12 Jan

One of my favorite characters from Greek mythology is Icarus. For those of you who don’t know who Icarus was here’s a quick synopsis:

Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself and his son. Before they took off from the island, Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea. Overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax. Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he was only flapping his bare arms. And so, Icarus fell into the sea in the area which bears his name, the Icarian Sea near Icaria, an island southwest of Samos.

There is also a trance song that I absolutely love about Icarus. If I ever go sky diving I will have my ipod on this track and time my jumping out of the plane exactly at the 00:48 mark.

Anyways, with this in mind I wanted to create an Icarus statue that told the story of Icarus. I don’t have the sculpting skills yet to carve a falling figure our of wood or clay, so I bought a sketch mannequin from the craft store. (click to enlarge any of these pics)

I thought about using actual craft feathers to do this project, but then I realize that they would probably look to sloppy and would now flow well if I made the sun out of copper, so I decided to go all copper. The first thing I did was make the sun.

The next, and perhaps hardest part of the project, was creating the wings. I wanted to have curved wooden wings since i thought they would be more elequent than just wooden planks strapped to his back. To do this I took some wooden skewers and boiled them for about an hour, then steamed them, and finally soaked them in a thermas of boiling water for the afternoon, all in an attempt to turn the wood into a noodle so I could easily bend then into a make-shift press and dry them to the new shape.

I then started work on the brass feathers themselves. I really wish I could have done long, flowing, full, glorious angel like wings, but the story is that Icarus’ wings fell away and were destroyed, hence why he fell into the sea. So I was forced to make some raggedy wings with only a few sparse feathers. I still think it looks nice though.

Next I came up with the idea of putting wax over the feathers, since the wings were held together by wax. It wouldn’t be too noticeable, but for those who took the time to look, it would be a nice touch. However, I made the mistake of using red sealing wax which ended up looking a lot like blood and totally stole the focus away from the rest of the statue with how gruesome it looked.

Since that looked like crap I carefully picked off all the wax by hand and re-did it in white wax that was more clear and a lot less noticeable.

I then started work on making decorative waves out of brass for the sea.

Finally, the whole thing came together. I really love it. It has the tattered wax wings of Icarus falling from the angry sun into the churning sea below. I’m quite proud of it.

2 Responses to “Icarus”

  1. Puddingpie at 10:44 pm #

    Copper is such a cool material for this. It makes the sun look fiery and the sea look ripply at the same time. I also like the idea of copper for feathers instead of just craft feathers, because I’d always envisioned Icarus’ wings as being very clockwork-like, not at all natural like a bird’s. I’m amazed how much work went into the wings, BTW. In the pics, it looks pretty effortless.

    Have you read “Icarus at the Edge of Time?” It’s a sci-fi retelling of the myth by theoretical physicist Brian Greene, who was on the Colbert Report a few days ago. Two weeks ago, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed a piece inspired by it too, composed by Philip Glass. I’m a little peeved that I missed it.

    • godlesspaladin at 2:36 am #

      Thanks! ^_^ And no, I haven’t read it, but I’ll put it on my list now!

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