Munny Totem Pole

All in all, I think it looks pretty cool. It\’s based on an authentic totem pole my wife and I got up in Alaska just a couple months ago when we got married. The story behind the totem is great.

It is about a lazy young man who does not help support his uncles tribe. While the others work, he plays and watches eagles all day. The uncle in his infinite wisdom casts the nephew out of the tribe and tells him he needs to learn the customs of the people before he can return. The boy is all alone and becomes very hungry. The wise eagle sees the boy and offers him a salmon. The eagle then says he will not help the boy again until he learns the customs. Many years later the uncle\’s tribe is unable to survive so they move their camp down the river. They then come up to a new camp of a strong man. It is the nephew. He has learned the customs of the people and started his own tribe. He welcomes the uncles tribe to join him and share in his great fortune.

That\’s about how I remember it told anyways.

SO….After I won the Munny World Custom contest it became glaringly obvious that I needed to get to work. In just two short months I\’ll have a chance to show people what I can do but the reality is I have nothing to show. Jenn and I started brain-storming on what concepts would be cool to see. Almost immediately Jenn pointed out the totem pole that we recently received as a wedding gift from her sister and husband. We both agreed that it would be pretty cool to see a Munny totem pole. But had anyone done it yet? We scoured the web and all we managed to find was one guy who had done some really cool totem designs painted on the Munny but no literal totem poles. It seemed like the project was a GO.

This one was a lot of fun but technically frustrating. I\’m not the best at creating straight lines in sculpture, something I\’ll need to improve on for sure. The one saving grace on this concept is that a totem pole is in itself a work of art so there\’s certainly a level of leniency in reproducing it. For starters I screwed a Munny head to the bottom and the top of the whole Munny. Eventually I would end up super-gluing the head of the whole Munny so it wouldn\’t turn and then I used plumbers putty to secure the bottom head to the feet of the whole Munny. I had Originally just used sculpey under the feet but the weight ended up being too much. I purchased some craft wood and cut the wings using a band saw(my wife\’s dept at the university had a nice work shop at her disposal). I then used a dremel to cut the designs out of the wings. Once I had my final sculpture in place I just managed to fit this into my oven and bake it for 15 minutes. I discovered that the exposed vinyl gets very soft. I didn\’t come across this on the first one because the entire piece was covered with sculpey. By the time I took it out of the oven it was sagging over. Fortunately all I had to do was prop it up so that it could cool in the right shape. This was a very good thing to learn before I start on the mega. It\’s clear to me that the mega will need an internal armature to support the weight.

As usual the painting was the most frustrating part of the process. I figured coming into this that the only real challenge with the painting would be to capture the wood color. The rest of the piece would simply be flat color and wouldn\’t be too difficult. Well, that was true but it took forever to get the wood color. In fact, I ended up moving past the wood color and painting in the flat color just to get my confidence back up. Things did get easier once the flat color started going in and I could finally see it looking like something other than a totem pole looking piece of poo. I then went back and filled in a more appropriate color base. Finally I glazed on some wood grain to finish it up.