Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pelican Pete

The Mayor of the City of St. Petersburg, where I work, held a .pumpkin decorating/carving contest between city departments. I was conscripted to create the entry for our department. The theme was "your vision of the city" and each department was allowed to submit only 1 pumpkin (actually, one entry as it turns out because some creations used more than 1 pumpkin)
This photo shows the start of the project. There is the mayor's new theme "the sun shines here" taped to the pumpkin for carving and the beginning of the paper mache pelican. I started by making bendable wings of cardboard, the head and beak of cardboard and aluminum foil, and the feet of cardboard and cut up plastic straws. I watched You Tube videos and learned you can just masking tape things together and then paper mache over them.

I loved how the feet turned out! I actually looked at lots of photo and read up to try to make them as authentic as a paper mached pelican foot can be ;)

The head, neck, and breast are three toilet paper cones taped together with a wad of aluminum foil at the top for the head. Then I cut into the head and inserted the cardboard beak. I split the bottom toilet paper cone into strip so that I could spread it out and paper mache a breast/shoulder. In this photo I have done the paper mache and it's drying.

Here the wings are drying and I was trying to get them to dry with a bend in the wings - that didn't happen. Instead, I ended up with wing that were floppy on the ends. By the time I was finished with the project, the wings didn't have much play. Oh, so that I could attach the wings to the pumpkin, I taped 2 metal kitchen skewers to the back of each wing before paper mache. They worked really well.

Once the paper mache was dry (overnight) I spray painted everything white as a primer. Then I went to buy pain and feathers and decided that my brown pelican was going to be a white pelican. I'm a realistic and practical person (sometimes) and realized that painting in detail would be difficult and probably fraught with errors. In addition, purchasing brown feathers would have been very expensive. So, since the city's Pelican Pete logo is always white (negative space, actually) on other colors AND because these white turkey feathers were way cheaper than the brown ones, I decided on a White Pelican.

With all the pelican parts constructed, I spent the next night carving the pumpkin. This was a huge and heavy pumpkin so I ended up sitting it on pillows on the couch to do the deed. I bought a new Exacto knife and carving kit at Michael's and that carving kit turned out to be so much easier than the Exacto. I decided not to clean out the pumpkin because my experience in Florida has been that they don't last long once carved open. Plus, when you clean it out the carving of the Sun Shines Here logo would have been more difficult I would have to worry about the parts becoming unattached from the pumpkin. I was actually happy with the way it turned out considering my drawing was free hand.

So, Wednesday before the contest on Friday, I was at lunch with a coworker talking about the contest and we said it would be cool if Pelican Pete could sit on a green bench. At one time downtown St Pete had tons of green benches and people came out in droves to sit on them and visit while taking in the sun. They are gone now but there are plenty of things in town that honor or remember these days gone by. Back to the story, we got back to the office and called her husband, who was off that day, and asked if he could make it. He asked when we needed it and we said in two and half hours, lol. By the way, it took two cans of spray paint to make that bench green because it sucked up the paint.

The finished pelican on the bench! Because our narrative is about him resting on a green bench after trick or treating in Billing & Collections (my department), I put a loot bag with candy on his wing. Once we got him to City Hall I had to rethink that because it was pulling down on the wing and you could see the skewer. So, I set it on the table by the vignette. Turns out lots of people had bowls of candy by their entries so it was perfect.

And this is the photo of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor with our entry. Notice the sign that says "#1 Bad to the Bone" indicating we won first place!!!! I never win anything so I was tickeled.

1 comment:

Julie said...

This is amazing, Vickie! Great work. It turned out beautifully! The man that made the bench on short notice was an angel! Your carving was great, and really the whole city theme was perfect! Great job!!!!!

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