Monday, September 01, 2014

In the Mail

Haven't posted in a while, but see what I got in the mail from Suzi!  
A handmade note card and some tiny wishbones 
that I can use for my Eccentric creatures!  
(I started this post a couple of weeks ago,
and have just added stuff when I thought about it.)

I'm doing the finishing touches on several little Halloween figures.  
Frank is done.

Marigold is finished except for a stand.

She lost her pointy hat and gained a bonnet.
I've played with her off and on for more than a month.
 I used the bottle of "Wishes" from Suzi,
and one little wishbone on her charm strings.
Marigold is a hedge witch and herbalist.
Some days I thought about trashing her
because the armature I made was all wrong.
Periodically, I would try to redeem her because I liked her face.
Now, I like her fine, partly because she is a lesson 
on so many things not to do!

More recently in the mail:
A Sweet Monster Clown
Sandy included a wonderful little bookmark as lagniappe!
The first pic I took has the little monster on one of my quilts,
and you can see she just got lost in all the pattern,
but isn't she wonderful?
She just makes me happy.

I haven't made any sock dolls in a couple of years,
and now I'm inspired to make another,
but it is Sandy's faces that make her dolls unique.

What else?
The Goblin and the Troll dolls 
have been essentially finished for over a week,
but it is the details that end up confounding me.
I'm not sure what else they need,
but they are patiently waiting.

While waiting to decide what else Goblin & Troll might need,
playing with odd bits and cleaning work areas keeps me busy.

Just a few of the odd bits, I've played with lately:
Heads for the cloth bodies (below) are drying;
a staff and black and white cat for some future Eccentric;
one of the tiny wands I'm working on;
some sticks I wove together because I was at a loss
of what to do next.

More odd bits of clay and cloth
are scattered on my various work surfaces
(which include the floor, the ironing board, and the cutting table).

I made a list in my work book of things I want to make
and have been systematically going down the list
for the last week.
Sometimes making accessories for creatures 
yet to be imagined is more fun
than working on specific dolls.

A few items still on the list:
tiny bags or pouches,
another twig chair,
flat, scrappy dolls,
Halloween brooches,
tiny candles,

Before I continue down the list, however,
I must finished the items I've already begun:
the wands and wizard staffs,
the cloth and clay figures in progress,
the clay circles and runes, etc.

Happy Labor Day!
I plan on laboring!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Halloween Clown

I'm calling it quits on this guy.

I tried painting a paper towel
for his outfit,
but it was just not 
flexible enough.
So I stripped him down again,
and used fabric, 
and gave him a little crow for a friend.
Underneath his jacket
beats a bruised heart.
The bearded lady
turned him down.

He hasn't gotten over it yet.

Monday, August 04, 2014

This and That

We have seen some wonderful rain here in the last several days.  The gentle, all day kind of rain.  Peaceful and appreciated rain, lapped up by gardens and farms.  It has been cooler, too.  The last days of July and the first days of August have been completely unlike our normal mid-summer heat and drought.  When discussing the weather, the words you hear over and over:  "Can you believe it's August?"  

I've continued playing in the studio, switching from one thing to another.  Finally, a little progress in the altered book pages.   Experimenting with making "paper cloth" and embossing without a machine or embossing folders.  The head I made the other day now has a basic body, hands and feet, but the other figures in progress have gone nowhere.

Halloween Spell book pages in progress:

The page on the right is not finished, but added the tip in with washi tape.

Page on left isn't finished either, but you can see back side of tip in. 

Don't know if I'll add anything to the basic page, 
but there are two pockets, the tissue paper just marks the second pocket.
I need to find some witchy spells or other paraphernalia 
to fill various pockets.

Tiny paper bag pocket; tag insert.

We went out for lunch yesterday, then to see The Guardians.  It was certainly interesting!  Making a racoon part of the group of super-heroes and keeping the tone moving from serious to humorous -- well, I'm not sure how it worked, but it did.  Evidently it was risky making a film out of this particular Marvel Comic series, but we enjoyed it.  I loved Groot, he was completely endearing.  It was a bit long, though.   

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What a Great Day!

Spent the day with my bff.  I mean for some 50 odd years, Suzie and I can get together and get some talkin' done.  We played catch up and we played "I remember when...." 

We drank mimosas and played with clay--like we were having a creative workshop.  
 Suzie loved the garlic press.  She gave her feller a beard and a mustache.
Dang, I wish New Orleans was closer!

Spell Book/Altered Book

When I began this recent "do something each day" interlude, it was with sewing, both by hand and machine.  Then the my focus shifted to clay and eccentric figures for Halloween, and the fabric and sewing projects began losing prominence.  

For the last week, I've slowly become more involved with altered book pages for my Halloween Spell Book.  Not really getting pages done, but getting them prepped and painted.  At first, I found this process annoying:  gesso a couple of pages, let dry.  Even using the heat gun, this is tedious.  Then, however, as I began looking at Pinterest and visiting altered book blogs, it started to be fun.  Gesso and paint.  Sew some pages. Make a niche. Fold pages.  Use acrylics, use water color.  Make tip ins.  Add pockets.  Use scrapbook paper.  Use fabric.  Use alcohol ink.  Make alcohol inks (haven't done this, but have a link!).  Make molding paste (haven't done this either).  Make pop ups (working on this).

loose pages in progress for pockets or tip ins

layered in wax paper, ready to cut into shape

Well, you get the idea.  It was boring.  Then it wasn't!  When I get tired of prepping pages, I'll have to work on content.  I've found some neat spells, some clip art, some free printables, etc., that might work.

I've moved back and forth between all three technique areas, but each one becomes a focus for a while and gets most of my attention.  My spell book has been much more fun than I thought it would be because I'm playing around and experimenting with different techniques.   I don't really plan for the spell book to be open so if the inner pages turn out to be crap, it won't matter.  

OK - so I've spent almost as much time (well, probably more time) looking for ideas than actually playing with the pages; I'll find an idea I think I can do and run upstairs to try. Remember how much fun Vacation Bible School was when you were a kid?  All of the crafty things the teachers planned?  This feels like the same kind of fun.  Scissors, and paper, and glue!

On the other hand, I'm beginning to feel a little guilty about all of the sewing projects I had in mind, including a new cloth doll.  And there are 3 , no,  5 clay figures in progress that need some attention.  Shoot, I'm getting my knickers in a twist just thinking about all I want to do. I know it's early, so a Margarita is out, but maybe a Mimosa  would soothe my ruffled feathers.    

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Month of One-a-Day Challenge

On June 25th, I set myself a personal challenge to do something each day in the studio. Anything at all, as long as I got in there and worked, even if for a short time.  The shirt was the first project, which let to the fabric brooches, then to the Hedge Witch, then to Milly, the ghost doll.  What began as short periods of time, turned into hours each day.  And since June 25th, there has only been one day skipped.

Now, I need to put aside all of the leetle feegurs for a while and 
let them meditate on their failures.  

works in progress

Finished Milly's (ghost dolly) 
little gourd nook.
 Finished Hepzibah,
the cone witch.
 And one little black cat.
I've done more work on his box,
which looks better now.
 And another black cat.
 Little trick or treater.
Bad angle for this picture.

I've done a little more work on the White Witch, but nothing lately on Frank-N-Stein.

In the meantime, one option is to return to the Spell Book I started before becoming distracted with Halloween creatures.  

Remember this from July 9?  Using joint compound, I started altering a book to use as a Halloween prop, but got distracted with all of my witches and trick or treat figures. 

I've worked on this cover several times--adding compound, sanding a little, painting, and sealing (multiple times).   I've worked on the paper clay title that will be attached later.  I've done a very little work on pages; gessoed a couple of pages, let them dry, and so on.  I've put in some end papers using scrapbook paper, but didn't do a very good job, and they are a little wrinkly.  

After jotting down a list of ideas for book pages, I find myself daunted by the task of actually creating them, or perhaps, by fear of screwing up.  This fear of screwing up always haunts me whether in working with dolls or sewing.  If I do "this," will it mess up everything else I've done?  

Also, I find that things that look simple--and often are simple--require a certain skill or creative/artistic eye that I lack.  Yes, I can do it, but it simply doesn't work.  Now, I'm waiting on some courage to tackle the pages that really should be fairly easy, but that I'm afraid will look crappy.  The silly thing is that the book is simply a Halloween prop, and all of my work is for my own enjoyment.  

My One-a-Day Challenge has been successful.  I've come back to the studio refreshed, with plenty of projects in mind, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Working in several different mediums at the same time creates chaos, yet moving from one medium to another provides an outlet when one project hits a roadblock.  Can't think of what to do with this figure?  Move back to the sewing machine or embroidery.  Tired of working with fabric, consider ideas for the Spell Book.  Works for me.

Reading?  Yes, of course.  Not as much, but I've got such a que of NetGalley ebooks on my Kindle and several good ARCs have arrived in the mail.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Strange Creatures, Eccentric Figures, and a Dystopian Novel

I decided to quit making heads for a while
and finish at least one doll.

So, I think I've finished Branwen.
She is a comical character with her little ghostly dolly.

I've done a little more work on the Spell Book,
or Book of Shadows,
or Grimoire.
Whatever I decide to call it.
But it doesn't look much different,
just a little aged.

When I decided to make this Halloween prop,
I didn't anticipate how much time it would take.
As it turns out, 
the more variations I see on Pinterest,
the more I want to include.
It will be a longer term project than I originally thought.

Originally, the plan was
just to have the outside of the book as a prop,
but now, I want pages and embellishments.

I've started carving out a niche in the pages,
and have plans for pockets, etc.
And spells, of course;
I need spells.

I've decided that I want to be a collector,
not just a maker, of strange little creatures.

My first purchase was last year from 
Indian Dollar Works.
Carla makes wonderful assemblage characters.
This is the charming little angel I ordered:
Assemblage Mixed Media Angel Cat
It wasn't intended to be a collection,
but last week I ordered a little witch 
from Treasuresnwhimsy.
She arrived yesterday,
and I love her.
Now, I think I can call myself
A Collector of Handmade Art Dolls!

I just finished The Girl with All the Gifts
by M.R. Carey.
If you like dystopian fiction,
this one will more than satisfy youl

Thursday, July 17, 2014

is so full of creative textile work! 
 I adore her recent art quilt 
with luminous orange nasturtiums 
and a uniquely charming border!  
It is just the style I love.
Check it out!

On my work table.
Most of these have made progress 
since I took these pictures.
Features added, sanded, gessoed, etc.
And I've begun two new heads.

I've asked the grands to send me some pictures of monsters.
Aren't all kids good at drawing monsters?
When I get those,
I'll make a few more Halloween figures.

Bubbles in the lemon grass,
and in the Japanese maple