Category: Museum




c of c creatures from the past

 My first job in Charleston was for Technical Theater Solutions. I built this cave with the help of my master-of-an-organizer-builder-supervisor, carved it myself, then coated and painted it with the help of a very talented (and also new to Charleston) assistant. Then the three of us put on the final touches and it is now completed! The cave bears at the “Creatures from the Past” museum at the College of Charleston now have a nice looking limestone habitat.

 Bears in their new home.



 Kelly admires the big bear!


 View from the hallway before you enter the museum – it is the first thing you see upon entering.


 Final shot of the new habitat from up on a ladder.

 Side views



 Close up




final pictures of "traveling the silk road"

photos by Christopher Luxem




AMNH October, November

 The Marketplace scene!

 The ship, with the pots I worked on.

  I sculpted the camel’s fur back on once the head was attached to the neck. I also applied the hair in the photos above.

 The camels are taking over.

I painted these garlic

Then made them into a rope! 

Oregano before

Oregano after I painted it

 Oregano finished!

So, I was temporarily hired at the museum to finish up the show, and all those photos represent what I was working on, which was, EVERYTHING! It was great, though. I learned a lot and hopefully I’ll be back there soon.




AMNH - September, October

What I’ve been working on this and last month.

 One of four camels, fresh out of the mold. Each piece needs 2 layers of “gel”, 2 layers of fiberglass resin (laying the fiberglass then wetting it down with stippling a brush over it) and then an edge layer of more fiberglass (then wet) then a gel to seal the edges. So, each piece gets about 9 layers before we can close it up. We hang it upside-down to set it so it doesn’t collapse inside the mold.

 One layer of gel-like polyester resin.

 The mold, taken apart. There are about 15 pieces total.

 The large abdomen piece.

 Another view.

 Pots – replicas from a sunken ship thought to be from the silk road era(s). These are cast in smooth cast and these few are broken open. I sanded the edges of the break to make it look more like a ceramic break. I also chased seams, and sealed bottoms on a lot of these pots. There will be 50-75 total. There are 30 now, 1/2 finished. A long way to go.

 Unpainted Rhubarb. I sculpted the two parts together. The leaves are vacu-formed plastic to plaster molds of leaves, and the stems are cast from real rhubarb stems.

 Kohlrabi – bulbs cast from real vegetables, leaves vacu-formed and in this picture, I am grafting them together.

 Indian gooseberries – I sculpted these, Steve helped me cast them, then I painted them.  1/2 painted gooseberries.

 Peepul figs – same process as the gooseberries.




American Museum of Natural History

I’m interning this summer at AMNH and I am working on fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, textiles, luxury goods, etc. for the Turfan Marketplace scene in the November-opening Silk Road exhibition.

I am mostly making faux fruit look more realistic by sculpting onto them or painting them, or both. I am also sculpting things from scratch as well as making molds and casts of real fruits and veggies.

Here are some examples of the work I am doing.

 These bananas are 1/2 finished. They’ve come in as generic plastic things, and by this point I have sculpted new stems and ends onto them, and airbrushed them a bit. They are missing the top parts in this photo.

These apples have been primed because when we got them they were a silly red color. Soon they will be painted, all the stems removed and replaced with real wood.

 Finished apples. Hand painted.


 1/2 finished figs. These were all the same so I cut them up and put them back together to vary the sizes. Then I sculpted new stems on a few of them. I painted them here, but they are still missing their detail work in this stage.

 Closer to being finished, but not quite.

 Finished bananas.

In most cases, I am given the species of the fruit, and told to figure out what that looks like, then go from the research I do. Sometimes the designers give me exact reference.

With these apricots, I just had to make them vary in color. The shapes and textures were pretty believable. 

Sometimes there is miscommunication, for example, like when the designers said “golden peaches” I found reference online saying that golden peaches were a deep red, when infact they are more yellow than apricots. I will start a new batch of peaches next week, but here are the ones I made. They came a light pink color and I painted them red and yellow.


These watermelons are going to be in a lead ice chest that one of the artists is making, and another artist is painting the watermelons. I sculped the stems because the ones that came on them were made of floral tape and wire. In this photo, they are of course, unpainted, but I will photograph them later when they are in the ice chest.

These plums are weird and made of silicone, I just dusted them up to make them look more realistic. 

I finally remembered to take a before and after shot.



This is seaweed I made from thermoplastic and a heat gun, paint and chalk.


I airbrushed all these, one at a time.


And I airbrushed these too. 

My next tasks involve sculpting indian gooseberries, and peepul figs, and then casting them so that I only have to sculpt about 5 of each, then painting them.

There’s so much more to do!


Recent bits and bobs floating around in the creative process


Follow @beccabarnet on Instagram for process shots and #boyfriendbruce