How to make your own Unger mummy

This term I’m teaching an art history course for kids and next week is our unit on ancient art. That means we’re making our very own miniature mummies! I decided this weekend to try one out for myself and my fiancé Marcie and goddaughter Charlotte decided to join in on the fun.

We started by each making a form out of self-drying clay. Marcie chose a hummingbird, Charlotte a fairy, and . . . me? I decided to make mine in the shape of an Unger. After all, I imagine that the death rituals of those troll-like beasts from Kendra Kandlestar would involve something akin to mummification—though, let me tell you, it’s quite hard when it comes to their tusks!

Here’s stage one, building the clay models . . .

Mummy making - Unger clay model

Mummy making - Unger clay model

Mummy making - fairy and hummingbird

We let the models dry overnight. Then comes the really fun part: wrapping them with little strips of plaster of paris. It’s a messy process, as you can see by the photos below.

Unger Mummy - wrapping

Unger mummy - wrapping

Hummingbird mummy - wrapping

Fairy mummy - wrapping

This material is easy to work with; you simply just moisten it and start wrapping your model. You can smooth it out, or leave ridges, as you please.

For the last part of the project, you add decorations with paint. You can do this as simply or as elaborately as you wish, as you can see by our final results (all very different!).

Unger Mummy

Well, I admit that my Unger kind of looks like he has to go to the bathroom. But it was my first try, after all. The hummingbird turned out really well:

Hummingbird Mummy

As for the fairy, Charlotte decided to go for the weathered, ancient look; I think it looks very spooky and cool!

Fairy mummy

You won’t need to snicker about our choices for subjects. I was in Egypt many years ago and was surprised to discover that the ancient Egyptians pretty much mummified anything and everything—including these crocodiles that I found at the Temple of Kom Ombo, in honour of the Crocodile God, Sobek:

This activity, of course, is not only a good connection for art history, but for creative writing, and ancient studies as well!


Kendra Kandlestar and the Search for the Lost Illustrations

No, it’s not the title of the new Kendra Kandlestar book, but just my life this past week. While I am supposed to be writing Kendra Kandlestar 5, the rest of the books are being redesigned for new editions. Normally, you’d think this would have nothing to do with the author, except that I’m also the illustrator.

So not only have I been looking at a few textual revisions, but some revisions to the illustrations as well. This caused me, at one point this week, to brave my crawl space to find my original pen and ink drawings for Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger:

Door to Unger illustrations.

Well, I found what I was looking for and ended up making a few changes. Normally I can make many changes digitally, but I do try to minimize that; after all, it’s much more fun to draw on paper than the computer screen (well, at least for me).

While rooting around, I also found a package of illustrations (not related to Kendra) that I had forgot existed. I’m glad I found them! Here’s a couple of photos I took.

Tiger andboy.

Reading animals.