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 Author: Patrick T. Ryan    Posted: Feb. 28, 2004   This Page Viewed: 1,967  

Statue Making - Part III
by Patrick T. Ryan

Demonstration: Making a Figurine

I took pictures while making my Skadhi figurine, so that you can see how easy this sort of thing can be... Or maybe it's because I have a bit of practice!

I meditated on Skadhi and on the rune she is associated with, the isa rune. I asked Skadhi's assistance. Some would say that's pretty dangerous. However, I didn't get an intuition of danger, but a rather gentle feeling that she would be with me for this. Skadhi is NOT associated with "gentle." But then, maybe we get a little carried away with what are supposed to be a deity's defining characteristics, and forget that they are "people" in their own right, with full personalities of their own. What I've read of heathens' encounters with Skadhi make her out to be very quick with vengeful behavior, aggressive, and warrior-like. But many heathens do have aggressive and "in your face" personas that they project. Maybe Skadhi has a personality that reacts in a "negative" way to that kind of persona; a sort of "you push me and I'll push back hard" kind of thing. If we approach some of these more "dangerous" deities with a more passive and less offensive demeanor, maybe we wouldn't get knocked on our backsides. But I don't pretend to have Norse ancestry, so what the Hel do I know?

I wanted to make this figurine Saturday, January 24th, 2004. I promised Skadhi that this thing would be done that weekend, and I did not want to break a promise to her. I put it off until that Sunday, thinking that I was just being lazy. As it turned out, I made the figurine when Denver got a sudden and unpredicted burst of snow. The perfect time to make a figurine of a winter goddess!

So anyway, I didn't have a drawing or a model to go from, just an image in my mind of a fur-clad woman, holding a bow, with much of her lower body covered in snow. Let's start, and see how things turned out.

1 I made this on my ve, or altar, where I make all my figurines. I made a simple wire framework, below. You'd want to put a loop in the vertical wire, to help hold the wire for the arms in place. I twisted wire and hard Super Sculpey around the joining of the vertical and arm wires to hold the arm wire in place.

The plan is to have the lower body completely covered in snow. The legs won't be showing, hence the one vertical wire going up from the bottom, with the bottom curled around to hold the figure up.

2 I flattened out a piece of regular Sculpey clay into a long oval with some outer flaring in its middle. This was then stuck through its middle onto the vertical wire. This will form the main body of the piece, and is almost 1/2 inch in thickness.

As the figure will be clad in fur, there isn't any need to make a body underneath the clothing. I'm hoping that this alone, without anything underneath it, will be durable enough. This is a departure from others, such as my Thor and Tyr pieces, which had clay cores.

3 The front and back of the clay have been closed off to create the main body of the piece. It has not been compacted in as far as it can go; a void has been left in the middle. Let's see if this looseness will make for interesting results.

The bow, a separate piece that the figure will have, is started. A thin wire along its middle will strengthen it. It's made with the Super Sculpey clay. Regular Sculpey will not be strong enough for such a thin and long piece.

4 The head and arms have been stuck onto the body. Skadhi is sometimes described as having angular features, which is what the head will aim for. As the figurine will have gloves, there will be no individual fingers. The bow, cured in the oven, is at lower right, along with part of the long tube of clay that will form the figurine's long braid. I plan on having the hair braid wrap around the neck and lower head as a scarf.

I've changed how the figure will be mounted. I've straightened out the curve at the bottom and cut off most of its length. What's left of the bare vertical wire is stuck into a piece of Super Sculpey, with some Super Sculpey wrapped around the bottom of the piece. This way the piece will start out straight when forming the snow around the base. I won't have to dink around with the clay that will form the snow, trying to get the piece to be straight up and down.

5 The piece is ready for curing in the oven. I've formed a base of "snow" around the body. She is a winter goddess after all, and I wanted a strong association with snow. The facial features have been put in, and the body has been cut extensively with a dull blade to simulate fur.

I made a very long hair braid. I decided to wrap it loosely around the shoulders instead of tightly around the neck and lower head. I don't want the face to be covered up at all.

6 The paint job is done, and the figurine is complete. I had figured to follow Kveldulf Gundarsson's description of Skadhi and make the hair black. However, I got a very strong intuition to color the hair with my rune formula; honey, red oxide paint, and my blood. I was originally going to color the bow with the formula, as I've done with Ullr's bow, Tyr's spear, and Frigga's distaff and spindle. I always put my rune formula on some part of my figurines and/or on their implements. I find it best, however, to trust my instincts. So she has hair that looks like sticky coagulated blood. So okay. She IS a figure of wrath and vengeance after all.

I give you Skadhi. That wasn't so tough, now was it?

Happy sculpting.
Patrick T. Ryan

Bio: Patrick Ryan lives in Denver, Colorado. With occasional past dabbling in amateur art, Pat quickly began to sculpt images of the Aesir and Vanir soon after going onto the Northern Path. Pat practices runic divination and magic. He also engages in amateur editing and publishing.

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