Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween (and some Star Wars, too)!

Happy Halloween! As a trick on me, October flew right by and left me with no time for fun stuff like costumes and candy for Halloween.  Oh no! 

... As a treat to you, I'm sharing some of my favorite costumes from my childhood, and the theme today is the all mighty Star Wars.  Who doesn't love some Star Wars-y Halloweeny goodness?  I know I love it, and always have...

My mom made these Tusken Raider and Jawa costumes for my brothers back in 78 (I think).  It was before I was born, and I've always looked back on the photos and thought that they were the absolute coolest costumes in the world! 

Which reminds me, have mentioned that my mom is the Costume Queen?  She is.  Whatever we wanted to be for Halloween, she would make for us -- it was the best!  Indiana Jones, Nightcrawler, Darkwing Duck, a turtle, and even my lame request for a butterfly -- she made it all.  She made everything you see above that's not leather: the masks, the weapons, the robes... it makes me tired just thinking about making all of that! How the hell did she do it on top of everything else?

Once I was born, I of course, came to love Star Wars as my brothers (and all other children of the world) did. Here's me as Princess Leia for Halloween in 1983 -- complete with cinnabun hair (though it's hard to see).  I was so happy! 

And by the time my little brother came around, the rest of us had taught him well, and so he asked to be Yoda.  Although this was a store bought mask, my mom did make everything else here, including the hand painted hands and feet. She also completely redid the mask with a whole new paint job on the face to enhance his features, and changed the hair to be more sparse.  The original mask gave Yoda the equivalent of a white half afro, it had so much hair! 

So, there you go! Some Star Wars Halloween memories.  I'm closing out with the Leia pumpkin my mom made me the same year I was Leia (it's in a pumpkin contest, hence the other pumpkins...).  I loved this pumpkin.  I thought it was sooooo pretty.  I was such a little Leia worshipper! 

Maybe next year I'll get my butt in gear and create some new Halloween memories of my own.... possibly Star Wars-ian in nature.... Old habits die hard! 
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monster of a Show at Domy Books

I have a piece up at the third annual Monster  Show at Domy Books here in Austin (there's also a shindig at their Houston location).  Come check it out!  There's an opening this Friday (Halloween!) from 7 - 9pm and it's FREE.  That's right -- no charge at all to view monster themed work from some of the best artists around. 

Afterwards, you can head over to the Magnifico show over at the Creekside Lounge.  They're a Queen cover band. And they are rad. 

I didn't post my piece here because it contains cartoon decapitation, and, well, some folks don't like that.  So that's a warning to those of you who might not enjoy cartoony violence in your monster themed artwork! 

But if you do like your artwork to be sweet but scary, cute yet creepy, girly and gory, and you love the idea of cartoon decapitation, you can go check it out over on my flickr.  

To me, it's just not Halloween without a little blood and guts.  Perhaps I peeked at one too many of my brothers' slasher flicks when I was but a wee girl...
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Maker Faire!

This past weekend was Maker Faire here in Austin.   If you're not familiar with Maker Faire, it's basically a ginormous gathering celebrating engineering, creativity, art, craft, and the do-it-yourself spirit. Which is an event that is 100% right up my alley. 

I didn't get to go last year (I was in Florida for my high school reunion...), and I was sooo excited about going this time around. 

It was a blast!!!  I met so many talented and friendly folks, and I left feeling so inspired by all of the DIY goodness there.  I only wish had had been able to see everything, but there was just too much to see, and I only had so much energy...   

I did make sure to take pictures (which I usually forget to do...) because I really wanted to share some of the sights, sounds, and artisans I met who put so much hard work, enthusiasm, and creativity into what they do.  I even posted my pics to a Maker Faire flickr set, like a good little girl!

And as for the sampling of projects, crafters and makers you see here in my nifty li'l photo mosaic, feel free to check out their incredible work!  They are: 

Whew!  
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Strings Everywhere

I haven't done an Illustration Friday topic in forevah!  So when I saw this week's theme of 'strings' I knew I wanted to draw a little something up, even if it's a super quickie digital doodle that's not particularly my favorite bit of work posted within the last few minutes of Thursday before a new theme goes up.... 

And yes, as you may have guessed, it's a bit autobiographical.

You see, there are strings of thread everywhere around here.  Everywhere.  I live on a carpet of thread snippets.  My clever kitty loves flalloping and playing amongst them, which is achingly adorable.  Although, I end up perpetually shedding threads every time I head out of the house since they're in or on everything I own. It's insane. Seriously, my doormat looks like the floor I've drawn here.  No lies.

Sigh.  I reckon such is the life of a plush artist....or at least such is the life of a very sloppy and lazy plush artist would rather see her cat roll around in the thread than sweep it up.  I mean cats + strings = instant and everlasting cuteness, after all, right? Who could resist?  Not I!  

And I would like to mention a big thank you for those mysterious people who selected this li'l blog o' mine as a 'blog of note' yesterday - oh my!  What an honor! 

And an even bigger thank you to everyone who stopped on by, left comments, and sent me emails.  All I have to say is, wowza!  I am so incredibly flattered by everyone's kind words.  

And I'm working on some things to give back to you, dear readers, so sit tight, and thank you!!!  


*edited for some typos, and I'm trying to find a way to edit posts without having them resent to google reader...hrmmmm....* Pin It

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Green Arrow and Black Canary Love Each Other. Awww!


Ok, so I didnt' draw this, but my fantastic super friend, David James Cole did as an engagement present to me, and it came in the mail this week (unfortunately with a new bend thanks to the mail powers that be, but fortunately it does not detract from its awesomiety)!!! 

How frikkin' sweet is that!?!?!  Super frikkin' sweet! Awww! What a cute comic couple they are! { :

I absolutely love having such incredibly talented and generous friends.  I can't wait for my mister and me to be in our very own home with the walls decked out with incredible artwork from all of our creative peeps. I am all for having a 'comic art corridor' in our own private gallery.  And this piece shall totally have a spot of honor. 

As an added bonus is, this makes me want to draw up some superheroes.  It's been FOREVER since I've drawn them, and I'm dying to do some work in my cartoon doodle style.  How I miss comics so! 

*sigh!*  So much art and craft to do, and so little time.
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

gourdish ghoulies

Boo!  That's the sound of me, trying to scare the last of the cold I've had away.  Perhaps these two gourdish ghoulies will help me send it packin'. 

You may remember my cutesy gourd ghostie from last year.  Here are his cousins -- who are not quite as cutesy, but still adoreable, no?  All of the Yugoslavian finger fruits weren't as cutesy ghostie shape friendly this year, so the Creepy Cousins here come from the 'random gourds in the market'  side of the family.  I just chose two without stems, turned them upside down, and painted their little spooky faces right on.  Ta-daa!

And of course, pac-man eyes are a must. I can't get enough of them pac-man eyes. *sigh*

Speaking of spooky, make sure to check out all the spooky art at Amy's Ice Cream on 6th. It's spook-tacular fun for everyone!
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Zombies and Monsters


The (black) cat's out of the bag, now.  The new pattern sheet I designed for the spectacular Jenny Hart and Sublime Stitching is finally here.  I give you Zombies & Monsters!  And just in time for Halloween, too. Oh, and these examples here were stitched up by the talented Amy Bindel, by the by. 'Sup, talent!

Make sure to check out the rest of the designs included (vampire, werewolf, witch, mummy et al) here.  Maybe pick one up for yourself while you're at it. 

I'm totally dying to see some his and her zombie items pop up in the various Sublime Stitching photo pools. Towels and pillowcases would be cool, of course.  But I'm REALLY dying to see the his and her zombies with some wedding theme-age applied to them.  

Plus, a shotgun!!! Hello?!? Awesome zombie crafting opportunities await!

p.s.  My etsy shop has been updated!  Get your sugar skull softies and bats while they last! 
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Friday, October 3, 2008

Aaah-ctober!

I love October. 

I love that October usually means that I get some time to spend on new projects and ideas before the holiday rush. And I love the weather. Can't beat it! I love(d) the fall color (although we don't really get much of it here). I love Halloween.  Candy and creepy, together in one.  Ahhh! What's not to love?  

Speaking of which, this girlie ghoulie and her skullish ice cream are up at the annual Spooky art show at Amy's Ice Cream on Sixth St.  Excuse the cruddy photo.  I wasn't smart enough to scan it or photograph it before it was up on the wall.  Duh. 

Anyway, go check it out, and marvel at the mad skills of artists such as Mr. C. S. Jennings, Mr. Kevin Peake, and Mr. Kennon James (to name just a few). There'll be a shindig of some sort to celebrate the spooky art on the 23 (details TBA).  

 You simply have to see it.  All I have to say is  -- Jointed.  Cowboy.  Skeleton!

Oh and li'l miss girlie ghoulie there is gouache on black bristol, if anyone is interested. 
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Austin City Love

Oh noes!  A pictureless post.  

I just wanted to write a quickie post to say that Austin City Limits was a success! I was so pleased to have been amongst so many talented artists and craftspeople (shout outs to my tent neighbors Ornamental ThingsLeighElena, and RubyPearl -- they were all so sweet), and I met so many great folks from all over the place.  

So, thank you, Austin City Limits, and thank you to everyone who stopped by, and lastly thank you to all of you who bought some handmade crafty goodness.  
Sadly, I'll have to pass on the possibilty of ACL 2009, since it's cutting it too close to our wedding time.  But watch out 2010 -- I've got my eyes on you! 

Also, I got to see Gillian Welch!  She and David Rawlings are simply amazing. I had goosebumps.  Come back to Austin soon and often, please!
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Stack O' Sugar Skulls and Sensory Flashbacks

I'm still here, and I'm still tirelessly toiling away in preparation for the Austin City Limits Festival, and the upcoming store update.  In the mean time, here's a sneak peak of a stack of new sugar skulls. Busy girl! 

I promise more pictures of new work will be coming up within the next few weeks, but for now I thought I'd share some old work with you. 

Y'see, I've been crafting like there's no tomorrow, and my soundtrack has been a HUGE playlist I made sometime last year that I titled 'songs to paint by.' It contains every song of which I never get tired, and in particular ones that spark me with creative inspiration, wandering thoughts, and ideas for current and future projects.

But the past few days have had songs sending me into sensory flashbacks of past projects.  More specifically, I've been having flashbacks to my college days. I haven't listened to some of these albums in a while, and hearing them in the context of furiously working away on a tight deadline makes me transport back to Syracuse (which is where I attended college).  

The photo above is a picture of a book project I made in my freshman year....that's 10 years ago, folks. Yeah.  My personal sense of style has developed a lot. Or at least that's what I think. : P

I chose to make it about my foundation group, of all things, which was the group of students with which I had all of my art classes for my freshman year.  Many of my classmates from foundation remain some of my closest friends, actually.  There were two books within the one big book (about inside jokes and professors and whatnot): one for the girls, and one for the boys, featuring little drawings and rhymes about each person.  

Here's a shot of some of the book of girls. Sorry for the crappy pic, but to be honest, I look at my aesthetic sense back then and I think "What the hell was I thinking? What a waste of so many cute vintage buttons! Colored pencils?!? Yeesh!" So, crappy artwork, crappy pic, I reckon. C'mon, I was only a newbie freshie at the time.  And I decided it might be fun to share some old work with ya.

Besides, digging this out has extended my sensory flashback trips.  I find myself walking around the studios and classrooms in my mind's eye, and suddenly recalling slideshows, scents, smells, sounds, and shenanigans.  And it's been really nice to remember all of it.

Then it hits me that it was ten years ago that I started my time at college. And then it hits me how much I miss my college friends, who are now scattered all over the nation.  So I thought I would post a little shout out to my college peeps (they know who they are, and many of them are in my art links off to the side).  

So, hi peeps!  Wish you were here. 

And now, it's back to craftin'.

p.s. my apologies for the mispost earlier today.  I accidentally hit enter, and um, yeah.  Sorry bout that! 


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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yay! Austin City Limits (and my birthday)!

Well, I've been withholding some news from my blog reading public for a while now: I (aka The Small Cat Club) will be a vendor at the SoCo Art Market at the Austin City Limits Music Festival!  Hooray!!!

I am beyond excited and flattered about being selected and amongst such great company like Parts and Labour, The Austin Craft Mafia, and Naughty Secretary Club along with tons of other local favorites.

That's yet another one of the reasons I've been so dang blasted busy this summer.  I've been cranking out as much merchandise as I possibly can (like some of the 100+ bats you see pictured here...I am my own urban bat colony).  Plus, I've been wanting to give this tidbit of news it's own special post, and today happens to be my birthday, so I figured how much special-er could the day be for finally spreading the word?  Not much! So there you go. Good news on a good day. 

If you're going to be at ACL, make sure to head on over for a visit between the greatness musical acts (like Man Man, Gillian Welch, David Byrne, Neko Case, Beck, Manu Chao, Iron & Wine, Old 97's, Mates of State, and so many much more that I probably won't be able to see, but wish I could...) .

And if you can't make it there, I'll be making a much needed update to my etsy shop on October 4. Excitement!

Now I'm off to spend birthday time with my mama.  Mamas are the best.  Especially mine. 
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part II: Sublime Stitchery

 
Aside from attending my brother's wedding and getting engaged myself, this summer's terrific-osity quotient was up due to my having the incredible pleasure of designing these Sexy Librarian embroidery patterns for none other than Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching.  

I am so thrilled that my little librarians have received such a warm welcome, and I cannot describe how exciting, flattering, and overall awesome-o it was to work with Jenny on them.  

By the way, the superb master stitching you see here was done by Amy Bindel - you should definitely check out her inspiringly perfect and precious needlework.  Of course, should you feel the need to take up some embroidery yourself, you can purchase some sexy librarians of your own right here

And since we're on the topic of stitching, check out August's Crafting A Business article (and my illustration for it) over at venuszine.com about hiring help. I have to admit that the environs of this particular illustration are, um, very autobiographical. Gah!
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Friday, August 29, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part I: Wedding Fun Time

This summer, my brother got married.  Hooray!  Congrats to him and my new sister in law. He's the first of my siblings to get hitched, and my whole family has just been totally thrilled and excited.  And man, oh man, does wedding excitement and anticipation make time just fly right on by.  

And it wasn't just the wedding to get all happy and enraptured about. The excitement also extended to all the other benefits wrapped up in the whole shebang of it: 
  • a road trip (my first time driving outside of Texas in 6 years.  Woah!)
  • visiting Jacksonville in the summer time (it's been at least 6 years since I've done that, too...)
  • seeing all of my uncles, aunts, cousins, and relatives who I haven't seen in, well, about 6 years
  • going to the beach (I haven't been swimming at Jax Beach in over a decade)
  • eating some of the best pizza I've had in the states (in Tallahassee of all places)
  • real Cuban food (something you don't find in Austin unless I cook it myself)
  • Le Monde Quintet - a Latin band that had folks grooving to aural awesomeness late into the night
  • listening to Douglas Adams and other audio books in the car
  • finding a cute, sweet, tail-less black kitten living under my parents' house
  • spy themed custom wedding poster art (see below)
This was a requested Bond-esque retro styled movie poster for the reception (my bro is a movie buff). This is just a crop from it, with the poses and bodies recreated from an actual 'The Spy Who Loved Me' poster and the background vignette style inspired by a vintage Italian Bond I found in my research. Everyone at the reception loved it, though me being me, I have some small nitpicks.  But I'm happy that it made my brother and sister in law happy. 

So, in all, my brother's wedding = great time had by all.  And I have yet another year of excitement, anticipation, and wedding wonderousness to look forward to... 

Because I got engaged to my own sweetie guy this summer! Hooray for more wonderful news! Hooray for more wedding fun times to come!
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Neglect My Blog

I know, I know.  I've been a very bad girl.  A very bad, naughty blogger.  One pitiful post for all of July. Tsk tsk.  But in my defense, I have been a very, very, very busy girl.  So busy, that yes, I neglected my poor widdle blog. 

However, the rest of the world did not.  While I was out, the Tom Selleck cake exploded onto the internets.  It is everywhere!  And I'm mega  thrilled about that - thank you all so much for the link love, blog love, and all around Tom Selleck cake love!  I've even spawned a trend - check out this Tom Selleck cake I found through udandi.com


And I hope to bring you even more cakey, kitschy greatness in the future.   What great adventures in icing portraiture are to come?  I don't know just yet.  I've had a LOT of  requests for David Hasselhoff. Like, a LOT. 

However, if I were to go with my own childhood 80's TV crushes, (and not my friends' or readers') it'd be Howlin' Mad Murdock from the A-Team. What can I say?  I was an odd kid. 

So...the cake gears are turning.  Any more suggestions or requests?  

In the mean time, I'll be keeping y'all updated with what I did on my summer vacation.  It's been exciting, but super fast. Oh, summer, I hardly knew ye!  
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Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

Just poppin' in to wish everyone a safe and happy July 4th! I hope you didn't spend it working, like I did. But tonight promises to be more fun, as I will get to spend some time with my sweetie (our anniversary is tomorrow!).

This little lady liberty was purchased in 2004 on my visit to the Statue of Liberty. It was so adorably cute and yet cheesily tacky, I had to buy her. I thought I'd share her with you in the spirit of the day.

I bought a softie of her head made in this same style for my godson, Bondo. He loved it! Pin It

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tasty Tom Selleck

I said I was gonna make a cake, and make a cake, I did! A Tom Selleck cake. My friend, Emma, was having a birthday bash, and seeing as she can't have the real Tom Selleck for a present, I made her this.

In my search for reference pics, I learned that a 'Tom Selleck Cake' refers to an actual kind of cake - usually a gooey chocolate and toffee delicious cake that is apparently 'better than even Tom Selleck' or 'the next best thing to Tom Selleck.'  I can't imagine that could possibly be true. This cake was sour cream pound cake with butter cream icing (and chocolate butter cream icing), made from scratch using my mom's old catering recipes.

I will admit, this cake did not turn out how I envisioned. I initially imagined nipples, a bigger portrait area, and better bordering, lettering, and so on. I found myself running out of time, so the bordering, the lettering, and flowers were tremendously rushed and overall half-assed. Thus, they really bother me to look at.

And, let me say, that chocolate icing was a pain in the butt! It was so stiff -- I should've added that last tablespoon of water that I decided against when mixing it up. It would've made a world of difference. That tube of chocolate icing was really trying its best to give me a melt down and take up all my time. On the bright side, I got to look at shirtless pics of Tom Selleck all the while....


I will say that I have never made a cake that was so well received and complimented (despite its decorative flaws, the blistering hot journey it had to its destination, and all the little things I did not get just right...), and my friend truly did have and happy (and hairy) birthday. I was able to let go of my perfectionista cake 'tude, and we had a blast!

Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did. Any ideas or requests for next year?
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Updatey Cakes

I know this blog has been a bit sugar skull heavy as of late, but I wanted to let folks know that more sugar skull softies have been added to my etsy shop, so there you go! I think most have been snatched up, but there are some still available (as well as some new Gammon mice).

In other news, life is very, very busy, but good. I'll be part of a show coming up soon at Flightpath, my brother is getting married, and an exciting project of mine will soon be revealed. Yay! In the past few weeks I have seen Loretta Lynn in concert, met Gary Panter, attended the Brad Neely special screening featuring Brad Neely (live!), actually spent time with friends (!), had more cacti blooms and their resulting disgusting looking and exciting seed pods, made some awesome art trades, and even more fun and exciting stuff.

June, I hardly knew ye.

Tomorrow I shall make a cake, and swim in the lake. Good times! Pin It

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tickled to Death

Holy sugar skull! I've been featured on the CRAFT magazine blog, which has totally, totally, totally made my day. Thanks CRAFT, and thanks Jenny Hart who blogged about my sugar skull softies over at Feeling Stitchy.

I'm psyched. Pin It

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking Time to Kick Back and Relax.....

This month's Crafting A Business column by Jenny Hart is up over at venuszine.com, and it's all about making sure to take time off from your business -- a very important and often overlooked part of being an indie crafter and artist. Ahh, time off! I miss you...

I was totally fantasizing about taking time off out-of-doors to laze about reading while I was working on this one. I did manage to get some outdoors time in the past couple of weeks, which was nice. Maybe I'll get some more in this weekend, although I think this weekend will be a 'I must clean the apartment because it is a ridiculous teeting pile of absolute mess and craziness' weekend. Bleh!

At least I can look forward to seeing Loretta Lynn on Friday, before the mass clean up begins. Hooray, Loretta!

p.s. Friday is my one year blog anniversary. Any suggestions for celebrating? (other than seeing Loretta Lynn, of course...) Pin It

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Cactus Plants Are Tough on Pants....

*clap clap clap clap* deep in the heart of Texas!

Hey y'all. Here some Texas themed magnets I done did up. I think the dancing state of Texas is my fave one. And the little cowboy. He's super cute. I have some more magnet ideas brewin' which I hope to post sometime soon. We'll see if this heckuva schedule keeps on rollin' like it has been, since that might put new magnet plans on hold.

Also, speaking of cactus plants (which are tough on pants), here's a pic of my googly eye cactus' first bloom. Two of his four buds have now bloomed, and let me tell you, they are even hotter pink in real life than in this photo! Like, retina burning neon pink. And they're huge. I wish they lasted for more than a day though. Phooey!
Maybe I should add a cactus or two to the Texas magnets. I do love my cacti. : ) Pin It

Friday, May 30, 2008

Soft Rock!

So it's time for the guitar softies to get some blog love, too. I don't remember how it was I thought of them, but once the idea came to me, I was obsessed with it, dreamed about it, and went through many sketches and pattern versions before achieving a result that felt right.

I love them, and apparently so do other folks. After all, how can you resist a guitar with a sweet little face? You can't.

I'll have to make some bass guitar softies. Because if I could play any instrument in a band, I think I would pick bass. Or drums. Hmmm.... a softie drum set! Watch out -- I'm going to get carried away. Now I'm trying to think up ways for me to make a softie accordion. Keytars? I'll be going softie instrument crazy.

This weekend will consist of some more softie guitar sewing in addition to the looming art deadlines, jewelry deadline, secret project deadline, and the two friends' parties that I'm excited about, especially since I haven't really had time to hang with friends in over a month.

But I'll get it all done, because I'm super crazy like that....or at least that's what I tell myself.

Welcome back my college days ability to make crazy-ass-deadlines-while-maintaining-enthusiasm-and-quality-for-my-projects! I missed you. Pin It

Sugar Skull Softies

Hello, Blog! Sorry I was out for a while. I had a crapload of work this month, which is a mixed blessing sort of thing. But just look at some of the new things I'm doing, and you'll see it was work well worth it.

Like these here sugar skull softies. They've been pretty popular over on my flickr account (at least popular for one of my pics, that is...), so I figured it was time to introduce them to the blog. I figured out a pattern of my own, sewed them up, embellished them with wool felt and hand embroidery, and I have to say that over all they make me very happy. There's one over at my etsy shop, and more have been dropped off at Parts and Labour on South Congress.

Were I able to juggle, I would totally juggle them, in a case of life imitating art. Alas I cannot juggle...

More posts of some of the things I've been up to to come! It's time for some multiple posts... Pin It

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Googly Eyes

Look, the shadow looks like a mouth!

I just wanted to say that before Christopher Walken decided he needed to put googly eyes on all his plants, I put these glasses with googly eyes on one of my cacti. I did so in emulation of my grandmother, Gammon, who had a cactus with glasses and googly eyes in a pot shaped like a VW bug (her car of choice) -- which actually was a gift from my mom. How trendsetting of them!

I'm currently buried in work, work, work, but I decided to post some fluff since it might be a while before I can post some real work up here again. I don't want to keep y'all hangin'!
Ahh, the blazing Texas sun! Look how tall Mr. Cactus is getting! He even has four little hats on the top of his head, which I'm very interested in seeing how the look when they bloom. Pin It

Friday, May 2, 2008

FeeJee the MerMonkMaid

Here is my fourth and final Painted Plush piece* for the Crammed Organisms show -- FeeJee the MerMonkMaid. FeeJee is my interpretation of what those classic mermaids of earlier eras (most famously the FeeJee Mermaid, after which she is named) might look look like if she were not dead, dehydrated, and all shriveled up. They were traditionally made of half a monkey, and half a fish, so there you go -- a MerMonkMaid.
FeeJee was, of course, made the same way I made my other painted plush. I was a little tired by the time I got to her, so she suffered from slight a lack of interest on my part. Had I made her first, she would've had more bells and whistles, methinks. I originally wanted to make her a standard non-painted plush, along with a panda mermaid softie, but I changed my mind, and decided to stick with all four being Painted Plush. I'm glad I did. This has been fun and refreshing.

And so, that is all of my pieces made for Crammed Organisms. I hope you enjoyed viewing and reading about them as much as I enjoyed making them.

* Sorry, Janx -- I forgot to write in the last post that there was one more to come! Pin It

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Golden Bird

Today's Painted Plush made for Crammed Organisms is The Golden Bird. She's not the most fierce or exciting painted creature -- especially when she's up against wolves and octopi. How can she compete with that? Well, as simple as she may seem, rest assured, she is very, very magical, and that's the ace up her sleeve...or wing, if you will.
The Golden Bird was inspired by the all-so-frequent fairy tale vehicle of the magical, mystical bird of some sort, who many times is described as 'golden,' and who is usually a coveted key to resolving whatever conflict in which our heroes are tangled. She is the quintessential catalyst.

This piece was originally more painterly, but I found myself very unhappy with the results, and I kept gravitating to this more graphic and uncomplicated painting style. I like that it looks like a three dimensional version of my ink and gouache drawings. She was made the same way I made OctoPolly and Lupe the Wolf Girl, but very different in terms of style.

I found myself very much enjoying the unpainted canvas bird on its own, actually. I think I'll try this pattern out for some simplistic bird form softies, sans the painting part. It was sweet, clean, and smooth. I like that. Pin It

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

OctoPolly

OctoPolly here was the second Painted Plush piece finished for Crammed Organisms, but she is one that has been an idea in my noggin since 2004.

Albeit, in 2004 the plans for an octopus girl Painted Plush involved a larger piece consisting of an octopod of sorts with worm tentacles, and a human head. As you can see, the idea evolved over time, and I happen to love the finished piece as is -- no human head, no worms. I was all about the worms a few years back...
She was made in the same manner as Lupe the Wolf Girl. Here she is in her ungessoed canvas form. Developing her pattern and piecing was trickier, however, and I did have a few trial runs for the body before getting it right. Her hair is made from ripped strips of canvas, which was fun to sew, but a pain to gesso.
OctoPolly was primed with a clear acrylic gesso, hair and all. I then put down base coats of acrylic paint, at which point she looked like the above snapshot.
I managed to get an action shot of myself painting here. Holy crap! Is it ever hard to take a picture of your right hand doing something, using your left hand to operate your right handed camera.
Here's a shot of her underside, which you can't really see when she's standing. It makes me think of watermelon.
And here she is all finished up, with a real mother of pearl beaded necklace. She has freckles and spots on her back side too, but the pictures of that were lacking in cuteness.

The idea behind the character of OctoPolly was inspired by characters who want to belong, who are a bit of the outcast, a bit of a 'monster' or oddity, and who are reluctant heroes or 'diamonds in the rough' if you will -- unaware of their potential courage, heroism, and beauty.

Anyway, it was another case of me telling myself my artwork's story while working on it, which is something I've done ever since I can remember...except as an adult, I know not to tell that story out loud while I work, like I did when I was little.

Two more Crammed Organisms to go! (but OctoPolly here is probably my favorite) Pin It

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lupe the Wolf Girl

Meet Lupe the Wolf Girl, my first creature made especially for the awesomeness that is the Crammed Organisms show.

I decided to use the opportunity of being in this show of both visual artists and plush artists to explore my 'painted plush' ideas, blending my love of painting with my love of soft sculpture and plush, creating a three dimensional painting of sorts. I've been wanting to venture down this road for a while now, ever since I made my worm girl and cat mama pieces in a similar manner.

This time I took photos as she came together, so you can see my process.
Lupe started off as a softie made from my own pattern in a loose weave, natural color canvas.
I then gessoed the entire piece, just as I would do priming canvas for a painting. For Lupe I used a black acrylic gesso. In the past, I just painted directly on the unprimed canvas (for the cat mama piece), but I think gessoing is the way to go. It doesn't use as much paint in the actual painting process, which affects the feeling (and the cost) of the final piece.
I then just proceeded to paint and block out the piece, as I would with any other painting. Here she is with a basic scumbling for her coat, and you can see her face sketched out as well. I used artist's acrylic paints - Liquitex soft body professional series - to avoid using oils, but maintain the texture, flow, and pigment I prefer to use while painting, as opposed to using, say craft paint. Of course, in terms of toxicity, this makes the finished piece more like a painting, and not a toy - so don't let your babies suck on it! That would not be good!
And here she is all finished, sitting on a gourd (because her tail doesn't let her sit flat). The idea of her character was inspired by animal transformations of characters found in fairy tales, as well as the idea of the whole tragic hero, misunderstood beast idea, and not on a specific tale. Brother and Sister, Jorinda and Joringel, Beauty and the Beast, Cat-skin and King Grizzle beard were some of the transformation/ugly hero tales I recalled from my childhood while drawing up my sketches. While working on the actual painting of the piece, I realized she was also inspired by San of Princess Mononoke in her temperament, wild child that she is.

Part of me would like to write her story out - you know, how she came to be a wolf, and what she must overcome to redeem herself and return to her human form, since it's loosely in my mind, and it became more developed whilst working on her. But, one step at a time. For now, let's just enjoy her as she is.

More Crammed Organisms to come! Pin It

Friday, April 18, 2008

J-Pop and Mmmbop

The awesome-o folks at SXSW pleasantly surprised me by sending over these pics of some musicians wearing one of my shirt designs from this year (the early 90's throwback neon shirt). This first one is of a band called Sodopp from Kagoshima, Japan.
This second one is of Taylor Hanson of Hanson fame - how crazy is that? I reckon 90's pop t-shirt aesthetics appeal to those musicians with a pop aesthetic themselves... Now I wanna know who else bought my shirts. Hmmm...

By the by, if you felt the need to get your own early 90s throwback neon t-shirt groove on, or an alien boombox kid's tee groove for that matter, I believe you can still pic one up over here.

And FYI, the Sodopp pic is by Ben Sklar, the Hanson pic is by Austin Tolin and both are used with permission from SXSW, so there you go! Pin It

Friday, April 11, 2008

Crammed Organisms!

Whoo-hoo! I am honored to announce that I will be participating in the Crammed Organisms plush art show in St. Louis this summer - which, by the way, will be the biggest and bestest plush show on Earth. Go check out the uber talented 140+ artists who will also be a part of this awesomeness.

Seriously, I consider myself very fortunate to be a part of a show with such talented artists as these peeps. Thank you, Crammed Organisms folks, for putting this show together!

Crammed Organisms - World's Largest Plush Show! Plush, Stuffed Animals, Plushies, Softies Pin It