Friday, May 5, 2017

We Need Secrets

I read the following a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me ever since.

"I’ve written in other venues about the “thrill of the hunt.” And by that, I mean the hunt for that one back issue of a comic series you loved, that old album by the band you loved, or that out of print book by that author you loved. These “hunts” were a big part of my youth, and the very concept is gone now. Everything is easily found on the Internet with a few keystrokes.

But there’s more to the phenomenon than just the hunt for material goods. Just a few decades ago, it was hard to be an expert on something—even something frivolous. If you wanted to deep dive into something, it took time, determination, and sometimes a bit of creativity. When my friends and I could quote Ghostbusters verbatim back in the day, it was because we went to see the movie over and over again in the theater. If someone knew about a rare, alternate track by Elvis Costello, it was because they immersed themselves in Elvis Costello fandom over the course of years. When my friend could recite the names of all the First Age elves mentioned in The Silmarillion, it was because he pored over the book and made the list himself. 

Now, all of those things could be accomplished with a quick Internet search.

This isn’t “back in my day” complaining. I love the fact that all this information is readily available at our fingertips. We’re better off now, despite the loss of what I’m talking about. But I think there’s still something in human nature that wants to discover. To hunt. To learn some secret not easily found—or, perhaps more importantly—not found by someone else. For some of us, we don’t want to read about someone else’s discoveries; we want to make them on our own.”

- Monte Cook - MCG game design blog


I could not agree more with Mr. Cook and what I also identify with in those thoughts above is the core of what makes creativity such a compelling pursuit for me. Everything I do, I realize, is about the slow discovery. The unfolding of time, abilities and the way we grow incrementally closer to what we create the more we put ourselves into it.  The secrets within.

For me, hand crafting in the internet age is an absolute salvation. I have been blessed by a lot of wonderful twists and turns along this road to making a creative life and the internet and technology are crucial in the avenue of selling, marketing, even offering inspiration. Yet one of the most refreshing discoveries was that folks, for the most part, still love a handmade item over something easily reproduced. 

I am befuddled by the number of people who set out to try something, creative or otherwise and, if it is not an instant success or at the very least, if it does not quickly show signs of being so, they move on. Now, I've done my share of "moving on" in my own life but we are talking about moving on after investing years in something before making that ultimate decision. Really taking them as far as I thought I could go, sometimes further. And all those things I left behind still play a role in my new discoveries at times today. The same way that a 16th century map informed the 17th century cartographer and on down the line. 

When I look at the sculpting and making-of-things that I have invested myself in over the last 8 years now, and I see those first pieces that sold, that people actually gave me money for, I am truly amazed.

I never questioned if I would get "here" one day. I knew that from experience and from the fact I grew up in an era when you HAD to put the time in. For anything. Nothing was available with such immediacy. And for that I am extremely grateful. 

It just takes time.

When I sit down each morning to work on my book, I know very well how far I still have to go. I'm new to that creative form of expression and I have to learn things on the fly, stop often to seek out a reference or sidestep the story to explore a character, setting, idea, grammar usage or ancient myth. It takes time, yes, but it has to be done.

In a day when folks are abandoning the well written blog left and right, the hard form of writing, for the ease of instant I-phone photo glam, for the lifestyle account and the Instagram fix, I feel grateful to have been brought up in another time. At the very least, one that bridges both worlds.  

I am so grateful for the fact that the one thing the internet will never change is that, to be good at something physical, something creative, be it sculpting, writing, RPG game design, painting, illustration, dance, cosplay, architecture, acting, landscape design, and on and on, you are going to have to be willing to sit down and put in the time. All the instruction, how-to tutorials and step by step instructions won't give you the skill without the hours of application. And they won't give you an original voice/style/expression either.

In the work of almost all of my blog friends here I have been given the gift of seeing YOU uncover those secrets in your own work over years. I've watched them grow and reveal themselves in time. There is so much beauty in that and it sustains me and inspires me as well. 

Those who are just starting or still dreaming of a creative life.  .  . you are going to have to take that deep dive, start at square one and do the work, try to refine that technique or reinvent it until you think you can't possibly do it again, then go ahead and do it again anyway. 

You'll pore over the hints, tips, instructions whether they came from a 100 yr old book or from a website. But trust me, it WILL be worth every moment you put in down the road.  By all means, embrace technology as a tool, just not as the means to the end. It will never be creative in and of itself. People made it so. People opened that door and refined it for you too. Now go further.

And if you, like me, want secretes to be revealed? 
Stick with the art. 
Stick with the practice.
It will make you so glad that you did one day.
I promise you.

And along the way
You will make those important discoveries
You will improve and know yourself better
And you're going to learn those secrets.
The most important of which will be the ones locked within yourself. 
The ones that nobody else can access for you. 

And those, no matter what the internet and our digital age provides for you as far as information at your fingertips, THOSE secrets will be the ones you will cherish the most.


New mini woodland Muridae Market mouse. Chettes is the first but more to come soon!

One continuos build/sculpt, layering colored clay, onyx eyes, a culmination of 8 yrs of secrets revealed and discovered.
Worth every moment spent. :)

Monday, May 1, 2017

New Work - May 1st

Happy May Day!!

It's been a month.

I went from having the the flu at the end of March to Sofie being sick with a nasty cold and then I got that cold as well!

Three-plus weeks of at least one of us feeling under the weather.  When we were finally all better we found ourselves far behind.

And the weather itself. OK, I am a HUGE fan of inclement weather. Rain, snow, wind etc but it has been raining just about very day since I got back from my trip. Yesterday was the first sunny day we had in weeks and it was glorious! I mean, it's May! I definitely get a reverse SADS effect when it is sunny every day for stretches and I wasn't exactly feeling blue in the rain, it's just taking walks, errands etc etc become sooo unbearable after a while and you find yourself waiting for a break in the weather or  just for it to be raining not as hard. :)

I've enjoyed many aspects of the last month despite the illness. Things like reading more and having time to peruse things I never seem to find the time to look into.

Yesterday an article on a Han Dynasty tomb that was recently unearthed while a subway was being constructed in China caught my eye. Inside the tomb, that of a mildde aged woman, they found four 1/6th scale weaving looms complete with all the accompanying tools for weaving in miniature as well. Even cinnabar-dyed thread strung on the loom for weaving. Add to that the number of carved figures, male and female, each with a name engraved upon them and also to scale.


That sent me to Pinterest and down the rabbit hole which led quickly into all sorts of my usual searched for dolls, ancient fabrics, sculpting tips, fantasy art etc etc.

I realized it had been months since I have allowed myself that sort of down time to just seek out inspiring things. New things. Undiscovered things.

Sometimes I try to keep myself from diving into the new because my "to-do" list of ideas is so long, so unending that I will never get to them all as it stands right now. But I've come to accept that that's ok.  The whole list may not get done. I can add things to it as the new ideas reshape and reform the older ones.

Mostly, I need that new inspiration. It keeps the creative fire going inside and I am never more in tune with my own creative self than when I feel like I have multiple, unexplored ideas orbiting my head like moons!  It pushes me to go beyond what I already do. Try new avenues and explore the possibilities.

It's funny too how easy it is to forget that. Like I have to deprive myself to get the full hit again when I rediscover the truth in it. lol

What inspires you? What pattern does inspiration take in your world? Are you an active seeker or does it hit you randomly?

Well, the month is over and I am excited about the one to come. I'll be back with more posts and catching up on comments soon but here is just a small peek at a few of my latest April creations. :)

Here's to hoping you've been inspired of late and that the month ahead will be filled with it for you as well!

Happy Beltane!


New Adobe Fairy House

Wepwawet, similar to Anubis but the not as well known member of the Jackal Cult of ancient Egypt. 

I've ventured into more original pieces in the Shadow of the Sphinx shoppe such as this winged Auset Throne Altar Piece.

Tiny Village on a Resin Garden Bench. 

Slight variation on the Jizos in the shoppe with a Swarovski pearl in the flower center. 

Another Mushroom Fairy House. I really never tire of making these. ;) 

Custom Nephthys statue from April's requests. 

Custom Seshat also completed in April for a lovely customer. 

I rarely "paint" statues anymore, preferring the aging patinas instead but this idea intrigued me.
Indigo and Silver patina sponge finish on a Seker statue. 

Request for 8 of our little groundhogs for a birthday cake! How could we refuse? :) 

PS: Next post: Secrets and what  I miss most of the of the days before the internet.