I will admit, I spent a lot more time on research and shooting some (unfortunately low quality) reference photos than I intended to. I also found myself in situations where there were excellent photos to be taken, but I was without a quality camera to take said photos with.
This is the image that first gave me the idea for the project. While hiking in Colfax, CA, I found this lovely spider web on my way out of the canyon. I didn’t know what kind of spider had created it and its owner was hiding. After some research, I found out that it belonged to a bowl and doily spider. Here’s a quick summary I found on Wikipedia:
The bowl and doily spider, Frontinella communis, is a species of sheet weaver found in North and Central America. It is a small spider, about 4 mm (0.16 in) long, that weaves a fairly complex sheet web system consisting of an inverted dome shaped web, or “bowl”, suspended above a horizontal sheet web, or “doily”, hence its common name. The spider hangs from the underside of the “bowl”, and bites through the web small flies, gnats and other small insects that fall down into the non-sticky webbing. The webs are commonly seen in weedy fields and in shrubs, and may often contain both a male and a female spider in late summer – like many linyphiids, Frontinella may cohabitate for some time.
For reference, here is a picture (not taken by me) of a female bowl and doily spider:
(Image found here)
Of course, my ideas for a fantasy kind of spider look different. I was really inspired by the landscape in which I found this spider.
The Sierra Nevadas were formed by volcanic activity, which is why there is so much granite. The crystallization of different kinds of minerals created the quartz (which will also likely come into play in the final designs of this project). Taking these things into consideration, I wanted to use a conical volcano-like shape for the body of the spider, as seen in the quick sketch below.
I also wanted to use a granite-like texture.
I still have a ways to go on the spider design, but these are my sketches thus far. I am still working out how I want the head to look and the legs to connect the the spider. So far, I am only really sure of the silhouette and that I want to scale them up to at least four inches.
Another important part about my inspiration was the tree. I liked how a ground spider had made its home in the knot of a tree. I want that to be linked to my spider’s habitat, but haven’t decided if I want it to remain a more ground-based insect or if I want to have it suspended between trees. Some more reference images for some ideas:
This coming week, I will have more sketches to show! Thank you for taking the time to view my project!