Friday, March 29, 2019

Conchas & Chilaquiles Faux-Mex - FFFriday Guest Post from Katie Webster!

This week's guest post comes from the delightful Katie Webster at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  I had the good fortune of working with Katie at the Santa Fe Opera!

Take it away, Katie!

Pan Dulce: 
We had some delicious Mexican food to create for a production of American Mariachi at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. For this box of pan dulce, including the charming Conchas, everything started with upholstery foam scraps. There are soooooooo many styles (have you seen the Elote ones---bread shaped like corn?) but the conchas are colorful and instantly recognizable. 

I sculpted the upholstery foam into a dome shaped bun. Then I scored the 'shell' pattern into it, maybe 1/4" deep. I sliced away selectively to mimic the cookie crumble topping that is on the conchas. 

A few years ago I learned to keep my blade oiled up when carving any type of foam! 

The Cuernas were shaped by cutting a triangle of 1/4" thin upholstery foam sheet, sprayed with Foam and Fabric adhesive, and then rolling up like you would a real crescent roll.

Then I did a tissue paper layer ( I used Rosco Crystal Gel as the medium but white glue would do the trick).

Next it came down to painting: they definitely got dusted with Design Master's Glossy Wood Tone. For the colorful 'toppings' I used some tube acrylic colors as they had a nice thickness. The finishing touch was a sprinkle of translucent glitter while wet to really capture the sugar coated look. Cinnamon sugar was finely ground cork mixed with glitter, and the powdered sugar was a bit of styrofoam shaved off with a rasp.


The chilaquiles feature one of my favorite faux food materials, the foam that comes in various thicknesses for packing material! I don't even have a precise term for this, do you know? I've heard so many names for this stuff!  Foam packing sheets, slip sheet, micro foam and roll foam.  It is SO HANDY for fake food! -Aimee

A menagerie of foams!

For the radishes, I cut circles of the foam and painted the edges red while I held them in a stack between thumb and forefinger. 

For the fried tortillas, I cut triangles of the same foam and then gently warmed them with a heat gun. (I tossed them all in a small cardboard box to do this, as they will blow around a lot!) The heat gun melts them just enough to curl and round over the edges to look more like fried chips.

The most time consuming part was the dry time of painting the chips, I tinted Rosco Crystal Gel a light yellow base color and painted each chip. I let dry supported on toothpicks, and then I glazed them all with a wash of reddish brown. 

The garnishes were really fun as well, avocados carved from insulation foam and painted with tinted Crystal Gel. Wood shavings spray painted green for green onions. Crumbled styrofoam for cheese. Small bits of upholstery foam spray painted red and green for tomato and jalapeño. I used some real Chile flakes as well to help my paint look more like sauce! Also, the real cast iron skillet helps complete the illusion. 

Thanks Katie!  These look awesome and I would 100% like to eat it all.  

Katie is a part of INCITE Colorado and you can learn about them here!

1 comment:


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