Since 2018 with the installation of the Monumental Sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party Called Move One Place On in Evelyn’s Park, Bellaire, Texas, I have been committed to bringing the public the hidden 150. What is that? Well, I hid 150 things in the sculpture in honor of the 150th anniversary of the story written by Lewis Carroll. When I was through with the sculpture, the park asked for the list of the 150, and I said no. I wanted to encourage literacy and curiosity, just like Lewis Carroll and Alice. (Please note, if you are looking for the things, it is not just what is hidden in the sculpture, but you must point out where it is and the meaning to either myself, Lewis Carroll, or John Tenniel—the original illustrator of the stories.) Of course, if you have the Annotated Alice, that does help some. I’m sure many who love and study Lewis Carroll will know many just by looking. Another warning, looking for the 150 hidden things is addicting. Leave plenty of time when visiting.
With that in mind, slowly, I’m taking some of the hidden items, bringing them to light, and making Christmas ornaments. Making ornaments is not necessarily new. We have been doing this in past years, but their production was grueling for my studio. Enter my new 3D printers. Lewis Carroll, a mathematician, would have loved that I am creating these using the cartesian coordinates in space using math and 3D printing. I’m so stinking excited about how these 3D-printed ornaments are coming out.
The first 3D print was not a hidden item but is one of my favorites in the scene. It is the dormouse in the teapot. I love that he is sleeping on tea bags. Of course, tea bags would not have been used in the days of Lewis Carroll, so I have artistic license. as I do in the rest of the scene. If you get this ornament, look at the bottom of the teapot. You will see just how good this 3D printing is, as it holds my favorite saying. I 3d scanned the dormouse from the original sculpture and then modified in the computer and 3D printed it out. Each ornament is hand stained. Right now, all the ornaments are stained bronze, similar to the original sculpture. Some people have asked if other colors are available. I’m open to suggestions on this. Would you like to see all silver or all gold?
Working in 3D was so much fun. Morphing things became very easy, and so the cabinet in the scene of Alice falling through the hole is one of those experiments that I loved. Has she grabbed the jar yet? I did change this one a bit from what you see in the art at the park. There is something inside the open drawer.
Cards That Paint the Roses Red
I loved creating these cards for the scene, and the originals I used in the park were sculpted using some 3D-printed parts. I experimented with the faces of three people. David- 7 is a friend who also posed for the Mad Hatter’s body. I love it when friends are willing to pose in costumes. While I had him, I put a hood on his head, and he became number 7. Allison was an intern at the time. She and I combed the costume places, trying to find just the right costumes that I could use as a reference for the entire scene. Allison is confrontational number 2. Finally, my son-in-law, Bill, was the model for the number 5. His hands are raised with the attitude of, “Wait, wait, let’s all get along here.” Buy them individually or as a group.
The White Queen
There is a ton of emotion around this one. many years ago when I was first learning to sculpt digitally I created a portrait of my mother in Mudbox. When the monumental Alice sculpture project came about I had to have mom in there. Of course my family shows up in many other ways in the entire scene, but mom as the white queen was important to me.
We will go back and add the original ornaments redesigned for 3D printing and also add them to the shopping cart. If you would like any of the 2022 pieces please visit the shopping cart and place your order.
When I’m not sculpting or writing, you can find me out in the woods. I love nature. I started the Houston Women’s Hiking group to help ladies hike safely. We are now over 7,000 members. I love to encourage.
As many know, I have a YouTube channel for my art and one for the Alice project, but I also have another more recent one called Women Stepping Outside. The channel encourages women to step outdoors or step outside of their own emotional or spiritual confines to reach what they truly want to be. If you are interested in this channel, please subscribe. I’m having so much fun posting videos about the outdoors and encouraging women in life. You can also find Women Stepping Outside on Facebook and Instagram
Now, about this video and blog post.
I can’t build out my van for camping as I use it to haul sculptures and materials. However, I do love to camp and, I also have to travel for work, and my preferred lodging is my van. Slowly I have made modifications for my van, not permanent build-outs, but things that can be taken in and out of the van as needed.
My family and friends have purchased trailers. I love the ease of having a van and picking up when I want to, without having to go and get something, pay for a rental space etc. But I needed to make it a bit more comfortable so, I have done a few things like building out my bed and building this grub box.
A Camp Kitchen/Grub Box or Chuck box
The reason for having a grub box is that it keeps all of your kitchen and cooking things in one spot when camping. As this video states, I have gone through three in my life. They have gotten smaller over the years. This new design is my own, and I love it. Who would have thought a hunk of wood would make me feel so liberated? The design started as cardboard. Then I found this wonderful website called cutlistoptimizer.com. If you want to modify my design, just put your configurations in, and it will lay it out for you. How cool is that? I ended up not using wooden shelves and instead used only these drawer below that were hung on 2×2 rails. Less wood means a lighter grub box, which was my intention. Remember to account for the thickness of the wood when you are working out your dimensions and putting things together. My box is 20 inches wide by 17 3/4 deep by 22 1/2 inches tall. The box that sits on top is 20 inches wide, by 17 3/4 deep by 5 1/2 inches tall. The wings are 10″ tall (The measurements below don’t fit the latest version of my box, Some of the pieces I didn’t even use, but using cutlistoptimizer will make your configurations work just fine.)
I got mine from the Container store. They come in two parts- the drawers and the runners. Figure out what drawers you want, and then build your cabinet around that. I thought there were no drawers for the size of my grub box when I started, then, my daughter Christina Sizemore found some. She is excellent at finding things and helping others organize their trailers. My design was not wide enough to accomodate the drawers we found, so, I had to notch some things out. I might even make the grub box a bit deeper so the drawers could pull out easily. Otherwise you will have to assemble the drawers as you build the box, as I did. But that is up to you. As those who use their vehicles for camping know, every inch of space is accounted for.
The box for my drawers says the surface area covered is 16-7/8 x 20-3/4 inches with drawer installed.
You can get furniture grade pvc from Home depot. I did have to order the colored fittings through Formufit. The plywood I used was from home depot and I used 2×2 firing strips to frame the box and use on the wings for mounting.
When contacted by Homespun Haints about doing a podcast segment, I was, at first, a little reserved. I mean, what I do is very intimate. But the ladies handled the subject about sculpting the deceased with great dignity. I thought I would put together a blog post with some links to the things we talked about on the show. If you have not heard it yet, here is the link to the podcast The Woman Who Sculpts the Deceased.
I mentioned that Texas Country Reporter did a wonderful segment on my work with deceased loved ones. Here is that video.
“Bringing To Life The Spirit of The Deceased A Sculptor’s Journey” is the name of the book that I wrote in my undergraduate studies about my work with the deceased. I wish I had a publisher for it. I have been searching for a new publisher and or agent for several books. In this book, I documented four commissions Lucas, Patsy, Janine, and Richard. I also recored what it took to make those commissions, the unusual experiences and some of my journey about this gift, and the overabundance of empathy that enables me to connect to the deceased through their surviving loved ones.
It is true. I develop a relationship with the deceased through my artwork.
For those interested in knowing some of the research, I loved studying Paul Eckman’s facial action coding system and its relation to my ability to “feel” things from my subject matter. Funerary art is a fascinating subject, and the psychology and science behind the face and emotion will always intrigue me.
I mention the mirror neuron study. PBS has a great episode on Mirror Neurons for anyone interested. Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramchandran has some excellent research on this subject.
- In my undergraduate research, I asked two questions.
1. How do I capture the essence of someone I have never known. 2. How do I cause an emotional reaction from my viewer. Of course, I had to take a hard look at my heightened empathy. You can imagine when, at the end, through the commission that was a suicide I discovered the science behind what I do. It blew my mind.
- The sculpture commissions I spoke about were Lucas, Patsy, Norma Janean
- I love cemeteries and the cemetery sculpture I spoke of was of Victor Noir in the Pere Lachaise cemetery. “The statue of Victor Noir, famous for a protuberance in its trousers, has been touched by thousands of women since being placed in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris in 1981.”
- On the Homespun Haints podcast I spoke of the podcasts that my mother and I did. Actually it was mom, my daughter and myself. “Inspiration Generations, Three generations of christian women share their thoughts about different issues and aspects of life.” I started these because mom was homebound or often bed bound and this was her ministry. Here are some of the ones that I think might be of interest.
This podcast talks about the unusual circumstances and visits that Barbara had while in the hospital. The deceased came to visit. The experience of helping Barbara transition from this world to the next was incredible. Her daughter and granddaughter share some of the beautiful spirit lead moments before Barbara’s death and how God had the entire experience in his hand.
In loving memory of our co-host mom and grandmother, Barbara Ingersoll
On August 17th, 2009, Barbara Ingersoll went to be with the Lord. However, she will be greatly missed; however, her ministry and this podcast continue with her many years of journals.
In this one I talk to mom about the death of a mom, just a few months before her death. Death is inevitable, but no one wants to go through the process of losing their mom or dad. It is part of being in the “sandwich” generation, and Bridgette shares her recent experience of holding her best friend’s hand as she sits in ICU and then the death of her friend’s mom. The women share the Jewish traditions of death and burial and the connection between Bridgette and her best friend.
Then the women talk about gaining wisdom as we grow, and as we gain experience, we help the generations that come after us.
I have not talked about all of this in a long time and it was fun for me to revisit the commissions, the unusual circumstances and my documentation. It has been a fascinating journey, as is each new deceased loved one that I get to meet.
I have been working with Booker T. Washington High School to create, not only a sculpture for their school, but also some educational blog posts for their Booker T. Washington Sculpture blog. Here is one on the scanning of booker T. I love this.
FROM THE SCULPTOR’S STUDIO
If you remember, back in September I reported about my friend Tom who came and scanned the small sculpture and the chair for me before I had to put the small maquette of Booker T. through the mold-making processes. I’m so glad he could do that and wait to get paid because, as you can see, the sculpture was damaged in the mold making process. If I waited to scan until after making the mold for the foundry, I would have had to fix the clay, and it would not be as it was when it was approved. He was glad to use this as an educational process for his nephew. Lex is a freshman at UT Arlington and is studying aerospace engineering and scanned the pieces.
In this educational video on 3D Scanning we talk about the process and much more. The scanner used on this project is a Creaform.
Sculptor/Author Bridgette Mongeon would like to invite you on a “curious” adventure- a free online webinar about creating her monumental sculpture titled “Move One Place On.” The bronze sculpture is of Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party.
Space for the webinar is limited, and preregistration is required. Some lucky attendees will receive gifts from the artist. October 18, 2020
In Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas, just outside of Houston, there is a monumental sculpture of the Mad Hatter Tea Party. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the story, the artist also hid 150 elements. Many have asked her for a list of the hidden 150. Those who know the stories of Alice In Wonderland will have an advantage. Mongeon will be revealing a few of the hidden elements in the webinar.
This is also a wonderful webinar for those interested in STEAM/STEM education-the interdisciplinary education incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Mongeon offers free resources on STEAM education as it pertains to Alice in Wonderland.
How was the sculpture Made?
What was the inspiration behind the sculpture?
How long did it take?
How does the artist work with technology and fine art?
Mongeon will also be sharing what is happening now with the art.
You are invited to a Zoom Webinar.
When: Oct 18, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Length: 1 1/2 hours Q and A to follow.
Topic: Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon and Alice in Wonderland Sculpture
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Drawings will be picked from attendees for the chance to receive—
- One of the hidden 150 objects as a Christmas Ornament. $15-20 value or
- an online class with Bridgette Mongeon $35
- A gift from Tea in Texas. $25 value teaintexas.com teablessings.com
- A $50 gift certificate provided by Betsy’s. If you have not tried their food, they are located in Evelyn’s park. Grab a meal and walk over and eat it in Wonderland at the table with Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Cheshire Cat and Dormouse.
To find out if you have won, please follow Bridgette Mongeon’s Instagram page and watch for announcement. If you visit the park and take pictures don’t forget to tag the artist. She is always looking for the most cleaver images of interactions in Wonderland.
FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
You may remember that in previous posts, sculptor Bridgette Mongeon talked about G-code. That is what a machine needs to be able to 3D print, or CNC, which stand for computer numerically controlled milling. 3D scanners also use G-code.
Just like when you work on a picture on the internet, there are many different types of files. For example, you can create a photo file as jpg, png. giff, pdf’s and more . There are also many kinds of files, depending on the software you are using and the software version. So it is with the case of 3D printed data. There are a couple of different types of files. To print your work correctly the files from your machine have to be able to translate that G-Code correctly.
Marc Eberle in New York and Bridgette in Houston were working on the file of Booker T. Washington’s book. They both work in a program called Zbrush. Bridgette also works in a program called Mudbox and wrote a book on that as well. Mark and Bridgette can send Zbrush files back and forth, but they have to be sure they are both working in the same version of Zbrush. The other option in sending a working software files is to send a 3D print files to someone in a recognizable format. These are usually an STL or an OBJ. What is the difference? 3D printer Insider created an article that describes the differences between STL and OBJ’s. Pixologic also has a great article on how to prepare your files for 3D printing should you like to learn more.
Bridgette talks a lot about the pitfalls when 3D printing. She learns from her experience and shared a lot in her book 3D Technology and Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling. No need to go get the book, just keep watching this blog, she will be sharing a lot of that information here. In the next post, we will look at how to fix a file and what can be wrong with a file that might keep the file from printing. There are a few free programs that allow you to be able to check your files for 3D printing.
Teachers and Students
If you would like some free software to start working in 3D check out the following:
Sculptris -Pixologic, the makers of Zbrush, has Sculptris. It is free and an excellent way to begin creating in 3D. It is available for Mac and PC. You will have to download it.
Tinkercad – works in a browser, so there is nothing to download
Vectary– works in a browser, so there is nothing to download
We will post some more for you later. Please let us know if you create anything with these programs. We would like to see it.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon
FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
Dr. Phillips wanted to switch out the papers in Booker T. Washington’s lap. Instead, it would be Booker T. Washington’s Book Character Building. Originally, Dr. Phillips had a new version of the book. After consideration, Bridgette decided to make it into an older version of the book. After all, the modern paperback books would not be around until 1935. Changing to a more original version was done for several reasons. The first is that the viewer might not see the book title if Booker T. Washington’s left hand is holding it open. Instead of trying to sculpt such a tiny book with tiny text, Bridgette decided to do it digitally.
Mark Eberle in Western NewYork has helped Bridgette on several different projects, including education on 3D Technology in the Western New York area. Once again he came through. Mark and Bridgette created the book in a digital sculpting program called Z Brush. There is a free sculpting program that is offered by the same company. It is called Sculptris, should any students be interested in check it out. The other problem was that Bridgette was not sure how open the book would need to be. She could not really decide this until she worked on the design and the hands. So, to remedy this situation, Bridgette separated the cover. That way, she can tip the cover to whatever angle she needs. Mark 3D printed the book on a Form Labs 3D print. If you remember, we discussed the different types of 3D printing. Form Labs is one of the best consumer 3D printers. It uses the stereolithograpy ( SLA) process of 3D printing.
- TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
- To obtain STL FILES or OBJ’s for 3D printing follow this link.
- If you would like to learn more about STL and OBJ files check out this article by 3D Insider.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon
FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
During the process of sculpting, I always find there is a moment that reminds me of a scene in the 1991 movie “Hook.” A little boy squishes up Peter Pan’s face and finally recognizes the little boy inside him. I have these moments when I’m pushing the clay around and “feel” I have the face of the subject. Sometimes I even say that line of the movie out loud. I’m definitely feeling comfortable about Booker T. Washington’s face. He is on a toothpick stuck inside of a block of clay. I love to be able to turn him upside down and around. I’m getting much closer. You can see some video of my Booker T. Washington sculpture in progress on this Feb 12th Instagram and this Feb 14 Instagram post.
Teachers and Students
We learned about all of the cool math in the body, and about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with proportions. I have sculpted many faces, and it always fascinates me about the proportions. Sculpting and drawing are really about comparing one thing you have drawn or sculpted to another. I used to teach Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and would talk about this all the time. Here is a cool video on how you can check the proportions of your own face using string.
As a portrait sculptor, I have studied many different aspects of the face. One of my favorite things is the facial action coding system by Psychologist Paul Eckman. Paul has studied emotion in the face and can tell when people are lying just by watching their face. I have a very freaky story to tell you about my experience with that research, but it is too long to go into here.
Creating real expressions in animation is hard. Animators have been using Facial Action Coding to create realistic faces. This video from the University of London talks about Animation and the Facial Action Coding.
Animation studios also use something called Motion capture or mo-cap. They have actors wear optical markers that capture the motions in the face and body. Disney created the movie A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey in this way. With a head-mounted camera, the animators can capture the expression and transfer it to their animations. I wonder how hard it must be for an actor to act in these costumes and without the visual props.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon
FROM THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
I’m working diligently on getting the small Booker T. Washington ready for the school to approve. We may hold off on casting him because there is an event, and I will need to have something for guests to see at the event. I can bring the clay if I’m careful. Casting a small sculpture like this can take a little while. Remember, this is a limited edition, and you can have one. You can even pre-order one. Buying a small Booker T. Washington can help with the cost of the monumental sculpture. We will get a price on that soon. Contact Dr. Phillips at Booker T Washington High School if you are interested.
Before I can add his jacket, I have to sculpt the folds int he waistcoat. Much of it we will not see, but I can see it. I hate that the hands are these wire stubs, and I can’t wait to move onto the shoes, but for now, he is coming along.
I have to do it. To sculpt the face, I’m going to have to cut off his head.
Author Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon