Monday, October 29, 2012

Hallowe'en shenanigans!

Hallowe'en is in just a few days. I was on the ball this year with my costume making. Since moving to London I've found my resources are greatly reduced. In Calgary I had a very tiny room in the house I live in that I used as a studio. This allowed me to get quite mucky on a regular basis and have multiple projects going at once. It also allowed me plenty of storage space for scraps of material, bits of chicken wire, and other crafty stuff that worked well for costume design.

Just before I move to London I also made a big effort to purge my life of 'unneccesary' stuff. Anything I hadn't touched in a year was either thrown out, donated to charity or gifted to friends, depending on the state of it.

What I could bring over was stuffed into two large suitcases that couldn't weigh more than 50lbs each and everything else was put into storage to await my eventual (possibly, maybe) return.

I did keep a few things but they're all in Canada. I also had a pretty good list of stores where I could source supplies from and of course, I had that space in which to work.

Since coming to the UK my costume making has become far less fulfilling. I still have all the same great ideas and enthusiasm, but finding the space hasn't been successful. Regardless, this year I decided to get started sooner rather than later.

The first step was deciding on what I wanted to be. I have a long list of costume to make, and eventually I will when the time is right, but I knew that most of them were far too ambitious given a current lack of funds. Whatever it was would be clever and creative but also simple. 

I opened up my Book of Faeries - a childhood favourite and one of the few books I simply had to bring with me from Canada - and scanned the pages for inspiration. I considered Jenny Greenteeth but didn't immediately warm to it when I considered how I'd go about it. I scanned the pixies, although Pixie King has already been a costume I've done and I seek to do something different every year.

And then I saw the Phooka, an Irish Goblin that likes to shape shift into animal forms and often has the head of a goat. This reminded me of 'Snuff' the latest Discworld novel from Terry Pratchett, which also features goblins. Perfect. 

So, this Hallowe'en my costume is that of a Goblin. I'm quite pleased with the outcome. I've been commissioned to make the occasional costume for others and would love to do it again. If you like what you see visit to find out about commissioning work from me.

First I build the basic shape of the mask on my face using plaster cast.
I use warm water so it will dry faster as the entire thing is done on my face
in one go so the sooner it dries, the less time I have to wear it. 

This is a new to me material - one of the problems with making plaster masks is that
they end up weighing quite a bit. I figured I could give this a go as it's a light, foamy material
and it air dries. The initial mask I did didn't work as, when it dries, it also expands the
plaster so it no longer fit my face. 

After some careful sculpting I have covered the entire plaster base with the Fimo.
I did a single layer all over and then built up the eyebrows, nose and lip.
I added the horns and ears last. 

When it was dry (24 hours later) I painted it using acrylic.
You can see that I still had some side expansion but it still fits nicely so I'm not worried. 

And voila! My goblin face is complete! 

I got the vest in a charity shop and
picked up some faux-fur (Just half a metre) to make the loin cloth.
The brown 'body suit' is a cheap set of leggings with a tight fitting shirt.
I used a little acrylic paint to add the muscles.
For more of my artwork visit

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