Leda's Study

   by Rachel Faul for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Study of Leda

Inspiration Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

Many more images can be found here:

And check out the instructables page:

Leda's head, torso and arms were made with polymer clay wrapped around chavant clay. That way, when I baked the polymer clay, I could let the hot chavant drip out and have hollow parts. I'd intended to make her move with some wooden mechanisms, but I ran out of time. :( The polymer clay was too soft for my taste, so I rolled it out thin and pressed between two sheets of paper for a day to let some of the clay softener leach out.

I painted her with acrylic paint.

I unraveled the entire piece of canvas, using some for her hair, some for binding the book (which I double plied to make a strong enough strand of cotton that was still flexible for all the knots), and some for making paper. I also blended newsprint in with most of the paper I made for this project.

I started painting on the canvas covered art board with the cheap acrylics I have, but I hated how it looked and decided to take the thing apart. I tore the cardboard from the art board into pieces and wet them, then crumpled them so they looked jagged and let them dry. I used some PVA (elmer's) to attach the pieces of crumpled cardboard to the box, then painted them to look vaguely rock-like.

The da Vinci bridge is made with thin strips of cardboard wrapped in chavant clay. They started to get flimsy after I put the bridge together, so I sliced very strips of the wood veneer and slid one inside each "log." I then carved woodlike patterns (at least, I hope they look something like wood) into the clay. I found a cheap oil paint set for under ten bucks (yay!) so I used that to paint the chavant clay.

The portrait is on paper I made from the newsprint. It's held up with hammered wire.