Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If Bears were Hobbits and Rabbits were Wizards

It has been such a pleasure to work with these characters and the ideas in the book of the Hobbit. As I usually do, when I decide on a piece, I see it before I begin the creative process and rarely change from my original idea. I wanted to incorporate my study of clay and pottery into the piece and new that there had to be a Hobbit house. Remember them from the Lord of the Rings movies? Well, they are already building more for the upcoming Hobbit movie. I'll find the link and post it.
The characters: Bilbo
This was actually the second Bilbo I made. The clay shrinks in the two firings and I thought that the first Bilbo was a might big. I reduced the size by on fourth inch and I was happy. The first Bilbo has gone to live with a dear friend. The one in the photo was just over 3 inches tall. He wears two colors of silk dupioni and has a suede yellow vest. His little pipe is polymer clay.
Gandalf: I don't put beards on animals that don't have them, so when I thought of the Gandalf character, I thought a lop rabbit with flowing ears would be just the thing. This Gandalf, the Gray is a tall 5 inches or so and carries a polymer clay walking stick.
All of my tiny creatures are fully cotter pin jointed and are weighted with copper or steel pellets so they feel quite substantial for their size and can be gently posed.
The Hobbit house was a joy to make. With the encouragement of all my classmates at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center (we call it PFAC) it's construction took several months - mostly waiting for it to dry out and be fired twice. I elected to paint it with oils and acrylic paint instead of using glaze. I thought that would look more natural and I could achieve the small details. My favorite part is probably the tiny red and white spotted mushrooms.
There had to be a round door and a brass door knocker in the middle. Oh, and the door was to be painted green. (It's all in the book!)
I put the trees and grass on top with roots and vines coming down to show how the house was underground.
I hope you've enjoyed the story and if you are ever in Santa Barbara, that you'll go and visit it at Susan Quinlan's Doll and Bear museum.


Debora Hoffmann said...

Such a beautiful piece, Donna! Wow! All the details are just perfect.

Donna Griffin said...

Thank you so much, Debora! It's such a joy to be able to work on pieces like this AND for the proceeds to go to such a worthy cause. There are always deadlines and one would hope that there's time for creating which pushes the envelope, but time does fly! Hope all is well in Colorado!!
Big hug to you,