Tag Archives: found objects

Stick Ladies Part 4 (and an animal, too)

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. Here the new figures assemble themselves to greet the public.

Now, take a look at all of them together. Don’t you want to try to make some yourself?

Stick Ladies Part 3

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here are two more stick lady figurines I recently made. I’ve discussed the process in previous posts so I won’t go over it again, but I will tell you a few details about constructing them.

  1. First of all, choose wood that has been off the tree for a while, but is not rotten or soft. Test a branch or stick by banging it hard against a tree or sidewalk. If it breaks, don’t use it.
  2. Learn to use a drill. You will need it for drilling holes through the arms and you will also be making holes in the body, head, and base, for the screws to go into. I improved my drill skills a lot in this simple project (because I had virtually none to start with…)
  3. Woodburning is lots of fun. Try it and you will like it. remember that the tip gets very hot. Just saying.
  4. A hand saw is plenty good for any sawing you will be doing in this project. That was important to me because I have a tendency to cut body parts (off, sometimes) when using sharp blades (no casualties in this project, before you wonder).
  5. I think these figurines could go anywhere you want them to. Make them clothes, wrap them in wire, paint them…I think of many possibilities I would like to try. But I also always want to pay attention to the wood. Each stick is beautiful, with patterns and designs already in place.

OK, here are the two remaining tall figures.

Lady #5:

Lady #6:

Next time I’ll show you a group shot of all the figurines.

Stick Ladies Part 2

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

In this next group, I will show you the next phase of stick lady construction in my recent project. This group has attached arms and…attached heads. Yes. Just take a look.

As I have said before, I collected the body sticks, and for these, I was looking for moderately substantial branches. Once I had found what I wanted (testing them against rotten or decayed wood by banging them against a tree trunk to see if they broke) I sawed them into lengths and went through my dishwasher sanitizing process and let them dry.

I took a smaller-diameter stick and cut it into “head”-sized pieces, matching them with bodies.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #3c

Then I chose arms and attached them as before, first drilling a hole and them nailing them to the body.

arm

I created features and clothing with my woodburning tool.  I cut bases from a plank and painted them black.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #4e

Then I  assembled them. Today I will show you two, in detail, and later on the other two, that I made in this way.

Using dowel screws I first attached the head and then connected the body to the base. I used differently-sized screws because it was important to get the proportions right. On my first try I chose screws that were too short for the “legs” portion and the figures look squat and ungainly. A longer screw corrected that problem.

Here are two figurines. They range in size from 16-18″ tall, all parts included.

Lady #3:

Lady #4:

I have two more to show you in a later post.

 

Stick Ladies Part 1

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Most of this project involved making stick ladies. These I will show you today are derived from the ones I did in the past, which were all in one piece:

I gathered a selection of branches that I thought would be suitable for bodies. I was looking for something a little thicker than the ones I had used in the past.

And I decided to make the new ones with arms. Accordingly I collected sticks of a smaller diameter than the body materials I was looking for.

I peeled or cut off any bark, cut all the sticks into shorter lengths, and ran them through the dishwasher to get rid of any bugs. I let them dry outside for about a week.

And…the arms. I cut them to a good size to fit the figures, first drilling a hole through them and then nailing them on to the body. By drilling first, I reduced my chanced of splitting the wood when I nailed.

arm

Then I got busy with my woodburning set and gave them faces and clothing. I made bases for them from small blocks of wood that I painted black and attached the two pieces with dowel screws.

Here are the results:

Stick ladies group 2 6-20

These two figures are about 12″ tall in total (including the “legs” and base). Here are some detail photos.

Lady #1:

And here is Lady #2:

I like how the natural curve of the wood gives the lady figures a posture and an attitude.

Stick Animal

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here is the first example of the recent stick figures I made, though it was the last one I did, and it’s created out of leftovers. Let’s call it Stick Animal.

Stick animal 1 6-20

What started me off on making an animal rather than a person was this knot on the wood. I thought it looked like an eye and I could not stop envisioning it as such.

Stick animal 5 6-20

I tried to figure out how to match it. I ended up taking a small piece of a thin stick and jamming it tight into a washer. Then I drilled out the “body” and inserted the “eye” into it, gluing it tight.

Stick animal 4 6-20

Spoiler alert, all the stick figurines I made in this project have arms, so I had some small stick pieces on hand. I took four sticks at random and nailed them to the body, not worrying about making them even – I was able to move the legs enough to adjust them to allow the animal to stand.

Stick Animal 6-18-20 #1d

So far so good. I decided the animal needed a tail. I had saved the wire from some wirebound notebooks – I cut a piece, stretched it out, and nailed it to the animal.

Stick animal 3 6-20

Now it needed a mouth. This body part had to wait a while – I didn’t know what would be the right thing. Then one day I saw a red bottle cap on the ground. I picked it up, washed it, bent it in half, and nailed it to the animal. Now…he had a mouth with teeth!

Stick animal 6 6-20

I felt this animal was just as he should be. Here he is again.

 

Questions, Anyone? About Painted Postcards

Several people have asked me questions about the painted postcards recently displayed. In the interest of spreading around this form of mail art, here go a few answers.

1. What’s the surface you’re painting on?

And the answer is, ad cards I receive in the mail. They look like these:

ad cards small

They have shiny, slick surfaces that are great to paint on. Occasionally the surface may be too shiny – you can sand it a little or throw out the card and try another. I have found that paint may chip off some of them as well (there is no tooth to this surface and to gesso it or the like destroys the ad card surface I so love). So, I let them dry thoroughly and then I coat them with acrylic medium, gloss or matte, doesn’t matter. This stops the chipping and gives a nice finish to them.

I don’t buy anything to make these cards. It’s all recycled. My friends help me out and leave their ad cards for me, usually in grocery bags set on my porch. You laugh, but it works. I turn out a lot of these.

You could use any surface you want or any paper you want, taking into consideration it needs to be sturdy enough to handle the mailing process.

2. What kind of paints?

I use acrylics and I load them on thickly with a brush. Sometimes I use a plastic spackle spreader or a plastic knife with serrated edges.

3. Procedure?

Usually I have a lot of these lined up and they begin as a place to put the extra paint from my brush that I’m using for some other project. I hate to waste paint. Later on I work on them one at a time until I’m happy with the result.

postcards in process small

4. Do you paint both sides?

Yes. Then I pick the one I like best for the “image” side and the other is for the address.

5. Will they hold up in the mail?

Yes. I send them all the time. I’ve mailed dozens, if not hundreds. More likely, hundreds, now that I think of it. You need to put extra postage on them, though – I put first class letter postage rather than postcard. Better safe than sorry.

6. Can I use some other paint or technique?

Sure, why not? I make collaged cards as well or ones that I’ve glued drawings to or whatever. Mix and match. I’m just talking about the painted ones here.

7.  Can you send me one?

Certainly. Email me your address at claudiamcgillart@gmail.com .

More Mail Art Postcard Paintings

A couple more mail art items. They are done in acrylics on ad cards received in the mail. Now they will go back out as mail sometime. Or maybe they already did, I don’t know…