I’ve taken a little break from the NINE IDOLS for a special project for my little nephew’s upcoming first birthday.
In Korea a baby’s first birthday is called DOLJANCHI and is celebrated in big fashionable way, because in the old days the mortality rate for newborns were pretty bad. There are many instances when an infant does not live past 100 days, and for that reason that is also celebrated when he/she does make it to the 100 day mark, and this is called BAEKIL (Korean translation : 100 Days). Though nowadays it is not so much celebrated because thanks to medical and techonological advancements through the centuries babies are enjoying their lives longer and well into adulthood, but in some parts of the country they still maintain the tradition.
During a DOLJANCHI there is an elaborate setup of the center table that involves several mini towers made of rice cakes, fruits, candies, and nuts. Nowadays they’re merely plastic replicas since, well, it’s expensive and time consuming to make the towers with the real stuff. And the health safety issue.
(Photo copyright from Kim Sae Bom)
As a gift to my little nephew I chose to make a centerpiece to add to the table, in the shape of a rooster. He was born last year on the Year of the Rooster (by the Chinese Zodiac standards); not just any rooster, but a fire rooster, which is said to appear once every 60 years, and he just happened to be the lucky one to garner that title of FIRE ROOSTER BABY! So we can only hope the best things for his future (by the way, he’s barely a year old now but he wears clothes fit for a 2 year old! Talk about a big baby.)
I bought all the necessary pieces from Joanns: styrofoam blocks, feathers, fabric remnants (one solid, one patterned, thought it’d give more character), and red yarn. For the tools I would require a hot glue gun, an x-acto blade, heavy gel, and scissors.
I cut up, shave off, and trim the edges of the shapes I need to make the basic chicken form with the round ball and a cone. Here I didn’t use any glue, I just nailed the pieces together with toothpicks. It’s styrofoam after all and the picks worked like a dream.
The eyes are made up of some lampwork beads and pearls I stuck on a thin wire. Then comes the fun part of sticking in the plumage. These were dyed turkey feathers with sturdy tips and I just had to stick em in place without any additional support. By the way the two extra foam pieces next to the chicken are its wings. Yep can’t forget the wings.
Time to dress the chicken. There is one layer of solid red fabric and then strips of patterned fabrics overlaying the red layer. For this part I mostly used heavy gel; the hot glue would dry out too fast and leave bumps through the fabric. I wrapped the foam wings with the pattern fabric and nailed them in place with toothpicks. I got some more feathers to add the crown on the head, trimming away some edges to get the right shapes.
I once took a stage makeup class back in college and one session involved applying mustache hair to the faces in layers from bottom up, and that really came to use when it was time to cover the neck with the strips of red yarn and using hot glue to stick em in. Oh and I also covered that beak with the same pattern fabric.
And here we have it, the Fire Rooster Centerpiece. It took me roughly two hours in one sitting for this masterpiece. I can’t wait to see how it looks on the table when the big day comes.
Have good weekend everyone, and oh, Happy Easter!