Friday, March 02, 2007

Flowering Thoughts


A.) Over the last few months, I've noticed the symbolism of plant material growing from the tops of people's heads is not mine alone. B.) This is a candid photograph--not staged--of two Russian brides riding a Moscow subway, if you can believe that!?. Seeing this voluptuous black veil inspired me to pump up the one I had in mind for the Tarn (crow woman) character. C.) I was pondering how I could make the wood curve over the cottage door and windows when it finally dawned on me to use a scroll saw and actually cut a curve in sections from a piece of wood, like this real door shows well. D.) I think this is how I'll paint my Time Frog. E.) I'm fixing to construct the cottage roof and shots like this help me get the feel for how I might do it. F.) I just saw this art doll by Johnny Mitchell, and am loving the idea of putting a nest on top of Tarn's head and having her beak be a mask. Of course! [smacks forehead] of course her ugliness would be but a mask! Thank you talented doll artist!

Thanks to online friend, Ulla, who over the last few weeks has posted some especially ravishing images from Russia. What they are for, we can't begin to guess, but many are affecting because of the beauty of their storybook vision. I began to notice a common thread running through the images I was responding to most. They often contained a glass or lens distortion. Readers may remember the telescope lens shot on the left from last year. The over-sized jar of water is one of the new Russian image source and makes me keen to try this effect in Halfland--I can already think of the perfect moment for it. The third image of the child with a magnifier grabs me too. The last shot, also from Russia, is of a young puppeteer visible through her theater curtain in the darkness cast by her shadow puppet. Wouldn't that be a marvelous way to end Halfland? with someone acting out the final scene quietly to themselves with crude paper versions of the characters?! It may be a standard way out of a fantasy, but if handled properly, it could suit Halfland beautifully I think.

Part of the show and tell for dear Sven, some of the finished Halfland props were laid out on display. It was fun to see the little beetles knitting on the arm of the chair and the writing mouse on the left hand corner of the food table. Sven's jaw dropped at the intricate beauty of the huge moth wings I bought for Yanu's (moth man) own wings. The clear translucent "windows" you see in them are natural!! Nature is truly miraculous.


  1. Ahhhhhhh Shellley-san! You're not the only one to think of shooting distorted puppet-faces through transparent water(or beer)-filled vessels (or pitchers)!

  2. And the Tarn thing.... could be a mask on one side, beak on the other? Hmmm? Hmmmm?

  3. WOW! I can understand why Svens Jaw Dropped at those Props!

    I never realised you made so many Props!

    Those Beetles look Tiny and are those Wings actually from a Moth?

    Do we get to see pictures from each puppet in detail such as the moths because you cant see the very well from those photos!

    P.S: Thanks for so much encouragement you have given me over the time I have Known you!

  4. Re the arched doorway: As a technical note, I believe the method for creating that in real life involves subjecting the wood to steam, and then pressing it against a circular form for a long period of time.

    For Halfland, scroll-saw sounds just right.

    Me, I'd probably be thinking about using a sturdy cardboard (not corrugated) for the half circle -- then a long, bent rectangular bit on the inside of the door frame to give it dimensionality. You're so good with faux finishes, I imagine you could make it look like wood.

    But of course the Halfland aesthetic is about being sculptural, as well as just practical stage design. So cardboard probably wouldn't be satisfactory, if judged by that criteria.

  5. Hi, Everyone! Good stuff, good stuff.

    Mike, the fact that you also dig the water/beer glass distortion effect merely proves a long held suspicion of mine--that we're the SAME PERSON!!!! Bwaahhahaha. And yes! I love the half mask/half beak mask idea. That will be so wonderful to make! Yay!!!

    Hi Ben! (fyi: did you know that any photos posted in my blog can be enlarged a bit by clicking on them? just in case that helps see a little better.) I think if you type in beetles in my blog's search bar a close up photo on that post will show up. I just did it, yep, it'll be the second post as you scroll down after that search. Here's the link too: beetles. Plus, you'll see a close up of the Pink Snail character in the post following that.

    Yes! those moth wings are real! How unreal that they are real! I have a facination with moth wing patterns and have many macro photos featured on my walls for art inspiration. Can you believe all the wondrous colors and patterns in nature!?

    Hi Sven! Yes, I think you're right about the formed wood and that scrolling out a shape is more suitable to 1/2L.

    It's a funny balance in fabricating this project. I want certain things as real as possible BUT not so insane as to form the molecules by hand, you know? Like I'll use reall wood here and there so I can see the real grain and texture but inside the plaster walls is styrofoam and screening. It's like I'll hand paint everything but I won't grind the pigments I hand collect in a riverbed to make the paint.... who am I kidding--you KNOW I would! LOL!

  6. Fantastic post Shell, have I told you how much I love Tarn? Or at least the pieces of her that youve shared...can't wait to see more...

    I would also probably go Svens route for the doorway, maybe use balsa instead of cardboard? But then, I dont have access to fancy saws :)

    I am also fascinated by the looking-glass, fish-bowly lensy shot...and I'll take it a step further, I love looking through things, a keyhole, a tear in the circus tent, a crack...for my college art show I created this giant piece that was like a box on the wall....the front of the box was made up of fence boards nailed in a line like a raised section of fence, with a dark sort of tormented figure drawn on it, but when you stepped up close and looked through the cracks, there was a colorful pastel figure behind, a soul....

    I love your idea for the finishing shot too, thats a beautiful pic...

  7. Holy F%^@#$@ing Sh#$%#t, Jeffery, that collage piece sounds incredible!!! God, what a great concept! Arggghhhhh(scream typing)hhhhhhg.

    I love the through-things thing too, but didn't realize it until you said it. I found these great 1920's kind of pin up nude bathing beauties (literally bathing) photos a few years ago and thought of putting them in the back of a wooden box with an antique brass keyhole fastened to one side for a tasteful vintage peep show. Got the girls, got the boxes, got the keyholes, got busy.

    LOVE your art piece idea so much. I'm afraid to ask for photos in case they don't do it justice! But, have any?

    Thank you for supporting the ending puppet show idea. What I'm liking about it is that it is a thing within a thing within a thing thing. And I like the further symbolism of the simplicity of child's imagination becoming "real" as Halfland. Because, in a way, that's what it is.


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