Saturday, May 28, 2016


I believe I've mentioned recently that I'm working on making some amulets to go along with my stories. Amulets and talismans were, in my vivid childhood imagination, something I put a lot of thought into and spent many hours creating for my games/adventures.

Whether they were made of wire, legos, tin foil, paper mache, stones, coal and twigs etc etc, or any combination thereof, I made them in numbers I cannot possibly count and many of them, in my rush to have them ready for play, never made it past the first day. Hardly the stuff of lasting, one-day-to-be-discovered artifacts!

I have, of course, explored Ancient Egyptian amulets in Shadow of the Sphinx.  Only now getting to the skill level where I can get good detail in tiny sizes. . . but for my stories, for my imagination to really run wild, I wanted to start creating amulets just for the sake of themselves believing that the process will take me where they need me to go.

I have no set ideas as of yet for ones to put into my shop and the stories are not at the point where I am ready to commit to any one form or design but the ideas. . . oh they do haunt me in my sleep! :)

So here are a few that I completed this week, No real theme. . . just playing with ideas, ancient forms and current inspirations. . .

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The Troll Knot is an old Norse amulet for, of course, warding off trolls. 

 The Dancing Troll, inspired by the art of Wendy and Brian Froud, in my stories, ancient trolls have magic that is connected to / activated by, dance like, flowing movement. . .

The "Source" amulet. . . an original relic from the world of the Bewildering Pine made with polymer clay and the finish is rusted iron Swellegance!

The "Warrior Princess". . . We've taken to re-watching the entire Xena series from the start so this Chakram amulet was simply a must! Can't explain the pure joy of getting lost in Xena and Gabrielle's adventures again. . . what a show it was, so over the top and completely inspired. As Sofie puts it, "I wish I could have watched this when I was 8 or 9. . . it would have been so empowering." It's also fun to know that a handful of the creators of "Orphan Black" got their start here. 

Well, that's all for now. . . more to come as I have another handful in process right now.

And still working on the packaging design. I'd prefer to have all my amulets fall under one title/branding so that is a challenge I am embracing as many of you know, I love packaging!.

Hoping you all have a lovely weekend. I'll be back on June 1st with more new work!

Until then,


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Signposts Along the Road - Anubis

The other day I sold my newest version of an Anubis/jackal statue in Shadow of the Sphinx. The woman who purchased it wrote to me and asked if I had any advice on how to connect or work with Anubis as He had been appearing to her quite a bit lately. 

I did.  

I was a boy of 7 or 8 when King Tut's treasures first toured the US. The country was, as I recall, caught up in the mania of the story of the boy king. My father, living in NY city at the time, sent me a program from the exhibit. A strange gesture because, as far as I know, he had little interest in such things and I, as a young boy, had never even heard of ancient Egypt. 

I was completely taken by the treasures and the story of the tomb's adventurous and painstaking discovery and unearthing. I was in love with the idea of discovering steps beneathe the sand that led to such a marvel. I am sure I must have dug a dozen or more holes in the woods or back yard hoping, the way any young boy with no idea of the scope of the world might, to unearth just such a discovery myself.

 Of all the wonderful things" the tomb yielded, I was taken most by the life-sized jackal headed guardians that stood on either side of the door to King Tutankhamen's burial chamber. Beautiful depictions of Anubis, the "God of the Underworld"  Osiris an, then, the guide through it.

Ancient Egypt became a doorway for me. I devoured every book on it I could find and it led to discovering and reading about other ancient cultures as well. The Greek and Roman empires, The Druids and Celts, Phoenicians, Mesopotamia, The Mongols, The Turks, the Japanese Shoguns,. History became a deep love for me that would, and will,  inspire ma and last through the rest of my life. 

Still, when it cam to Anubis, I was more reverent than smitten. Anubis seemed to hold such power even though I could barely understand the concept of a "psychopomp" or an "underworld". That feeling sort of sat within me for a few years until the day when Anubis was one of the deities that, at age 11 or 12, I drew both on the tops of my feet and on my closet walls for protection (and likely as part of some imaginary scenario I was lost in playing at that time). 
Then, as most childhood obsessions do, in my teen years He and ancient Egypt sort of faded.
But never completely. 

In high school I attended a scholars program that included art and we explored man ancient forms f art. There, in the class books, was an oversized book of Egyptian artifacts. And when we moved here to the coast after leaving the city to take this run at being full time "makers-of-things", I discovered that exact same book, which I had not seen in about 20 years, in an old used book storein the town I moved to!

In the years between I always seemed to have an Anubis statue around or have one given to me when I didn't. An Anubis pendant was mysteriously left for me backstage after a multi media performance I did about 15 years ago. 

I had a Siberian Husky mix for 10 years, who was named Isis (she had the name when I got her!) and who, as many people remarked, was so physically similar to Anubis (including the large ears) and lay in a pose so close to the classic Anubis that it was more than a little eerie. Also, it would be appropriate to say that she chose ME as her provider (a long story but the first night I "found" her, she gingerly stepped over to my side and then lay on my chest in the classic Anubis pose. I recognized that in her immediately. And while she died almost ten years ago, I can say that it was her being in my life that sort of kept me in place and helped lead to what would become the creative life I lead now. So many pieces fell into place that would not of had I felt the freedom to just move or reinvent my life over without any consideration to how it might affect her. She kept me in place until the crossroads had fully appeared. 

But it was not until I began making statues and amulets 6 years ago (and Anubis was one of the first since I indeed had a statue to use as a 3-d model) that I rediscovered my love for reading about the deities of ancient Egypt and exploring their role in that society again. And, in those years that had passed, so much had been discovered and revealed about them. Things I never knew in those early years. 

Anubis, it seems, had a bigger, more expansive role than just the guide to the underworld. It's now known that Anubis could also be seen as a deity that would appear for guidance at any form of "crossroads" in the living world too. The term psychopomp originates from the Greek words Pompos (conductor or guide) and Psyche (life, breath, soul, or mind) and Anubis is just one of long list in mythology that includes Hermes, Persephone and the Valkyries. So to think of Anubis, after all these years as something the living could connect to, well, it made much more sense why Anubis has been a part of my world for so long. 

Crossroads. . . as a child, it's hard to look back and say how big of an influence that glossy King Tut exhibit program was. How big an impact those standing, anthropomorphic Anubis guardians were going to be. But it is absolutely true that, in my adult world, Anubis seemed to be a guide that came along, in one form or another, each time I needed him . . . if only to watch over me, keep me where i needed to be, or to inspire.

Today, I am always happy to make an Anubis statue or amulet and to send it out into the world for others to, hopefully, work with and find their way thru the crossroads of life.

Below is another version of that Anubis I spoke of at the beginning and a few new pieces from the Shadow of the Sphinx shop too. All of them are important to me in their own way. All have had their place in my life. But none more so than the guardian and navigator of crossroads, Anubis. . . 

Thank you for visiting!


My latest Shadow of the Sphinx version of Anubis

The "classic" pose.

I'm introducing a new series of busts for smaller altar spaces. This is the lioness, Sekhmet, with solar disc and cobra. 

And one of Wenut, the Hare or "The Swift One" 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stories Moving Forward II - A World in 30 Days?

Last week I finished the 30 day World Building exercise that I took on to help me get "started" on my short stories writing project. The goal was to use the exercise to build a deeper background world around the land of the "Bewildering Pine" and starting to collect ideas and outlines for the place, the people/folk who populate it and the myriad of details that, hopefully, will make it rich and inviting to readers.

The results were, to put it mildly, overwhelming.

When it comes to writing I have always enjoyed telling little tales. It's been a part of me since childhood too. And, as I get older, I want to create something that will be left behind in written form. More than just little tales for the items I make and sell but stand alone tales of a place that, at least half of my waking hours, I am immersed in.

And yet,  every time I have tried to get started, I seem to fall short and the momentum and enthusiasm stalls out.

I am going to write about this a few times in the coming month because it is truly too much to try and share in one post. So I will keep this short and we will call this entry, "the outline".

Now, if you had told me before I started the thirty day project, that I would spend about 15 hours in one month on my stories,  I would have told you that sounds great. . . but I am not sure where I'll find the time to do that.

Well, let me say that I did indeed spend between 15 and 20 hours last month writing. First thing each day, 30 days in a row, I sat down and tackled that days world building assignment while having coffee and morning pastry.

Each day is supposed to be just 15 minutes of writing but, some of the exercises were things I had already thought quite a bit about but had never written down. And each of those led, it seems, to deeper and more extensive thoughts about everything from geography and climate to the people, commerce, animals and societal rules etc etc. I spent up to an hour some days, just writing. Moe thinking n top of that.

So much so that I am going through another list of world building questions and expanding the world even more!

The best thing to come out of it all is this.

When I began, the project was going to be a series of short stories, "The Ledgerkeepers" many of which I hoped to illustrate and then make little "zines" from that I could self publish and sell thru my shop. Stories that would appeal to any age or delight anyone with an interest fairies/elves etc and their world. Then, when I had enough stories, to produce a collected, printed book of them to offer as well.

What has come from the last month's work though is a far deeper story that I think is the bones for a longer book. Dare I say. . . a full or mini novel? And the bones of that story. . . the darker, unexpected plot line, characters, the Pine history and lineage and all the details and plot twists, so much of it never existed at all before I did this 30 day exercise.

All of that. . . in roughly 15 hours. . . that I would have sworn I could not have found in my days.

I can look back now and honestly say that I just never had the discipline to do it but also, I simply did not know where to begin.

And that is the thing I want to convey here. I will never let that happen again. I know it's an age old line but it's the journey, not the destination that is the key. Getting from point A to point B is always overwhelming until we take those first small steps.   And I know very well that an organized or structured framework, preferably daily and in small increments, is how we always manage to get there.

I did it with my Etsy shops, making new things every single day to improve my skills (I still do this 6 years later!) and I did it with learning to write music. . . or even running coffeehouses and cafe's. Just do this one little thing, then the next, then the next. . . little small building blocks to get where we want to be. Like so many, I can give up n things because that end goal seems so far of.  It seems to be the same for people with exercise plans, diets, career goals etc etc. Point B can seem so far away. . .

I think most new things seem overwhelming until you get in and wade thru those dark waters of uncertainty and self doubt.

So, I hope to share some of the deeper details with what I have been working on with you soon but let me leave you with just this one little aspect of my world that I just came up with in the last day or two of the exercise.

I knew that I wanted a "sport" for my world since games and sports were such a huge part of my childhood. But I also made up so many of my own variations back then. . . so I wanted something more personal than just a simple twist on a current "Earth sport".   Nothing close to what we know as being sports in the here and now. Nothing violent, nothing requiring extreme physical skill or physique. In fact, the long lithe elf would be a better suited candidate than the big strong ogre. lol But still, something that could be played by any creature. Elf, Hob, Dryad, etc etc with an equal chance for success.

That "sport", still unnamed as of now, is a combination of Hopscotch and Hackey Sack. I envision it being played on a huge, elaborately tiled mosaic version of the French hopscotch layout which is a winding snail shape play area ( in researching hopscotch, I learned that in France they call the game Escargot for the shape of the playing field!!) with, in my game's case, 21 numbered spaces leading to a gold circle in the center. The game I've invented is played with two teams of two defenders, one pitcher (a position that requires only tossing accuracy so any age folk could be this player!) and one sacker (that's the person who tries to score) on the game field simultaneously. Each little village has it's own "Shtyri" (a Pine term, from the "old language" for the four player team) and it's a dream of a number of the folk in the Pine, young or old, male or female, to become part of their town's team.  Young elves all over play it on dirt fields, adults at picnics, traders on leave. . . etc etc

Anyway, that's too much fun! I'll probably make a scale model of the playing field in the future too. I've come a cross some wonderful "villager" elf 1:72 scale figurines that I could create it around.

So, more on the world building to come!

For now, here are a few little creations to share this week. . .

Have a lovely week dear ones! MAKE MAGIC!!!


Monday, May 2, 2016

New Work - May 2nd

Happy May everyone!

I didn't get my usual first of the month new work post up yesterday because it was unbearably hot here. . . low 80's. . . lol. Seriously though, for us, that IS hot! We still had the ocean breeze but when it is no hotter than 70 degrees about 358 days a year,  and often between 50 and 60, well, 84 seems like a heat wave. But back at it today!

So in the last month I got to do a few new and fun projects! This leading into the month of May where I successfully kept my entire custom work schedule blank so I could get back to making more of just what I want and focusing on the writing more ( I completed the 30 day world building exercise but more on that in a few days!)

So here is a little peek at some of hat ket me busy in April! Hope you enjoy!!

 It was a busy month in Shadow of the Sphinx and I got to make a few pieces that were really FUN!

 This is Ammut - commonly known as "the devourer" but who has such complex meaning in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. Head of a Crocodile, body of a lioness and back end of a Hippo.  . . so that was a challenge! lol I'd never made an Ammut this size or style before but I loved how She turned out!

And a golden Sekhmet with a red marble solar disc. . .

And I just finished this guy, Thoth, or Djehuty if you prefer. . . the Ancient Egyptian Lord of Writing, Creativity and Time. Anthropomorphic pieces have always been such a challenge for me but I think finally, after 6 years, I feel comfortable with the complex and mixed dimensions, the Egyptian style of striding legs, the forms are classic and much harder to reproduce than I ever imagined they would be.

And a few newbies from Bewilder and Pine too. . . a gargoyle sentinel, Tonoran, who sports Mossy Green Swarovski pearl eyes! I am working on an idea for a series of Kegeling gargoyles. The thought of stone sentinels whiling away the "off hours" bowling on building ledges really tickles me! so each gargoyle would come with it's own 20mm kegeling/bowling ball in hand and a set of three "stone" pins (option to buy a full set of nine pins, of course but I'll start with three)  :)

This little guy. . . no name for these Pine fantasy creatures yet. . . but basically they are little "luck spirits" who find lost coins and return them to their owners. . . but who then become attached to the owners for life. So an Elf or Dryad or Hob who is not mindful and loses a lot of coins might suddenly find themselves with an entire brood of these little guys to care for!

And a new fairy House upon a Star as well. . .

And finally, back to Shadow of the Sphinx for a few amulets starting with Hathor, a goddess who personified the principles of joy, love and motherhood.

Tanit, actually one of the first amulets/statues I've made for the shop that comes from outside the Egyptian Pantheon but it was the remarkable resemblance to the Ankh that made me want to make it! Tanit was a Punic/Phoenician deity with lunar aspects.

And last, a small, wearable full-form Bastet. Another challenge for me early on in my sculpting was making small pieces that maintained a good bit of shape and classic form. She is under 2" tall.

Well, I am beyond excited to share more with you this month. New ideas, my writing short story book progress and a bit more about the path that led, and continues to lead me to be a maker-of-things!

Have a lovely start to your May wherever you are and make MAGIK every day!!