Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Very Crafty Christmas: Baby Groot!

This year for Christmas, I decided to raid my mini-Michaels craft room and make a whole bunch of stuff for gifts. I love creating, and I'm never happier than when I'm busy, so with finances being a little tight, it made more sense to give gifts from my heart (and hands) instead of a store. (Though there were plenty of those, too).

I... may have gone a little crazy. I made a lot. Too much for one post, which is why you're about to see a few of these. Today, though, I'm going to start with one of the big gifts I made for Husband.

This fall, the day before I had my first surgery, Husband and I went to go see GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and both immediately had a new favorite movie. Awesome Mix Vol. 1 became the soundtrack of my recovery as Husband played it around the house, set a few songs as the alarms on his phone, and generally sang and danced to it throughout the day.

So naturally, I wanted to do something GotG themed for him. And the thing that leapt to mind first was Baby Groot.

I've never sculpted such a large piece before. I've made smaller things, far less detailed and more general-blob-shaped. I consider this my first sculpture, and while it's definitely flawed, it came out much, much better than I expected. This is the piece I refer to in this post.

Without further ado, here he is. Behind-the-scenes pics follow the finished product.

Front- terrible angle, sorry

Back (still needs some minor repainting in his armpit)

Different angle to show potting

Sans pot

First, I made this wire armature. I've never done this before, either, but I was pretty excited with how it came out.

Then I started wrapping clay. I used a recycled paper clay that was surprisingly smooth and workable, but unfortunately left LOTS of little dried bits around as I worked. (These photos are a bit washed out, sorry. The lighting in my house is horrible and my phone flash is super bright).

More clay wrapping

Around the arms

Up and over the head

Added a bit more clay to give depth to the face, and his crown of branchy bits. The crown was cut into sections and molded a piece at a time. I removed a few, as you can see there are too many here.

Finished crown

First arm and hand. I thought the face would be the hard part, but the arms honestly gave me the most trouble. I hadn't originally planned on doing wire hands but I'm glad I did-- the clay was way too soft to stand up on its own and the number of times he fell over onto his arms would have broken them off it it weren't for the wire supports.

Second arm and hand. Same issues wrapping clay around the teeny wire fingers, but I was still glad for them later. 

I added some wood graining, thickness at the bottom for stability, and tree-trunky bits. Then I carved his face, the part I'd been dreading all along. I'm still not happy with it, but I think a lot of that comes from the face I chose to carve. I decided not to do a smiling Groot because I wanted to leave the possibility that he's dancing when we're not looking. :)
The final product one more time for reference. I painted him a dark chocolate brown, then did a light brown wash over it for depth and wood grain texture. I painted the vines and moss on in a few different shades of green. The eyes were all black with a feathering around the pupil of the lighter brown. Since the clay was made from recycled paper, for durability I sealed him with an all-purpose sealer. Unfortunately, the only one I had in the house was high gloss, hence his unnatural shininess. Someday I'll re-seal him with a low gloss or matte sealer.

I acquired the pot a long time ago at IKEA, and used styrofoam to build a base inside of it. I wedged toothpicks into the exposed armature at the bottom of Groot and stabbed him into the styrofoam, then used an all-purpose glue to hold the rocks in place (smooth pebbles from the floral section of Michael's). I went with black/ gray because I thought it looked more space-y.

And there you have it! Our very own Baby Groot. 

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