Inspired By "The Hired Man"

It's again the 10th of the month and time for the "Inspired by" creation! But what is Inspired by? Every month awesome Marsha and I choose a subject to be inspired by. It can be a movie (link)an item (link)a designer (link), a painting (link) or a music style (link). Then we make something inspired by that theme or a piece of art and share it with you and each other on the 10th of the month.

This time our subject was a novel by Aminatta Forna. We were playing with the idea to use a book to draw the inspiration and almost immediately realized that this challenge would need some time. Luckily we usually come up with so many ideas to use in "Inspired by" we had several in line already so this was several months away allowing us to have plenty of time to acquire the book and read it.

Aminatta Forna and her novel "The Hired Man" was Marsha's suggestion and I was happy to accept. It has been really too long since I really read something other than the bed time stories to kids. So I went to library and started reading. After just a few pages I knew I was holding a gem in my hands. So if you are looking for a book to read, I highly recommend this one. It captivated my imagination and like a good book, made putting it down and going to sleep almost impossible.

The novel tells a story of a man named Duro Kolak. It also tells story of Gost, a little town in Croatia and opens up to a wider view of the country. It speaks about war, the one that scarred the country but also the one that the character fight inside their heads. The story unfolds and deepens and while the characters start of as sketches they really come in life the longer you read. And I love how the whole story is turned upside down in a way in the end.

One of the main elements in the book is a mosaic that is found under the plaster and restored. The mosaic is of a bird - glorious, red-bodied creature with blue wings, tipped with azure and with golden plumes and  also of hands trying either to reach it or that has set it free.

I thought a long time what to do - should I draw my inspiration from the theme of the book, the relationships depicted there or should I use one detail to capture. As the bird kept popping up both in the book and in my ideas, I decided to go with it. Then came the hard part - now that I had the idea to be inspired by the bird, what to do with it. Include it in a layout? Make a canvas? Or how about transforming it into an art journal page? But then it hit me - a fellow crafter in a still-a-secret DT group had been making 3 D creations and I realized that was the only way for me. To create the actual bird.

Usually I work without any planning, letting my hands lead me, but I actually thought how to make the bird in a previous night. It was too late to actually start crafting when I had had the idea to go 3 D, but I was too excited about to fall asleep right away so I started rummaging through my drawers in my mind. I remembered having paper maché balls and thought they'd make the perfect base for the bird. Then I thought about the barbecue sticks we have in a kitchen cabinet and then turned upside down (in my mind) my "creating with kids" drawer in search of paper maché and so forth. I really didn't get that much sleep that night, but when I woke up in the morning, I had the whole creation planned ready and only needed to put my plans into action. So I set to work! If you want to read a bit more how I created the bird, there's a step by step peeks underneath. 

Layer upon layer the bird grew and lastly took flight. Now I had just two problems: how to take a 2 D photo of a 3 D creation and what to do with the finished birdie? I tried my best with the photos, but this is actually a piece that would have to be seen in nature, I think. Somehow the photos are so flat in a number of ways. But the problem what to do with the piece is still unsolved. At the moment the Phoenix is in our living room window sill, trying to reach the sky.

Now it's time for you (and me) to find out what inspired Marsha in this book! Is it the same mosaic and bird or something completely different? Follow this link and find out!

Materials: Tattered Angels, Prima Marketing, PanPastels, Luminarte, Ranger, 3rd Eye

How I created the bird:

First I started with the skeleton - two paper maché balls and three barbecue sticks together with the bottom of a milk carton and an oasis sponge.

Then I covered the whole thing with pieces of bandage, adhering it with glue.

As I was all out of ready made paper maché, I took a short cut and then made the bulk of the bird using toilet paper.

I also added the beak and the skeleton structure of the wings using card board and three wooden tooth picks.

Then it was time to layer, glue and layer. I attached pieces of tape, small feathers, chipboard shapes, metal pieces and embellishments to the body of the bird and then gessoed the whole thing.

All there was left to do then was the coloring, following the description in the book. I used TA mists, acrylic paints, Luminarte pigments, TA paints and PanPastels to color the creature.

Thank you for taking a look!


Tusia Lech said...

Riikka. You keep amazing me! You are unbelievable creative!!!! WOW!!! This bird is just stunning!

lehtipollo said...

Ihan mieletön! Kuinka sinä osaat :)

Sandra said...

Wow! It's beautiful!

Eila Sandberg said...

I am SO glad I came over to check out the details. Saw your amazing bird on FB and thought what a fabulous project it is! This bird certainly is the creation of an incredibly talented lady, I think her name is Riikka! xoxoxo

Riikka Kovasin said...

Thank you Tusia <3

Riikka Kovasin said...

Kiitos :") Kunhan vaan kokeilen ja katson, mitä syntyy :D

Riikka Kovasin said...

Thank you :")

Riikka Kovasin said...

Thank you Eila <3 It's by me and my name is Riikka, but don't know about the talent, though :D

zenevak said...

WOW Rikka! You are so clever. This is amazing! Thank you also for sharing your process!...and yes, you are very talented.:)

Kathy Bradley said...

Oh my goodness, Riikka - it is amazing how you brought him to life - he is gorgeous - the colors, structure - everything. Another work of art. THank you for sharing.

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