The first challenge I participated in was the blog's most recent: the Ijiraq. Here's a quote from the blog describing the Ijiraq:
The Ijiraq ( ee-yee-roc ) is a monster from Inuit mythology whose name literally means "shapeshifter". They can come in a range of different shapes and sizes, even going so far as to copy the appearance of other monsters. The Ijiraq is a gruesome shadowy phantom that can appear as various arctic animals. Among these are the polar bear, arctic hare, raven or even the Tariaksuq (a half-man half-caribou monster). Some versions of the myth claim the Ijiraq and Tariaksuq (most often described as a great shaggy man with a caribou's head) may actually be the same creature in different forms.I immediately got a picture in my head of how I wanted my sculpture to look, just from the wonderful description of the creature. So I started sketching, scanned my sketch into photoshop, and kept working with it and tweaking it until I got an image that I was pleased with. My sculptures always start with at least one drawing that I use to plan out the look of the sculpture, as well as the armature.
Using tricks and disguises the Ijiraq steal children, hide them, then leave them out in the wilderness to die of exposure. Along with this gruesome hobby these creatures love to scare hunters and try to get them hopelessly lost or trapped in bad weather.
It is said that the Ijiraq lives in a strange no-mans land somewhere between the world of the living and the world of the dead. If an Ijiraq does manage to trick an unfortunate soul into following it into this strange frozen purgatory, they will be trapped forever and condemned to become an Ijiraq themselves.
So here is the concept drawing I did, as well as the plan outlining the armature I built for the sculpture:
Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the armature or the armature building process, but to make a long story short, I printed out the second drawing on an sheet of printer paper and laid out pieces of aluminum wire of different gauges on the drawing and bent them following the lines I planned out for the armature. Then I used plumber's putty to attach the limbs to the spine. Next I made adjustments to the armature to make sure it was posed how I wanted, and then drilled holes in a wooden plaque for the leg wires. From there, I began layering on the clay. I don't have photos of the early part of this process, but my boyfriend Dave (who is an incredible photographer and artist) was kind enough to take some later in the day. The first stage of sculpting is really rough--I basically just want to cover most of the armature and establish basic volumes in the piece. From there, the addition of clay is more careful and gradual, and I begin to slowly refine the forms in the sculpture using my fingers as well as various tools.
Once I'd refined the piece until I was happy with it, I got out my light tent and camera and took these photos:
For now, so long and thanks for reading!