Au Revoir Mardi Gras 2013
|Original design circa 2010|
The original design(pictured above), a round king cake with a life size baby on it, actually went through couple years of development prior to it's debut to the public in 2010. The first one I ever made did not survive. The materials were incompatible and it weighed too much. It took a lot of trial and error to work out the issues and derive the technique I use on all my pieces today.
The beginning of the story does not just start with the challenge of tackling a different medium and adapting it to function & design. As I stated on my website, my inspiration to create sculpture was inspired by working on a school project with my daughter. That particular experience took me out of my comfort zone and led me to experiment with unfamiliar materials. But... The inspiration for the design goes back further.
King Cake in my family took on an added meaning with the birth of my daughter. King Cakes appear in stores the week of her birthday, so as a tradition she has always had a King Cake as her birthday cake since she was able to consume cake.
|Remy's 18th Birthday! and Elvis her new partner in crime.|
For one of her birthdays, I believe it was her third, we had her traditional king cake, birthday cake. I served her some of the left overs as a snack the next day. I cut a piece and gave it to her and left the room for a second. I returned to find all the King Cake gone, including the baby and was confronted with two sets of guilty eyes looking up at me. I asked, in a panic, "Where is the King Cake?". Did Sam (our black lab) eat it? Since it all seemed licked clean, including the plastic baby gone, I assumed he did. Remy insisted in her small child voice "in my tummy". I called the hospital and said there is a slim chance that my daughter instead of my dog, swallowed the king cake baby, what do I do? Not knowing for sure, waiting for it to pass and checking poop was one option. You are pretty sure with the dog, it will pass, but with a small child it is better to check with an X-ray. There we were waiting for an X-ray to see a small baby, in a small baby's tummy or not. Better safe than sorry. While we were getting the procedure done I asked nervously, "In New Orleans you must see this a lot", trying not to feel like a terrible Mom. The technician quipped "yes, but not as much as kids swallowing Mardi Gras beads. We actually have a special tool for fishing those out". I gasped in horror and at that point I was glad I was dealing with a tiny plastic baby instead a string of long beads. The memory of pulling tinsel out of my cat's tail end at Christmas popped into my head. ( I haven't put tinsel on my Christmas tree ever since.) The X- ray results were in, I won't hold you in suspense any longer,the dog ate the baby and I had the pleasant task to make sure it made a second appearance. For years I shared my "Mom" story on play dates etc. hoping by chance to help someone avoid this scary adventure in parenting. Who knew that years later that this experience would have had a traumatic effect on my sub conscience and would emerge via the creative process.
It was Mardi Gras season and my previous door decoration, which was created by my daughter in school, had seen better days. I wanted something different, more unusual than what was being offered in stores. Pondering ideas, King Cakes were my first inspiration. The symbol of the start of the Mardi Gras season. I finished it in your traditional papier mache process, painted it and added some colored beads. I thought it looked like a donut with sprinkles and it needed something else. BING! The baby! I painted a naked baby doll gold and glued it on. Chuckling to myself, I recalled my experience with the emergency room, x-rays and poop. You would have to be an elephant to swallow that king cake baby. My original cathartic design evolved into a more cohesive one, I share with the world today and now a days the plastic king cake doll is not baked in the cakes, it is placed in the box. You have the added pleasure as host of the King Cake gathering of molesting your king cake by slowing inserting the baby in some secret spot underneath. I think it takes some of the fun out of the experience. Recalling my king cake baby ingestion experience and remembering what the x-ray technician had mentioned about the added hazard of Mardi Gras beads, I wondered maybe, if the inspiration for the ridiculous, super giant Mardi Gras beads (pictured below) was some parent's visit to the emergency room with their child and that special tool and a traumatic fishing expedition. Yicks.
|Very large Mardi Gras beads.|
|Beloved Sam, guilty dog, we miss him. Survived for many years after he passed the king cake baby.|
Special thanks to everyone who has one of my Mardi Gras pieces with or without the baby and supporting my obsessions. May it bring you many years of joy!
I hope you had a wonderful & magical Mardi Gras 2013!