Tag Archives: wood

Stick Ladies Part 4 (and an animal, too)

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. Here the new figures assemble themselves to greet the public.

Now, take a look at all of them together. Don’t you want to try to make some yourself?

Stick Ladies Part 3

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here are two more stick lady figurines I recently made. I’ve discussed the process in previous posts so I won’t go over it again, but I will tell you a few details about constructing them.

  1. First of all, choose wood that has been off the tree for a while, but is not rotten or soft. Test a branch or stick by banging it hard against a tree or sidewalk. If it breaks, don’t use it.
  2. Learn to use a drill. You will need it for drilling holes through the arms and you will also be making holes in the body, head, and base, for the screws to go into. I improved my drill skills a lot in this simple project (because I had virtually none to start with…)
  3. Woodburning is lots of fun. Try it and you will like it. remember that the tip gets very hot. Just saying.
  4. A hand saw is plenty good for any sawing you will be doing in this project. That was important to me because I have a tendency to cut body parts (off, sometimes) when using sharp blades (no casualties in this project, before you wonder).
  5. I think these figurines could go anywhere you want them to. Make them clothes, wrap them in wire, paint them…I think of many possibilities I would like to try. But I also always want to pay attention to the wood. Each stick is beautiful, with patterns and designs already in place.

OK, here are the two remaining tall figures.

Lady #5:

Lady #6:

Next time I’ll show you a group shot of all the figurines.

Stick Ladies Part 2

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

In this next group, I will show you the next phase of stick lady construction in my recent project. This group has attached arms and…attached heads. Yes. Just take a look.

As I have said before, I collected the body sticks, and for these, I was looking for moderately substantial branches. Once I had found what I wanted (testing them against rotten or decayed wood by banging them against a tree trunk to see if they broke) I sawed them into lengths and went through my dishwasher sanitizing process and let them dry.

I took a smaller-diameter stick and cut it into “head”-sized pieces, matching them with bodies.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #3c

Then I chose arms and attached them as before, first drilling a hole and them nailing them to the body.

arm

I created features and clothing with my woodburning tool.  I cut bases from a plank and painted them black.

Stick Ladies 6-18-20 #4e

Then I  assembled them. Today I will show you two, in detail, and later on the other two, that I made in this way.

Using dowel screws I first attached the head and then connected the body to the base. I used differently-sized screws because it was important to get the proportions right. On my first try I chose screws that were too short for the “legs” portion and the figures look squat and ungainly. A longer screw corrected that problem.

Here are two figurines. They range in size from 16-18″ tall, all parts included.

Lady #3:

Lady #4:

I have two more to show you in a later post.

 

Stick Ladies Part 1

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Most of this project involved making stick ladies. These I will show you today are derived from the ones I did in the past, which were all in one piece:

I gathered a selection of branches that I thought would be suitable for bodies. I was looking for something a little thicker than the ones I had used in the past.

And I decided to make the new ones with arms. Accordingly I collected sticks of a smaller diameter than the body materials I was looking for.

I peeled or cut off any bark, cut all the sticks into shorter lengths, and ran them through the dishwasher to get rid of any bugs. I let them dry outside for about a week.

And…the arms. I cut them to a good size to fit the figures, first drilling a hole through them and then nailing them on to the body. By drilling first, I reduced my chanced of splitting the wood when I nailed.

arm

Then I got busy with my woodburning set and gave them faces and clothing. I made bases for them from small blocks of wood that I painted black and attached the two pieces with dowel screws.

Here are the results:

Stick ladies group 2 6-20

These two figures are about 12″ tall in total (including the “legs” and base). Here are some detail photos.

Lady #1:

And here is Lady #2:

I like how the natural curve of the wood gives the lady figures a posture and an attitude.

Stick Animal

I recently showed you some stick figures I made in 2016 and updated in 2020. The project made me want to try some more figures. I will be showing you the results of those efforts over the next couple of weeks while describing the process and any changes I made.

Here is the first example of the recent stick figures I made, though it was the last one I did, and it’s created out of leftovers. Let’s call it Stick Animal.

Stick animal 1 6-20

What started me off on making an animal rather than a person was this knot on the wood. I thought it looked like an eye and I could not stop envisioning it as such.

Stick animal 5 6-20

I tried to figure out how to match it. I ended up taking a small piece of a thin stick and jamming it tight into a washer. Then I drilled out the “body” and inserted the “eye” into it, gluing it tight.

Stick animal 4 6-20

Spoiler alert, all the stick figurines I made in this project have arms, so I had some small stick pieces on hand. I took four sticks at random and nailed them to the body, not worrying about making them even – I was able to move the legs enough to adjust them to allow the animal to stand.

Stick Animal 6-18-20 #1d

So far so good. I decided the animal needed a tail. I had saved the wire from some wirebound notebooks – I cut a piece, stretched it out, and nailed it to the animal.

Stick animal 3 6-20

Now it needed a mouth. This body part had to wait a while – I didn’t know what would be the right thing. Then one day I saw a red bottle cap on the ground. I picked it up, washed it, bent it in half, and nailed it to the animal. Now…he had a mouth with teeth!

Stick animal 6 6-20

I felt this animal was just as he should be. Here he is again.

 

Art Camp Day 9 – August 11

Art camp! Art camp! Claudia McGill is at Art Camp Claudia McGill! Art camp! Art camp! (These are the words to our camp song, in case you would like to know…not much of a song but it gets the point across.)

Today the topic was – woodburning. Or pyrography, as it is also called.

I have a little woodburning set but have never used it – my husband did, when he made a sign for my garden. I’ve held on to it, thinking of childhood memories of woodburning projects, but not until today did I get to it.

Before I tried it out (after decades apart, I felt the technique and I needed to re-acquaint ourselves) I got a couple of books from the library on the topic. They depicted a very pictorial approach to the medium – shading and realism and that kind of thing. I had a more rustic view of woodburning projects – a sign for Art Camp Claudia McGill to put over the entrance? but really, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I really didn’t want to purchase a wooden blank of some kind, box, plaque, etc., and decorate it. And I didn’t want to make a sign for camp, either, to tell the truth…

So when I set to work today, I was still confused as to what I’d be making. But I got a piece of scrap wood and fired up the woodburning tool. Though it came with several points (including an Exacto knife attachment that would allow you to cut plastic stencils) I stuck with the standard point; I think it is referred to as a chisel point.

Woodburning tools 8-16 small

I practiced on the scrap wood and got the hang of things pretty quickly. Let me tell you, that little tool heats up fast and furious. It’s necessary to move slowly over the wood, and the longer you linger in one spot, the deeper and thicker the line. The varied surfaces on the point also allowed me to make different marks. I also recommend working in a well-ventilated room – the process creates a bit of smoke.

I liked the look of things, but I needed a project. Then – I thought of – stick ladies.

You may remember my painted stick ladies, made from wood picked up on my walks. Luckily, I had a pile of prepared sticks ready to go. I grabbed some and got to work.

In each case, I started with the nose and created the face. It gave me a good starting point.

Woodburned lady in process 8-16 small

I made a nice little group of ladies. Each one is plain on the back with her features on the front. I also tried to used fatter sticks, as it gave a better surface to work with.

I will make more of these ladies. Since I had a hard time getting started, I didn’t have the opportunity to do as many as I would have liked – they are addictive, once you get going.

So, the woodburning set is a success. And just as much fun as I remember from about 50 years ago.

Scraps. Scraps. What’s the Difference?

The word “scraps” can have a couple of meanings. One of them refers to left-overs, and the other is  – Fights. Arguments. Altercations. Disagreements. Knock down drag outs.

OK. Well, I’ll solve this little question. I’m only talking about scraps in the first sense.

I made these women-figure-painting-things from some scraps of wood we had in the garage. They are about 6″ tall, painted in acrylics. I gave them names because the idea amused me.

As a group, I admit they look quite strong-willed, now that I think of it. So it is a good thing that I took them to Lorimer Park and set them out along the rail trail. (Look here if you want to see them at the park.) I did separate them, so I guess the danger of a scrap, altercation, row, whatever, is pretty much zero.

OK, I know I’m stretching your patience here today! Thank you for indulging me.

From the Woods to My House and Therefore Getting Painted

I haven’t worked on stick ladies recently – busy with other things. I had quite a collection from the summer, though, and here are some of them. I’ve given a lot away this fall, so I think I’ll be making more soon. I feel the itch.

I tried to find some sticks with curves, branches, or other interesting sections, and then I used the features in figuring out how I wanted to paint the women. They certainly develop their own personalities this way, or I should say, they have their own personalities already, inherent in the wood…

This group of ladies I painted just for myself. I have them in my bathroom right now. I designed their outfits and color scheme to go with the room – white, gray, and yellow. I think I will keep them there all winter and then maybe in the spring they’ll try a new location or who knows – a new home. Because I do like to give these figures to people.

stick ladies group of three in yellow white and gray 8-14

Here are some portraits of a few ladies. Thinking their own thoughts, they are.

Two Wooden-Faced Ladies

No, they’re not that inexpressive – their faces are really made of wood. Two ladies painted on the remnants of the cutting board that sat outside for about a year, weathering, awaiting a purpose, and then – falling to bits. These ladies are made from two of the bits.

I put them out on Monday, December 15, and this morning, Tuesday, they were gone.

You may remember I made two larger figures from this same piece of wood. Take a look if you like.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

If it were yesterday, I would be saying “here today, gone tomorrow” about this most recent group of rock ladies. But of course, yesterday I did not know what I know today.

I put them in the grotto at Lorimer Park to replace the ones that left last week. These ladies were smaller than the earlier ones – I pick up stones that wash down from the rock walls in the area of the trail, and I try to match up stones that will stand up securely and are also similar in size. These ladies were short.

Anyway, I put them in their spot yesterday morning. This morning – they’ve already taken someone’s eye and gone on their way!

The three on the left are the ones who have traveled on. I like to place them in groups of three. I still have the other one - I'll find her some companions and until then she can wait here at my house.

The three on the left are the ones who have traveled on. I like to place them in groups of three.
I still have the other one – I’ll find her some companions and until then she can wait here at my house.

Not knowing any of this, I had brought along this lady painted on a wood chip – she’s now in one of the abandoned train control boxes. About a mile or so from the grotto.

I’ll look for her tomorrow…