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.