Camel Dream

   by Darcy Abrahams for Build A Dream (2014)

I built my camel with the foam ear, the sponge, the deconstructed mannikin, the wire, and slices of the round dowel. My sunset moth came from the canvas, and springs and body part from the mannikin; I painted it with acrylic ink and paint. The canvas rug was also painted with these acrylics, and stitched with the nylon thread (dyed with acrylics).

The backdrop and foreground were formed from the Mystery Build box, canvas board, hardboard, 3 square dowels, 1 and 1/2 wood discs, acrylic medium, and carpenter's wood glue.

The oasis is made from a plaster cast of a round plastic food storage cover, painted with acrylics, with salt and plastic wrap (both later removed) to create texture. I stitched strips of the wire mesh together to form the raised area around the oasis. The "sand" around the oasis and in the foreground was acrylic-painted clay.

Mr. Moon was originally the mannikin base that I sanded, painted with acrylics, and printed (using an ink pad) with a rubber stamp I made of a face. As the image began to fade, I used a colored pencil to bring it back a little.

The sky was the card stock paper colored with colored pencils and printed with star rubber stamps (that I carved). It was cut into pieces and glued onto the backdrop on which I also painted a palm tree. I used a toothbrush to spatter little stars.

Tools I used: two different saws, masking and painter's tape as a temporary clamp (later removed), clay carving tool, paint brushes, rubber stamp carving tools, scissors, toothbrush, needle, sharpened wooden chopstick, spring clamp, wire cutters, pliers, a hand drill.

I love camels: they endure extreme conditions with patience and good posture, and are an inspiration to me. Although camels can survive massive heat and deprivation, perhaps they would enjoy a change of pace. I thought that a camel might dream of a little shade, a cool oasis, a soft carpet for scorched feet, a colorful friend to keep him company on his journey, and the man in the moon to light their path.

I thoroughly enjoyed the videos with their helpful guide. I particularly benefited from the deconstructing mannikin video (I had no idea how the parts were attached and was forewarned not to let them escape), and the plaster video (I had worked with plaster cloth in the past but didn't remember how important it is not to get plaster into the sink drain). The instructor was very personable, and, I say, "Why not?" Also, my online advisor--his name began with a 'J,' perhaps Jeremy?--was prompt and kind, and helped me through my initial confusion very courteously. Altogether, my Mystery Build experience was loads of fun and worthwhile.