Archive for September, 2010

It’s funny how things turn up in groups. Just after I posted about the Charles and Diana tin,

blue Wedgewood Royal wedding plate

not only did it find a home but mother came in with a whole bunch of fine china wedding memorabilia. Actually, the group is more about the Royals generally, but it has a fair bit of Charles and Diana. I thought this was the nicest of the lot. It’s a blue jasper-ware mini plate by Wedgewood. The pair of them are beautifully sculpted in the white detail, over the blue. It’s mint in the box and was even signed by Lord Wedgewood himself in 1981! (the signature is on the back) I’m going to be working on doing some photography over the next few weeks because items like this are pretty collector specific and I think that, at this time of the year, it’s probably faster for it to find a home on-line than through the shop, although it will, of course, be decorating a display case until then.

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I got a pleasant surprise a couple of days ago. The customer who bought my Copper Hawk sent me a picture of how they have displayed it.

Copper Hawk mask on display!

They made a really creative choice and have attached it to a mounted deer skull, complete with antlers to create a striking and cohesive looking piece. I love getting to see the next stage of life that my artworks go to. I know that not every artist is comfortable with the fact that, as soon as it has left your hands, you no longer have control on what it becomes and how people make it part of their lives but I’m fully accepting of it. Maybe it’s a result of all those years of helping people figure out what they needed to do with art they’ve acquired in terms of framing. It’s just fun for me to see all the creative ways they make my masks their own, most of which I never would have come up with.

In other news, my over-sized silver and brown mask, Sweeney is part of a masquerade feature on Keeping Creativity Alive.

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an eventful weekend

It’s going to be a busy week-end in Stratford. Not only is the Savor Stratford food festival going on but there are also a ton of events for the new Culture Days. We have a small display of masks in the Perth County Tent that is down by the Avon river. I’m also going to be away from the store for part of tomorrow, Saturday the 25th. (Dad will be holding down the fort) I’m running a mask decorating workshop at Factory 163. It will only be for an hour so it will be fun decorating, not too fancy and we’ll be using plastic bases. I have no idea how many people will be taking part, (this is the first year of the Culture Days) but I’m going to try and keep it fun for everyone who attends. I really like the Factory as a workshop venue and I’m hoping to get myself organized to offer some more in-depth sessions there sometime in the next year.

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Getting everything organized and running the way we want is always an ongoing process. One issue we hadn’t dealt with has been transportation.

Eric, the Smart-a-bee

We have a min-van and it’s been great because mother can go out on her hunts and we have no trouble transporting the (typically small, because of the small size of the store) bits of furniture that we offer. The drawback was that the van is a big vehicle and often more car than we need for some errands, plus it’s been limiting to only have the one car. Considering that we have the van, it made sense to go for something small and gas efficient that would let us do those quick runs easily. (and would also be more environmentally friendly than always using the van) After looking around we quickly came to the obvious conclusion that a Smart Car would be the best fit to our needs. With some more focused research and looking we made a final choice and this one came home with us last night! It is a 2008 Passion model and we’ve decided to name it Eric, the Smart-a-bee. (which also means it has it’s own theme song) In the spring, we may look into having it decorated with as a mini-billboard for the store, (lettering in the same green as the building would look good) but we haven’t decided about that for certain. We’re all really happy to have something perfect for just “buzzing” about!

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How to surprise an artist.

Step 1. Graciously accept the gift of a piece of artwork.

Step 2. Take artwork to a custom framer and select a fine quality frame that sets it off amazingly.

Step 3. Make arrangements with the gallery owner to have the finished piece hanging on the gallery walls on a specific date.

Step 4. During a day out with the artist casually stop in the gallery so you can “take a look around”.

Step 5. Continue to act casual

Step 6. Resist the urge to direct them to the space where their art is hanging when they get distracted by all the shinypretty things in the gallery, but wait for them to discover it themselves.

Step 7. Bask in their pleasure and surprise when they see the finished piece displayed like the fine art it is!

(this is a purely hypothetical suggestion of course. Things like this do not happen here, nope, not at all)

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Kick Ass costume

So, I understand that the finished costume I had helped make the mask for was worn at the recent Fan Expo in Toronto. This is a shot of her, all ready to head

Red Mistress costume

out as the “Red Mistress”.  (the movie version is called “Red Mist”) You can see how well the mask fits, so the paper-towel template works. (I’m pleased to have confirmation about it since it would be one of the only viable ways I could do a custom fitting by mail. I may have to check and see if it could be done by having it then scanned and printed, that would be even better if the sizing could be kept exactly the same. It would mean we wouldn’t have to wait on the postal service. humm…) She also made the belt buckle, emblem and cape herself. The jacket was found second hand and I’m not sure what work, if any, was done to it. I have yet to actually see the movie, but it looked like a pretty good version from the still shots I’ve seen. Apparently a good time was had at the con and she’s  now all ready to go for any and all Halloween events!

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A trip to the beach

We keep intending to go exploring on our closed Mondays and it almost never happens! This week we really made an effort to get away and headed out westward.

the shore of Lake Huron

We stopped in Mitchell and had some amazing raspberry sour-cream pie and then continued onward. By the mid afternoon we had made it to Bayfield, on the shore of Lake Huron. The day was lovely and warm and it was wonderful to roll up my pant legs and walk in the surf. It was warm enough that I would have gone in for swim if I’d thought to bring a swimsuit, but we weren’t that organized. Next time we go there, when the weather is right, we’ll make sure to be fully prepared. I am incapable of walking a beach without looking for treasures so I came back with a couple of water-shaped fossil stones as well as a few pieces of beach glass. I’m not sure what they will end up in but I’m sure they will be just what I need for some piece down the road. All in all, it was a lovely day-trip and a nice little break from the routine.

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While many of the masks I make are pretty and romantic, some are not. There are the Steampunk ones, the geeky ones, the creepy ones and then the just plain odd. I recently

Bacon mask

finished and listed this “Bacon” mask. I cut and painted pieces of salvaged leather and then attached them to a mask base that I’d painted in a fairly neutral colour. I was actually trying to achieve a “lightly toasted piece of toast” finish but, since the bacon turned out to look like the uncooked stuff, that would be kinda gross. I’m still working on a pair of ones that will look like cooked crispy bacon, on greasy paper towel. (the paper towel is already done and looks just like it was soaked in grease! I keep thinking that I should be less proud than I am about that achievement) As a completely unjuried site, Etsy has more-than-a-little bit of weird to be found. There are people who make fun of some of the things that can be found, but I prefer the attitude of the  person who set up the Celebrate Odd Etsy! Blog. The idea is to look at the strange stuff and celebrate the well-done, but odd things that appear there in abundance. They are also a member of the sites “Team Bacon” so I guess that’s how I caught their eye. “Bacon” leads a trio of my masks that were featured on it yesterday. I’m pleased to be in such good company so feel free to take a look!

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raspberry harvest

It’s a lovely early fall day outside today. I’m relieved because the past few have been so cold and miserable, it felt like we had skipped September

fresh picked raspberries

and went straight from August into the end of October. One of the things that comes with the fall is the ripening of the raspberries. This variety, an “ever-bearing” puts out a small crop in early July but then sets a second one that continues until the canes are killed by frost. The canes only went in last spring, so we’re really happy that this was the haul from yesterday!  (although, it looks like we’ll have to go for integrated pest management, this fall and going forward, since we have an infestation of the raspberry borer and we lost a number of canes to it already) Picking seems to encourage more ripening and we try to do it daily, so mother can go out and eat her way around the patch in the morning and still find a few more by dinner time. We’re actually getting just enough that we can keep up with eating them fresh and I do love being able to just nip outside for the occasional light snack. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the borers under control and we’ll be able to let the patch get a little bit bigger next year!

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Royal wedding tin

Actually, I realized we had another tin that has some vintage interest in a totally different way. It’s a British sweets tin that was put out for the wedding of Charles and Diana!

Charles and Diana's Royal Wedding tin

It’s condition is completely pristine. It’s so clear that the original owner picked it up, ate the candy and then carefully tucked it away somewhere safe, as a memento of the occasion. It doesn’t even look like they used it to store anything, unless it was soft and dry, because the inside is a fresh and new as the outside. I’ve had it out in the shop for a few weeks and it’s one of those things that always interests me with how people respond to it. I’ve had a really diverse group of people notice it and comment on it. A couple have asked if we have any other items from the wedding, (at least two have had specific ones that are on their “want’ lists) but it’s the only one we have. It’s interesting to me how the wedding still resonates with people, even after such a long time and some of the stories about why they want a specific item can give you a little window into peoples lives.

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