Week 4: Harley Davidson Eagle

To recap: The Eagle Parade is an event sponsored by the Manchester Chapter of Veteran’s Count, a program of Easter Seals. After the amazing success of the Seacoast Chapter’s Eagle Parade, the Manchester Chapter wanted to continue this with a similar event. Artists were challenged to come up with designs to be transferred to a 4ft. tall plaster cast life-size image of the American Bald Eagle. Sponsors had the opportunity to choose a design of the many interpretations. That’s where the fun begins.

The following stories in the weeks ahead will chronicle Deb Curtin’s foray into the unknown world (for her) of the motorcycle or more specifically the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The challenge is to put this theme somehow onto the Icon Poly sculpted eagle.

WEEK 4

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Using the metallic gold paint I gave the bird another coat. Yellow right out of the tube was the color put on the beak and claws and the head painted white. Walking around to spot any flaws I decided it looked okay and then noticed a continual blended layering of many colors as the light played with the shadows of the feathers on the wings and tail. Mr. T had asked to have the individual feathers outlined in black. It’s one thing when looking at a flat design on paper but when it’s a 3D image there’s a lot more going on than you can imagine. Back to Hobby Lobby I went and they did have a darker metallic such as copper that I thought may work instead of black. I made an attempt on the tail to see how the feathers would look outlined and decided it wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t risk getting nixed down the road. It would be putting in an insane amount of time and effort and decided not to do this. My call.

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I had to let that attempt dry first before the next step so I put my time into the vest. Setting up my sewing machine, finding the right thread and needle to accept the thick material was the first step. I tried but it was not going to cooperate and so decided the only way was to hand stitch the entire vest. I could not afford the outcome to look cheap and insignificant as the cut was part of their signature. I took a leap of faith and finally decided to cut off about three inches from the two front parts of the vest. Taking time I tucked each front and inside lining together, pinned it and overhand stitched it as to be unnoticed, just a nice seam, and then finished the other section. Draping this over the eagle now made me realize I would not need to cut the back of the vest. However the sides needed to be adjusted to accommodate those wings!

 

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The back of the armhole seams needed to be folded just so since I needed it to look like it was meant for this creature to wear and not for a human child for whom it was intended. I pinned it and gingerly adjusted my stitching as I sewed along one side. By the time I finished the other side the total time spent was over three hours and it wasn’t finished yet. Now what to do? It was an open piece of fabric. Should I put snaps on the sides so it could actually be put on? I stood looking at the rack of accessories in the fabric section at, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. I decided too much tugging might happen with snaps if it was taken off and put on so opted for clasps that clip into place. I stitched these on either side along the bottom edge and they work great!

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Before leaving the last meeting with Mr. T, he described and showed me a sample of the material and shield he had in mind that would be affixed to the base. It was already in the works as well as a HOG emblem plaque. That was news to me. What I took away that day was to finish the base entirely in black as the backdrop. There would be nothing added on top or on any side except for one last image; United We Roll.

I measured thirteen stripes, set aside the blue area and painted a resemblance of the American flag. Duplicating the wording onto the blue area and painting the red and white stripes was the end of this project coming into view. I checked and double checked for any missed areas. Lastly, the eagle’s eyes were painted with the pupils black and a subtle feathering of gray around each eye. I thought to purchase a white paint marker for the signing next month in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I was now finished with this project and the bird waited patiently for its ride back to Easter Seals.

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I hope the eagle’s journey is successful and it arrives back again for the Veteran’s Count Eagle Auction on December 7th. I can’t wait to hear the stories straight from the bird!

To read the first week of the new eagle project, read The Eagle has Landed – Again!
To read the second week of the new eagle project, read The Eagle has Landed – Again: Week 2
To read the third week of the new eagle project, read The Eagle has Landed – Again: Week 3

The eagles for this project were manufactured by Icon Poly, a family owned company based in central Nebraska. Icon Poly started as a hobby of sculpting, sculpture point-up, and making fiberglass animals and sculptures by hand. In 1999, the company formed and began computerized sculpting, 3-D foam milling, laser digital sculpture enlargement, and a manufacturing process that accurately duplicates the likeness of sports and corporate mascots, make sophisticated trade show displays, and make multiple 3-D copies of a single design of paintable fiberglass sculptures for community art projects. With customer service and client satisfaction as top priorities, the company can bring even the simplest sketch or idea to reality using state of the art technology and the highest quality, environmentally friendly materials available. For more about Icon Poly, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about Veterans Count, visit their website. To learn more about Debbie Curtin and her projects, click here.