Making scenery: HAY RICKS

These are not the modern machine-baled stacks, but the old-fashioned sort.

The central pole is just a twig. Around the base of this, I glued polystyrene packing material - the sort which comes in little bits, which look a bit like puffed up wheat snacks. Around these, I wrapped strips of cloth (from an old pair of underpants, actually), soaked in glue. With these cheesy-puffs and underpants, I built up the basic shape of the ricks. When all the PVA holding that lot together had dried, I then covered it with a thin layer of air-drying Das clay. With a dental tool, which was a lot like a scalpel, I sculpted the hay/straw texture into the clay, with a dabbing action.

The hay rick is kept clear of the ground and damp by building it on a raft of logs (twigs, of course). The hay is kept in place by logs, roped to the central pole, and weighted with rocks. The ropes are thread, the logs are tiny twigs, and the rocks are cat litter.

The hay is painted brown, dry-brushed golden brown, and then varnished with some dark brown paint mixed into the varnish. The pigment settles in the recesses, and stays there, enhancing the look of the hay.

For variety, I made one stack fairly big, and the other fairly depleted.


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