Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Sow Harnessed with Chains: Chapter 102

Copper sheet, Copper chain
For this beast, Borges quotes from page 106 of Felix Coluccio's Dictionary of Argentine Folklore.
"In the northern part of Cordoba, especially around Quilinos, people spwak of a sow harnessed with chains which commonly makes its presence known in the hours of the night. Those living close to the railroad station maintain that the sow slides on the tracks, and others assured us that it is not unusual for the sow to run along the telegraph wires, producing a deafening racket with its "chains." As yet, nobody has caught a glimpse of the animal, for as soon as you look for it, it vanishes unaccountably."
Borges ads that the Sow harnessed in Chains (Chancha con cadenas) also sometimes goes by Tin Pig (chancho de lata)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Animal Imagined by C.S. Lewis: Chapter 5

Copper, Pennywhistle, Black Cotton Thread, Bells
The singing beast is one of the tough ones. He is described only as a sound.

Borges ads no comment, only including a passage from C.S. Lewis' Perelandra. Here's a bit of it:
"The noise was very loud now and the thicket very dense so that he could not see a yard ahead, when the music stopped suddenly. There was a sound of rustling and broken twigs and he made hasitly in that direction, but found nothing. He has almost decided to give up the search  when the song began again a little farther away. Once more he made after it; once more the creature stopped singing and evaded him. He must have played thus hide and seek with it for the best part of an hour before his search was rewarded... The head was in profile from where Ransom stood- the mouth wide open as it sang of joy in thick0-coming trills, and the music almost visibly rippled in its glossy throat..."

There is also a referance to "fawn like shyness" and "its evident wish to be forever a sound and only a sound".

That last bit is what stuck with me. It seemed a shame to make such a beast into a static object. At first, i wanted it to hide wholly behind bells, later, the whistle seemed to not need hiding, and, finally, I did not hide him completely, allowing him in his shyness to peak out at us, his audience.

The whistle is fully playable.

C.S Lewis Process

Tying infinite knots takes a long time. Should I say something else? I picked up that pennywhistle from my favorite toystore on main street in Frederick, MD. The bells shipped in from Hong Kong. I do not always pull off shopping local.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Banshee **process**

I wasn't planning on starting the banshee just yet, but the opportunity arose. She is formed over a cheap plastic mask; once she's got enough layers of lacquer, I'll peel that out and she'll be self supporting.

Not all the monsters will be pretty- the Banshee may well be the ugliest, when we get to the end. There's no good literary reason why- I mean, yes, she's a harbinger of bad tidings, but she doesn't ever actually DO anything.  The reason goes back to when i was a wee kid, and my mom had a couple of Brian Froud's books- Fairys, Gnomes, maybe something else. The Fairys book was my first intro to the darker side of fairytales, and one of the illustrations was of the Banshee, and it was terrifying. I mean, really really scary to a 7 year old girl, and not a lot less scary to me now, as a grown person. This mask is disturbing in a different way, but I knew from the beginning that she would have to make the viewer cringe a little.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Squonk: Chapter 104

Squonk: Copper, Steel Chain, Steel wire, Crystal Tears
The Squonk comes up much later in the book, but so many folks have asked about her, I decided to bump her up. I really rather love her.

from Borges: "Hunters who are good at tracking are able to follow a squonk by its tear-stained trail, for the animal weeps constantly. When cornered and escape seems impossible, or when surprised or frightened, it may even dissolve itself into tears."

He goes on to describe hunting the bird on frozen nights, in order to catch even the tears.

This beast is obviously pitiable, but also clearly silly. The only reason given for it's lamentation is that the bird does not think it is beautiful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cerberus: Chapter 22

Cerberus: Copper, Carnelian
From Borges: "If Hell is a house, the house of Hades, it is natural that it have its watchdog; it is also natural that the watchdog be fearful."

My dogs are a little cute, though, I think, with their big ears and big eyes.  There was some exploration of the number of heads cerberus has, with three as the conclusion. Later, though, there is mention that his tail is a serpent, with which he would bite anyone trying to leave Hades. I had sketched that serpent tail into my mask- partially for accuracy, and partially for balance. I looked at my sketch right before I made my pattern, but I did not reference the book, and remembered that bit on my sketch as a scorpion tail, which is what I fabricated. This doesn't bother me; this is how stories are meant to be; living, breathing, and sometimes changing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Squonk: **process**

Most of the time the the squonk has taken has been spent untangling chain- that chain arrives, all 100meters of it, in one unspooled heap. Fun. Worth it, though. Have to finish putting the tears on the other side, form the mask itself, and she'll be finished.