Do the Monster Mask!

mask 12 copy

I have long been trying to find a way to create awesome, durable masks to wear for fun and festivals.

I wanted to find a method that wasn’t too hard, too messy, or took up too much time and space.

Here is what I came up with.

Many of the products I used can probably be substituted with like brands or like substances.

You will need –

Cheap potter’s clay
Styrofoam head
Plastic wrap
Tape
Paper bags
School glue
Scissors
Celluclay
Sculpey clay
Acrylic paints.

(Some of these things may be optional)

Note – Mask creation does take a lot of time for drying

and setting but you don’t have to be present for any of that.

First you will need some basic potters clay – the cheaper the better –

as you will be wanting a lot of it.

Next you will be wanting one of those cheap Styrofoam wig heads –

try to find one that is as close to the size of your real head as possible –

mask 10 copy

Now we can begin.

(Depending on your inherent clumsiness –

You might want to do this part outside.)

Cover your Styrofoam with plastic wrap and tape the wrap in place –

It may not be necessary to cover your wig head in plastic –

but that is what I did because I wanted to protect the head for further use.

Now you may glop clay on to the head.

(If your cheap potter’s clay has dried out completely

you can dissolve it in water and wait for it to dry down to a workable consistency –

This could take several days- when the clay is firm but not sticky you are ready to work.)

My foam head was smaller then my own head so I had to build on to it with clay until it was larger then my head.

Error on the side of caution! Bigger is better – Bigger masks can be made to fit smaller heads –

smaller masks must be given away to smaller people.

Once your clay covered head is big enough you can fashion the roughly spherical glob

into the creature head of your dreams.

(Note – keep it simple for now –

this is only a mold –

too many horns and ridges could make it hard to remove your mask from the mold,

details can be added later.)

Be sure to line up whatever face holes you came up with, with where your own eyes and nose will be

– don’t forget some mouth room if you want to be able to talk while wearing your mask

– (such as in a play)

This will prevent you from suffocating –

bumping into things

and otherwise spoiling your fun.

When you have a clay head you are satisfied with,

you can take some time off,

but don’t wait too long or the clay mold will dry and crumble.

Mask 1 copy

Next you will need brown paper bags, scissors and basic school glue.

mask 11 copy

Cut the paper bag into strips and stack the strips smoothly over your clay head using glue to hold them together.

You could do this while watching TV.

You don’t need to completely cover your mold in one sitting but if you do, make sure the paper is layered thick enough and the glue dry enough before you try to remove your mask from the mold.

(Don’t cover your eye/breathing holes! They will be hard to cut through later!)

mask 2

By now my mold started to crack and I was able to free my mask easily.

mask 3

Note – some people can make masks using bag paper alone –

stacking it over and over –

but I got lazy and used this Celluclay stuff.

mask 8 copy

It’s packed tight and there is more in that package then meets the eye.

I finished my mask with Celluclay to spare!

Celluclay is a finely ground paper mache with the glue included.

You wet it and it feels like canned tuna.

Most of the crests and ridges of my mask were formed in a finishing layer of Celluclay.

mask 4

Celluclay need not be applied all at once.

You can make a little at a time and let it dry a little at a time.

I added horns and a beak to my Mask using sculpey clay.

I shaped the horns onto the mask then gently pried them off and baked them.

Note – DO NOT PUT THE MASK IN THE OVEN –

Once the horns were hardened and cooled I used additional Celluclay to imbed them.

mask 9 copy

mask 5

I finally painted my mask using gold, silver, brown and three shades of green acrylic paint.

Acrylic is somewhat water resistant.

This mask can have water splashed on it and survive but I wont trust it in rain.

mask 6

Now if the mask fits, wear it!

I made a dragon, but other beasts, I’m sure, are possible.

The hands were sea creature hands bought off amazon.com.

Mask 7 copy

See you at the nerd convention!

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Origami Pokian.

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Origami is the art of folding paper into shapes resembling people or animals. The crane is the most famous origami figure and it is rumored to have wish-granting power.

Paper Cranes Wiki

To grant your wish, you must fold a thousand cranes in less than a year! If  you are curious about learning how to fold a crane – there is no shortage of wonderful websites that give instruction.

Here I posted something of my own invention, The Paper Pokian.

I have written and am in the process of publishing a picture book for children. The main character is an imaginary sea creature called a Pokian.  This Pokian’s name is Ruke. I have come up with some Ruke – related arts and crafts to promote the book, (To The World Above)  One of these is a folded paper figure that looks like the book’s main character. I came up with it by experimenting with a crane base. 

Here are the instructions for how to fold a Pokian. You will need paper and scissors – (There are some origami purists that forbid scissors – I am not one of them 😉 )

Some may think this project is a little complex for children, but I have only recently discovered the joys of paper-folding and regret that no one introduced me to it earlier.

I am an origami novice myself so I wanted to make this project as easy as possible.

Many adults as well as children have trouble with this particular model, especially when making the mane of hair, so I wouldn’t recommend it for those who are very young or those people who are easily frustrated or discouraged.  

Waste paper is a great source of practice material. It is important not to take your project too seriously and just have fun.

I wanted to post something that would pose a challenge to those children and adults who wanted a challenge.

The paper pokian may take several tries. I will include a photo of what a finished model may look like, just to clarify things.   

Paper Pokian A

Paper Pokian B

paper pokian a

paper pokian b

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia – (Thousand Paper Cranes) Paper Pokian photo is my own.

Wierd and Wonderful Shark Eggs.

I am working on a series of articles to promote the children’s picture book I am currently in the process of publishing. Rather then simply stop posting, I will post anything I come up with that my be of interest to my followers.

This is an activity where you try to guess which of these fish hatch out of which of these eggs. The answers are on the bottom.

Shark Sheet  

Weird and Wonderful Chimaera Fish

Hydrolagus 22

Chimaeras are related to sharks, but they are small and mostly harmless.

This does not mean they are boring.

Chimaeras were named after a mythical creature because that is just what they look like.

They are often called ghost sharks because they are eerie.

Eerie is a word I like to use when I can not figure out if something is beautiful or scary.

What do you think of them?

Hydrolagus 1

The spotted ratfish

The spotted ratfish lives in the north eastern pacific ocean. They are often encountered by divers in Puget Sound. Puget Sound is in the U.S. state of Washington.

The spotted ratfish prefers to live in deep water further south, but further north it is willing to live in bays and near beaches, at least during the spring and fall months.

Rat fish can be 97 centimeters long, or 38 inches. Most of this is tail. They are not much bigger then a rat. Males are much smaller.

The large front fins of the rat fish make it look like an air plane. It moves like an air plane too, doing barrel rolls and other tricks.

Rat fish eat crunchy things like star fish and clams, but they also like worms. They chew them with very unusual teeth.

When attacked, the Rat fish may use the poisonous stinger on its dorsal fin, but it usually prefers to keep at a safe distance rather then fight.

They are nocturnal and few can forget their huge cat-like eyes.

Hydrolagus 5

Gulf Chimaera

This little guy is from the north to central Atlantic ocean. He seems to like his water deep, dark, and as far from land as possible. Gulf Chimeras have been found off the coast of Mexico and the United States. They are probably named after the Gulf of Mexico.

Hydrolagus 4 copy

The Narrownose Chimaera

The Narrownose Chimaera lives in many parts of the world, just as long as the water isn’t to hot or too cold. Like many Chimaera fish it likes deep, dark water. So it is rarely seen.

Hydrolagus 3

Eastern Pacific Black Ghost Shark

This Chimaera looks more like a shark then the others, but still has a ratfish tail. By looking at him you can understand why Chimaeras are grouped with sharks.

Hydrolagus 22

Australian ghost shark

Australian ghost sharks live off the southern coast of Australia and New Zealand in 200 to 500 meters of water (667 to 1,667 feet), but they lay their eggs in shallow water during the spring and summer. When coming ashore they must watch for humans, who like to eat them. Adult males can grow to be 65 centimeters long. (About 30 inches) They are also called elephant sharks. It is thought that they use their strange noses to plow up food from the bottom.

Hydrolagus 6

Like many sharks, Chimaera fish store their eggs in cases called mermaid purses.

Many humans think the cases are just bits of plastic, but they often contain baby fish.

How many different purses do you think there are?

Happy Halloween

The lady or the dragon?
The lazy troll or Alf’s creepy uncle?
Yes, this is my costume.
I made it allllllll by myself!

     Halloween is perhaps my favorite holiday – perhaps because it is so mysterious. People in many parts of the world now celebrate this “originally European” harvest festival, and have contributed to it with customs all their own.

Christians swear the holiday is Christian, linking it with the feast of all saints.

Celtic neo-pagans swear it has it’s origins in Samhain, (pronounced Saw-In)  thought to be a feast of the dead – a Celtic new year, or a final chance to party before the brutal northern winter descended.

I often wonder if it has anything to do with the Greek Goddess Persephone, who was kidnapped by the god of the underworld.

He tricked her into eating food from his world, thus making it necessary for her to return to the underworld during the months of winter.

Her return to the world in spring was heralded by the return of life to the world and her departure in winter was when she took the life away with her. (I always thought that the god of the underworld and the souls of the dead that served under him, just wanted their fare share of fresh fruit* and sunlight.)

This idea though – the end of summer and decent of winter – probably inspired many such traditions in the more northern latitudes. When the snow comes, and nights grow longer – (sometimes much longer) then the days, it is probably natural to build bonfires and shiver at what ever mighty beast might be just hungry enough to give you a try . . .

Some link the holiday with mischief and devils – as many use the occasion to vandalize houses and get as drunk as possible – which may be another reason for the masks and costumes.

Egging – is when rotten eggs are broken on front doors.

The flaming bag of poop – is when dog droppings are put in a paper bag and left on someone’s door step. The bag is then set on fire and the door bell rung. The person answering is forced to stamp out the flames getting poop all over their shoes. (Wise homeowners smother said poop bag with a bucket.) 

T P – ing –  is when toilet paper is strewn about.

My home has only seen a few of these – mostly when my dad was still a teacher – so I really couldn’t complain.

The phrase “Trick or Treat” then, may be veiled threat, as less well behaved children may require bribes so as not to trash your yard.

Some say that the tradition of wearing costumes and begging for treats door to door, originated when persons too proud to admit their crops had failed, disguised themselves as beggars in order to collect alms from the wealthy.

Often these persons would dance, or play music, in exchange for receiving a charitable gift. My father has a theory that this “ritual begging” was expected of all persons, so that poorer folks would not be afraid to step forward and admit that they needed help.

For me this day has more to do with generosity then Christmas and Thanksgiving combined, for it’s a holiday that encourages us to share with strangers, be they monster or man.

For Me, Halloween is about acceptance.

All worlds are open and the visitors are all different.

Masked faces could conceal the living or dead, heroes or villains, angels or devils, or even an astronaut or an alien.

Man and beast walk together, neither eating the other ( for all can agree, that sugar is amazing.)

*The underworlders I’ve heard, are fond of pomegranates.

Illegitimate Animals; Hybrids that (thankfully) don’t exist.

Squirrel + Mantis = Squantis

Take me to your nuts!

When a conventional relationship with a member of your own species involves decapitation and cannibalism it is easy to see how something like this could occur. Given the immense differences in the genes it is extremely unlikely. Yet it could explain why children in many countries closet themselves away with their video games and exhibit an unnatural fear of parks.

Pig + Octopus = Porktopus

This animal is not Kosher.

I’ll be willing to bet that this is what god sends in to punish Muslims and Jews who do not abide by their dietary laws. Weather it’s one of those awful parasites you get from eating underdone bacon or part of this complete Japanese breakfast, I’ll forgo the chops till we reach port.

 

Bee + Sheep = Beep

Adorable death!

Their honey tastes like lanolin and their hives are made of cheese but these pillow-sized cuties are willing to defend their home mercilessly. Beeps use their soft stinger-less bodies to smother their enemies in what has been described by witnesses as the cutest/most hilarious thing a human being can behold. A good thing to remember when faced with a swarm of killer Beeps is that no one will help you. They are too busy filming the spectacle with their camera phones and forwarding it to their friends. Remain calm, and run through a field of grass to distract the fluffy fiends.

 

Koala + Gorilla = Korilla

The right to bear arms!

Australia is home to all of the world’s most dangerous creatures; funnel web spiders, box jellies, fear snakes, and humans to name a few. So what’s a hapless Koala to do? At best you are no more formidable then say, a raccoon, and while raccoons are still pretty dangerous, they are far from being Australia dangerous. So you join a gym, lift some weights – somewhere down the line you notice your beautiful country has become a wasteland of uprooted eucalyptus trees and flattened dingoes, but such is the price of power.

Kangaroo + Rooster = Kanga-rooster

Jurassic Poultry

Here I go sending another monster to Australia again, as if they don’t have enough. While drawing this picture it occurred to me that this thing would probably be pretty dangerous if it existed. Imagine, if you will, having to out run one of these after ever-so-carefully fishing eggs out of the hen’s pouch between a set of wings that could punch you in the face at any moment. Sure, the thigh-meat would be endless but you would really have to earn it, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Hunger Games.”

RUST: Deja vu

Ever visit a place for the first time? A place you could swear you’ve never been, and yet somehow you feel you have been there before? Perhaps you remember being younger, or with different people, still, you can’t shake the thought that the past is somehow repeating itself. In my RUST novel, a girl named Amelia starts to experience visions from her childhood as she makes her way through a long abandoned amusement park. You can learn what happened next in chapter twelve.

https://rastelly.com/2011/06/rust-by-rebecca-a-stelly-c-2011/

What follows is a heavily photoshoped drawing. It wasn’t much bigger then a greeting card. I made it small so it wouldn’t take as long to make. I finished in three days. I took a lot of breaks though, because humans are not my strong suit. I was nervous you see. The color is pencil colors – Prismacolor and Faber-Castell. I started by drawing a picture with a regular mechanical pencil. I then made a copy so I would have an extra in case I messed up. I planed to use an orange filter but I liked the colors so much I decided not too. What follows is a small excerpt from the story – please enjoy.  

 Amelia approached a brooding, bay-windowed, brick mansion barely identifiable under its blanket of ivy.

She‘d been here before.

She recalled fighting her cousin so as not to be led in. They had stood beside the winged statues lining the path. In the end he had relented, perhaps at father’s urging, and she had been relieved.

Perhaps it was that past incident fueling her gut instinct to keep away, even though it was sprinkling, and the door to the fun house was ajar.