Archive for October, 2010

Many years ago, I used to carve up mini pumpkins as seasonal gifts for friends.

goblin pumpkin 2010

I wouldn’t hollow them out or anything like that, they would just have some surface carving. They would all have these faces that would be a bit of a cross between goblins and apple faces. It’s a style that’s carried on to when I sculpted little ones for art dolls, pins and other projects. The thing is, I’ve only ever carved pumpkins. All my other 3D work has been constructed, not carved, using modelling materials such as clay or jewellers wax. I’ve never even attempted wood. For the second pumpkin this year I decided to see, for the first time, if I could do that same type of face in a larger scale . I’m pretty happy with the result and I’m looking forward to seeing how he looks when lit, but I did make the wrong call about which pumpkin to use. The first one is from a local farmer and was super fresh and easily about twice the thickness of the second one and the texture of it was nowhere near as smooth. (realizing I wanted a second one we just picked it up at the grocery store) The result is that I wasn’t able to make it quite as 3D as I had hoped, but I still think it turned out well.

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The fall has been so busy that I didn’t even get a chance to get my pumpkins done!

Cyberman pumpkin 2010

I would have liked to have them out over a week ago, but I’ve just got the one finished so far. This is my first time ever using a template that I didn’t make myself and I’m not sure I did it right. (it was a free downloadable pdf at Pink Ray Gun) I just couldn’t resist, since jack ‘o lanterns are supposed to be scary, doing this new Dr. Who Cyberman design. Creepy and geeky, it’s a win win!

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I don’t watch a ton of tv. I do like it having it on sometimes when I working,

Rosenthal "Hilton" vintage coffee set

but I need it be a pretty talky show, where I can get away with mostly listening and the occasional glance at the screen. There have also been a number of shows that I’m sure I’d enjoy, but I didn’t get into them early enough and now I’m holding out until someone lends me the back seasons on dvd so I can get caught up before jumping in. Mad Men is one of those shows. I’ve heard great things about it, lots of people I know are raving, but I haven’t seen a single episode. It sounds like part of the fun is all the period costumes and sets and I would have a great time looking at those. A little while ago we got in this beautiful, vintage Rosenthal coffee set. I love how perfectly the shape, designs and finish are of the period, but it is so finely made that it still reeks of glamor and style. (if a china piece should ever reek it must only be of style or glamor ) A couple of ladies were in this past week and said they thought it looked like it had been lifted off the set for this new season. I may just have to stop waiting to get around to watching the back seasons and just take at look at the new one since I love playing “I recognize that set piece/prop!”.

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This year has just been so busy that I’ve missed getting to a number of the plays

moon over the Festival Theatre, Oct. 2010

I was hoping to this season. We weren’t fast enough to get Tempest tickets and I also missed Do Not Go Gently. (the lesson learned is just to go ahead and pre-order everything as soon as we get the opportunity, and being local does give us a bit of a head start on that, so next year we’re taking advantage and buying early!) We did get organized enough to get tickets for As You Like It and Dad and I saw it last night. There are a number of reasons why seeing productions at the Festival will always be a good time and they were all on show last night. First and always are the incredibly talented performers. Not only did they make delivery of Shakespeare’s wordy passages seem effortless, but there was some world class singing and music mixed in. (which I had never seen done with this play before but it was a wonderful surprise) Another great thing about there productions is that they are always so polished. They take the time to rehearse and prepare so everything flows like a perfectly oiled clockwork. Clockworks also bring me to another great part of the shows, one that particularly appeals to me, and that is the always innovative set and costume designs. They went with a somewhat Steampunk, 1920’s look by way of Magritte. (with just a tiny hint of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. ) They also had a few full-head masks making appearances that made me want to swoon with envy. All in all, another lovely evening at the theatre.

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I’m a bit horrified that there is some snow on the ground outside! It is that time of the year,

Venetian crown headband in gold

but all the sunshine lulled me into a false sense of security. It makes me even more glad that we took advantage of the the sun last weekend to do a quick model shot of the new headband/crowns. We have some beautiful pieces of vintage clothing (1950’s, most of it) and we don’t have space to show it off in the store so I was just planning on listing it online. Of course, to do so I need someone it will fit to show it off. A couple of friends, who are willing to help, came out on Sunday to see if the pieces would fit. It looks like they will, but the wind was too high for us to do a proper shoot. Still, we grabbed a few of the crowns. I managed to get one each for the four styles and I’m going to try and get them listed over the weekend. (we also got a couple of interesting shots in one of the veil masks) I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to do a more extensive one soon, but the weather is getting more unreliable so we may have to wait until the spring.

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fall fruits

The frost hasn’t actually hit us yet but the garden is clearly dying off. I picked

home grown sweet yellow peppers 2010

all of the peppers from our plants, since it’s cold enough that, while they aren’t dying, there is also no further growth. We did get a nice group of fully ripe sweet yellows, (see picture) and another half-dozen or so green ones. I found the red peppers to be noticeably smaller than the yellows, and have no idea why. The flavor has been good so far on the ripe ones. We’ll have to see how it is on the green. We’re also still getting raspberries. Even without a frost, most of the pollinators have died off so the canes are finishing the berries they had already set. Production is much slower, and you can really tell the difference a warm sunny day makes in how many new ones ripen, but the fruit we get is still sweet and tasty. They have a different flavor than the summer berries, a bit more floral. On the really ripe ones you can be reminded that they are in the same family as roses. We may only be getting a few handfuls a day, but being able to pick our own berries, this late in the year means we really savour what we find.

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Update 4.30pm Oct. 18th: Uh..well, actually we only have “Yearling” left. Quoth has set a new speed selling record for me!

I don’t normally post on Mondays but we’re getting really close to the cut-off point for shipping

Black Raven mask with feathers, "Quoth"

masks so they will arrive before Halloween. My new Crow mask had a really positive response and found a home in only a couple of days. I already had another pair in process so I focused on them over the weekend and just got them listed. One has the larger of my beak forms and is very clearly a Raven. The smaller one is a bit more quirky. The beak pulls a bit to the left and I used fluffier feathers on it so it looks like it isn’t fully grown. That’s why I’ve called it “Yearling”. Both are now up on Etsy and, of course, available for viewing and purchase in the gallery!

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A good book fixes anything

Yesterday was a bit of a mixed bag. The parental units had some things they wanted to  do that would keep them out until 9 pmish, so they packed up some dinner and headed off in the early afternoon. I had a busy time at the shop and got ready to close at six only to discover that, through an odd convergence of events, that I had managed to lock my keys in the house. No keys meant that no only could I not get into the house, but I also could not lock the store! The shop is also without any interior plumbing (there is a water pump outside) so the situation was looking a bit dire. Luckily, the kind people at Brew Garden Cafe, across the street, were willing to let me use their facilities, if I needed to. I had resigned myself to an evening of hungrily working on stuff, (knowing it was my own fault for leaving the keys where I did) but the parentals arrived back early and rescued me. The evening got even better from there since they also had my Amazon order in hand. Lois McMaster Bujold is my favourite author, and while I like most of her other work, the Vorkosigan Saga is first in my heart. The thing is, she’s not a very prolific writer. Typically, it’s the better part of two years between books and her recent works have been a quartet called The Sharing Knife that I, sadly, do not like. The result is that it has been eight years since the last Vorkosigan novel!  I had checked Amazon this week, expecting to place a pre-order, only to find out it was ready to go!  I got the order in and it arrived in two days, much faster than I had dared to hope for. Knowing it was on hand, I was barely able to stay focused enough to eat some dinner before jumping in. I finished the whole thing before sleeping and it was a most satisfying read. The hard part is that it felt very much like a goodbye. I can understand that she might be ready to move on, since she’s spent over 20 years with the family, but I can hope she may find a story or two more to tell. If she is done, then this is an ending that gives a suitable level of resolution for an amazing fictional universe.

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This is another of the new Venetian style crowns/headbands. This one has more of a standard

gold Venetian tiara/headband

tiara shape. I went with a delicate lace piece that has a flower fan at the top. Then these lovely little medallions and finally a small flower, as it tapers off near the end. Tiny white diamond rhinestones accent each of the flowers in the front fan and then there is one each on the first flanking circles. I wanted to run with the tiara effect but keep the light and delicate feel. The ties are a double strand of a thin vintage ribbon in a soft taupe brown. The ties are done in such a way that you can tie the whole group back or only use one strand and let the rest fall loose for added decoration. (leaving the ribbon falls really enhances the medieval feel of them) I’m actually a bit amazed at how well they move between being worn as a crown and as a headband. I have almost no forehead, so crowns are not for me, but they look so cute in the headband position I’m almost willing to consider modelling them myself. (tempting, but no) Unlike the masks, I can make duplicates of at least some of them. (not exact, but close enough for it not to make a difference) They will be limited numbers due to the finite amounts of any lace type, but I could make enough that it should be worthwhile arranging a model shoot for them!

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I’ve been working on a whole new design concept. (I know I should be staying mask focused but I really felt the need to mix it up a bit) I’ve played around with making headbands

Rose, gold Venetian crown

over the last couple of years, but pretty much stuck to a couple of things I wanted for myself. (the red silk “Sparrow” one, with coin dangle and bead string, is the most commonly worn) However, I’d noticed a trend towards people wearing more elaborate ones, along with “fascinators” and crowns. At the same time, I’ve had a number of the more traditional masks go to weddings, but most brides don’t want to cover their faces on their wedding day! So I’ve been thinking about ways to make smaller masks that would serve as more of an ornamentation than a disguise, but would still have the old-fashioned Venetian opulence that is my signature. (I also wanted to continue to focus on using reclaimed and salvaged materials as that is an important part of my artistic mission) I had one of those “Eureka!” moments and realized that I could make headbands/crowns using the Venetian lace and gilding techniques from my masks. This is one of the first pieces. The base is a soft piece of reclaimed leather, which is perfect since it is solid, comfortable and sturdy. The details are gilded lace, just like the masks, but these can be worn on the forehead as a crown or in the typically headband placement. This piece has been decorated with a few pink rhinestones, to go with it’s rose design, and beautiful ombré  pink ribbons.

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