About this project
Stretch Goal #2
If we reach $5,250 everyone who pledged $15 or more will receive a Kickstarter exclusive resin magnet.
Stretch Goal #1 Reached
We've exceeded $4,000! Now author Joshua Goudreau will be writing a short story about the Lady of Innsmouth. All backers regardless of how much they contributed will get a digital copy. Josh is a prolific writer and has an upcoming Cthulhu Mythos story in the Lovecraft ME anthology.
Hi, my name is Sheryl Westleigh. I'm a sculptor and jewelry designer from Maine. Over the last 15 months I've been working on a sculpture titled the Lady of Innsmouth whenever I had a chance. Little by little she came together. All told I probably have well over 200 hours of sculpting in her. Now that she is complete I want her to go out into the world for other people to enjoy. That's where this Kickstarter and you come in. In order to make the molds and cast her in resin I need the money for materials and equipment.
I've been sculpting for a little over ten years and have created a number of sculptures over this time. Though mostly I've used my skills to create jewelry designs. Recently I've been moving from only creating single one of a kind sculptures to molding and casting in resin. The Lady of Innsmouth will be my first larger scale production.
The Concept behind the Lady of Innsmouth
I have a real love of taking things which are often considered ugly or creepy and finding the beauty in them. In H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth the residents of Innsmouth are described as being ugly and fish-like with strange unblinking eyes. They are disliked and distrusted by outsiders mostly because they are different. I wanted to take that rough description and create how maybe one of the Innsmouth folk looked as she started transforming into her aquatic self before joining her family below Devil's Reef.
The Resin Statues
I've envisioned three different versions of the Lady of Innsmouth. They will all start the same way, with resin and a silicone mold of the original sculpture, but the end results will be three different visions. Each will be 8 1/2 inches tall.
The first is the most basic. Just cast in solid white resin. It can be displayed as is or custom painted by whoever receives the statue. Resin takes being painted very well and I really look forward to seeing how people make her their own.
The second version is the same solid white resin but I will be doing a limited edition hand painted statue myself. I'm only creating 35 of these for collectors plus one paint master for myself. I'll be using mostly air brush with the finer details like the eyes brushed on.
The third version is one I've been dreaming of doing since about halfway through sculpting the Lady. I'll be combining resin with real bronze powder to create a cold cast bronze statue. This will give the look and feel of bronze without the need for a foundry (not to mention the lower cost). Because there will be real bronze in the outer layer of the casting I'll be able to treat it with a reactive patina to give it a blue-green patina in the recessed areas to really give it the look of a bronze that has been exposed to the sea air. If you would like to see what the cold cast bronze process looks like go here.
The Creation Story
When I started sculpting the Lady of Innsmouth all I had was the rough concept and germ of a back story in my head. I knew I wanted to create her as a small bust but beyond that I let it come as I worked. As I sculpted she began to tell me more of her story, including that she lived in the late 19th or early 20th century from one of the more well to do Innsmouth families, perhaps even one of Captain Marsh's daughters or granddaughters. Thus she is dressed in a bodice reminiscent of the late Victorian era with an elaborate inset panel with 3-dimensional embroidery of a fish and octopus brooch.
I gave her tentacles in place of hair partly out of homage to Cthulhu, Lovecraft's most famous creation, and partly out of my own love of octopus. The cephalopods are probably the closest to real alien intelligence we can encounter on earth, their evolutionary road has been so drastically different from that of vertebrates.
Once I completed the upper part of the bust I got stuck. For eight whole months. I had started a base with rocks and bones of shipwrecked sailors, but it just wasn't working. So I put her aside for a while, hoping some solution would come to me. Every so often I'd try to work on the base again. Finally I decided that I needed to start over completely. I worked up a new concept for the base using a wooden form and sculpting a tentacle border and a deep sea scene over it. This worked perfectly and I ended up with an even stronger piece than if I'd stuck to my original idea.
Here's a short video slideshow with narration of the creation process.
In addition to the three versions of the Lady of Innsmouth I also have reward tiers for bookmarks, prints, and this creepy little resin tentacle. It's in light green tinted resin and can be painted or drilled to make a necklace or key chain.
Risks and challenges
Most of the risks and challenges come from the molding and casting process itself. It's a labor intensive process that I will be completing myself rather than sending the sculpture out for casting.
In particular the cold casting process will require rotational casting a layer of resin mixed with bronze powder inside the mold then back filling the cast with regular resin. This is a slower process and more labor intensive than the one step solid casting that I will be doing for the white resin and painted versions. If possible I'll be building a rotocasting machine but if that ends up being beyond my carpentry skills I will need to hand rotocast them.
I've tried to give myself plenty of time to create all the casts assuming a a run of no more than 75 sculptures being sent to backers (I plan to cast more for sale in my shop but those will be done after the ones for backers). Should more than that be needed it may delay shipping as I create the larger number.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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