When you think of Texas you usually think of hot, dry, and either desert and cactus or flat burned grass land - and cattle But Central Texas, say around Austin, is farmland and has a full range of extreme weather, rain storms with 50 mph winds and an amount of rain that gave rise to the phrase "God willing and the creek don't rise". County roads that cross creeks a couple of feet above normal water level can go three or four feet under water in less than an hour. There can be a 100 degree high, followed by a 28 degree low that night. Did I mention the swarm of locust? The only thing predictable about the weather in Central Texas is that it's seldom predictable.
But the summer of 2011 has, unfortunately, been consistent - consistently HOT - and dry. This summer they broke the 1925 record for the number of days of a hundred degrees or hotter, and more days of 105 or hotter. The drought that's come with the heat wave has really raised hell with farmers.
With that context, it was a No Brainer when I was asked to make a magic wand for one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives in Kyle just outside Austin. What she needed was a Rain Wand - and that it wouldn't look like any magic wand I'd done before. I knew from the outset that it'd use a rain drops motif.
Here's what made doing the rain drops easier.
Here's a detail shot after the second application of the clear Tar Gel has almost dried. Though it goes on milky white, it dries clear.
Here's the look after the third application of the Gel Tar - and three more coasts of Triple Thick
The tip will be a smooth tear drop shaped crystal and the top will be crowned with white cloudlike feathers.
Well, if I hadn't done somethig dumb, the Rain Wand woud be done. See those marks on the upper part of the handle? In order to get the dropplet on the tip of the wand I need to suspend it vertically and dip the tip into the clear Tar Gel. I had a piece of nylon rope handy, so that's what I used. IF the glossy clear Triple Thick had another three or four days to dry completely there wouldn't be a problem. Of course, I didn't wait for it to dry completely. Now I have to refinish the upper part of the handle. Bummer.
If you've ever tried to glue a bunch of little feathers in a little hole in a piece of wood you're probably familiar with the updated version of Tarred & Feathered. Well here's a little trick to avoid having to figure out a way of getting feathers you've SuperGlued yourself to. A friend who makes ear rings and other jewelry had a bunch of little metal tapered conves. Stuffing the ends of feathers into the large end of a tapered cone is a lot easier than trying to stuff them in a small hole in a piece of wood. When you've got the feathers the way you want them, a drop or two of THIN SuperGlue will keep them there. When the glue has dried and you've got a hole in your piece that the cone fits into the way you want it to - another couple of drops of SuperGlue will keep it there.
Note: I added some black fuzzy feathers to the bottom of the feathers "cloud" to imply that the "cloud" was a rain cloud. Couldn't figure out how to add lightning.
When my friend got her wand, she went outside at moonrise, held the Rain Wand aloft and sang a few choruses of Let It Rain - and IT RAINED! Not a typical Central Texas Gulley Washers, but it did rain. The next morning she got up and at sunrise repeated the previous evenings ritual. It rained again!