craftslesson2 solomon

The purpose of this session is to acquaint you with some materials that might help you address the problem of finding the right props for your stories or being faced with a do it yourself situation, finding the right prop and figuring out how to antique or distress it for your purposes. 

I would like to assign a bit of outside reading that will illustrate this first lecture. If you do not have this material at hand you might check with one of your neighbors and see if they might share with you this useful information. In today's illustration we are going to examine the first volume of the Punx trilogy, namely "MAGICAL ADVENTURES AND FAIRY TALES. 

As I am particularly fond of a couple of these stories and since I have added them to my own repertoire, these are the ones I will address in this material. 

If you are familiar with the story of the Pixie Princess and her Magic Cloak you will immediately know what we are talking about. If you do not then you must read the material for it to make any sense. 

To begin with, there is this wonderful material called Fima (Fimo in Europe) Sculpting clay available in your local arts and crafts store. It comes in a multitude of colors which can be mixed and kneaded to make the colors that you might not find. There is another material called Skulpty Clay that you can buy in bulk quantities but I have only been able to find white. It is my preference. The Fima is a bit pricey if you have big projects. 

The Skulpty can be rolled, shaped, molded and pressed into almost any shape you might want. It can be hardened by baking in a low oven and can be painted with acrylic paints, sealed  and finished with clear acrylic spray and achieve some most astonishing results. 

In the Punx play, which incidentally was not his to begin with but like so many stories, handed down from generation to generation, is a children's story. When I produced my version I did not try for physical accuracy in the little characters but instead tried to make them look like children's recreations. The faces are not formed but are simply punched for features. The coloring scheme was done outside the lines, so to speak but the characters do match pretty well the way Punx described them. 

The castle is a three fold screen using Sculpty on the surface of cardboard. The tower was made from a kitchen towel center roll. cut and covered with Skulpty it has slots, which let it sit over the corner of two of the castle walls. 

The trees are from the Christmas shop and have Sculpty bases painted to look like dirt. 

The Punx story called for a miniature pistol but I elected to make the weapon of choice a club and in the story call it a magic club named IBM. 

The mirrored bottle was at one time a cologne bottle but the opening in the neck was large enough to insert a rolled portion of silver plastic which straightened out inside the bottle to create the mirror glass gaff. 

If you examine the pictures in the book you will see that mine match pretty well. The characters are no more than four inches high. 

The mechanical pencil vanish mentioned in the Punx story is relatively easy to make and some of the big, thick ball point pens really adapt nicely to this gimmick. 

The small square of silk came form a little 9 inch kerchief but had to be re-hemmed to make it vanish in the pencil prop. 

While the story line and the prop design follow pretty much the script outlined by Punx, the thing that makes my version pretty unique is the fact that the story is recorded and I wrote background music for each of the characters. Every time the character's name is mentioned on the tape, the motif music repeats itself over and over. This gives me time to walk the characters about the table like a child playing with little action figures. While it eats up a lot of time it is a charming way to present this particular story.

Pictures of the characters and props.

Full set of props and people.


The Princess and props.


The King & the Stepmother.


Hero's, trees and bad guys.


The Castle.

That concludes today’s lecture. Go now and play with your clay.

Ed Solomon +++collector of the weird and maker of messes.


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All the material in this lecture is copyrighted with all rights reserved to Ed Solomon, 2002.