Thursday, October 30, 2014
For the past couple years my Halloween theme has been centered around Ravens and Crows. It started when I found an antique replica of a Raven print with a slip of parchment in it's beak with the word "Nevermore" from Edgar Aleen Poe's classic poem, The Raven.
I've always loved crows. They are beautiful, intelligent birds and through lore and legend have become the symbol of mystery and superstition.
I remember the first time I saw a Raven. We were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and it landed on a telephone wire above our tent. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I wasn't aware that we had Ravens in Michigan and I couldn't figure out why this crow was so large! But the more I looked at it, something about the broadness of the beak and the shape of the head, I realized it was a Raven. To a bird watching geek like myself, this was a very exciting moment.
I decided that our collection of Halloween decor needed a crow skull...a clay one that is.
~Images of real crow skulls on-line for reference
~2 packs of white Sculpy clay
~sculpting tool, or a skewer stick, or a toothpick
~antique white matte acrylic paint
~paper plate or palette dish to squirt paint
~black pastel stick, or a charcoal stick, or black matte eyeshadow
~Q-Tip or brush
I formed this skull from white Sculpy clay. An off-white color would work well also, you wouldn't have to paint it after it bakes, but this is all I had on hand.
I apologize for not having more "sculpting" photos of the original. This wasn't a planned project, I was just messing around one evening and forgot to take pictures. But I'll walk you through the steps and re-create parts of the skull using some left over Sculpy.
Create the opening in the beak by sliding the point of a tooth pick along the side of the beak.
Don't be afraid to make the sculptural elements dramatic. We're going for realistic here, but Halloween realistic, so make the eyes larger, make the beak longer if you like.
Bake the skull according to the package directions, let cool and paint. I chose off white to give it an aged look. You can also paint the tip of the beak black, as crows have a black beak.