Arts & Crafts Magazine

Paper Mache "Party Animals"- Almost There!

By Danmonsterman @danmonsterman
So this is the entry where I admit defeat.   It is hard for me to share this.   Okay, well not as hard as, say, saving for retirement, but hard nonetheless.   I'm still bothered that I couldn't make this work.  I've been doing paper mache for a very long time.  I don't fail.   As I mentioned earlier, when a patron entered the restaurant through the red door (the door on the right, of course) the front legs would swing up.   I also planned on making the trunk swing up revealing an open mouth.   As you can see in the photos I put an aluminum bar through the top of the trunk.   Then I used aluminum flat bars to build a bracket to support the trunk.   It was looking good at this point.  The trunk swung nicely up into the air.
I took the trunk off and  constructed a head around the bracket.   Using some of the paper mache balls I had around,  I sculpted and painted a mouth and tongue. 
Here is where the trouble started.   I knew that I would need a hole at the top of the trunk.  The base of the trunk needed to swing back into the head as the trunk was raised.   I thought that I could sculpt the rest of the face around that hole.   Well I couldn't.   After placing the eyes all over the head I realized that they needed to be directly above the trunk to get the face I wanted.   When I did that, the hole looked like a little mouth.   No matter what variation I tried it just looked terrible.   I had to decide between artistic integrity and having the trunk move.   In the end, there wasn't really a choice.  I needed the elephant to look the way I envisioned from the beginning no matter what.   So I abandoned the idea of the trunk swinging with the arms.   It ended up being just fine.   Having only the legs of the elephant move was consistent with having just the hind legs of the donkey swing.   And as you can see the elephant's face looks much better without the hole.    
I must say at this point that this is what I mean when I say that paper mache is "forgiving."  I was able to fix the face fairly easily.  I don't know of any other medium where you can just cut things up and take a new direction.  
Speaking of the donkey...
I finally attached the hind legs.   As you can see I had to take out more of the wadded paper in the hind quarters (that I'll re-paper mache later for another project).   I used pipe clamps to connect the two legs to each other inside the body.  Then I patched the hole in the belly.
I also made an executive decision to change the eyes from brown human eyes to wild boar eyes.   Much better don't you think?  Less Shrekkish.  

Thanks for hanging in there.   My next entry will show the finished pieces.  I'll have a few photos from the restaurant as well.  So far they have been very well received.
Until then.....

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