In English and Scottish folklore, a Brownie or Urisk is a small house spirit that helps with chores. The Brownie resembles the folklore Hobgoblin. The term “Hob” is used loosely to designate many benevolent household Faeries.
These kindly and dependable creatures (also called lobs, hobs or, if female, silkies) attach themselves to human households, where they help with chores and protect the well-being of people living on “their” land.
Fiercely loyal, brownies will defend a home and its surrounding estate from burglars and goblins. They live somewhere on the land they protect, perhaps in an abandoned barn, an unused closet, or within the walls.
Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You
My brownie started out as mainly wire and cardboard. I wrapped his limbs in foil before adding masking tape. Although he is sitting in these photos, the brownie will eventually be standing up.
I realized that in order to get his arms in the correct position that I needed to make his broom. I started with a bamboo stick that I had and covered it with brown paper and white glue. I crumpled the paper first to get some texture on what I wanted to be a tree-like stick.
I had some jute rope so I separated the strands and wet them until I could get them straight. After it was dry, they were then glued on in bunches around the stick.
Here is the broom after I trimmed the jute and wrapped the ends with brown wax thread.
Later I will finish the broom by tipping the ends with black wash paint to make it looked used.
Back to the body – I finished the foil and masking tape on his arms and completed his body. For his body, I just filled it out with wads of paper before I wrapped him in masking tape.
Next came the paper clay. I had not used a paper clay before so this was new to me. I found as it dried there would be no going back as far as the position of the arms so I did them last. Even though I had already positioned the arms where they should go, I wound up moving then several times in order to finish the rest of the paper clay.
The position of the head was going to be crucial to the overall positioning of the body and the broom so I moved on to sculpting that.
A ball of foil is under the Super Sculpey for his head. I wanted to reinforce the ears with wire. In retrospect, I wish I had two wires coming out of each ear to anchor the ears better.
Eyelashes were made with fur that had noticeable hairs. I cut a very thin strip of it and ran a bead of white glue along the hairs just below the backing. When the glue was dry, I cut through the glue strip and placed the the eyelashes inside the clay pieces I was using for the eyelids.
This is how the head looks almost finished. I had to place it on the body several times while the clay was still soft in order to get it to mold to the broom. I was going for the effect of him leaning on the broom with his face pressed against it.
I was going to do his feet with the same clay, but I thought they needed to be done on his body. I didn’t know how much of his legs were going to be exposed and I wanted the feet to be seamless with his legs. Unfortunately his entire body would not fit into my toaster oven that I use for clay baking. For his feet I used the Crayola air-dry clay. I would worry about how to match the flesh tones when I got to that point.
Once I got to his arms, I had figured out how to do his hands with the Super Sculpey clay. I cut off his wrist wires and molded the hands around the ends of his arms. All this had to be done with his head in place, arms in the correct position and fingers curled around the broom. Now the hard part! Remove the hands and hope I didn’t change the position of them too much so I could bake them.
It was now time to try and match the feet color to the rest of his skin. I got the color as close as I could, but the paint is opaque and the clay has a translucent look. Close enough!
The paper clay was now finished on his entire body. I left one of his shoulders free of paper clay to give me some leverage with arm movement for the broom. I wasn’t going to be able to glue the hands on until after his clothes were on so he was fully dressed before he had hands.
I decided to use my sewing skills to make him some clothes which would consist of a pair of pants, a shirt, and an overcoat. Luckily because he is not a doll, I could take liberties and glue fabric on where needed instead of making full outfits. These are the pants in progress.
As I was fitting the sleeves for his arms, I could see a noticeable difference where his arms and hands were going to be attached. I painted his upper arms with the same paint I used on his legs. As you can see, his head is now finished with hair tuft and sleepy drool!
The sleeves were added, but not sewn to the body of the shirt because they would be covered by the overcoat. The rest of the shirt was just glued on to his body in the back.
The fabric for the pants was a type of smooth corduroy and there was no way I was going to be able to make complete pants and slip them over his feet. I wound up sewing the center seams and leaving the sides unsewn. I was able to pull the pants up and sew each side seams by hand. A piece of yarn was added as a belt.
The overcoat had the most details to it, but let’s not forget the teeny, tiny buttons on the shirt. For those I used a leather hole puncher with several different size punches. The buttons on the overcoat and the shirt were made this way. The shirt buttons were made from chipboard and the overcoat buttons were leather. Although the buttons on the shirt looked sewed on, they were actually glued (I am not that crazy! Okay so I did poke tiny holes in each one and run thread through them! Crap! I should have just sewed them on).
As you can see his hands have now been attached and sleeves pulled down to cover his arms.
Now that he is fully dressed, he needed a base in order to stand up with his broom. I used the paper clay again for the base because I liked the pebble texture it had when it dried. I used a Cool Whip lid for a mold. When it dried, I was able to pop it out of the lid. If I ever do another one of these, I would probably punch air holes in the plastic lid in order to get it to dry faster. This is the base painted and glued to a wooden plaque board. A small mound of air-dry clay was added for the dirt pile.
This is the finished look of the base with sand covering the clay mound and assorted dirty spots.
Just need to mount Blinky Snickertuft to his base and he is all done!