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June 2006

... to Have a Nice Day!

This was my entry in a Word Play contest in June, 2006, on THE CAMP, an online list for miniaturists.

I spotted this little guy in a secondhand store among a pile of jewelry and odds and ends. Not knowing how I would eventually use him, I knew I had to have him. When the Word Play contest was announced, I knew for the first time who he REALLY was. He was the fellow unearthed by my geologist-turned-junk-dealer friend Jim!

For a container, I used a clear plastic box designed to hold a baseball. I used the pliers to break off the prongs so that it would have a relatively flat bottom.

I knew the Man would have to have been buried for a long, long time before he was unearthed, so obviously this florist foam represents many millenia! Here I am trial fitting it. I could've probably just left the prongs since I used the foam, but I didn't think of that. lol

Because the initial piece was too big, I shaved off some of the bottom to create his burial spot.

I painted the foam with a mixture of tan acrylic paint and tacky glue and then sprinkled on sand to suggest the types of barren places where discoveries like this are found. Then I buried him, and painted him with a light coat of glue and sprinkled on more sand. After lightly brushing away most of it, I had my basic plan - the unearthing of this first Man ....

But I knew I needed another clue or two to help people guess what was going on in my setting.

While I was mulling over how to do that, my eye fell on one of my Dummies books. Aha!

I went online looking for an Archaeology for Dummies book, but apparently there is no such thing. So, I decided to create my own, keeping the basic format but adding my own touches.

Then I recalled a logo I had made for another upcoming project, Cheap Jim's, the junk shop owned by my friend the retired archaeologist. It was Jim who unearthed this startling discovery, thus insuring that his name will be added to the annals of famous archaeologists like the Leakeys!

So, I borrowed Cheap Jim's hat and pick handle for my book.

I also duplicated the format of my PSP for Dummies book, but added my own wording and created my own author, etc.

This is the finished book cover that I contrived.

Another visual cue, I decided, would be the archaeologist's brush or whisk broom. I had already made this for Cheap Jim, and decided to use it here. It is simply an old water color paintbrush, the wooden handle cut away, then the metal part flattened with my pliers and painted brown. I used scissors to trim the brush bristles to size.

Here I have my two main clues, the broom and the book.

Oh, lordy! Look what happened when I took my first photo. My husband took one look and said, "It looks like he's covered with maggots!"

Apparently the sand I was using was really reflecting the light; it certainly didn't look like this in real life! So, I did some serious rethinking and brushing and redoing to make him look more buried and less attacked by crawling critters!

Well, here is the remarkable archaeological discovery unearthed by my friend, Cheap Jim - right up there with Cro Magnon Man - The First MAN to Have a Nice Day!

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