What is Halloween without some witch flying on her broomstick or cackling with bony hands outstretched to grab you? It just wouldn’t be the same without the old hag, so I had to include her as one of my projects. Shawn had sketched out a scene with three witches around a bubbling cauldron which looked so spectacularly creepy that it had to be done. However, I’m still fighting with that neurotic sense of self-worth and hated to take yet another one of his ideas verbatim. So, I reworked the witch idea into something of my own that I was incredibly excited about. (The sketch is below so you can take a look for yourselves!) It was simple yet spooky, and I thought it was a little inspired when I added the test tube and flask of ingredients for her to add to her witchy brew. I now had an idea that was my own to do.
I drew the elements involved for this pillow before I did the demon one, so the fire is actually mine. I’m not crazy about it, but because it was on a smaller scale I thought it represented flames well enough so didn’t have Shawn do this bit over. I originally planned to do one color inside the test tube and another in the flask, but after Shawn suggested using green in the cauldron I knew it would be overkill and end up making the scene look too busy. The green absolutely had to stay so it ended up the color in both the test tube and the flask for more continuity. He also helped me with the bubbles as well. He suggested doing two different sizes, but that is almost impossible to do when you’re dealing with pieces of fabric that small so instead we used fewer bubbles. I think it came out looking pretty cool!
When I had sewn together everything for my scene, I laid them on the fleece rectangle that I had cut out for the pillow base. I chose purple because I wanted something dark for her face to be appearing out of, but I didn’t go with black because I used that for the cauldron and her hat. The size I chose for the pillow itself dwarfed the actual scene and made too much empty space around it. The feeling that I wanted and had from the sketch just wasn’t there, but it didn’t look right to me either if I just made the pillow smaller. I thought I could possibly do a border around the pillow edges, something I have yet to do, or maybe even put one around the scene itself to close it in more without cutting down the size of the pillow itself. I could use the same green in the cauldron to keep the color scheme tight.
On the way to work one morning, I talked my concerns over with Shawn. He suggested I could do a border of green slime dripping down to fill some of that empty space. I liked the general idea, but not the slime part. It didn’t quite fit with the scene I had developed. However, it made me think of the witch being in a cave so I could do stalactites dropping down from above and stalagmites rising from the cave floor. I decided to go with that, and he said I could get a darker gray felt to try some shading on the stalactites and ‘mites. We stopped at Hobby Lobby after work that day, and I picked out a gray as well as one that was called charcoal. It was nicely textured with gray and black, and I thought I might be able to just use that for the rock formations. Shawn agreed, so I drew my new pillow border. I had the top section on the sides coming down to below mid-level to give the impression of cave walls, but when I cut it out I screwed up and ended up with just the stalactite section and not enough felt to redo it. I could either cut those sections out separately and sew them to the top piece or just use what I had. Given that I needed the sides to sew the pillow together, simply using the top piece worked after all.
My last bit of trouble with this pesky witch was her mouth. I had done a couple versions of her eyes as I was working on the whole thing, and finally found two I liked but I just wasn’t happy with her mouth. I couldn’t make something so tiny look creepy enough, and once again Shawn was there. He tried two or three versions before I found one that I liked. It has a Scooby Doo kind of feel to it, which works for me since that is one of my all-time favorite shows. I now had everything I needed to sew the scene to the pillow and then sew that up as well.
All in all, I think the sketch works better than the eventual outcome in pillow form. I’m thinking I should have done a black background, and then made the cauldron as well as the witch’s hat purple. Maybe that way only her hat, eyes and mouth materializing out of the gloom would have come across better. However, I didn’t feel like the flames would have looked as good against a purple cauldron. I also think that charcoal felt makes the whole thing look a little drab and dirty. In the end, I’m not very pleased with this one which is a double disappointment since I loved the idea and sketch so much.