Homework - Katherine Hannaford

Homework for live workshop student Katherine Hannaford


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    edited March 2017
    Hello! So I have been building my base mask for the upcoming part 3 of Bruce D Mitchell's Wearable Dynamic Art. Before I was a puppet maker, I loved to make and collect masks particularly Venetian Masks. I have a great many masks in my personal collection, and I have studied mask making as part of my Fine Arts Degree and with my Swiss-born puppet master Marie Martine Ferrari.

    My goal for this workshop is to build a dynamic Cyborg/Borg mask but for a puppet.

    I was inspired by the trailer for the course when I saw one of Bruce's masks that has tubing come off it. It reminded me of photos I had taken in 2014 at Ca Macana mask shop in Venice, Italy of Borg inspired masks that I wanted to buy, but couldn't because I had still a lot of travelling to do and I didn't want it to be damaged.

    I had completely forgotten about the photos I had taken until I saw the trailer. 

    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    edited March 2017
    My first steps in creating the base mask for this workshop was to assemble reference photos of Borg masks both from Venetian Mask makers but also from my favourite Sci-Fi series Star Trek! I was looking for shapes, patterns, patinas, but particularly lenses and attachments.

    So here is my ideas and reference board on Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/kingtut1923/borg/

    As anyone who has had any experience with the Borg knows, the process of assimilation is ongoing. The Borg are always adding to their biological and technological distinctiveness through the cultures they assimilate. This is why my mask will start with both eyes exposed, and then a Borg ocular implant will be added using the lens and magnet techniques described in Bruce D Mitchell's course outline.

    Priority number one is that what ever I make, it has to be light. This whole mask is being made for a puppet. So, I am planning for the mask base to be made Venetian style, using paper in a mold, and I plan to use the Apoxie clay to make the Ocular implant and maybe a few small details or features to keep the weight of the overall mask down. The actual puppet pattern itself comes from BJ Guyer's Stan Winston School Course!

    Here is the first sketch of the general shapes I am working towards putting into this mask:

    I even got my Star Trek the Next Generation Makeup effects journal out and turned on Netflix to help inspire what I want to put into my Borg Mask.

    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    edited March 2017
    After watching parts 1 & 2 of the Wearable Dynamic Art Course, ( I was also involved in captioning those 2 lessons in English for SWSCA), I needed a head form to sculpt my base mask on.

    The puppet's head is made of soft polyfoam, which is too flexible to sculpt on. I do have a plaster cast of the BJ Guyer pattern head that I made for that course in 2014 when I needed a mask for my Phantom of the Opera Puppet, but I don't make that pattern at that size anymore- it is too small for most people to puppeteer.

    Pictured below- the plaster head form, mask sculpture, mask mold with paper casting and finished Phantom of the Opera puppet from 2014.

    So I decided to make a new head cast using Ted Haines's Bodycasting on a Budget Course! I used cling film, masking tape, expanding rigid foam and my trusty Sur-Shape (known as a Surform in USA) to create a head form that I can pin into and sculpt on top of!

    Pictured below the orginal plaster head form on a stand with the new head shape being covered in 5 layers of masking tape while watching the Ted Haines course.

    Below- the cast rigid polyfoam head form with voids being patched with more rigid foam.

    Below- sculpting the Borg base mask using plasticene on the rigid foam head form.

    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    edited March 2017
    Once I had the base sculpture, I made plaster molds of the two parts.

    Once the molds had cured, I demolded the plasticene and started laying up my own handmade paper into the two molds.

    Once I had three layers in the mold, I let it dry out and de-molded the base mask. 

    I am nearly ready for the course! I need to seal the surface and give it a coat of black paint so that I can start mounting all the details.
    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    edited March 2017
    I have started "organising" the detail pieces that will make this Borg mask look assimilated. Since the greeblies need to be light, I have been searching through places like Thingiverse for Borg parts that have been designed to be 3D printed and added to cosplay costumes. The great thing about 3D printing the parts is that I can scale the components to not only fit the smaller puppet head, but to also use scaling so I can repeat the parts all over the mask.

    At the moment the parts are stuck on the mask using blu-tack (a kneadable adhesive for hanging posters) so that I can change my mind as the build goes forward. I am planing to use either hot glue or superglue to attach the pieces in their final position down the track.

    Pictured below, the 3D printed pieces sourced from Thingiverse so far;

    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    edited February 2017
    Well, class has been over for about an hour now. That was an amazing first lesson! So here goes my Homework for this week.

    Task 1: Smooshing the clay into the eye of the mask.
    I used masking tape to protect the inside of the mask.

    As instructed, the clay has to be smooshed into the eye socket with sound effects!


    I built up the interior anchor of the eyepiece using oil based plasticene/ children's modelling clay.

    On the front of my mask, I kept using the plasticene to build up the understructure of the Ocular implant. My focus was on trying to maintain sharp, mechanical like edges so that when the Apoxie sculpt layer goes on top, I have a close form to follow.

    Task 2: Liberating the lens from a hideous pair of sunglasses
    I used a pair of wire cutters/ side cutters to "liberate" the lens from a pair of toy sunglasses. I am using toy sunglasses because they are the right scale for a puppet mask, but I can see that they could be used for smaller lenses in future human scale projects. The other benefit of using toy sunglasses was that if the liberation was catastrophic, eg the lens cracked or shattered when I cut the frame, I had plenty more pairs of hideous toy sunglasses to work with.

    Fortunately, the liberation was successful first time!

    Task 3: Cutting out the lenses and embedding them into the under-sculpt.
    I covered the lens in masking tape and used Sharpie to mark where I wanted to change the shape of the lens to suit the platform.

    During class, Bruce suggested that I skip using the Dremel cut off wheel and just go straight to the drum sander to sand back the lens. It was a nice, controlled way of dealing with changing the shape of the lens.

    I aligned the lens and started embedding it so that it looks forward when the puppet is looking into camera.

    Looking at the shapes now, I want there to be the more angular surface in the back, but the lens mounted in a more organic shape similar to that used for Hugh Borg.

    I will have to revisit the shapes before I start messing with the Apoxie Clay.
    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    Task 4: Much happier now with the shapes. I cut back parts of the platform to create the angular section at the back, so I can mount greeblies and other cool do-dads, and created a more organic shape around the lens.

    Now it was time to add the Apoxie Clay! I originally bought this Apoxie clay when I did the Scott Land Marionettes class with SWSCA- so I am glad I could use up this clay and not let it go to waste!

    I had a lot of trouble using my tools on the clay to get it nice and smooth. I was not getting the sharp angles that I had in the pasticene undersculpt. The clay isn't very sticky, but the tools just were not pushing the clay around especially when I used my ribbon tools. I am not sure if it was the age of the clay, the temperature of the room or the fact that Apoxie clay seems to go hard faster than Magic Sculpt.

    I was able to scratch in the line details and press in the beginning of the side vents.

    Now it is the long wait until next weekend for the next lesson! I have to go and find a model kit to recycle/ upcycle into the cool do-dads and greeblies for the mask!!! I've never done kit bashing before- this is going to be interesting!
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    Question for Bruce- what is the best adhesive to use to glue on the greeblies/ do-dads and other bits to make the technological features of the mask? I have 5 min epoxy, hot glue, medium and thin CA glue. Thanks mate!
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    Second question for Bruce- how do I start incorporating tubing into the mask? Do I make the Apoxie clay end like the lens sculpt, let it set up and then drill a hole for the tubing


    Should I make the Apoxie piece with the tubing embedded in it and let it set up?
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    Homework for Week 2
    Task 1: Removing the clay from the hardened epoxy form. This was something that I did prior to class. I found it really interesting that all the steps I had worked out for class, was exactly what Bruce demonstrated.

    I used the tape on the back of the mask to lift off the support clay, and pushed the eye form off from the back! I used my wooden sculpting tools to clean out the majority of the clay.

    I washed the epoxy clay form in warm soapy water to get the residue of the plasticene off, using an old toothbrush to get into the hard to reach parts. I also used rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to remove the residue from the back of the lens.
    I am able to remove the lens at will- and it pops right back into the clay and stays put. 

    Task 2: Dremeling surface details
    I used my Dremel bit to sharpen and smooth the sides of the ocular implant, change the height of the inner part of the section on the right, and sharpen the vent details I had pressed into the sides. The photo above is the before, and the photo below is the after.

    I did start experimenting with greeblie placement from my model tank as well as making more clay undersculpts for the areas where the tubing will be embedded into sections of the mask. I used the same technique of covering the undersculpts with a layer of epoxy clay, so that the mask is kept as light as possible.

    Task 3: Installing the magnets
    When I removed the ocular implant, I realised that I did not have enough flange to install the magnets. I used more Apoxie clay (different colour) to build up the area where I wanted the magnets to connect.

    Just have to wait for the epoxy to set, then I can start drilling!
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    Task 3 Continued...
    I used a 2mm drill bit to drill a pilot hole through the Apoxie Sculpt and the mask. I stepped the drill up to a 4mm, and again to 6mm so that I didn't crack the Apoxie. 

    It was then very straightforward to install the magnet in the mask.

    When it came to installing the other magnet, I was trying to be very careful and install the second magnet with the polarity the right way up, but when I glued it in, it ended up being the wrong way up! I was able to get the magnet out without any damage to the ocular implant, turn it around, and re-install it the correct way up!

    After installing the second magnet, I discovered that the left side of the implant was lifting off the mask. So I installed an additional magnet on the left side which is really helping with the registration.

    Demonstrating working magnets

    I mixed up some fresh Apoxie to replace some Apoxie parts that had not set properly, but I used the left over Apoxie to make a stem for the Ocular Implant so I can try the stem techniques shown in class and fill in the holes I made implanting the magnets.

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    Decorating the Mask
    Now that the stem and ocular implant have been made, I can start to cover the rest of the mask in the rest of the surface details that are featured in Borg aesthetic. I am using a World War 2 German tank that I found at a local hobby store as well as some model pieces a friend was clearing out of his garage, plus anything else that I can find lying around that has an interesting texture or form.

    Above: I ended up having to remake the hose attachment points because the Apoxie did not set up correctly and was still soft. But the error gave me the opportunity to refine and simplify the form. I drilled the holes for the tubing but the largest drill bit I have is 8mm and the outside dimension of the tubing is 10mm. I ended up using an X-Acto blade to carve out the hole as well as a round rasp file.

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    edited March 2017
    Spring Time!
    Something that I was really looking forward to in class was to see how the brake cable housing is cut to length and attached to the mask. I have not been able to find brake cable housing that is not lined and sheathed, but looking at the spring Bruce demonstrated in the second installment of the live class, I had the thought that maybe a continuous extension spring would be an appropriate alternative.

    I was able to source a length of 0.125" outer diameter extension spring from Small Parts and Bearings-a store here in Australia that also has an online presence.

    During class, I was able to cut the two springs to length, glue them in using CA glue and kicker.

    During the remainder of the class, and for the rest of the morning, I kept covering the mask in pieces of tank, 3D printed parts and pieces of the cardboard box that the tank model kit came in. I used the cardboard because I had run out of the flat panels off the tank. The most useful tool I found during the de-construction of the tank was my jewellers saw. It made cutting through the plastic easier because the very fine blade could get between some of the elements and the rough edges were minimised, making sanding easier for me.

    I loved Bruce's suggestion during Q&A of using the actual tree of the model as additional detail! I used my hairdryer to dry and bend the tree, but it did snap. Perhaps next time, I should use my heat gun, or be a little more patient with the hairdryer.

    I did also ensure that I covered the mask under the stem with more "paneling" made mostly from layers of cardboard!

    I used some leftover push rods and rod ends to add the final details to the stem of the ocular implant to give it an actuated feeling. I also glued on some lock nuts and small metal washers that I had in storage. The masking tape on the tubing on the right of the image is protecting the tubing from the primer I am going to use.

    Above: The primer certainly helps to make all the pieces look more uniform and as if they are made from the same materials!

    Next step: Painting!
    Post edited by Katherine Hannaford on
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    Painting the mask
    Now that the mask is primed, it is time to paint it. I did a black acrylic brush on coat, but with all the detail, I really needed to do a couple of layers using either a spray paint or an airbrush. I ended up deciding that the airbrush made less mess than the over-spray of spray paint.

    I drybrushed silver acrylic paint over all the details to give them a metallic feel and to help make all those tank parts stand out from the black.

    During the painting process, I did learn two things that I did not know before and now know not to do again.
    - When using primer spray paint- cover the back of the lens with the masking tape. It took a lot of effort to get the over-spray off without scratching the lens.
    - when cleaning the lens- the paint will rub off too from the surrounding area.

    The finished Mask!
    I did it! I am so happy! The mask looks exactly like what I wanted. The only thing I would change is to remove at least one of the magnet pairs on the ocular implant. When the implant is down over the eye, the puppet hand is not strong enough to push the implant back up.
    Here are the final photos and video!


    Onto making the neck using a 3 axis mechanism!
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