Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The "After Effects" of Sensory Kinesthesia

Things admired, things made. First thing, Justin called over his magical daughter, one of the cutest, sweetest little girls in whole wide world, and did a great job of explaining how she can whisper an important question in to Halfland's Answer Tree's ear and wait while the Writing Mouse, living beneath the roots, writes down the answer for her to one day grow out onto a leaf. Another wonderful experience of meeting online friends and sharing what we love, art, stop motion, and talking about art and stop motion. Oh, and looking at art and stop motion, watching a little artful stop motion, and eating.

The Raschs, Justin, Shel and Aedon's visit here was duh, amazing. They are such "pure" people. That's the only way Paul and I can describe the quality that radiates from their faces as they talk, purity and joy. A complete and utter delight. Props to Paul for doing an outstanding job of keeping everyone fed and watered up while the rest of us yapped and explored, talked about our projects, and made new things.

It is extremely valuable to meet with stop motion brothers in person, I've decided. Conversation with partners that share your fetishes and understanding creates an environment for self-revelation. As I was explaining my film to Shel and Justin, they, especially the more experienced Justin, being jaw-dropping performance animators, on the set for Halfland, it dawned on me that my film is far less about the actual animation than I imagined it to be. I realized that my puppets may hardly move, or may have odd montage transitions as part animation style, I'll know more when I get in there to do it. But I could see that for me, it's ALL about detailed visuals and the original folktale story, no dialog, relatively limited articulation. Good to know.

I'm embarrassed that I didn't know, but a practical epiphany for me was Justin explaining that Adobe's After Effects could automatically composite a separate sky into my scene without my having to do that manually frame by frame as I had thought. That would render my whole mad ten-foot, seamless, rolling, sky scaffolding scheme (that I was describing with my hands in large gestures) moot. I'm on it. Googling classes or good online tuts for it.

The producer's mind in Shel looked around and asked excellent questions. Would I be blacking out the workshop windows to shoot?, etc. Justin suggested flip up hooves on Rana that would conceal a kind of tiedowns that wouldn't be tightened from underneath. Even though I tried to, I didn't create enough easy access to under the cottage floor in my set.

Shel's hands were first to find the basket of wool roving here--it's irresistible--but it didn't take very long before the whole artistic family present was obsessed with needle felting images with it. The image of them working in the center, fingers flying into the foam base and fleecy fibers with sharp, barbed needles, working together on the same work of art really captures the power of the Raschs. At their center, they naturally come together, as a family, and work together on whatever interests them. The end result is always extraordinary. This time it was a wonderful woolen wolf sculpted right onto the corner of the foam block. Simply great.

I want to add a note that I find a definite connection between stop motion makers and tactile things like touching wool (see above) Hmmm, could it be, yes, I think it is, people who like making puppets and miniature worlds with their hands also like touching and sculpting with wool fibers. Sensory Kinesthesia must run in the stop mo family?

You are looking at a future stopmotionist at work (with her dad helping out.) She tickled everyone who heard her knowingly ask for some "wire, please" to attach the arms and ears onto her charming clay character! The picture on the right is one of the favorites I've ever taken of anyone. Can you stand how proud she is and how delicately she's holding her figure, with little pinkies out?! Arrrr.

We talked about Justin and his partner, artist, animator, producer, dancer, wife, Shel's plans for future collaboration and creative ventures, exciting stuff's in store for them. We examined what possible voodoo might be what's allowing Justin to begin work on his animation every night around midnight after a long days at work. We decided that it must be his natural drive and focus (In addition to the diet Cokes I mean!). That backbone may have come, in part, from his inner reserves of fortitude he developed by having to "Represent" in a confrontational, tough, urban neighborhood coming up. Except now he shows up at his set to represent himself. Right on. He simply tells himself that he doesn't want to be the guy that gets distracted and loses the concentration needed to make his plans come about. No danger there. It's amazing to me how we all get the experiences we need that best serve our grown up goals.

Justin, Shel, and I all agreed (and guys please correct me if I say it poorly) that we don't care to do our projects the "right" way only to possibly get hung up in the less important obstacles of making them happen. We share a determination to express what we need to, through this choice of medium, stop motion, by any means that work, without caring if it's "wrong". We'll look ahead and try for smart methods all along, but that's less important than the fact that it move forward.

I include myself in that sentiment because I feel I've flipped a switch, or turned some kind of corner recently, where I no longer feel my feet dragging through my subconscious mind on this. It's like in the last few months I've found my way into making it happen. I have no clue why after 14 years I'm still, no, even more interested in this project than ever.

Everyone made such great art, they were invited to sign our guest artist board. Justin signed and drew his main character, Dog, and Aedon drew her own girl dog right next to it. We did stop the art and the looking and talking enough for lunch at some point, a centerpiece of roses and marching ants (I hope Photoshop geeks are lol-ing right now) garnished our picnic table. The multi-talented, stunningly beautiful, inside and out, Shel Wagner Rasch, got into the bead collection and made a really attractive necklace to take home.

I am behind the Raschs all the way in whatever they do. I stand with them in support as a fan and friend for always. Go get 'em, guys. And thanks for coming by our way for a little while.


  1. Its nice to see how much fun you had!, Looking forward to their Post. I love that Shot of the Ants and Vase could you send me a copy of that?

  2. Hi Ben, I hope the Raschs are too busy animating to post!

    I know! I loved the ants on the table too. I sure will send you a copy. Thanks for asking!

  3. what a fun playdate! that wolf is incredible.

  4. You're right, It really was, Gretchin! I know?! Can you believe they'd never heard of needle felting before that moment and were able to make something so beautiful? Paul couldn't believe it.

    I guess that's what happens to creative types...

  5. wow shelley, you are so lovely....paul was right when he mentioned "artisitic indegestion"....it's taken me days to digest a fraction of our amazing experience at your warm home/inspiring studio/fantastic half land habitat. and then to read your overwhelmingly kind words...leaves me a bit speachless.....i'll have to resort to a quote from one of my fav children's books ("lily and the purple plastic purse" by kevin henkes).....

    "wow....that's all she could say. wow."

  6. Thanks Herself!

    we had a great time!!


  7. My Button Just Arrived!, Thanks soooo Much!. I love the packaging and thanks for the kind note too!, I'll wear it with Pride!!!!!!!...!

  8. @JRiggitys--Wow and thanks back!

    Hey, Ben! Glad your button pouch made it all the way to London town! I still hold my breath that these unusual packages get where they are supposed to--how cool!

  9. Yeah, Somehow I thought It would come later than it Did!

    By the Way I was at a Museum and saw an image that might intrest you it was an image and was very delicale and althogh I was tempted I diddn't photo it!, It was of a Celtic Style Dressed woman coming out of a large hollow hole in a Tree. It said it was based on a Greek Mythic Character (Dont know the name regretfully!) This Character is the Greek Spirit of Tree and when it dies its Tree also Dies. I fould this of great relevance to your Tree Character as it also lives in a tree!

    Hope this was useful

  10. Ooooo, thanks for the tip, Ben, I'll get to Google right away.

    Do you know the name of the museum? (Good on ya for going, by the way.) If you are ever there again, would you see about a name of the painting or the artist, please? I'd love to check it out.

  11. Lifted from Encyclopediae Mythica:

    by Micha F. Lindemans
    In Greek mythology, the dryads are female spirits of nature (nymphs), who preside over the groves and forests. Each one is born with a certain tree over which she watches. A dryad either lives in a tree, in which case she is called a hamadryad, or close to it. The lives of the dryads are connected with that of the trees; should the tree perish, then she dies with it. If this is caused by a mortal, the gods will punish him for that deed. The dryads themselves will also punish any thoughtless mortal who would somehow injure the trees.

  12. Who knew there was such a thing as a "Encyclopediae Mythica"?! Kewl.

    I'll have to go check out Mr. Lindemans cred and git me one o'them thar buks.

    Thanks, Mike! I think I would have fainted if those tree creatures were known as NymphetRANAulous or something! Woooo. Maybe the "D" is silent.

  13. T'aint neither no buk! Tis a website.

  14. From Wikipedia:

    Rana is:

    * Rana, Norway
    * Rana (title), a variation on Raja, a Hindu (Hindi and other languages, mainly Rajput) princely title of royalty (see also Maharana); hence:
    o The Rana dynasty, an influential family in Nepal since the 19th century
    o The name of a Hindu Gujarati family
    o Rana (clan), a clan in Rajputs, Gujjar and Jats in India
    * Rana (genus), a genus of frogs
    * Raná is the name of several villages in the Czech Republic
    * A star, also called Delta Eridani
    * Rana is the nickname of notable Indian scientist Professor Anindya Sinha

    Rana can also refer to:

    * A traditional name for the star Delta Eridani
    * An Arabic name for a girl from the verb "Arnoo", which means to look at someone or something with great love and admiration
    * A Persian name for a girl meaning lily flower.
    * Rána, the moon, in Tolkien's Middle-earth.

    Also a performer named Rana:

    the cd is now available

    New Like A Stranger

    "Rana is philosophical folk and like Mary Chapin Carpenter has a dry sense of humor. There is something expansive about Rana’s style. Her voice reaches out with strong emotion and her guitar playing is clear, strong and simple."

  15. Wow I forgot the Name but Strider found it out!, It was at the National Media Muesum and it was an early colour photograph. I knew the name of the person that photographed it but after visiting the other galleries it escaped Me :-<, I'll see if i can find info about it!

  16. I googled it but it yeiled no results :-(, I'll try the Web-Site!

  17. Found it!!!!

    The dryad, c.1910

    Photograph: John Cimon Warburg/The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum


    I tried a random Search as the Museum Web-Site diddn't have it on!

  18. I Googifound the website, read a really lovely legend in the folktale section--love those. Bookmarked! Thanks, Mike!

    And thanks so much for the research into the name Rana! I had previously Googled all the made up names of the project to see if anything interesting showed up, but had only found that "Tarn" is a river.

    My favorite thing you've found is that Rana sounds like the Arabic verb "'Arnoo', which means to look at someone or something with great love and admiration" That is so fitting for this character! Thank you for that too!

    I have a weird connection to ancient Persia, specifically to cultures from that region that there are no longer recorded histories of. It is possible that all of Halfland comes out of my subconscious connection to the "Mother of Persia" (which is how I heard it phrased in my intuition that my "soul" may have spent some time there earlier on. So, that makes sense, she said with a straight face.)

    Mike, how ever did you track down the Dryad from what Ben had mentioned? Brill!

    Thanks to both my wonderful sluths. I'm going to go look at the image you two have uncovered!

  19. Oh, frickin' brill!!! Ben, that image is ace! Wow, you really have the right feel for Halfland! I can't thank you enough for first pointing out the image, and then for actually finding it!!!

    Thank you so so much!

    Absolutely lovely.

  20. Anonymous8:14 AM

    You are most Welcome, As soon as I saw it two things came into my Mind:

    The Listening Tree

    Did you get my e-mail


  21. I sure did, and just sent you the picnicing ant shot too. They were little plastic black ants that I stuck down in a row on the lunch table with sticky yellow "Funtac". The yellow shows but the idea is a fun one I think. I cracked myself up anyway.

    It could be done up as a whole table decor scheme for summer lunches with Astroturf© charger placemats and sliced watermelon centerpiece.

  22. This is why America Rocks and England Doesn't, You just cant get cool things like that here! :-(

  23. I just looked at the package of plastic ants and it says "made in England" kidding.

    Are you telling me you haven't found a cool craft supply store in all of London?! Are there no Micheals?
    Whoa, business opportunity there. I bet UKers are very crafty!

    If I see a pack when I'm next out, I'll pick you up one or send you some of mine!

  24. England is full of Crafters but not many craft stores. One Mega Store called HobbyCraft and near me a store that sells Canvas's and Paints. Even at the Mega-Store they dont sell that much!. Maybe Wool and looads of Sewing Gear and Dollls house stuff and Plasticine and Clay and some floral bits and Wood but thats about all that you get round Here. Now you know why anyone who doesn't know where to get stuff on SM Message Board is from England!!!!

    And thanks for offereing to give me some. I'd hate to put you out only if they are cheap or we did a swap or something...


  25. Weeel now, now I know where to open my fantasy art supply/gallery/workshop store! Hummm.

    You're a stand up guy, Ben. I will swap a package of ants for one of your 2" x 3" miniature painting--if there's one that you won't end up using for your film!

  26. Hey!
    Is that freakin tree for Halfland!?
    Have I just read over that lil' msg box that you're sad 'cause you're not getting things done?!

    Are you nuts!?!¿?!?

    I freakin looooove it :D

    So glad to come down here after a long time and see how things are growing (literaly!!)

    Hope everything keeps movin on! I know it will ;)

    You rock!

  27. Ale!! Dude!! So glad you came by!

    Yes, the tree is really rocking these days--today's growth post coming soon.

    Thanks for the encouragement, so nice to get some perspective on progress.

    I was sad today, but I figured out it was from PMS. Hormones! Oy!

    no, you rock!


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