This stag stull hammer was made for a friend, though it didn’t turn out anything like I planned sometimes the creative process does that for me. Granted, it’s not always a good thing if you’re working to a strict brief, but I really think the finished piece was worth it.
I used a similar technique to what I did for Barry the Trollball Head and layered upholstery foam into the rough shape that I wanted. Because of how bulky the skull was going to be, it’d have been a lot of thin sheets of plastazote to build it up, and I wanted it to be a as squishy as possible, because the intended victim wouldn’t appreciate a big solid whacking surface.
Then I made the shape smoother and built up the proper shape, working from an image I found on google. The nose bit was especially tricky, but gluing on the teeth was quite fun. Fiddly, but fun. And well, it turns out that stags do have a spikey bit at the back of their head – maybe not as obvious as what I put on mine, but spikey none the less! And, well, it was supposed to be a hammer.
By far the trickiest endeavour however was the antlers. They had to be strong enough to keep themselves upright and in shape, but soft enough that if folk got accidentally poked it wouldn’t hurt. Upholstery foam to the rescue! I cut a groove into the skull and slotted them in, gluing them with contact adhesive. They’re pretty strong after that.
The staff part was last, and I put some bands around it to break up the long straight expanse with a view to painting it varying colours. The stag skull looked quite bulky on the end, but when the staff was broken up it looked a lot better.
On the bottom i put a sturdy bit of foam, as I was intending to glue a bit of leather onto it. Folk ‘walk’ with staffs quite a lot and the latex on the bottom gets dirty/ripped somtimes.
Then it was time for latexing. I did the first coat by hand, as I didn’t have my spray gun at that point. However it was such a big pain in the ass, with so many grooves and such a big area, that it was the straw that broke the camels back and I rushed out to get myself an air compressor and spray gun. I could have cried at how bloody easy it was with the spray gun! So easy! I couldn’t believe how much smoother it was too. (You can see the smoothness of the black coats in the picture above right? Amazing!) And quicker! I only needed 3 coats of the thicker, sprayed latex, and it was done in about a millionth of the time it’d have taken by hand. (Can you see how in love with my spray gun I am? Weird, right?)
So anyway, then it came to painting. He hadn’t asked for it to be bronze with verdigris, but when it came down to it, the brief was flexible enough to let me be creative, and it seemed a good way to make it metal, but live up to the fancy and extravagant sort of nature of the stag skull. A simply silvery metal just didn’t seem to do it justice. I sprayed it with the turquoise, because again I couldn’t deal with all those nooks and crannies. It kept the smoothness of the latex nicely as well. I then painted over it with gold/bronze, stippling and making sure not to press too hard with the sponge to not get it into the gaps and leave enough of the turquoise. I thought it worked an absolute treat.
Then I painted up the ivy leaves and did alternating dark and bright brnze on the staff. It broke up the shaft considerably more, continuing the verdigris colouring on the bright parts.
Isoflex really, really brought out the shiny bright bronze and made it look even better. (Isoflex does that), although isoflex always makes the most difference where there’s black in the design and there wasn’t any on the piece. It still looked cool.
The finished product was, like I said, nothing at all like I intended, but I think it works well.
Stag skull hammer complete:
Hope you enjoyed seeing the process of creating him! I’m still an amateur at all this though, so I’m sure some folk have better ways I could do things. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts! I’d love to hear from you.
I’m hoping to post up a few more ‘how it was made’ items soon, so feel free to stick around and have a look!