For our 50th birthday presents to each other my wife and I bought our own pieces at a gallery in Birmingham.
|Brain's Portable Dust Distribution Service|
As a fan of craft artwork, I often visit a local artist studio and gallery called Unit Twelve, and at one visit early in the year I found that Samantha Bryan was to be running some workshops, where she would teach people how to make their own little figures.
I was in. I booked two places, taking my wife along as she's far better with materials and stitching than I'll ever be.
And I got to work designing what I'd want to make.
I decided on a figure from my upcoming little From SuperZeroes to SuperHeroes book. A character from the A to Z of SuperZeroes called The Bumbling B.
And then the 11th of May duly arrived and I found myself sat a a table facing Sam (as she prefers to be called) and she started to tell us how we could make our own fairies.
Sam was quick to notice a few glances that Jane sent in my direction and asked what was wrong. Jane told her that I'd come up with my own design, and despite me saying that I'd happily create a fairy, Sam's interest was piqued and she asked to see the sketch when she'd finished explaining how we go about making the heads.
Sam took to the idea straight away and we agreed to have a go. So as she set off looking for a tube we could use for the body, I got to work on his head.
|Bumbling B was to be the first on the left in the back row.|
The day passed with me looking at those around me progressing really well with their little fairy people whilst I didn't actually get as far as even sewing his trousers on. I promised Sam that I would finish him though and left not feeling despondent but feeling challenged.
|A stuffed tube, some wire packed solid with newspaper,|
some medical bandage and incomplete hand sewn leather trousers ...
|His striped coat was tricky, getting it all to come together|
for the dome at the top in particular.
But piece by piece, day by day, he started to come together.
|A box of bits of something in the making.|
|The bits actually starting to look like something in the making.|
He needed a mask,
|Would anyone like to play hangman ?|
So I decided to add some goggles as they're cool, and my daughter Jemma, who by now was beginning to believe that I might actually finish the little guy, suggested antennae.
|A little cut here and there, a pair of antennae|
and a pair of goggles make all the difference.
|'What are you looking at ?'|
I'm always picking up bits and bobs at antique fairs or shops and when I saw this old (but not too old) fishing reel I knew it'd be perfect.
|It was the wrong colour though and had too many|
holes showing that there was nothing inside.
|It'd have to have a dark wash on it to tone it down a bit.|
|It'd need something inside though.|
|An interesting old valve.|
|Just needs some wire mesh on that hole.|
I decided to mount him on a big block of wood, the idea being that if I put him on the table at Comic Conventions he wouldn't keep falling over, and made a little pair of leather boots.
|Drilling a hole and pushing the wire in made him very stable.|
|Almost ready for lift off.|
|Ready for lift off.|
Would I do it again ?
Yes, and in fact I'm already drawing the designs for the next one.