Statue of St. Francis for
Southern Illinois University's Production of "Candide"

St. Francis created using sculpt or Coat, joint compound and latex paint

6. The felt on hand was a bright orange so the paint used was a complimentary light blue to neutralize the orange.

7. Using lay in brushes the felt was painted right on the form occasionally lifting the fabric to paint the underside and the styrofoam so the fabric would adhere to itself and the body. As the fabric became saturated and heavy, it began to hang in nice folds and shapes. Extra pins were added to secure these folds.

1. In the production "Candide" performed by Southern Illinois University - Carbondale Theatre, the lifesize statue has to fall on top of an actor, "crushing" him.

2. The statue had to be both lightweight and durable. The torso was carved out of white bead foam. A styrofoam wig head was attached and shaped to have deep eye sockets and high cheekbones.

3. Gloves sewed to muslin tubes and stuffed with polyester batting were pinned to the shoulders to create the arms.

4. Scrap felt was then pinned over the body in the shape of a monk's robe and hood. These were all seperate pieces and no sewing was involved.

5. 1/2 gallon of Sculpt or Coat, 1/2 gallon of commercial redi-mixed joint compound and 1/4 gallon latex paint were combined.

Texturing created using Sculpt or coat, joint compound mixture

8. The felt began to dry in less then an hour and additional shaping was done even as it stiffened.

9. The statue dried overnight and was used the next day during rehearsal. The texture is very course like rough concrete, but still retains a degree of flexibility.

A couple of other lighter colors were dry brushed over the surface just to pop up the relief a bit more under the stage lights.


  1. The finished statue was extremely lightweight and easily lifted with one hand.
  2. Ron Naverson, the designer/professor for the show, said "I even caught the stage hands tossing him around backstage one night. In rehearsal, our candide even stepped on the statue without causing any damage".
  3. After 10 rehearsals and performances, the only damage the saint suffered was a slightly flattened nose. The joint compound would have cracked and flaked, but mixed with the Sculpt or Coat, it became a durable coarse coating.
  4. NOTE:The latex paint that was added, acted as a base coat and thinned the mixture enough so paint brushes could be used. If the mixture had been thinned with more paint, they could have dipped the felt in the mix and then draped it over the form.
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