Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Llorona/ Quetzalcoatl boa.

Oh goodness!

So, for the last week I've been working on what might be the first (completed) piece I bring for the residency. This is my fancy new Quetzalcoatl boa! (Please excuse the quality of the pictures- My mom can't hold a cellphone steady to take a full body shot for scale. Let's just say the details are small, but the entire piece is, well, fluffing in at about 8 feet long.)

Quetzalcoatl is/was an ancient Meso-American snake/bird god. According to the Wikipedia article- "Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of Venus ((the planet)), of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge." Also he's supposedly the god with the white beard who may or may not have been a conquistador and/or Jesus reincarnate according to the Mormons. Complicated creature, evidently.

However, this is me, and I happen to think the idea of a snake/bird god, possibly a similar to Hermes-style intermediary between the Gods and us, is just COOL. I've been tinkering with the idea of a sort of puppet accessory for sometime, and this form particularly lends itself to that. I had been envisioning adding more vertebrae into the interior structure, but I decided against it as it would effect the drape too much.

About two years ago, maybe 3, I came across the Llorona video excerpted here. I was already familiar with the Quetzalcoatl story, and blown away by the music. I also really like the clouds hanging from puppet strings, and may have to steal that idea at some point as well.

Boas (and, coincidentally, tutus) were the first thing I've learned how to make via You Tube. They require quite a lot of time in front of the T.V (Father Goose, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Pirate Radio, Two for the Road, Wait Until Dark, 1st 2 Episodes of Life in Cold Blood, 1st 2 episodes of Blue Planet....), and quite a bit of the living room (as you may get to see if I can get the picture to load...).

The skull is made, as you might be able to figure out, from masking tape and wire, and made controllable with an old set of test-tube holders. It isn't exactly true to form, but the important parts (fangs, sinuses, jaws) are all there with some degree of accuracy. The rattles, similarly, are from a silver butter knife, Mikey's caps, bells, and more masking tape. I find masking tape to be one of my favorite media...

So, for those of you paying attention, a while back I was thinking of making lots of boas to wrap around people... Still thinking about it. Making these gaudy, fluffy things is extremely rewarding, if time and financial asset consuming. This one included masses of ribbons, about 16 yards of tulle, flower petals sewn onto ribbons, fake poppies, 8 colors of plastic beads, rick rack, scrap fabric.... and it's gorgeous, I love it. But now that I have it, I'm not sure I really needed it.

That, I think, is a blog-post for another time...

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