Lauren May SK | Artist/Illustrator

The Fairy Houses

April 11, 2018

 

'Why not make some cute sculptures." I said to myself. "Just do some hobby crafting while your baby is little and take the pressure off attempting anything too serious. It'll  be fun!" I thought.

 

WRONG! 

 

It's taken me about a year to finish these things! Not a year straight. That would be ridiculous even by my standards. But they have been sitting in a half-finished mess on my table in the living room for the best part of a year and I am pleased to announce that they're finally finished (and I finally have my table back)! Unfortunately, acrylic paints and I are no longer friends and I'm not too fond of paper-based clay either (#teamsupersculpey). However, I still like the end result and if you're interested to see how I got there then please keep reading.

 

As I have mentioned, I had figured that while I'm raising a little one and can't put a lot of focus on my career right now it would be great to take the opportunity to do some pieces just for fun. Even though I often do highly detailed botanical watercolours I always take my chance to try out different styles, subjects and media. When I happened across 'Creative Mom' s work on youtube (see her amazing work here) I thought it would be a really fun project to try myself! Here is my process:

 

 

This was by far the most fun part of making these fairy houses. I collected a few jars and bottles and figured out how to cut and stick them together to form the beginnings of my fairy houses. I used aluminium foil to add details. Here are two of the three that I came up with (because why would you stop at one?!):

 Next I had to cover the whole of the structures with clay (I used DAS paper-based clay) creating details and leaving holes where the windows would be (I still think it's cool that the fairy homes have real glass window panes!)

 I found it very hard (read:impossible) to get the clay to look smooth. The clay would also eventually coat my hands the longer I worked with it and it took a little time to wash off. This wasn't convenient if I was in a hurry to tend to my suddenly awake and distraught baby! Furthermore, paper-based clay is air drying. Some sections of clay would harden when I was wanted them to stay workable so I could blend seperate pieces together smoothly. And lastly, doing the grass was just tedious work! Though DAS clay is half the price of supersculpey, and obviously it IS possible to get fantastic results with it, I will still take the latter option any day!

 

 On to painting! The painting was fun at times. However, it did take a long time to do and it is much easier to paint my usual smooth, hot-pressed paper than the nooks and crannies of a fairy toadstool home covered in grass. Furthermore, I did not put much planning in to which colours I chose to use. I think I believed that it would be easy to select colours that looked nice together as I went along. Perhaps because I am not often choosing my own colours for my usual paintings but instead matching what I can see in the reference material, I did struggle with making good colour choices for this work. I found myself repainting doors, toadstool caps and window frames trying to improve upon the previous choice I had made.  One positive is that I did find that my ability to blend and transition colours smoothly did improve as I went along (I have hardly painted with acrylics at all since I was in school and it turns out I was a little rusty.)

 

 The finished product! I think they're cute. And they light up with pretty, flickering 'candles' inside!

Making these fairy houses was not the enjoyable, fairly quick project that I anticipated it to be. However, I do like them, I did get the opportunity to face and overcome new challenges, and, once again, I have proven that I have almost unlimited perseverance to complete a goal I have set for myself, regardless of the minimal, almost non-existent benefits there are for me in doing so.

 

I'm not sure if I should be proud of that or not. My husband thought I was nuts.

 

PS. I'm selling these. Email me if you want one. 

 

 

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