Cthulhu Idol

This project was inspired by Cthulhu mythos and took many months of research and building. The goal of the project started as building a Cthulhu Idol. The stars must have been in alignment because it quickly became an all-encompassing mixed media plot hook based around the idol itself.

The first steps involvedĀ  creating the idol. I envisioned a roughly hewn creature carved with primitive tools out of a solid piece of stone. The base was glued together and Apoxie Sculpt used to fill in the cracks between the wood. Armature wire and foil were built up onto the base and the idol was shaped out of SuperSculpy. You’ll notice the design has been refined quite a lot between this picture and the final cast.

Once I was happy with the sculpt a silicon brush on mould was created with Smooth On’s Brush On silicons. This was keyed and wrapped in a plaster bandage mothermould.

Still needs more plaster to finish the second half.

Once the mould was created I ran some tests with resin casting and eventually settled on coldcast bronze. This involves mixing the resin with a lot of bronze powder, as well as dusting the mould with the same powder just before casting. More on this in a moment….

It was at this point that this idol started to take a life of it’s own. I realized this can’t just be handed over as a gift, since there is no mystery in that, so it would obviously need a box. Perhaps a museum box which hints at a long-lost relic or lost parcel from the earlier century. The story created itself:

In the early 1900s an explorer by the name of Colonel Percy Fawcett was well known for seeking strange places. During the Colonel’s last voyage to America he packaged this idol into a box and addressed it to Doctor Schneider at the University of Vermont. A Western Union telegram was sent first, followed by the box. Unfortunately Col. Fawcett never returned from his trip while searching for the Lost City of Z, and so this box sat unopened in a safety deposit box at the Bank of America.

Until now.

Click for a larger image.

With the forged letter came forged labels.

Crate shipping label

Telegram

The crate itself was created from scratch out of random used planks of wood. Here are early fitting photos, then photos after breakdown, weathering, and labels. In the final creation the box was stuffed with wood wool just as they would have done at the time.

The whole thing was coming together nicely. Early casts of the idol in coldcast bronze were having difficulties but eventually I pulled one to the quality I intended. Buffing with steel wool and doing some detailed artificial patina work in the crevices brought the idol to life. For authenticity the resin slush cast was backfilled which added around 2 lbs to the total weight. I also purchased a replica newspaper from 1923 off ebay which was included in the “released” safe deposit box items.

Cold cast bronze Cthulhu idol with hints of oxidized green

(top to bottom) Cthulhu idol, Bank of America letter, Western Union telegram, Shipping Label, Modern FedEx Label, Vermont Newspaper circa 1923

One modern (but also forged) FedEx shipping label and a free Air Mail sticker from the post office later, this entire project was packed up and hand delivered on a porch with a friendly note from the neighbours – “Fedex left this for you.”

 

Few things are so inspiring than bringing some wonder, mystery, and magic, to someone else. Who doesn’t love getting packages in the mail? Especially from long lost relatives.

10 thoughts on “Cthulhu Idol

  1. This is possibly the greatest gift I have ever received. Where did you get the love craft stamps? This has been driving me awesomely crazy ever since I got it. The worst part was going over the newspaper with a fine toothed comb looking for clues, and trying to figure out why only the word proffessor was underlined by hand.

    This was a work of genius. I can’t thank you enough.

  2. Also did you know that the FedEx tracking number you used was legit for a large package being sent to Australia, and the phone number on the Bank of America letter does not of straight to them, but to a subsidiary company that handles BoA’s credit card transactions, they have a really shitty customer service rep, and have been in trouble on several occasions for illegally taking money from their customers’ accounts.

    I might possibly have done a little searching around re: this present.

  3. Incredible! The statue itself is a work of art, but the entire story, including labels, letter, packaging, were amazing! Even down to the type of glue they used at the time? And the mystery of it all! Absolutely incredible.

  4. Being told about this could never compare to actually seeing it finished. This is incredible, Wily! You did such an amazing job. One can only aspire to get something this awesome in the mail!

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    • The wood I used for the box was made out of some thin pine from an old orange box and a plank from a discarded skid. I re-used the rusty nails from the skid to build this box. I considered sanding the nail heads and throwing some salt water on there but they were sufficiently worn looking. The box was aged using a tannic acid and vinegar technique – there are many great tutorials for this online. Anything that begins with throwing steel wool into vinegar and steeping strong tea will lead you in the right direction.

      The lettering was prepped from scratch in photoshop and printed on a laser printer. From there I used an acetone transfer technique of the printed page directly to the box. This was done carelessly so the label was missing in some places.

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