stuck in my brain Kennedy! Jonni, I so appreciate your art..and totally understand your “bond” with your Chimpanzee. Did you name him? I want him to come back home to you so you can “disappear” his clown face. Happy making , Diane

    Reply
    • A Llama would be so much fun – that face is priceless. Big eyes, expressive mouth – what a great project idea. I do hope you make one – and when you do, remember to come back and show him off.

      If I did give Mr. Chimp a name, I can’t remember it now. And for some odd reason the idea of giving him a clown face is growing on me. It looks like people are enjoying his company, at least. Some day I’ll make another big ape – maybe a gorilla next time.

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    • I am working on the giraffe actually since March. Just got back yesterday from having a heart value put in so I hope to finish it soon. All that’s left is most of the painting. I had a llama named Finnegan for almost 20 years,, and I thought it might be easy to convert the giraffe to a llama. It would be moving the ears up to the top of head, get rid of the horns, smooth out the area above the eyes and give the mussel a split upper lip. Or if you make a llama pattern, Jonni, I would buy it.
      PaperMache is on my bucket list so the Giraffe is my first project. When I first started following you, you showed a pig you were going to finish and give away. There would be no pattern. What ever happen to that pig. My favorite gotta do project is the baby elephant. I hope I can make it one day. I have enough newspaper. I have you book on small animals but have misplaced it.
      Thank you for making this a project that is easy to understand

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      • Hi Vicki. I hope we get to see your giraffe when it’s done. And I also hope you’re recovering well from your medical issues – that doesn’t sound like much fun but I’m glad you’re back and still working on your giraffe. I don’t know when I’ll be able to make a Llama pattern, but I would love to do it. They’re beautiful creatures with very expressive faces. The pig you mentioned may have been the flying pig I made for my daughter. I didn’t make a pattern for it. And I didn’t take many photos when I was doing it – but I can’t remember why not. You can find it here.

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  9. Thank you I love all your projects. I was suppose to go on a LARP (live action role play game) as a cicada-like persona… Sadly it’s been cancelled. But I still keep your cicada mask as an inspiration.

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    • What fun! I had no idea that anyone would ever find a good use for it. I’m so sorry your event was cancelled – it would have been a lot of fun. Maybe next year?

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  10. This was a great post!!! Very interesting! I hope you get that ape back someday, he/she turned out so well! Also the cicada mask is awesome.
    You are so talented! Anyway, for the past few years I have been designing in my mind how to make a full sized ostrich. My hang up is how to do the feathers so that they are fluffy like a real ostrich. Also, there is a big variation in the size of the feathers which might pose some problems. I am still hopeful that I will do this project someday.

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    • That would be a wonderful project! Do the feathers need to be sculpted with something hard? Or can they be made with something like tissue paper cut into fringe? Have you seen Mark’s guest post, showing how he makes really flat sheets? He said he was using the paper mache clay recipe, but I think it may have been the air dry clay instead. But maybe either one would work. Feathers made that way wouldn’t be fluffy, though – so it really would be challenging. If you ever do make it, we really want to see it!

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  11. For the faces project, you need to do at least one. But have you thought of approaching local businesses to display those? The sports ones could be shown at the various sports clubs/venues, the tribal ones in cafes/restaurants.

    As for the Dinosaur, how about a collaboration. You make the Dinosaur and then someone else takes on the making of the scene.

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    • Interesting ideas, Petrik. I live in a tiny rural town, but there are a few cities in the state. They might be interested in some sport-related art. And I really like the collaboration idea. I really might need to retire, though, before I have time to do either one of them. Lately, I never seem to have enough time to do anything.

      Reply

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