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carved pine marten - my first attempt at sculpting/carving my own form

Discussion in 'Lifesize Mammals' started by juli, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. juli

    juli Active Member

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    This is a first for me - been wanting to do this type of mount for a long time, a back burner project, I guess...I acquired a marten in the round so that I could use the carcass for reference and carved/sculpted the form from scratch. I froze the body in the position (close to the position) I wanted and went from there...first taking measurements, then carving the body, followed by the legs...At first I tried carving the legs from a single piece of foam, but decided it would be easier and more efficient to carve each joint/leg section separately, then I was able to get the three dimmensional positioning I wanted....The pic below is the 'first' draft of the hind legs...I did not like them or the hip section, so cut them off and did the carving again....Eventually I will have a flying squirrel to accompany her. Overall I am happy with the mount. I would change some things for sure, starting with casting the head and maybe the legs, individually...but not having the suppies for it at the time or the inclination to try to learn something else 'new' to me on this project, I just decided to start from scratch. LOL


    these are how I started...other pix to follow
     

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  2. juli

    juli Active Member

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    The marten with skin on.
     

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  3. juli

    juli Active Member

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    last 2..
     

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  4. magicmick

    magicmick magicmick

    pritty cool juli nice work :)
     
  5. Amy

    Amy Mammal artist

    Good job Juli, he is very cute. They are such a delicate animal
     
  6. juli

    juli Active Member

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    Thanks Amy and Magic Mick... Amy, I agree...they are pretty delicate - but not like a snowshoe hare! LOL!!! I had to skin 3 of those little bastards til I finally got one to hold together..... Had some issues with this one that I was able to overcome. The left eye had almost an 1/8th inch slippage along the top of the eyelid (what I get for trying to have a whole marten shipped during the summer, even express mail)..that was 'corrected' by overtucking the eye...still a little showing there, but it will finish ok and thankfully it turned out to be the left eye and not the right eye, so less visible.

    One thing I did learn in carving my own form is that the skin actually FIT correctly, and if anything was a little loose. Next one will be for a competition piece, I hope. This was the learning process I needed to get my feet wet with.
     
  7. Skywalker

    Skywalker Well-Known Member

    Nice work Juli! You have entered a realm where you have complete control over all outcomes. Don't look back.
     
  8. mr useless

    mr useless Member

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    beautiful work!i love the idea, could you please give me some detail about , i am just hobby beginner and would like to give a try with body carving, normally just carve the neads and wrap the rest, never tried a full carving
    for the carving work, after freezin the carcass, do you separate the limbs to work individually on each part? as i can see you have the body- neck block, then the head, then legs(doing these last ones separated by the articulations)are you passing wires completely through them for then bend them in correct position?? what have you used as glue/filler? bondo? clay? both? i guess the marten was flat skinned, wasn't it?



     
  9. juli

    juli Active Member

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    Thank you Skywalker and Mr useless,

    Mr Useless, I vote that you change your handle! I feel like I am being rude by calling you that. LOL :)

    Ok - to answer your question about the carving. Yes. I first took several circumference measurements of the body - at the hips, mid section, behind the shoulders, base of neck and base of skull. Also the distances between the base of tail to tip of nose, base of tail to beginning of hip, beginning of the hip and shoulder blades, front of shoulder to base of skull. I then carved the piece of foam I had (handily off a form I was not going to use).

    Then I went to work on the legs - first I tried carving the legs in one piece. I did not like them, so ended up carving them in sections, attatched by wire running through and strengthened at the joint with plastiweld and/or apoxy sculpt. The hocks were sculpted at the time I sewed the skin on, because they are very thin/flat and fragile if done with foam, so I wanted to use something a little more durable. I just made sure to leave an inch or so of wire sticking through the 'calf' section of the leg.

    In the end, freezing and taking several pictures from different angles helped me more than anything, with regards to reference as I carved. I did use the legs (thawed) for help in carving them correctly.

    As mentioned the skin did have some problems - a slip spot in the neck required me to shorten the neck on the form, which does make that right front leg look too far forward. as well as slip spot around one eye and others in the groin area. But it is what it is and we, as taxidermists have learn to use the magic wand, if we want to be successful in our trade (at least from a commercial perspective). :)

    Juli
     
  10. This looks fantastic! Great job!
     
  11. mr useless

    mr useless Member

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    thank you very much for your instructions, i really like this type of work , completely DIY, all by your own, for me that is where the real art is, maybe there are imperfections etc... but when you try to do something this way you always love it,there is something "yours" on it is is not just a skin glued on a massive production toy.For a hobbiest that is the most important part of the whole thing
     
  12. juli

    juli Active Member

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    I am inclined to think more 'professional', than 'hobbiest'... anyone who can make, shape, and custom create their own form and do it well is, IMO, beyond 'hobbiest' :) However, I do agree that it does give more ownership or pride in accomplishment to the creator of the piece, when it is completely custom done.
     
  13. mr useless

    mr useless Member

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    ia lso agree with you, i just refered as most of the time could be much easier to get a "real appearance" out of a mount using a quality commercial manikin instead of trying to do it from zero, if you area hobbiest, like me, any reasonable " good looking" mount i could get from zero sounds like a victory ;D, of course get something "great" out of zero ... that is another level!! ;)