Friday, January 13, 2017

The Grace of Jizo

Recently the NY Times ran a small story on Jizo, the Japanese Bodhisattva, one of the most beloved and revered Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. Jizo is the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Vow, the aspiration to save all beings from suffering. He is the protector of women, children, and travelers in the six realms of existence. 

"Most prominent today in Japanese Zen, Jizo is understood to be the protector of those journeying through the physical and spiritual realms. This bodhisattva is closely associated with children, believed to be their guardian before birth, throughout childhood, and after death."

In India he is known as Ksitigarbha, in China as Dizang, in Korea as Jijang Bosal
and in Japan as Jizo Bosatsu.

Long before many of the fantasy and fairy elements of my world showed up in Bewilder and Pine, I was making Jizos. I had learned about them while studying Zen just after the turn of the Millennium and when I was trying to find the comfort zone in my desire for solitude and silence around me.

I fell in love with the figure and the meaning behind him.

Visiting a monastery that had a "Jizo Garden" with statues large and small, each dedicated to a child who had died and lovingly placed and cared for along the forest paths, my interest deepened.

Then I read about the Onegai, or "wish granting" Jizos aNihonji Daibutsu, where thousands upon thousands of tiny Onegai Jizos surround the larger statues, all placed by folks making wishes or prayers as they visit.  The Onegai is one of over 70 various Jizo versions I have seen described! 

Over the years I have been so blessed to have created a few hundred or so of these little guys and they have grown along with me. I change the listing photos every few years as they mature and grow with my skills. 

The story in the Times led about 15 or so folks to the shop, all within this last week, and I have been graced with making Jizos one after the other to meet the demand there, as well as with the few little boutiques I sell thru who also happened to see the article. I've also been graced with the stories of some of these new customers who are buying them who read the article, searched the internet for Jizos, and happened upon my little guys. They sometimes share stories of the children they lost in childbirth or far too soon thereafter. Some purchase them for just that purpose, others as travel companions for protection. and some just for their own altar in the role of a "wish-granter". 

The thing is, and many of you know this about me, I am usually not fond or making things over and over in short spans of time. But I have to say that I felt none of that this last week creating two dozen or so Jizos to fill the purposes they were requested for. It's a whole other realm. It feels like a deep and true service. . . 

It's possible, especially when Bewilder and Pine is fully stocked, to miss them altogether among the fairy magic and mythic gargoyles and such. . . but below are a few of the images of some that I made this last week. If you have never heard of Jizo, there's a lot of information out there. But if you are truly interested in the meaning behind Jizo,  I'd recommend the book written by my previous Zen teacher from that time, Jan Chozen Bays called:  "Jizo Bodhisattva - Guardian of Children, Travelers and Other Voyagers".  She has worked with and studied Jizo for years. There's no better introduction to Jizo than her book. 

It's been a hectic week. . .  but every step of the way it's been a wonderful reminder of how you can touch people with creativity. The meaning found within and the wealth of warmth and love one can receive from the service of creating. . . 

Hope the New Year is treating you all so wonderfully thus far!!

nicolas





Onegai, Wish-Granting, Jizo

Just over 2 inches (5cm) tall

I offer them in the same aged patina finishes as my statues in Shadow of the Sphinx too.

I hope you enjoyed the glimpse of these little guys. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Plans, New Work

Wishing a very Happy New Year to everyone in the blog-world and thank you, for your comments, for just taking a moment to read and for being a part of my world. :)


Hoping YOUR year to come is filled with magic and wonder every day!


“Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.” 
 May Sarton


2017. . . yikes! I can recall, in the early 1980's being old enough to realize that I  would see the turn of the century. It felt like it was a world away back then. Now, 17 years after that millennium date came and went,  feel like I can hardly remember it passing.

I found myself, this past week, thinking of so many of the things I have tried in my life. as it pertains to "making a living" — Cooking, writing music, sound engineering, running coffeehouses, owning cafe's,  photo editing, photography, digital art. . . all took up a bit of my life as my main "pursuit".

A perfect word, pursuit.

Looking back I think I am realizing that I was always chasing something — some dream I held at that moment.  And at the core of those dreams was the thought "Wouldn't it be great to be able to make a living doing ___ " Of course, if I am honest, I wanted more than that. I wanted to be "known" for what I did too. And I often, in those early adult years, let that misguided part of it in the driver's seat far too often.

How wonderful now, all these years later in life, to have discovered thru the process and elimination of all of the attachments to that particular ideal, that it is truly enough to just say, "I want to make magic!" Well, that and then to put it into this world"

I feel most grateful that I have been able to become a "maker-of-things" and that, for the last six years, it's been my sole occupation. I do not think, in that time, I have ever thought about anything else other than gratitude for the fact that I get to rise each day and travel down whatever road my imagination wishes to go.

When I am asked about my "occupation", as with my recent, mid-December eye doctor appointment, it is funny to notice how speaking of what I do tends to stop people in their tracks. That's how it was with Dr. Paul,. Like him, they'll often ask the question, take in the answer, then turn, look at me and say "Really? You can make a living from that?" In Dr. Paul's case, this led to us stopping the exam mid-stream so he could open up Etsy on his computer and look at the shoppes! :)

But behind the magic of my two main shoppes is, at this point,  seven plus years of diligence and hard work, experimentation and lessons learned along the way. From those first days of running to the store to get the right sized box with every sale to now, where our "guest" bedroom is 100% devoted to packing and shipping. Walls lined with shelves of gift and shipping boxes, tissue and bubble wrap and oodles of rolls of raffia and ribbon.

From not knowing how to ship an international package at all to having a pretty good grasp on many of the oddities one cannot ship to specific countries. We've adapted and grown into it with every step of the process. And the thing I believe that we are most aware contributed to our ability to turn these ideas into our life's work, was the way we look at each new obstacle and are willing to do almost anything to overcome it.In short, as I have said before, the willingness to shape our life around the work and not try to force it the other way around.

Even at the beginning, when Sofie and I first took an apartment together, on day one we decided we needed to make the living room space the bedroom and the two small bedrooms into our work studios so we had more space and better light to work within. Our lifestyle never goes over well with family, though our few friends seem to appreciate it and understand. It's all in service to the creation of what we hope IS magic. And that magic has to come first for us or it's just not going to work.

Now I have gone about things pretty much the same way my whole life.

All or nothing.

No safety net or cushion below the high wire.

It's always paid off beautifully with either wonderful experiences or total collapses — and I mean that. It's always paid off BEAUTIFULLY.

Even the worst of it was a better learning experience than anything I might have gained playing it safe or taking things slow and sure.  Diving in always felt like learning to ride a bike. The uncertainty of your steadiness before that first glorious moment where the pedal completes a revolution and you catch the balance of the wheels just right. Now, I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 30, so I recall the feeling oh so well. I'll never forget it.

That said, all or nothing was a younger person's game to play for sure. And I never had the stress in those years of a mortgage or of kids or of car payments etc. I moved across the country, started four or five businesses over the next 15 years and, when things didn't work out? Next idea please! Along the way I've accumulated skills, equipment and insights that I would never have had otherwise. And they all seem to be converging in the here and now.

Thru all the trial and error, I kept looking for that one thing. That certain "magic"I could call my own.

It was never a case of wanting to have it all for me.  I remember reading in May Sarton's,  " Journal of a Solitude" about how, as she was becoming something of an icon for feminism, she would get letters from young women begging her to tell them the secret to "having it all", which they perceived her to have achieved. She often would reply, "you can't dear, no one can."I want to write another post in the coming weeks about Sarton's influence on my own life. Her love of solitude, seeing it as an absolute necessity for her sanity. . . it resonated so strongly with me. Quotes like:

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is richness of self.”

No one had described solitude's graces quite like that before and it allowed me to feel as though I wasn't just some oddball for wanting so much time to myself again, as I had when I was a child.

So. . . solitude, magic, openness to change of direction or to unorthodox means. Whatever it took.

Here we are then. Solid footing and seven years into this magical path and I am completely committed to whatever it takes to keep the magic flowing.

So what does 2017 hold?

Well, I'll just bullet point it for now with short descriptions as I am sure I'll address these all in detail in the coming weeks.

1. Continued growth of my Etsy shoppes. I think I finally get it when it comes to creative balance. I've needed for some time to be better about not overloading myself and trying to accommodate everything that is requested of me.  And I plan to further my dive into exploring new work and new skills each month.

2. Creating a dedicated Squarespace website for "The Bewildering Pine" — OK, I know this is confusing to some. The Etsy shoppe, "Bewilder and Pine" is "inspired" by the land of the "Bewildering Pine.". That's the world itself. Rooted in childhood.  The place where all the little houses, stories and ideas come from. I want the site to be for those stories, little vignettes and a blog just for that world and it's characters. Anything sold there would be directly related to the stories told within. Sets of fortune cards, special amulets, dream teas and "tinctures", who knows what could be created? But at it's core, it's to be a place to grow the magic of that paracosm without limits or without tying it to the varied expressions found in the Etsy shoppe.

3. "The Ledgerkeepers" book - Short stories from around and within that same world. A full color, detailed map and 24 or so small story "peeks" into the folk who live there and the reason the Bewildering Pine came to be. A limited run of hand-bound copies and possibly (hopefully) a full print edition by the summer of 2018. All of it, however, is to lay the groundwork for a novel in the following years. There is a certain ripple of darkness under the magic of the land itself and stories to be told that no one can begin to guess at their point of heading :)

4. The Bewildering Pine "Travel Guide"- Part of the extensive world building for writing "The Ledgerkeepers" has been taking each town, point of interest and the variety of elves and kind folk, myths and secrets of that world and writing about them. It's all backstory for the larger project but I thought it would be quite lovely to put together a collection of those descriptions, a map and some other details. Maybe a small bestiary, a lexicon? Perhaps more. . . also slated for late 2017 or early 2018 but we'll see.This would also be hand-bound.

5. The Bewildering Pine Podcast - Yes, a podcast. Though it likely won't be called that. I am quite taken with podcast radio dramas like "The Message", "Tannis", "The Black Tapes" and "Life After" but I wanted a place where I could begin to tell my own family stories (which are rather magical and unbelievable in many cases) yet keep it in the realm of "otherworld" magic. Well, a short synopsis would be: Reading so many folk tales about particular fae and elven spirits I found myself thinking, quite often, "Oh, that one reminds me so much of my Great aunt Kate who lived on an old houseboat or that meadow elf reminds me of this girl I knew when I was 10 who was bewitching!" In short, it's a podcast that's about my experiences, looking back and realizing that there may have been more magic in our world, in my childhood and extended family, than I ever realized. The journey into it is set off by the discovery of a diary of my great grandmothers, long lost until it turns up in another extended family members discarded things. The entries within it, the allusions in the details, to other worlds and other "folk". I am planning on two seasons of 6 episodes being blocked out before I get started with it all for recording and broadcast.

6. Ice Elf figurines - Well I have mentioned this before over the past two years. A series of 50 or so limited edition "Ice Elves" that would  feature a story that is told over 24 months. A new "chapter" is sent to the buyer each month. I'd like it to be an interactive story as well. So as those who bought the Ice Elf figure follow the "mission statement" of the Elves and, hopefully, engage with me thru a future website for the Ice Elf world, we can build the story together. and complete their mission. I imagine the Ice Elf packaging to be rather elaborate. A "chest" containing the small figurine and a series of extras. Ice Crystal gazing ball, scrolls and amulets, coded messages, magic ice dust. . . oh I have a long list of possibilities and am sourcing materials now. I'd want to be sure I could get at least 50 of each required supply I need to keep them consistent.

7. Music - OK, this is tied to the podcast. I wrote music for years. Worked with dance companies, commercial and film makers and produced songs for other songwriters. What I rarely did though, was create solely for the "magic " of it. There was always an end game, an ideal of success that I wanted within it and, I felt, that kept me from really getting into the heart of it and writing just in the service of finding that magic. So, creating music for the Podcast would allow me that opportunity.  A way of righting that part of my past too. Working with just limited world/ancient instruments and going more for atmosphere than pure song writing or music/CD release, I just want to indulge in the magical creation of it all again. I used to be so obsessed with music. I felt like I lived and breathed it but, looking back with the advantage of the years,  I see that I always wanted and expected it to be in service to me, instead of the other way around. I want to give that back. So it's time to dig out the old digital recorder and start reacquainting myself with it all again. we'll see. . .

Ok, that's it.  . . I think. :)

This really has been much longer than I anticipated so I am going to just leave you with a few pieces of new work from December. I may have to come back and edit any errors above as the New Year is calling me already.

And I've got my Sparrows and Crows and Starlings to feed.

Magic to make. . .

Make YOUR New Year magical too!!!

And thank you for reading, but more for believing. . .
xo
nicolas

Perhaps my favorite Sutekh/Set I have ever sculpted! 

I never tire of making Sekhmet pieces. She is, after all, the Lady of Light.

These two were part of a gargoyle "quarry" of nine!  I loved making both sweet and bratty gargoyles for this request!

A fine fellow in Ireland buys multiples of mini statues for his work team when they complete a major project,
which are always named after an Egyptian Deity so, these were for "Ma'at"

The Fairy House of Barberry, the village of Hobs and Grogochs.

And a pair of country Hermitage Fairy Houses. These have come a long way over these past 7 years so they
do still feel rather "new" to me. ;) 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Little Bit of Christmas Past

Hello all! Hoping the season has been magical thus far wherever you are whether snowed in or hoping for a white Christmas!

Just thought I'd share a bit of our holiday world today.

Since we've added a full size floor loom and another work table to our set up we had to downsize the tree a bit this year to fit it in but it is still a lively 5' Nobel Fir.

The Santa is from the first tree I can recall as a child. I looked forward to seeing this "old friend" every year and I still do.

And these glass ornaments must be at least 50 years old now.  I've managed to keep nine of them in tact.

Danish Christmas Snowflakes Sofie got at a Christmas market when she was in school abroad. 

One of my favorite Etsy finds of all time. Originally I wanted to make little winter scenes for them but decided we should keep most of them for ourselves to hang on the tree. 

Sofie's Grandmother's tree topper! I love this bird and look forward to placing it on the top bough every year!

And the last few years, when we had much larger trees, we needed ornaments so we made dozens of these origami bows.   I am hoping to take a day next week and make a few dozen small ones to go on this year's tree.

And one last thing. . . last year we watched what is one of my favorite, nostalgic, Christmas movies which is "An American Christmas Carol" starring Henry Winkler, (yes, that's right, THE FONZ !) as the Scrooge based character. Now, I will admit, it is not as good a movie as I recalled (acting wise) from 25 years before, but I still reveled in seeing it again. It's hard to find but Netflix had it last year and it was a delight to watch.  Of course, Nothing beats "A Charlie Brown Christmas"  for me, the sad little tree, the monologue from Linus about what Christmas is all about and of course, Pigpen's endless dust clouds even when skating or exhaling while singing! Classic. . . 

Any favorites you'd like to share? LOVE to hear about them!

Happy holidays!

nicolas 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Small Magic - Nostalgia

My dear blog friend Andrea, at Falling Ladies, has begun a monthly collection of stories and experiences of what she has termed as "Small Magic". You can find this month's post by Andrea by clicking HERE

And the original "Finding Small Magic" Post on her Falling Ladies blog is HERE:

I hope you will take a moment and check them out, add your own (even just a link to a picture or a sentence or two is PLENTY! It need not be as wordy as I tend to be. :)

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If you've been following my blog or visiting my shoppes on Etsy over the years, you probably are aware that i am a huge fan, and a fierce protector, of the notion of nostalgia. While my childhood was far from perfect and we all tend to gloss over some of the not-so-great aspects of  our lives, I think many people have a tendency to drift, for one reason or another, back to the past. Especially as we get older. 

For some it's childhood, for others it's college or the early years of their own children's lives. But it seems that, in one way or another, we all tend to find those spaces in the past where we can safely dwell for whatever personal reasons. 

Now, when that nostalgia revolves around childhood. . . well, many adults seem to leave it completely behind or, at the very least, rarely speak about it in and among their adult lives. You may see signs of it in someone's doll collection or Teddy bear Hug. Or in the way they interact with their own children during playtime or in creative endeavors. 

I never let go of that past and I am thankful, every day, that I didn't lose sight of it. 

To be completely honest, most of my life I lived with a foot in two worlds. That of the adult world around me and that of the world of my imagination and childhood. The struggle to maintain both led to a lot of frustration and misunderstandings among friends and family who could not see that I just was not cut out for the "adult" world. I needed every spare hour for my imagination and it was a very solitary pursuit for the most part. I made bad decisions. I tried to reconcile the two worlds in so many ways but, in the end, I always felt that the magical/childhood part of me was suffocating in the adult world. 

Then, after an accumulative series of events, I decided that it was time for a leap of faith. I was going to have to open myself up to the possibilities and ask for guidance as I threw myself and my world completely into the pot. All or nothing. Sink or swim. Betting on childhood, imagination and nostalgia over the adult world I had come to loathe.  Now, don't get me wrong, please, there are people who thrive in the adult world and I am  ever so grateful for them because someone has to keep our world running. . . it just couldn't be me anymore. 

I could tell you a dozen stories of what now seem like moments and instances when "angels" appeared, all within months, to be my guiding lights along the way. I also met Sofie who, without fail, has been the only person I have known in my adult life who didn't ask me to balance the two worlds or question my draw to the past, even though hers was a different experience. Despite that, she reveled in my memories , stories and dreams and explored them WITH me. With complete acceptance. We made the break together. And we changed our entire lives from top to bottom to suit the new life we wanted to have. We didn't expect that the world would accommodate our dreams without being willing to change along with it.

Around that same time as I was in the midst of creating what would become the building blocks of the reclusive, creative world we dwell in now, and of the work you see here that I create, the ghosts of Christmas past came to call. I stumbled upon something that I have held to as being a source of inspiration and light ever since.

During a random internet search laced with nostalgic ideas I found that, not far from where I grew up, there was man in his late 60's who had created a website for the history of little Christmas Putz Houses. Those glittery, magical, cardboard houses many of us remember form under our family trees in childhood. The history of them is fascinating but what I was taken by was that this man, and his love for these houses, was a clear channel to and from his childhood. That he REVERED that time and those memories and that he had found a way to keep it close and invest himself within his passion for it so late in life. 

It was a deeply appreciated thread for me to reach out and hold to.  

And the first thing I read from that web site was this:

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"There is but a very brief window in early childhood for many of us, a period of time that lasts from birth until we are cast from the nest and into school. A time when all about the world is new and good. A time when we are open. A time when we take things in so deeply that they will form us ever after. So we imprint upon the Christmas of that time, and what that was is what it will be for us always. 

I think that is what collecting is all about, especially for those who collect for LOVE and not for sterile speculation. 

This is true of most of the toys and trappings of the holidays. 

Artifacts. 

Actual tangible contact with our own past.

It is true that we forget nothing. The power that an object unseen in decades can have to transport us in mind and spirit back to a specific period or moment of our lives - to unlock long-closed doors in the mansion of our memory - is the true value that it has. We can hold such an object in our hands and know those times were real and welcome back whole parts of who we were into who we are - and let the inner child in each of us out once again to play - to live as part of us and and help us see again through our own "Magic Window"  

You will find that those old objects will take you back in time, but NEVER listen to those sad fools who say that you are "living in the past." We are what we are because of our pasts. Would that we could live in the past at will or at least visit from time to time. But we can bring  those things forward, to live within us as we face the uncertainty of the present and the future. 

Those pasts informed everything that we know so never be ashamed of your nostalgia . . .it was, and is, your reverence for the life you had, the path that you have traveled. -T.H. "Papa Ted" Althof

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Sadly, as a second wake-up call, I soon discovered that Ted Althof was dying, having been diagnosed with cancer just as I was diving in to his website in 2009. I'd never really put ityself in mortality's shoes before that. I always had time. Lots of time I thought. Angels, and small magic, really do come in many, many complex forms. 

What I am left to say is this: I wouldn't dream of asking anyone to be anything other than what and who they are. BUT if  this holiday/yule/solstice season you find yourself feeling silly for daydreaming of the best of your memories as a child, or your best memories WITH a child, please embrace it fully instead. We can't actually go back, I know, but allow yourself that time, that place and those memories to come back in a quiet hour. Indulge them fully. I can't say they'll lead you to a life path like mine but they WILL fill you with a bit of small magic and wonder again. And you might just find that today does not have to be so far from that wonderful memory of yesterday.

Have a wonderful and magical season wherever you are and find that SMALL MAGIC always and in all ways!

And  a special thank you to all of you for coming along on MY nostalgic road-trip, offering your kind words, support and patronage as I built this world I thrive in now. 

nicolas


PS:
If you are interested in Christmas Putz houses and their history, there is an archive of the original Papa Ted's Place website, maintained by fans and friends of Mr Althof after he passed in 2012. They kept it just as it was with only a note stating his passing as an addition. It's a relic of a site. Not slick and "squarespaced". . . but that only adds to it's charm and beauty I think. Great old photos, collections, stories, memories. 

The site is here: Papa Ted's


Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Work and Updates - December 1st

Tis the Season, life gets crazy
Fa lalalala lala la la!
Weeks go by and days are hazy
Fa lalalala lala la la!

Hey folks!

OK so updates first:

To all of my blogger friends I regularly visit, I WILL be by again soon, I promise! November was a whirlwind. Busy as usual but also refusing to set aside my outside projects for 2017, I just found myself, most days, going full tilt from 6am til I dropped each day and still never able to check everything off the to do list.

I continue to write every day. allowing myself one day a week for research instead of word count. It's been a joy and I'd say that my goal for completion of my short stories in 2017 is a very realistic one.

The bonus has been that a good portion of the exploration of stories has lead to other avenues too. A quick for instance is that I dabbled with modern fairy tales, looking at old fairy legends and thinking how they could be transferred to the hear and now.

The result of that thinking and tinkering is that I want to also try to create a podcast next year as well. We've been enamored with a few fairy tale podcasts the last year or so, namely "Singing Bones" and "The Myths and Legends Podcast", and I am also a huge believer in the idea that everything we do in our life, or that we experience, can and does serve a purpose going forward. For me, that includes the 20 odd years spent as a musician,  composer, sound and recording engineer. I left much of that  behind when the Etsy shoppes and my little imaginary worlds took front and center in my life again. However, the idea that I could do the entire Podcast with little to no outside assistance at first is very enticing to me. I still have the necessary digital recording/editing equipment, the high end microphones and the ability to sound proof a closet for recording in a snap! :)

I am thinking that the recounting of old fairy tales and myths is being done well enough (see above podcasts) but that there is a space for a modern Fairy tale exploration, an "F-Files"? "Fairycast"? "The Little People We Know"? etc etc. So less narration as opposed to a more "research/exploration" that revolves around a central character discovering the possibility that these old legends carry thru to the world around us and are very much alive today. Asking what does a Bogle or Kobold look like today and how do they "blend in"? What are Wood fae and Will-o-the-Wisps? Who is Jenny Greenteeth? Or Jimmy Squarefoot? What about Urban Mermaids?

I'll let you know more as that gets going but it's a distant third right now behind the writing of the short story book, and the alignment of the shoppes to the stories I am creating. I'd want to have  6 episodes ready to go before I move forward and I plan to write them after completing the first draft of the short story book, so hopefully in February or March for the writng part.

Over Thanksgiving weekend we also experimented with doll making and the results have been very enticing too. But really, the to do list is quite long enough right now. lol

In December I will be posting a few policy and FAQ posts to redirect from my shoppe as well as.  Nothing exciting for my readers, I know, but a necessity for the year to come.

I also intend, beginning in March, to start posting small excerpts from the stories/book. Just snippets and little teasers here and there.

And most of this year in Bewilder and Pine will be spent on making the world of the Pine fit from book to shoppe. House styles, elven figures, towers and creatures etc etc.  So less exploration and more working towards having everything tie together between the two.

OK, I think that's it for the updates! And now, since it's been a very busy month, I have to choose what to show for New Work day! I hope you enjoy these and I look forward to getting back into the blog routine again as the month goes forward.

May the Yule or Holiday season be filled with love, wonder and magic in YOUR world each day and may the Year to come be the best and most amazing yet for you and yours. ;)

nicolas

Tiny Little Basket Elves! Under 2" tall!!

I love making these little Shadow Box scenes. . . the Fairy Girl is half an inch tall!

I was inspired to create a run of small, simple Houses for the holidays!

I've had some wonderful custom requests in Shadow of the Sphinx this month! 

This Sobek, at 7+ inches long, is the largest I have made.  He's off to Norway today!

Small Sekhmet, my stylized, full lioness version is finding it's place these days

These towers really started the whole book idea.
They're the inspiration for the Ledgerkeeper's towers with those crazy rooftops. 

I was suddenly reminded of a little shoppe I used to go into years ago with the same name. . . Toad Hall. . .
yes, it was magical too! 

Woodland Fairy Hermitage. . . the colors on this one really spoke to me. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Work - November 2nd

Well now, this post is a day late. How is it every year I forget how quickly the holidays ramp up in both sales and requests from our few retail sellers?? as I go merrily along just making things and dreaming up new ideas. . . time just slips away. :)

I feel overwhelmed already. . . not by the business but by the desire to make sooooo many things that I know would be sought after this season. But I have a larger picture in my head for the year to come, as you all know. So I keep at it. Staying the course. Writing 1000 words a day, editing, mapmaking, researching. . . just this past week I had to study up on seagoing transportation of livestock in ancient times,  the feasibility of two crescent moons in the sky at the same time,  bog butter,  ancient currency, cisterns and honeyguide birds. It's all a lot of fun really, but  just leaves time for little else right now. . .

But without any more delay, here are some new items created in the last month! Enjoy!!

xo

nicolas
Dinn - a smaller member of my Gargoyle world. I've decided that a grouping of gargoyles is called a "quarry". :) 

I am really loving this particular red these days. . . 
My first wizard in the "Little People" collection. . . though certainly not the last!

Hadn't made a Tiny Robot in months. . .  I just love how they turn out all "rusted" and such. :)

I am enjoying giving each town in my Bewildering Pine world a distinct architecture.  

I haven't made many cow goddesses like this Hathor. But I love when I do get a request! She makes me feel peaceful. 

A large, 9" (22.5cm) Nephthys, sister of Isis, Goddess of Ancient Egypt

In reworking the features of the Bewildering Pine world for the stories/book, I decided while houses and cottages vary by town, the shoppes all have a similar architecture no matter where they are located. Reason? That's yet to be revealed. . . 

Little Gingerbread houses on wintry stars . . .The house is just over 2.75" (7 cm) tall!

Well, that's what's new here. . . hoping Halloween was a delight in your corners of the world! I did manage to carve a jack-o-lantern and roast pumpkin seeds this year, the j-o-l was appropriately named "Punky". . .  and I am looking forward to making a turnip lantern for St Martin's day on the 11th! And holiday baking!! Recipes to share soon. :)



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Small Magic - It's NEVER Too Late

My dear blog friend Andrea, at Falling Ladies, has begun a monthly collection of stories and experiences of what she has termed as "Small Magic". You can find this month's post by Andrea by clicking HERE

And the original "Finding Small Magic" Post on her Falling Ladies blog is HERE:

I hope you will take a moment and check them out, add your own (even just a link to a picture or a sentence or two is PLENTY! It need not be as wordy as I tend to be. :)

<>oOo<> <>oOo<> <>oOo<>



So this month I have just been so busy that there has been little time to create the Small Magic post I really wanted to  which I will save for November. 

One of the major influences in my writing and future ideas for figures and such in my Bewilder and Pine shop is a gentleman named Monte Cook. A role playing gamer for 40 years and the owner of Monte Cook Games, he recently set a Kickstarter record for fundraising for his latest RPG creation, "Invisible Sun". He is taking gaming to new creative levels with this project and I'll talk more about that, and it's influence on my own work, in the coming months.

His weekly newsletter from his website links to some other articles and projects that he finds interesting and I was quite happy to come across this article about a 26 year old man who hosted a Dungeons and Dragons game for his 70 year old grandparents, a couple of their friends and his 50-ish year old mother and another couple who is in their 60's.

All were playing for the first time. . .and they LOVED IT! :)

You can read the article, called "70 Year-Olds Play D&D for the First Time and Love It" by clicking HERE

The "Small Magic" of this, to me, is that it shows that it is never too late to try something new and to engage the imagination in new ways. My favorite part of the article is how the grandfather now texts his grandson between weekly games to discuss his character and it's backstory. lol That's AWESOME!

I never was a gamer. Still am not. (but maybe by the time i am 70?) Still, I appreciate the people I've known who do play it . . . as well as the worlds that are built around it and the creativity it inspires down the line.

For another interesting take on the role of gaming in adult life, if you are a podcast lover, you might try the episode of "Imaginary Worlds" ( a podcast I HIGHLY recommend) called "Rolling the Twenty Sided Dice" found HERE:

There are some very interesting takes on the influence of gaming on kids from that 80's generation who are adults today. 

The Imaginary Worlds podcast covers a range of subjects that are all surprising peeks into the worlds we create and why. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy those and I'll be back as soon as time allows in this hectic holiday making schedule to share some more magic with you all. . .

No Dungeons around here, just Dragons. :)