Wednesday, 3 April 2013

... all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.


Today I've been doing a bit more on my latest papier mache project... a tall ship. I've been wanting to do a fantasy ship for a long time & being laid up, after a hip operation, has been a great opportunity to do some crafting... although doing papier mache in bed has been a bit of a challenge LOL

I'm well on the way to finishing my little ship, so this is really a catch-up blog, to put you in the picture... I thought I'd do a rough step-by-step blog of my what I've done so far.

So... this ship of mine... it's not correct in scale or proportion & is only loosely based on a tall ship... at this point it's just the idea that my model is trying to convey... by the way, the title of this blog is taken from John Masefield's poem 'Sea-fever' .

I started making my ship a week ago. It started of as 'The Owl & the Pussycat' boat but I got carried away LOL.

I constructed a basic shape by sketching the side of the ship on paper & transferred that shape to cardboard. Using masking tape I made a shell from the shape & added bits & pieces until I was reasonably happy... because I'm doing all of this on my bed I decided to use PVA glue, instead of flour & water, for the papier mache mix, I found it a lot less messy; I diluted the glue slightly & applied it with a brush to the individual strips of paper, after covering my lap with a bin bag ! 

I stared by applying newspaper papier mache before a top coat using an old music score. As you can see, by the pics below, the shape was quite boxy & I soon realised it wasn't quite as I wanted it.


As with most things being creative is a constant learning curve, & this time was no exception... I'd already put the coat of music score on the ship when I decided to change the shape... aah well, it's a lesson to be remembered :)
Taking my trusty scalpel I hacked of the rear end & re~shaped it. I used white paper papier mache this time, it's stronger than newspaper & I wanted to make sure that the join was strong. Then I re~shaped the bow, making it longer, sleeker & more 'ship~like' at the base.



The masts & yardarms are just rolled up music score... nothing fancy... I rolled the paper as small as I could (using a knitting needle to start it of) & stuck it as I rolled. When they were dry I cut a hole in the deck, covered the end of the mast with hot glue & popped it in, then I hot glued around the hole in the deck for added stability. 

The next bit was really tricky ! I made a hole in the base, judging where the mast end was,  & dropped a large darning needle though the hole (with a thread attached) until it appeared out the other end of the mast. Then I attached the thread to some fishing line & pulled it all the way through. I secured the fishing line through a button to the base of the ship... now my ship can be suspended from the ceiling, maybe near a window & will move when it catches the breeze. I can't wait to see how it turns out !


While the ship was drying I started thinking about the sails. I originally wanted to use lace... I don't know why... anyway I PVA'd some old net curtain to some tissue paper & pegged it to the radiator to dry (see pics below).

Then I found some printed voile... with little gold stars on it... EUREKA I thought (thinking about the John Masefield quote) I'll use this instead ! 
I PVA'd the voile & dried it over some old beer cans. I thought this would give it the shape of sails with the wind in them. As it worked out I needn't have bothered... the glued fabric just went flat when it was taken of the cans ~ the voile wasn't thick enough to hold it's shape... oh well, yet another lesson learn't !



So now I'm all up to date with my progress. 
Today I've cut out the sail shapes, after working them out on paper first... and I've decided to use both lots of fabric. I think I'm going to sandwich them together & stitch them with the gold thread I found.

We're going to have a couple of the grandchildren over tomorrow... the girls are aged 4 and 6 . They're going to be staying for a few days, so I may not get to finish my ship as soon as I thought ! 

BUT, on the plus side ~ I get to use them both as models for my hair accessories :)
(... to be continued )
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