That sounds like a great title for a kids' book doesn't it!

Actually, Binx and the Valentine Nine are greyhounds. And an auction. Here's a note from Terri Malloy, explaining...

The Auction of the Valentine Nine will run only on Facebook, and will benefit Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue in Swanzey, New Hampshire.  The auction will only have 10 items in it; The Valentine Nine and I'm offering up one custom made sculpture of the winner's dog (doesn't have to be a greyhound). This auction will run from February 3rd - 10th. The 9 paper mache sculptures are of each of our senior and special needs greyhounds waiting for new forever homes. They are being decorated by artists all over the US, including 7 CZTs. Each sculpture will come with a custom beaded collar, picture and bio of the greyhound it represents. As you can imagine seniors and special needs dogs need extra care and this auction will provide funds for their medical care, special food and other needs. Please share with all of your animal loving friends. The auction will end on February 10th and all greyhounds will be sent to you in time for Valentine's Day. Thanks for all of your hard work!
Terri Malloy, Marketing Director

Be sure to take a look at the Facebook page to see all the amazing dogs - many are tangled. I am a cat person and I was fascinated to learn from Terri that greyhounds are considered the "cats of the dog world." Weird - tell me more Terri....

They call greyhounds the cats of the dog world because of their lazy personalities. They lounge around all day, play for a short while and go back to sleep. They're great for people that want a companion dog but don't want a high energy dog that needs a ton of exercise.

Perhaps the perfect dog! And unlike cats, they don't sashay across your desk and step on your keyboard while you are blogging.

As you have already guessed, when Terri asked if I would decorate a pup for the auction, I said "Yes!" I was assigned "Binx."

This is the "real" Binx.

Binx is the oldest of the bunch and in 2005, her last year of racing, she ran in 47 races. I was inspired, after two days of staring at her, to create an image that honored her age and status. Old, but sturdy, surviving the years, classic... hard to define, but I hope you'll see it too. If you are interested in the steps, I'll show them here. If you just want to see how she turned out, jump to the bottom of this post.

The dogs lining up to travel to their artists. Binx is the only one who is sitting.
In the buff. What to wear, what to wear?

I sculpted the tiles onto her sides with Creative Paperclay

. This air-dry clay is really lightweight, but strong. I had hoped to transfer my tangles directly onto the paperclay using Sheer Heaven, and the idea DID sorta work (paperclay is absorbent), but the curved, textured surface proved too difficult.

But then I was reminded of a cool technique by Bonnie Wright - one of my regular bees at The BeeHive. This is the perfect way to get images onto a textured surface... draw (or stamp, or transfer, etc.) the designs onto very thin white tissue paper. Then tear out the images (draw the tear line in water with a brush) and decoupage them onto your project.

I used the Sheer Heaven to transfer my drawings to the tissue paper and then matte medium to adhere them to Binx.

Since the clay and the medium really suck up paint, I painted a bit of gloss medium over the images on the tiles so I could wipe off the paint in the next step...

This is the really fun - and slightly nerve-wracking - part. It is impossible to know exactly how the materials will react to the paint... I started with the redder, rustier acrylics, brushing them into the cracks and wiping them away from the tile surfaces.

I added darker browns to add age and dirt. I didn't add any black though. I wanted more of an antique-y, sepia kind of feel.

The last step was to sand random areas to suggest wear and tear.

And here is my finished Binx...

I'm getting rather attached to her...

If YOU would like to get attached to her, be sure to visit the auction on Facebook and place a bid. Just think, someday, when I'm famous, this Binx statue will be worth a fortune! ;-D And you will be helping some really wonderful greyhounds enjoy their retirement.

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