I wanted to provide a trumpeter in his best tailcoat. Mary R decided to join us with her beautiful NP doll playing the flute and wearing a gorgeous elegant dress. So far so proper and upright for a dignified fanfare. However you cannot have a fanfare without some drums and it didn't take a giant leap of imagination for my younger daughter and I to brainstorm the outrage of a toddler getting in on the act and subverting the whole piece by being the drummer - in character of course - none other than Animal from The Muppets!
How to make Edmund look like Animal was the next challenge. We looked at plenty of photos and some hilarious videos (Animal duelling with other famous drummers who had come on as guests of The Muppets). My younger daughter had just learned how to crochet and I suggested she return to Lorraine's hat pattern from the first SCW (she had not got very far with it during that craft workshop). She constructed a crochet helmet for Edmund including a chin strap in both the base red colour as well as a strip of black crochet for inside his lower lip. She also crocheted a ridge of black to form a base for his eyebrows.
|Edmund wearing the basic crochet helmet with his proud owner who was just fastening off the chin strap|
Then she sewed on a large round red wooden bead for his nose (just above his little face peeping through the mouth opening) and glued on some white felt circles into which she had glued some wobbly plastic eyes. She made a row of white teeth of felt and glued that onto the black row of his lower lip. Suddenly the red helmet started to look something like the character she was creating.
|Sewing on the nose|
|Making sure the nose was securely stitched onto the helmet|
|Finishing the nose sewing|
|Nose in place and the chin strap with the black band for inside the mouth|
|Eyes, eyebrows and teeth in place, adding the first of the shaggy hair|
Next came the most time consuming part - lots of lengths of coloured wool was hooked into the helmet (rag rug style) all over his head. This meant cutting hundreds of pieces of wool, folding them in half and using the crochet hook to loop them through the holes in his helmet (the texture of crochet provides natural holes, ideal for this purpose). She used a few strands of carefully placed black wool to emphasize his wild eyebrows. She used the same thick red wool as the helmet for some strands but thinner, 4 ply variegated colour wool for the bulk of his mad hair - the colour shades included coppery orange and deep reds.
|Hard at work making Animal hairy|
|Looping through the next piece of wool as Animal starts to look like his wild self|
|Late night finishing of the back of Animal's head|
|The remodelled desk top drum kit with The Muppets on the bass drum and clay feet on the metal stands|
|The Fanfare band bunting|
I decided that Reuben was honouring a famous jazz trumpeter who was also a movie star in High Society - Louis Armstrong. I designed the tailcoat using adapted pattern pieces I had previously used for the school blazers I made for the Summer School swap Lorraine organised a few years ago. I sewed a simple sleeveless white shirt to go under the tailcoat to provide a white collar, and some black trousers.
Reuben needed to hold the trumpet, this was my next challenge. Sasha doll hands are curved but are not designed to hold a heavy metal trumpet at the right angle for a fanfare. So I used some clay to fill in his hands and pushed the trumpet onto the damp clay to get the best position and shape when his hands were held up (fortunately his stringing is good). The clay dried, was painted brown and one piece was glued to the trumpet. The 2 clay pieces were fitted back into his hands using blutak (I did not want to glue them to his hands) and when setting up the display the second piece of clay was glued to the other side of the trumpet to hold the hands closer together than they would normally naturally be (blutak failed after a while in that position in my earlier experiments, so it was better to use evostick glue for trumpet to clay joins).
|Reuben holds up his left hand to show the painted blob of clay|
|Reuben holding the trumpet with his right hand|
|The right hand clay piece glued on the trumpet, with blutak for sticking it to his hand|
|Louis Armstrong and Animal warming up for the big Fanfare|
Please note, these photos were taken before the SCW at home. I'll do another blog post after the weekend with photos of the red carpet display and the band including its classy flautist.