Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pico the Pirate. Arrrr...

Since it would be almost impossible and quite cruel to dress a bird up for Halloween, I created a different kind of costume for Pico. After deciding she was going to be a pirate, I had the interesting task of figuring out how to make her her very own pirate ship.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of learning how to mold leather with Andrea Masse-Tognetti before her segment on the show. I had no idea leather could be used as a sculpting medium. Andrea explained to me that leather has a natural bonding element and when wet, it can be shaped and when heated and dried, it holds its form. If you've ever noticed, Elmer's glue has that little bull logo—well, white glue has cow hide in it—hence, leather has that natural bonding quality. Yeah, glue is not vegan. So once I had my shape determined and cut out of leather, I stitched up the sides with a tan waxed twine, wet and molded the ship, then stuck it in the oven. While that was cooking, I painted a few dowels black for the mast and sails and quickly sewed up the scraps of leather to make an archers' platform to fit around the main mast. The archers' platform consisted of a 1 1/2" circle, with a hole in the center to slid a dowel through, and a 1 1/2" strip that was stitched around the circle, creating a shallow cup.The sails on the ship were made from a cut up white t-shirt. I used a thick red fabric marker to make the stripes. The skull flag was also a scrap piece of t-shirt that was colored black, with the classic skull and cross bones that I cut out of a Halloween wine label from MS Crafts line. I used brass grommets and rigged the sails to the mast, threading through some thin white yarn.
Pico's pirate ship isn't nearly as complex as a real
Brigantines or Schooner, with only one mast, a simplified bow spirit in the front and none of the interior ammo or stolen goods, but one part I had to fashion her ship with was an anchor. The anchor I sawed out of a sheet of brass with a jeweler's saw, slightly filed and polished it and hung it outside the boat on rope.The boat doesn't stand solo, so I propped it up with waves cut out of blue oak tag and wrapped around a cookie tin lid. I camouflaged the hot glue I used for the waves with blue sand.After the segment was complete, Pico would not leave her ship! She was a proud pirate and excellent ship mate! I would sit on her shoulder any day... if she weren't sitting on mine. :)
"I love you Pico!"


  1. I love it! Everything I make for Homey she shys away from..

  2. hello! just wanted to mention that elmer's is free of animal ingredients...yay! ;)

  3. Elmers free of animal products?! Amazing! I know they use to use by products, but it makes me happy they don't anymore! thanks for info!

  4. I just love your bird! What type of bird is Pico?