While the rest of Australia has been out enjoying the blazing summer sunshine I've been hiding myself away and working on this new piece for the Byron Arts Classic Exhibition in January. I was planning on being in Mexico for the Day of the Dead this year, but plans - as they often do - didn't quite turn out as expected so I decided to do a piece that celebrated this amazing day in my own way.
I started off planning to only make a wig but as I was creating pieces to go in the hair my mind turned to how it would be displayed and I decided it would be best to create a custom bust as well - to create a complete look while on show and make it more of a sculpture. The base is predominantly made from cardboard, the head from paper mache and the neck wire. I used paper pulp to sculpt her features and all the detailing on the base, and then layers of filler and plaster to get a nice smooth surface to paint on.
Despite being piled with with decorations the wig itself is actually very light - the skulls are all hollow and made from paper mache, the butterflies are made from paper and modelling clay and the hearts from cardboard and paper pulp: all arranged on a hollow cage structure which is hidden by the hair. To ensure ease in fastening the wig when wearing it I have made a door in the back of the cage which is hidden by the large heart - this can be opened so pins can be secured at strong 'anchor points'.
I stuck with a very strong colour scheme of black, white, gold and a deep fuchsia pink (which for some reason has come out much lighter in the photos) that I decided to carry through the wig onto the base so everything tied in together nicely and created a complete work. The lace, beads and roses are the only accessorize that I did not make myself - however I've painted the roses to ensure a colour match and inserted lace between some of the petals. I also painted some of the beads - again to ensure that they fitted with the colour scheme.