Monday, October 17, 2016

~ The Witching Tree ~

Hello Readers!

Welcome back to another fun filled account of the inner workings of Zombienose -  the zombieworks if you will. I apologize for the delay, but Halloween is a very busy time of year and I've spend a lot of building a new line of work. In this exciting issue we'll be creeping into a very dark & dreary path to illustrate the creation of...

It all began with a quick sketch...Yeah, yeah, I know this looks nothing like the finished piece, but it was just a germ of an idea at that time. 

Anyhoo, I marched forward not knowing how silly the final product would turn out. I started the build simply by mounting a couple of pieces of armature wire into a wood base bought at the local hobby store.

Next I used Great Stuff spray foam (from Home Depot) to coat the armature and build up some tree trunk mass.

Near the top of the first armature stems, I attached more wire to represent the tree limbs using epoxy putty to ensure its strength. I know, it's pretty self explanatory so far, but stick with me and I'll try to be more entertaining.

I added a few more limbs branching off, using epoxy putty to attach them and then wrapped a thin gauged wire to help hold the foam that I will be adding. And check out those roots!

Yep, that's more spray foam I've added. You can also see where I've started cutting slices off with a razor blade to shape it. Try to ignore those other heads laying in the foreground. They became different characters.

Finally it's starting to look like a tree!! You can see I've added the thinner twiggy branches by using an even thinner gauge wire.

Around this time, I carved away some of the foam where I planned to put the face on the trunk. I had the idea to place lights inside the tree to illuminate the eyes in the final piece, but I hadn't quite planned that out ahead of time. Oops. Don't worry, I made it work.

So.... After adding a lot more smaller branches I laid a string of non-LED battery powered lights across the limbs and bunched them in the hallowed out area in the trunk. I used invisible tape to temporarily hold them in place.

Some of the wood base had to be removed in order to recess the battery pack so that new batteries could easily be replaced from the top of the base. See below!

Now I went ahead and added some puple crayola sand to the top of the base. I watered down some Elmer's glue and mixed the sand in, then applied it to the wood base. When it dries, it is solid! You can also see that I've begun adding a portion of the tree bark using Magic Sculpt epoxy putty. It still looks like a mess below, but I was hoping the "witching" part of the tree would happen soon!

Because I'm scatter brained at times, I neglected to take photos as I bashed out a lot of  the sculpture. I left the lighted face area on the trunk open for now. I would still add to it, but I decided I wanted to work on some of the accessories instead.

Every haunted tree needs a murder of crows, right? I sculpted some bird forms using super sculpey and painted them black. Their legs have firm wire to support them on the branches. Some of the birds would have lights in their eyes, but for these I used red seed beads.

I glued black feathers to the forms I made. Sorry for the fuzzy picture. It was late and I was tired.

Returning to the tree, I rolled out some noodley worms of Magic Sculpt to create the face. It looks pretty goofy at this stage, but give me a break - it was just the beginning!

Got the face sculpted and crows attached! I spray painted the entire tree black then dry brushed a base coat of a reddish brown color. The teeth are gray because they are still soft and freshly sculpted. I sculpted layers of teeth to hide the wires for the lights in the eyes. I also dry brushed the sand on the base to appear more moss-like. I made a few stones out of magic sculpt and painted them.

Then I made a jack-o-lantern to act as a cover for the battery pack. The pumpkin was cast in resin and screwed into the plastic cover with sand coating. The light switch is also located in this area directly  against the tree trunk,

When switched on the eyes glow an orange color, hence the reason I did not use LED lights. Because I didn't do enough preplanning and basically ran out of time, only two of the crows have glowing  eyes when the tree is switched on. It looks impressive nonetheless.

For a final detail, I added some stringy moss consisting of fiberfill and Fabri-tac glue. In the photo below you can see I hung clips on each end to weigh down the hanging "moss" until it dried so they would appear like gravity was affecting them.

After all of that, the Witching Tree was ready to cast it's gloom upon any onlookers. Here are some shots of the final piece, which measures about 16 inches tall.

I hope this gives you nightmares!

Please check out my YouTube channel for a video of "The Witching Tree"!

The Witching Tree is presently available for purchase along with other items on the Zombienose Etsy Shop.  Click below for more!

I also hope you enjoyed this edition and will stay tuned for more!

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