Making Sportsy Frosties

At Hip Circle we would call any major event like the Super Bowl and World Cup a Sportsing event, and I like the ring of it.

I do follow the World Cup when the Dutch and German teams are playing, but am only marginally aware of what goes on in the sports world. Of course here in Chicago the Blackhawks and Cubs are huge. I hear about the Bears less.

However, when the Woman’s Club of Evanston suggested Sports Team ornaments for their Holiday Bazaar, I put my thinking cap on and started researching the teams more. Since the big teams are mostly male, frosties felt like a good starting point for some sportsy ornaments. I set up the Now That’s A Jig! to make the wire forms.

Fortunately, red is a dominant color for the Blackhawks, though I wasn’t sure how to distinguish them from red frosties. Copying logos comes close to copyright infringement, so I knew I couldn’t just print out the image of a Native American with his headdress.

Initially I tried to make a hockey stick out of the wire, but that was an epic fail.

So I reviewed their Jerseys some more, and knew the stripes on the knees would be distinctive. A few trials with markers and a trip to the art store for a white marker that didn’t bleed soon got me started on making stripes.

Then I cut out hockey sticks with a printed template. Originally I did a black hockey stick, but then I realized I could reflect the feather colors on the hockey stick handle.

Drawing stripes is actually pretty soothing, but making a full sports team gets a bit tedious.

Interestingly, while the Chicago Blackhawks have a logo of (presumably) the Sauk Leader on their jerseys, the team is actually named in honor of a military unit. “Their first owner, Frederic McLaughlin, was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I, nicknamed the “Black Hawk Division” after the war leader. McLaughlin named the hockey team in honor of his military unit.” 

I dipped each hockeystick in encaustic medium to give it durability.

Black Hawk is pretty prominent here, and I learned a lot about him and his battles when I visited the large statue on a weekend excursion years ago. I am heartened that the Field Museum is working with Native American Tribes to update their exhibits so we can have a more accurate depiction of the original inhabitants of this land.

Each Blackhawk frosty put on their pants first, and then I would work my way up after trimming each individual piece of paper to the shape.

Baseball frosties were easier to form. I figured out how to make them batty fairly quickly, though getting the right length of wire without having to trim is still a bit of an effort.

The Chicago Cubs went through various names, and apparently the “Cubs” came from a nickname. Interestingly, they were the White Stockings originally. This color scheme was easy to devise, and I once again breathed more easily after hand-drawing the uniforms.

In this case, the bats go on first.

Then the baseballers also get their pants on first, and the Exacto knife trims away the excess waxed paper.

Making teams was a fun challenge. I have to distribute these to Sacred Art and the Pop Up Gallery in addition to my upcoming art fairs, so the more I make now, the less I have to restock later.

The Chicago White Sox took over the White Stockings name when Charles Comiskey moved his team to Chicago. Apparently we have two baseball teams because one used to be American League and the other the National League. Now it seems more of a geographical distinction between South siders and North siders.

The initial prototypes will stay in my collection.

In the midst of all this making we had an early frost advisory too.

Football was a tougher design to figure out. I knew that Navy frosties would not show up on the tree, so I followed an acquaintance’s advice to reverse the colors and focus on the orange instead. A trip to World Market got me all the right team colored-tissue.

Figuring out the football was another brain exercise that required some internet consulting. Then as I was playing with various tools I realized that the small Now That’s a Jig! oval makes a perfect football shape!

I knew I would need to embellish the football, so I reviewed the design of the stitches.

The Chicago Bears were first the Chicago Staleys. “In 1922, [owner George] Halas changed the team name to the Bears to reflect baseball’s Chicago Cubs, the team’s host at Wrigley Field.”

After getting the team colors sorted and matching the tissue to the right orange marker, I started making a few of the Bears.

Living in Evanston I also had to nod to Northwestern, which is purple everything. My cousin came to town and we actually stopped in Campus Gear, which was great color research for me.

I made the footballers a variety of purple and black combinations.

They have lots of different sports teams, and I am still mulling over how to represent volleyball, soccer and tennis. I did attempt basketball ornaments. We will see how those are received.

So over the span of a few weeks I became the owner of multiple sports teams! These are free agents though, and I look forward to sending them off into new homes.  Do you prefer the Blackhawks?

Are you rooting for the Chicago Cubs?

Do you prefer the South side White Sox?

Or is it Bear Down for you?

For me, it’s all about inclusivity.

Now I need to get these tagged before the Wilder Mansion Holiday Market

They do look pretty on the tree…

And of course there are a variety of other frosties to peruse at my fairs.

See you soon!

Stay tuned for the batch of Angels coming along as well.

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