I’ve been working on the exterior of the shop for a few days, and as it came together, I just knew something was missing. The shop front is all varying shades of green, so I thought about having a bright red, Virginia creeper vine to break it up. As I was considering options, I remembered a ceramics shop I’d visited in Italy a while back (La Medusa), and after a little digging, I found their pamphlet.
Their speciality is making decorative, ceramic heads, some are lamp bases while others are plant pots. The one I was inspired by was a medusa plant pot (below). I really liked the coiling snakes and decided to use this head as the basis for my design.
This is the first time I’ve made a face from clay, and I winged it all the way.
I started with the face, taking a small lump of air dry clay and making a vague face shape before defining the eye sockets, the nose, the cheeks and the brow. the lips and eyelids/eyeballs came next. I spent ages on the eyes, as the clay is worked so thin here that even the tiniest wrong move can distort the shape, so it wasn’t that I was satisfied with them so much as I had to stop before I ruined them too much! – It turns out that while I was doing the snakes I was careless with handling the face, and ended distorting them anyway –
For the snakes, I rolled out lots of short coils then shaped them into convoluted swirls, and attached them to the head. At this point I also made a neck for the face to sit on, and made a hole behind her tiara for the vines. I then moved onto making the vines while the head dried.
The leaves took so long to make that I almost gave up the project… almost. I folded strips of paper in half (length ways) then folded it like an accordion, drew a leaf on the top face, and cut them out. That’s the easy part.
To colour the leaves I used varying shades of red and orange felt pens. This is a long and tedious process and if I make plants again in the future, I will consider all alternative options before doing this again. Anyway, after having coloured hundreds of tiny leaves, I cut lengths of copper wire, and glued the leaves on by the stems. At this points, they were hanging limply, not at all how I wanted. So to perk them up, I glued on separated strands of brown yarn, winding them around the wires and between the leaves.
I then simply glued all the ends into the hole I’d prepared behind the tiara, and arranged the strands to my satisfaction. I’m quite happy with the final result, especially as part of the whole set I think it works really well. However, the leaves were a pain to make, and the head was far from perfect, so it might be a while before I make something like it again.