Friday, December 25, 2015

The Magic Thief

Merry Christmas!

Meet Connwaer from The Magic Thief.  He's this year's ornament for my nephew.  I read the series over the summer to get an idea of what to make.  I wanted Conn to wear his black sweater, green keyhole scarf and to be holding one of the crows featured in the books.  I started making the ornament and was overwhelmed with the black.  I picked a different color for his sweater and hated it.  I tucked the whole problematic mess in the corner for weeks and ignored it.  Thanksgiving came and went and I could procrastinate no longer.  This needed to get done!

He had to have the black sweater, so I toned it down by throwing a grey student's robe over it.  What a difference!  Then I reworked his pants.  All the pictures in the book show him with tattered pants that were too short for him.  I added that detail, too.  It took more work than how I normally do feet and the detail barely shows, but it looked and felt a lot better than my first attempt.  Progress.  After I added his scarf, he looked a little like Doctor Who.

Then came the fun stuff:  the crow, his little dragon, Pip, and some parchment paper.  I love making the little props.  Next was the head, which is always time consuming.  It's difficult to get the right sized face, then set it on the neck correctly, and put on ears and a nose that don't look like Dumbo.  Conn is described as having black hair that often hung over his blue eyes.  Easy-peasy.  At this point, the rest of the ornament just fell together.

He was perfect when I put him in to bake.  Unfortunately, I hadn't propped up his left arm and didn't count on how heavy it would be once the clay started to cook.  He came out of the oven with his arm bent at an odd angle.  As I tried to fix it before the clay hardened, I snapped it off.  There was no gluing it back.  Happily, the crow broke off cleanly and I had enough grey left to make another arm.  This time I very carefully propped it! and baked him again.

Once he had cooled, I drew in the winged hourglass on his robe, gold-washed the dragon, and added a secret message for my nephew.  (The runes were used a lot in the books.)  I signed and dated the bottom of his shoes.  Finished!

So much work for such a small piece - you can barely see the sweater that caused all the angst.  But it peeks through and I know it's done right.  I'm happiest when I can nail the details.

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