Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


Darwin-Part 2

First, a brief summary. Darwin, originally named Hybrid, has a head that was my first attempt at sculpting cat heads. To me, he looked more like a cross between a cat, a rabbit, and a horse. However, he was still destined for greatness in the form of a new animal spirit messenger. You can read about my process in creating his body and how he got his new name here.

When we last saw Darwin, he looked like this:

Darwin-core polymer clay body

Feeling a little naked, I think.

I left some of the wire uncovered thinking that I might change the angle of his arms and legs. However, I quickly learned that in order to do just that, I should not have covered his shoulders or neck or hips. Repositioning him now would be like moving a super model bound tightly in vinyl. Ain’t gonna happen.

So, I covered the exposed wire and started to make Darwin’s clothing. Yes, I made clothes for Darwin from polymer clay. I traced his trunk, arms, and legs to make patterns and then “cut” the pieces from the polymer fabric.

It was starting to feel like an art doll version of Project Runway in my studio. Only I didn’t have Tim Gunn telling me to “make it work.” (Though I did hear him in my head….)

Here is the finished version of Darwin. More information on this piece follows the pictures.


Darwin-side view

After Darwin was clothed, I realized the area between his waistline and his crotch was rather large and blank. (You could say he has a very high waist.) So I sewed a sporran for him to wear around his waist. A sporran is Scottish Gaelic for “purse” or a pouch. It is a traditional part of Scottish Highland dress, usually worn as part of a kilt ensemble. It functions like a pocket on a pair of pants.

Darwin’s sporran is made from felt with whipped stitched edges and a tiny button sewn on the flap to secure it.

In Darwin’s hands is his field notebook. The notebook opens and contains scribblings and pictures of the curious creatures he has found on his travels.

Darwin’s base is made from air dry clay applied over a box. The air dry clay went on a bit lumpy and I used this to my advantage to create a “dry earth” surface. The air dry clay was painted with several shades of acrylic paint and sealed. The wild flowers (star leaf species) are polymer.

Darwin is attached to his base with a small amount of apoxie clay. Including the base, Darwin is 13″ tall.

Inside the box I placed the following quote from John Muir. Mr. Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist and explorer. He is credited with promoting the cause to make the Yosemite Valley into a National Park. He founded the Sierra Club in 1892 and served as its President until his death is 1914.

This grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere:
The dew is never all dried at once:
a shower is forever falling, vapor is ever rising.
Eternal sunshine, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn,
as the round earth rolls.

Note: It is only as I write this that I realize the curious connections in this piece. When I made Darwin’s pants, I knew they had a creative plaid pattern. That is what prompted the idea for the sporran. When I gave him the name of Darwin, I knew he would become an explorer. That prompted the field notebook. As the piece came together, including the “dry earth” base, it all felt very serendipitous. I chose the quote from John Muir because I knew he was a great supporter of nature and the environment. It was only when I looked up his biography that I learned he was Scottish. Ironically, Charles Darwin was English, a naturalist, and studied at the University of Edinburgh.


Happy 2nd Blogiversary

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Musings from the Moonroom!

Well, technically, the blog’s second anniversary was last month but I was on this little trip to France and, well, it is better late than never.

This year, I’m offering readers a chance to win one of my collectible Friendship Bowls. Just leave a comment at the end of this post and your name will be put in a drawing to win the Friendship Bowl.

It is always fun to review the past year and the second year of blogging has seen some changes.  For one, I’m not as anal (yes, I am not afraid to use that word) about blogging. When I first started blogging, I was determined to blog 5 days a week. That, in reality, became way too stressful. I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist about some things, hence the high standard I set for blogging frequency.  It is possible that some of the gray hairs that have found their way to my head are due to my self-imposed stress. I do feel some twinge of guilt if I don’t blog at least 3 days a week…but I usually get over it. And I’m definitely not ready for a full head of gray hair yet. (And if my mother’s gray hair track record is any indicator, I’ll be in my 80’s before mine really start blossoming.)

I originally intended to blog about creativity and my art creations. Boy did that change. Sometimes I feel the content is all over the board. Some may say that isn’t a good thing. You know, choose a niche, a brand, a market, and stick with it.  Sorry, ain’t gonna happen on this blog. I’ve too many interests, too many thoughts, and sometimes too many distractions to keep myself on a narrow path.  You know how us creative types are.  Bruce Baker has referred to artists with multiple art medium interest as M.A.D (multiple artist disease). I think the same can be said about my blogging topics.

This past year I even attempted a second blog devoted to fitness; the trials, tribulations, and funny stories that result from exercising. I didn’t get very far with it or the exercising for that matter. It was hard enough maintaining one blog, a business, and the other things that life throws at me and trying to keep up a second blog.  However, I had to try it, realized it wasn’t going to work, killed the other blog, and moved on.

Robin Williams once said, when asked about some of his less popular movies, “we don’t make mistakes, we make interesting choices.”  I like that attitude. No mistakes, no failures, just interesting choices.

Here are the top 10 posts over the past 365 days. Do you have a favorite?

Art Date: Frida Kahlo Art Exhibit

Why Keep Art Curriculums in School?

Sarasvati and Ceibhfhionn

Stone Cairns-The Beauty of Balance

Chakra Energy Angels-The Group

The American Craft Council Show Part 1

Laurie Mika Workshop

What Does An Artist Look Like?

Book Review: 500 Handmade Dolls

There is a tie for the 10th spot:

Reflections on Gratitude-Word of the Year

The Yes Men

And about that Friendship Bowl.

These bowls were inspired by the Quaich, which is Scottish Gaelic for “friendship.” A quaich or friendship bowl was used to hold whiskey or other libation. The whiskey was then shared among friends with each person taking a sip from the bowl. Some of the early quaiches had glass or clear bottoms. When the leaders from two or more clans would gather, the clan leaders would share a drink in these clear bottom bowls. The reason? As one would drink from the clear bottom quaich, it allowed him to keep an eye on his rival.

This particular Friendship Bowl has an Asian influence. Made entirely of polymer clay, this bowl features the hand carved kanji symbol for “thanks” and hand carved bamboo leaves. Around the rim of the bowl is hand formed polymer clay bamboo. A turquoise wash brings out the carvings. The bowl measures approximately 4″ in diameter. A display stand and story card are included.


So leave a comment below and you might win this Friendship Bowl.

Thanks for your visits!