Creating a Wood Sprite

I thought I'd show the proccess of making a wood sprite head from fimo.
It starts with a rough drawing over which I twist thin galvanised wire to make the branches that come out of his head.

Tape and foils are used to bulk out the basic shape.
Fimo is worked into a flat shape and layed over the foil.
This is slowly pushed and worked into shape.
Two eye sockets are pushed in.


 Beads are used for the eyes and extra fimo is added to make up the face.


 The head is placed on a foil baking tray and fired for approx 15-20 mins at 130degrees. When it comes out it has a richer colour.


The foil is removed from the head, as this just provided support while I was sculpting.
You can see that the wire was also twisted into a hoop at the back for hanging.


Extra fimo is added to give  a clean finish. The fired surface is covered with vaseline to help bind the new and old. This is then re fired.



After the second firing thin strips of masking tape are wrapped around the branches.
I lay the tape on a piece of perspex and cut them with a knife.




Thin copper wire is also covered with thin strips of tape and coated with pva. This stops the tape unwrapping over time as it loses its stickiness. These will become tin branches or ivy.


The head and ivy are stained with burnt umber acrylic. The head is wiped back regularly with a soft tissue so the paint accumalates in the cracks giving a nice aged wood effect.


The ivy is wrapped around the head and a second coat of paint and PVA added to ensure  a good finish.


The Finished piece.

Treecreatures visit Glastonbury

I've just installed a blogger app on my iPad so I'm trying it out with a quick news update.
The photo below is of a collection of work from about 3 or 4 years ago which I called treecreatures or tree sprites.
I'm very pleased that they now have a new home on Glastonbury high street with Lilith of Avalon. It's a very cool shop stocking work by many reputable artists including The Frouds, and reputably patronised by Nic Cage who lives nearby!

It's my first time in ages selling any work so both excited that Maya, the owner, thinks my work is worth displaying and a little sad that so many pieces have left home.

I think the plan is for a window display which is very encouraging, so watch this space for a photo.

summer creations

It's been a creative summer and here are two of my latest pieces.
Firstly the Steam Cannon, originally planned as a telescope but when I turned the tube around it looked much better like this.

And secondly, The Gironaut. I made him as a hanging piece because I'm running short of space to keep all my work!

Incidentally all these shots were taken on my ipad of which I'm very fond. The only down side is that although I can post photos to my Facebook page: The Professor's Steampunk Emporium I can't blog from it which is a real shame as I've enjoyed taking photos of work in progress and posting them as I go on fb.

The Professor's Patented Steam Powered Perambulator

The finished piece.

The Professor's Patented Steampowered Perambulating Command Chair

For the legs I had in mind something like the tipods from War of the Worlds. While making the bockpit the polystyrene ball has been sat on a plastic ring. I cut slits into this so the 3 legs would slot in. The 3 legs fit snugly together and are packed out with hot glue.

To give a good surface texture the legs are painted white and then stained with burnt umber, this is rubbed back slightly with a soft paper towel to give a nice texture.

The legs are given detail with layers of card and bits of plastic to make pistons


Once in place the machine looks a bit plain so I've added lots of cables and tubes as well as funnel's exhausts. All from bits of scrap I have in my collection. The clear tubes are filled with fairy liquid and plugged with brass rods which then slot into the sculpture.

The Professor's Patented Steampowered Perambulating Command Chair

Ok summer hols are here so time to get creative. Lacking any inspiration I started looking for ideas and found the work of Greg Brotherton. He makes wonderful creations from metal, one of which was this called 'Chained to Earth'

I like the idea of a spherical control console so found a hollow polystyrene ball and cut it up as my staring point. At this point I was just playing with no real outcome in mind, I often find that the making process generates ideas.

Next I revamped an old head to create the 'controller'

Next a chair which caused some problems as the figure was too big and had to have his legs removed! This gave me the idea of a steampunk Davros like figure: a withered old scientist contolling his minions form the chair.

The seat is bent card, reinforced with wire and covered in tape: this was flexible enough to bend to the shape of the figure so I could play with his pose: slightly hunched forward over the console.
The chair support is made from ply with drilled holes to give a Victorian ironwork look.
The poly ball is in two halves which allowed me to keep moving the figure and chair around until I was happy. it will eventually be glued in place but for now is taped.

I've used some thick and slightly textured card to finish off the cut edges of the polystyrene, when painted this gives a nice metallic look.The top of the chair is a strip of brass I had lying around and brass rods slot through the figure and chair to pin it all to the wood back.
The figure's coat is made as usual form parcel paper, edged with thin wire and covered in masking tape and pve, then painted red. Colour choice ws important as the cair/console will be very dark: I wnat the figure to stand out and a deep red always feels Victorian.

The chair now has split pins added and is pinned in place. The inside of the console is also a deep red, I coated all the polystyrene with a thick layer of pva prior to painting to give a better surface and make it stronger.

 Once the figure was in place I started using card and split pins to give an interesting metallic finish.


At this point I was still not sure what else to do with the console. I was happy with it but it wasn't enough on its own. I considered various ideas: floating tethered to a giant robot, given rotor blades etc.......
More tomorrow.