While hiking out to a campground I found a unique rock. I’d just been telling my camping partner how my dad, a sculptor by trade, used to collect rocks and old gnarled roots that he could envision as the home of elves, tiny bears, aliens and other characters that he created from polymer clay.
The rock was composed of some white mineral, like halite or quartz, that formed a nice 90-degree edge. The shelf just above it looked so much like a tiny ice shoreline that I acted on the inherited instinct to take it home and make it home to some kind of tiny figure.
After cleaning up my find, I made tiny wax-clay walls around the edge that would extend the cross-section of the water and ice. It looked very Arctic and I thought it would be cool to have a native Inuit in a kayak tailing a seal below the surface. The rough surface of the rock got a few coats of nail polish, just to make sure the thick resin I would use later didn’t leave bubbles where it was too viscous to reach.
The rock was small and the seal was only about 4 mm nose to tail. It was a challenge to sculpt on that scale, but I’ve done similar things with Altoids, so polymer was much easier. The resin was just a two-part epoxy resin glue. These glues are supposed to dry clear, one of the components is somewhat yellow before mixing. I used just a little bit of blue permanent marker on the mixing surface to combine with the yellowish component, forming a nice seawater green.
The seal remained just-visible beneath the surface from both sides.
I put a piece of wax into the resin as it set to later hold the kayak.
The water was too placid for the ocean, and the meniscus of the resin didn’t look right, so I pitted it up with a rotary tool and used nail polish to restore the gloss.
The figure was easier to sculpt from one color then paint to look more like an oar-wielding kayaker in a parka. The oar itself was made of two shavings of a toothpick.
I carved a tiny wake behind the hunter to show his stealthy progress.