Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Something New

It's funny how plans go awry all the time.

I've never been one to try to force anything in my creative business path. I'd rather let things grow organically and not force anything. As long as I am working, improving my craft and trying new ideas, I am quite content to not try and control where things go day to day.

When I began my Shadow of the Sphinx shop on Etsy, I was sure that within a year or two I would branch out and cover other ancient civilizations and make statues and amulets inspired by many civilizations the world over. Well, four years later, the short of the story is I just got so caught up in my own deepening and delving into my subject matter of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon and the art that honored it that I sort of lost track of that goal for awhile. I have beencontent to work on learning those sculpting skills to better the work and not so much onletting myself get carried away with all sorts of side-treks into history.

Recently though I have taken a few requests for pieces that fell outside of that pantheon and I am loving the experience. Mostly it's the fact that I get to learn/read about and explore other cultures and ancient traditions and bring some of those symbols and deities to life. 

This week I finished this guy. called Ikenga  (in his warrior form)

(from wikipedia)
Ikenga (Igbo literal meaning "place of strength") is a horned Alusi (deity) found among the Igbo people in southeastern Nigeria . It is one of the most popular symbols of the Igbo people, and the most common cultural artifact. Ikenga is mostly maintained, kept or owned by men and occasionally by women of high reputation and integrity in the society. It comprises someone's Chi (personal god), his Ndichie (ancestors), aka Ikenga (right hand), ike (power) as well as spiritual activation through prayer and sacrifice.

And here is the finished piece:

  The finish is a micaceous Iron Oxide over black acrylic which adds a textural feel and a light catching surface that I love.

On the heels of this piece are requests for a statue of Freya, one of Odin, a Loki, a set of Terracotta warriors, a statue of Angrbodaan, an Uzume and a totally fictional piece for a novel/book cover that will be a cross between a Jizo and an Aztec inspired votive. . . so I suppose I am being told the time to expand and explore is now? lol

Of course. my main focus remains, in this shop, the Egypian pantheon and it's vast variety of deity depictions. . . . but I love these little side steps into any aspect of ancient history and the chance to do something new.  :)

And while it is still secondary to my desire to create fairies, elves, tin houses and reflections of that magical world within, this work remains dear to my heart and, in it's own way, a vital part of that childhood paracosm I sink into every day. 

Have a beautiful Mayday all!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Brings. . .

It is a fact that I am far more an Autumn/Winter soul than anything else and so, usually, Spring is not my favorite season as it seems to always want to usher in Summer. . . my least favorite time of year.

However, along with Spring comes the rebirth of the landscape and a sense of renewal all over. Rebirth is always such a theme in creative work it seems. This year it takes on new meaning for me in my little world.

Last month I hit the wall in some respects creatively. That wall, which is always quite close, is the very inflexible 24 hours in a day rule that someone long ago made up as the rule . . . and boy has it stuck!

24 hours a day.

I've fought it my whole life. Going so far as to try, at 19, to restructure my own definition of the week to consist of six 28 hour days and sleeping only 6 times a week. However, that schedule, as you might imagine, has it's problems. Most rooted into the fact that you are the only person living on such a schedule and, three times a week, you are "mid-day" when the world is sleeping. That was fine for me as a devoted night owl at the time. . .  but not so good for others in the house. lol

Anyway, more on that experiment another time. I gave in after a few weeks and have been on the old 24 hour system since.

Last month I found myself overbooked on custom work and turning into a real grumblepuss some nights when I found I had no time left to just make what I most desired which is, after all, why I create in the first place. But it is a balance I know. I just let it get all out of whack after the holidays and I do so have trouble saying no to my wonderful customers who return again and again.

So, I set the goal in mid March. Get through all of the custom pieces on the schedule by the first week in April and then, once there, stop booking my weeks full of custom work and start spacing them out.  My main concern was that people would not be willing to wait 6 to 8 weeks or longer for a piece but that turns out to not be true. I am, as of now, into June with requests and still no one balks at the wait.

The best part is that this week I finally have been able to begin again in just making whatever my heart desires. It seems like it has been ens since I could just daydream and play. . . and while it has only, in reality, been a handful of weeks, I am glad to be "home" again. I think it is SO very important to feed that muse inside and to allow it to drift and wander wherever it may. Otherwise even the most wonderful of creative work can seem less shiny and fun. And that is no way to go. :)

 That said, I wanted to share a peek at what Spring has conjured in my world.

As you know i have several forms of expression and styles that are dear to my heart. Egyptian antiquity, model railroad miniatures, spiritual statues and visual art to name a few. . . . but fantasy creatures and fairy worlds are the nearest and dearest of all so it is no surprise that I have found myself lost in places and faces like these below.

It has been nearly impossible to keep fairy houses in stock so I set out to create something a little more 'expandable". A world of their own. What I cam up with are these "Fairy Houses of Mossy Lane". The houses will be sold individually of course but I could not resist starting on a "set" to shoot them on. The base with it's cobblestone road is just begun really. I'll be adding flowers, benches, and, if all goes well, even tiny little HO scale fairies with handmade wings. I am tickled with the results so far!

And creatures. . . Spring seems to regularly manifest ideas in this realm too! I listed the first of these guys the other day, inspired by a tiny detail in one of Arthur Rackham's wonderful fairy tale illustrations. Another going in today and, it seems, two more have sprouted (they grow out from under the caps) this morning!

And for me, the story is the thing! So the midnight oil is being burned with a lot of writing and creating the backstory of these creatures and place.

The only issue is now that my to do list of what I want to make is as backed up as my custom list was last month! No rest for the wizards . . . and still just 24 hours in a day!

Enjoy the week dear friends. . .