Friday, February 26, 2016

Your Inner 9 Year Old Will Love These

I recently heard an interview with Gloria Steinem who said that, in her 80's, she finds herself thinking about what would please her inner 9 year old more and more often. . .  and then, doing it.

 I adore this thought and I see no reason to wait until our 80's to indulge in such important work!

I realize that I never really focus on a particular age when I want to indulge my child-self. I mean, ok, I get to do it every day with my work and my writing, reading, doodling, daydreaming etc etc but to think of a particular age is really intriguing to me. Trying to recall what, of that childhood, was relevant at the age of 9 and then, to indulge it now. . . I am going to try and make a few lists this week with just this idea in mind. Old TV shows, cartons, movies, music, foods, books, blanket forts etc etc. All the best!

I'll let you know what I come up with but, for this little post, I wanted to just recommend three books I read this past week that might be right up your inner 9 yr old's (or your actual child's) alley!

I adore these books for the sweet art, the wonderful simplicity and the pure heart that goes into them.
My inner 9 yr old is always thrilled to happen upon a book like this. I hope yours will be too. . .

This is every inner 9 yr old. . . and should be a part of every adult too.

Float is a beautiful and dreamy little visual tale.

Maybe my favorite. The sparse use of color, wonderful illustrations and the world thru a child's eyes. 
Anyway, enjoy them if you do seek them out. . . and make at least a few minutes this week to talk with your own inner something-yearr old.  Pick the year that is your childhood ideal. And then indulge!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Origin of My Protectors

When I was a child, I had decided that almost any fear, any threat, any possible monster lurking in the darkness could be conquered by following a set of rules to invoke the protection of the something good and greater.

There was a late-night weekend show called Chiller Theater that aired throughout my childhood. It was a double feature (though for a few years it was a TRIPLE feature I believe!)  of old classic and otherwise mostly B grade monster and occult films every Saturday night starting at 11:30pm.

The host of the show, Chilly Bill Cardille, was best known to the world for his role as the news reporter in the original "Night of the Living Dead". ( I also lived quite near the cemetery from that movie and had friends who lived directly across the street from it. . . such fodder for over-active, young imaginations!!!)

The whole production of Chiller Theater was a real camp-affair! In-studio skits between commercial breaks and films took place on a castle inspired set and included Cardille as well as a host of characters with names like like Terminal Stare, Georgette the Fudgemaker and Stefan the Castle Prankster. 

But even with the levity of those breaks, the movies were often quite scary to me (as with all the classic Karloff, Lugosi, Price films!)  So began the practice of pulling myself fully up on the reclining chair in the dim, flickering tv light and covering myself with one of my grandmother's hand crocheted afghans. In my mind, as long as all my extremities were covered completely, I was safe.

On occasion, like getting a snack in the kitchen during a commercial break, or in the heat of summer, I needed more active safety measures. What I concocted was a series of little internal "tests" which, if passed, allowed me the same measure of safety outside of the protective afghans. 

These tests were things like; holding my breath through a commercial break, staring at a digital clock til it changed the minutes, having my snack and being back in my chair by the movie's return, and sometimes I just repeated certain phrases in my head when moving from one chair to a couch or to the kitchen or to my bedroom. Those are too silly to repeat here but they were all for the result of an invoked protection.

Basically, little, internal talismans and rituals.

And those old movies were really the least of my fears. There were even scarier "modern" horror shows like Night Gallery or Sixth Sense. My childhood bedroom, ages 4 thru 11 was a frightful place. Nightmares, pitch black darkness, strange things. . . too many to mention. But my grandparents house where I spent most of my time while my mother worked and where we lived from 11 yrs old onward was nothing of the sort. It was the epitome of the word "sanctuary". And, despite and/or due to the extraordinary circumstances of several life changing events that happened there thru the years of my childhood, my belief in the unseen and protective, grew and never wavered. 

So it should be no wonder that upon reading and learning about the pantheon of ancient Egypt somewhere around the age of 11, I immediately took up the idea of amulets, protective symbols,  animal deities and rituals! That's a love that continues to this day and never loses interest for me.

My crafty kid-self went mad for the little amulets and statues. I spent countless hours at the library researching anything I could find about the pyramids and ancient civilizations, one leading to another and so on.  So there was that, coupled with my already strong belief in the unseen and "other" worlds of the fae and the such. All of it making a very strong impression that formed the foundation of so much in those early years

It's why, all these years later, after so many years of struggling so intensely to find my creative place in the world, I have come to create items like these: 

Now, of course, between ancient deities and fairy inspired works, I feel like I am sending these little protective creations into the world for others to invest themselves in. I cannot imagine anything more pleasing than to be putting so much of my early self into what I do as an adult and sharing it. 

It keeps those days and beginnings close and reminds me of them constantly.  The good and the bad. But mostly good. 

I often think of those days now, building blanket forts, cardboard space ships, tree-houses and crows nests, invoking protective measures in my internal world in countless ways. Childhood is, after all, a very uncertain and overwhelming place. I am so grateful to have had so many outlets then. . . 

It's always interesting to follow the thread that runs from the very beginning of things. To see where the here and now came from and to  understand, for myself at least, that the journey is a constant. So all of it matters. Especially those little details. . . especially now.

Thank for reading and for sharing in this journey, and this inner world, with me. :)


PS: I find it very amusing that upon searching the internet for Chiller Theater, I came across a site that lists every weekly showing over 20+ years and the films that were played for each and every Saturday night from the beginning! Are you kidding me?  Man I love the internet!

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Work - February 2016

February already? My, my. . .

Well, January went pretty much to plan. More time spent on new items and ideas and less worrying about "best sellers" and custom work. That feels reallllllly good!

So, here are a few new pieces for you to see today. Some are already listed and some await their stories before listing. GOTTA have stories!!!

First, the Little Caravan I showed in it's initial stages a few weeks ago. All done and ready for listing: "Theia Straedoors Tart Cart"!

How does Theia make all those delicious tarts in such a small space? Fairy magic of course!

Loving the poofy moss and the tiny tart table piled with Joonberry tarts!!
Next is another new idea and new way or working with creating small figures.

I have been trying to develop a style of animal figurines that will allow me to use colored polymer as opposed to painting with acrylics.

Now, in my world, this presents itself as an issue for several reasons.

One, I am not in any way shape of form, neat enough to keep colored polymer clay pristine as I work with it. There are always mossy bits and flowery bits about the table no matter how hard I try to keep it clean. This leads to having to rework soft faces, hands etc and, in the end, ruining them before I can complete them.  With the fox figure below, I took a completely different approach. Making the face from flesh toned super sculpey and then, after baking, layering the thinnest layers of colored clay over top of that already baked, flash-toned face.  It went better than I could anticipate.

For a first try, I think it worked amazingly well! I was able to blend, texture and work around the face without worrying abut smashing the face's form as I often seem to do trying to get the perfect details. I used the same technique with the body/clothing too. Making a flesh toned body-form and then layering the clothing on top of it. Only the feet and hands were made in colored clay without a base clay beneathe them.

For a first go with this new technique, I think Brother Severon is a wonderful lil' fellow!

His white birch staff and lantern are also polymer clay, but they are painted.
And then, a few random pieces. . .

A Lunar Hare. . . just because. :)

A little gold crescent on her back. . . she still requires a short story before listing!
 A little Tudor Style, timbered inn. Usually I make the timbers from thin strips of polymer applied at the time i make the building and paint them but, for this new "Enchanted Woods Inn", I wanted to make the timbers from scale lumber so they would be perfect and consistent. Very tedious but worth the results!

"The Enchanted Woods" Tudor style Inn.
And a completed group of 5 Fairy Shoppes/Inn/Crooked Tower upon Stars for one of our dear, regular customers!
Anyhoo, that's a look at some of what has been coming out of the studio these days. February promises a whole other bevy of new items and ideas so I hope you'll check back over the month and visit with me in my little world. . .

Have a lovely February wherever you may be. . .