Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ears on!

Ratty with ears gluing on... looks a little painful... Epoxy resin is a dangerous thing for me as it gets a little too tempting to glue stuff to EVERYTHING...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Little Green Ratty!

As Uni is closed for Easter I've brought some bits home to be getting on with... unfortunately this means I'll probably get glue & stuff all over my bedroom... but I do get to listen to my music nice & loud :D

Anyway, this is my first colour version, I really like green & pink together... very summery, like the weather at the moment! Ears & tail from a charity shop duvet set, body was MDF found in the street.

Little Rats

Tiny 6cm head ratties cut from a sheet of MDF found by a bin on the street. Cleaned up, flattened and lasered :) Nice sense of satisfaction knowing I effectively saved them from landfill.
They will soon be joining the rest of my growing collection on my desk here :D

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Latest Ratty Pictures!

Well, I've mostly been getting on with building up the parts I'm getting back from the laser cutter, but (typically) the sandblaster is out of action at uni...meaning I can't clean up the final I have a backlog of about 5-6 acrylic Rats!

The laser cutter is booked up until the middle of May, meaning I'm just going to have to suck it up and outsource...expensive! But worth it as I should be able to make some metal versions from reclaimed galvanised steel (I'll have to double check this) which used to be a trailer...

Anyway, this is a *nearly* finished BIG acrylic Rat, from a cutting before I took out a lot of the interior weight and recessed the joints on the he's a bit of a heavy FrankenRat with his bolts sticking out... which is why he has shiny red & (fake) leather ears & tail...he's Frank-N-FurteRat (of Rocky Horror fame)...tedious link maybe, but the people I've told have liked the association... Ha :)

Annnnd this is the latest, two little Ratties cut from a sheet of MDF I found on the street, by a bin. There were bootprints on it, it needed cleaning up and drying out, then flattening under some heavy weights...but finally ready... Looking forward to building these up, they're kind-of twins if they're from the same sheet aren't they? 

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Masquerade Pictures

Mask Complete 
-with ribbon & matching synthetic dreads tied in.

 How it looked under UV.
If I were to make this again I'd put much bolder UV on, the small details didn't show up as well as I'd hoped. 

Another close-up. 
Can see the tear and the glossiness of the beak. Rubbish photo taken in the loos on my phone! 

These were all the extensions and flowers I was going to use in the mohawk. It's a costume I'll have to do in the future at another event where I have more time to prepare!  

Making process and materials. I'm really pleased with how this came out, it was good fun to do something completely separate from my uni work, a nice break from thinking about articulation and layers! I hadn't painted anything for a while so that was nice to get back into.

Anyway! Back on with RAT WORK! :D

Mask- gloss on beak & eyes still drying, complete pictures to follow! 

It went down really well at the event, loads of people had made such an effort and the venue was incredible! Hopefully pictures will start to surface soon :D Unfortunately I ran out of time to get my hair up into the mohawk style I'd wanted, plus I was off to a gig first and it probably wouldn't have survived! Anyway, proper pictures and initial sketches up soon (when I've plugged in my scanner and sorted my new room out, lodger moving in, house a complete mess, etc etc) :) 

Friday, 8 April 2011


Work in progress of a mask for a ball this weekend....

Initial sketchbook work.

Built on top of a simple store-bought one. 

Wire beak & arched eyebrows attached, then glued into place with epoxy resin. 

Beak covered & filled out with loose-weave material to give shape & structure. 

Covered in paper mache! 

Start of the 'crest' which will lead into my hair-style... 

Going to wait for it to fully dry overnight, then cover in a base coat (or few) of white, then decorate with beautiful colours and magical things :) I still haven't decided what *else* to wear though... 

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Initial hair-idea...

This is what I've been messing about with part of a costume side-project I've got on the boil... It's a sort of fin-mane-mohawk-crest thing... needs a lot more work, flowers & decoration, extra colours, extra bobbles for extra links, more swooshy-ness up at the front, more flicky-free bits...I've got a sketch I'll scan in... but this is the start... and this is me!

Etsy Shop! And recent goings-on.

Etsy shop opened, now I need to learn how to work the site and the linking thing throughout all my pages...and get some stuff put up there! I think I will be selling some old work, paintings and sculpture through it first...and then my Ratties after the degree show (unless they all sell out there! Which would be great!) SHOP!

It's going to be quite difficult to part with them I think, especially as they're hand finished so I ALREADY feel they have unique 'personalities'... (Oh dear, I'm both anthropomorphising AND personifying inanimate objects at the same time...) but then it will be nice to see them go to new homes where people will enjoy having them!

It's the Easter 'Holidays' at the moment (in quotes because it most certainly doesn't FEEL like a holiday!) so the workshops at uni are frustratingly closed...though it has given me opportunity to really catch up on all the supporting work for my degree. I was initially reluctant to start it, but I've really enjoyed working back with 2D materials, thinking over new designs and ideas...just using pens & pencils for drawing again!!

Anyways, I have an enormous 'To Do' list which I should get back to :)

Sunday, 3 April 2011


Rat idea initially came from spending the summer of 2011 living life on the fringes of society and identifying with the stereotyped Rat character.

I slept rough (through choice, despite renting a lovely house, don't worry, I wasn't homeless!) in a variety of locations around the city... I can honestly say that waking up at sunrise under a fresh blue sky is one of the most amazing experiences. Even camping can't compare because you're still 'inside something'. Going back within four walls feels quite alien after a night in the wild...

I explored abandoned buildings, raided skips for food, went weeks without spending money, helped friends out in exchange for food, swam in lakes and rivers, cycled everywhere, made some wonderful new was wonderful. I felt properly free and floaty...

It did all have to end though... I found it very difficult to re-focus myself on my course and having a routine and schedule... but I did, eventually! They're quite bitter-sweet memories as I'll never have that time again, but that makes it even more precious. I wanted my work this year to come from those experiences I had :)

I went through quite a lot of different ideas before deciding to make my own swarm of rats to come exploring with me in future...
Right, pictures!

They're in a vague order of newest to oldest images...

This was the very first 'finished-ish' Ratty. He's made with an old placard for a university protest, his ears and tail are recycled material scraps.

 This was the first experiments with glueing the threads of the pivots (to keep tension on the layers & therefore make them able to hold their own weight) and it works really well! Left in position for even a few days they hold position very well.

 ...and this is the professional photograph of one of 'em for our degree brochure. He's made with old laminate floor-boards, saved from landfill. He measures about 80cm, nose to tail and is fairly heavy as he was cut before I had the revelation about removing all the internal weight.

Unfortunately the photograph had to be portrait to fit the layout of the brochure...and I already had an image of a Rat standing up on the opposite page... but I do quite like how it looks like he's been caught in the spotlight of something...from doing something bad :D

This is an early cardboard prototype with contours, jaw mechanism (which you can't see, it's oh-so-clever) ;P and ear-fixing problems ironed out with the addition of a few more outer layers on the head.

 The two above are previous cardboard prototypes. It was after playing with these that I had the idea of contouring the outer layers to make them more realistic and pleasing as they were pretty bulky. I do really like the idea of having  few 'Rats with Wings' in my show, it's a bit tongue in cheek, but will have to see if I have the time to fully develop a wing I'm happy with!

 ...and this is an EVEN earlier model, this was before I'd worked out which layers went where. It was lovely to see the pieces working together and I enjoyed playing around and putting it in different positions, comparing with real-life rat images to make sure it had the right characteristics and dimensions.

Started looking at how the legs were going to make a working joint that didn't over-extend.

These were very early versions, I hadn't looked at real rats deliberately so I'd be drawing from imagined stereotypes. I wanted them skinny & scrawny and nasty looking...but I eventually fell out of love with them because they just weren't Ratty enough and I don't think people would ever really like them... so the design was scrapped and I started again from fresh and ended up with the shape you see above :)