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Ramble Index - Micro Mini Musings
Woke up with a brain fart.
You ever get those? An idea that shocks you up out of your sleep and get you to futzing around your workspace?
I do. Not often enough, truth be known.
Ok, you know those jelly roll blends I am so addicted to? Love how it makes for shading on two dimensional surfaces. Ok I'm doing these little figures. Making a harem for Lil' Man. In the process and I've been experimenting like I'm auditioning for Dr. Frankenstein, I discovered something about these jelly blends.
They make muscle shadows, like no body's business. A breast made with the shading already put in is a more believable breast from a distance.

When I was 13 I got to go behind stage at the San Francisco Opera.  Amongst other life changing experiences of that day I saw something that changed my view of shading. This Opera was Merry Wives of Windsor, a musical about Falstaf.  The ladies were in HIGH Elizabethan costume. But their make up was done so they can be seen from the upper balconies.  The way they lined their eyes went outside of where their own eyes ended, making them bigger. What really chunked me was how they applied shadow to their cleavage. Like a sweetly curved "V" shape giving the illusion of a rounded breast casting shadows.
I was astounded. I was so astounded of what this means as a painter, as a ceramist, which I was already that I forget what that kind actress said to me so stunned I was with the truth of the shading of her breasts. "I'm sorry Miss So and So, I can't hear what you're saying I'm just having an epiphany over your cleavage." Not something you'd share if you had the presence of mind to do so.
Ok, this is not a digression, it was the start of a thought. Shading can be made with use of color gradation. This is why I beat the jelly blend cane drum so loudly, use these as a part of a piece, instead of looking at a cane as an end in itself. I've been using these jellyblends for the Tiger Cane, for the leaves and now I find it can be used in Micro Mini figures to make the illusion of shading, of depth, of sculpture, tricking the eye, it's so exciting I couldn't sleep.
There are two things I'm concerned with in these small scales. Since there isn't a lot of clay to work with, how do we make a good shadow for a nostril? Just poking a hole, after curing there's not enough depth or clay to cast a good nostril shadow. I'm tempted to poke a hole, and then fill it with a cone of darker clay. Can't depend on the hole to be big enough to cast a shadow, when the item is so small and will be seen at a distance. We're playing to the upper balconies.
Eyes need to be bigger. I found that out with Lil'Man. His eyes, when seen with magnification are larger than normal. Because of the distance and smallness his eyes need to be larger than normal. I made his eyes by digging out an oval on either side of his nose, leaving one eye width between them...that's a good trick, more on that later. Then I took a pearl cane and shaped it to the small oval size and sliced off thin disks and laid them in the eye holes. Then I took the sharpest wax carving tool and poked a hole where the dark of the eye will be. I rolled a snake of black, and cut off the very end where it's tapered and stuck the tail of that black snake into that little hole and it made a really good quick eye. I only had to do it like 4 times to get it ok. LOL
Lips need to be bigger too, but too much clay to get the shadow I need would make everyone look like a pouting Ugandan, as cute as they can be when they pout, but it's not always appropriate. 
The jellyblend (skinnerblend, made into a ribbon, rolled into a jelly roll, reduced and abused) I used was various skin colors and their shading colors. I have Mexican skin, Japanese skin, White folk's skin, I'm working on the darker hues now with the slightest highlight in the center of the jellyroll....a bit of highlight, for dark wee bodies have the same shaping shadow problems as the lighter bodies do, just that the jelly roll has different proportions of light to dark.
My brain is on fire.
I made plaid, 1/76th scale plaid. Made a jumper with a full skirt for a Big Beautiful Woman of 1/76th scale.
I made tweed, using Leopard spot and tan pressed and stacked like philo dough in a baklava treat. The wood planks were recycled leopard spot rolled and taffy pulled and pressed. It was so easy I had to get up and wash dishes to digest the impact.
So the point being...working in this small scale has its own tool needs, its own issues of how to work with light, how to simulate shading by manipulating color when there's only a booger's worth of clay in the whole figure. Is it more efficient to made a bunch of posable nude bodies and just have them laying about to be dressed or to carve figures out of one color clay and then paint them? I'm voting for nude posables dressed in interesting micro mini cane.
Ok, next brain fart here.  Micro Mini Cane is something I've  not seen at all, anywhere. Like Gor Vidal said, when he couldn't find a book he wanted to read on a particular subject...he wrote it as his next book. Since I've been looking for tutorials on micro mini cane, cane that you can slice as is to simulate the weave of cloth, then I'm just going to have to experiment, figure it out for myself and then share it with all y'all.
What else. Oh micro mini food. I did a loaf of sliced white bread for Lil' Man. I used white folk skin with shadow for the bread loaf and I teased James for he is our token white person in the house. He pretended to eat Lil' Man's loaf of white bread. Hey Watch Out!! Yikes.
I already made Lil' Man a wooden bucket, got a trick for that ...take your smallest kemper round tool and cut out the bottom of the bucket. Don't pop it out right yet, but wrap around the tool the side of the bucket and make sure the tool was dusted, adhere the seam of the bucket and then ease the sides off the tool, just a hair and then pop out the bottom of the bucket...pinch around the seam and then remove from the tool. That too made me get up and straighten the sofa to digest the impact.
I may have been quiet this last day or so, but I've not been slack. I've been on the Micro Mini Attack and realize there's potential for as many tutorials for this scale as I've already made for 1/12th scale.
Call me slow to realize, but I got it now... I'm on it like white on rice.
There's the microwave ding, time for coffee.
Who's up and who's on and what are you making?

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