Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dusting It Off

Notes follower, Rane*, gave so many creative, original ideas for the Halfland story I won't be able to add them all in the first two films! But I was able to make one of her suggestions for the cottage... Dust Bunnies!

When Paul left on a work and family visit 3 week trip last month I had a dreamy cartoon balloon over my head with a picture of me working the whole time on the set and making huge--"got the set done!"--progress. Instead what's happened is I took the entire time finishing two book projects that had to get to press (I will post photos of them to my new design site linked in the profile) and had a medical scare. So, instead of getting a ton done I got near NOTHING for Halfland done. I keep believing that I'll be able to, even now.

I promised Nick Hilligoss that I'd cut corners on building Halfland stuff wherever I could to conserve my time. I did twice, once in how I made these dust bunnies and once in choosing to use cheap quilt fabric for the kitchen table skirt instead of choosing exceptional fabric (a pleasure to do) and/or hand painting a pattern on plain. Corners--> cut!

I was going to clay-sculpt, plaster-mold, and hot-glue-cast a little bunny, paint it with glue and then add the collected real dust. Instead I crumpled clear cheap sealing tape into abstract bun bun shapes and finished with free range cat hair and clothes lint. (I did not have to look hard for this material, I just captured a few of my own wild dust bunnies.)

*In Rane's flurry of ideas for me, it came to light that her ability to fill in so much detail in my story in part has come about because she has many years in-the-trenches with her beautiful kids. Mothers have to rapid fire answer their children's questions all day, everyday. She's developed an uncanny creative imagination as a means of anticipating her kid's minds.

I think this is an extremely fascinating notion, that there's no better creative mind on earth for developing stories than that of a creative, caring, young mother and her little guys. I can't believe what she and her kids came up with! (To see more of them, please click through to the Flickr entry above)


  1. What a good idea! Even the dust bunnies are adorable in Halfland.

  2. ha! dust bunnies. that's so great!

  3. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Best to keep these cute dust bunnies away from the carr-bottle, lest they get their little noses stuck.

  4. Oh God, Peggy! That's HILARIOUS!!! I'm so going to put that bottle on the cottage kitchen floor next to the bunnies now! The mind reels!

    Thanks you guys!! xoxo

  5. I can't get over how the readers here are writing this film! You're all going in the credits!

  6. I LOVE your dust bunnies!!! Those looking great. Also, I have visited your website. Simple, clean and very easy to navigate. Wonderful website!!

  7. dust bunnies are a HOMERUN!!

    I loveum.

    i want to animatum too...

    keep healin!!


  8. dryer lynt up the wazzoo here.
    multiple shades.
    i used to use YES gle and a layer of dryer lint to "fabricate" (HA!) a thinpad of sponginess to glue drawings down on.
    then i'd burnish: get a cheap base relief sort of feal to my older drawings.

    (^ do dust bunnies multiply?
    (^ do they eat carrots on a bottleneck?

  9. This is my firs visit to your blog and i'm blown away at how charming and adorable everything is, dust bunnies!my girly heart is all pitter patter! i can't wait to see more gorgeous sets and characters.

  10. Awesome!!! I only wish they were animatable. Guess you could have made little wire armatures and needle felted them, with a thin layer of lighter stuff on the surface? No, the 'lighter stuff' would show every touch like Kong's fur.... needle felting alone wouldn't look quite the same... maybe non-animated is best.

  11. (^ ok hold up there, strider.
    cleartape ifs WAY animatable!
    I mean you get a few whatchyahmahcallems..
    these needle nose pliers bit scisor handled forceps. you pinch the feet:click clamp: shift. stick to floor ( its TAPE!)
    unclamp as you push in next footty placement.
    (^ viola. it moved .
    one frame at a timing.

    not all foorms of animation ned armatures.
    some things are dust particles and sand: brushhed around with a blush brush.

    (6 I'm tempted to get chris rogers to stop working on this bee deal he has going , long enough to play cameraman for me again.
    (^ oh. that reminds me. I really SHOULD push him into uploading those shots somewhere i can point to:

    (^ If Mr.B. can animate Vaseline and cotton swirls, I think dust bunnies count.

  12. Thanks, Yaz, that site was done with no preparation, it's an out-of-the-can Tumblr site. I was photographing the painted dress for you and on the floor next to me was my portfolio. I started snapping as the sun was setting and threw the photos up in about an hour! But now at least I have a place to show what takes my time away from Halfland!

    Thanks, Justin! hee hee, I can imagine how great you'd bring any critter to life! I may just twitch an ear or "roll" these bunnies by in the breeze. Thanks, man, feeling ok.

    Hi, Brian! making a bas relief with burnished lint sounds really interesting. makes me think fine sand and sawdust would add good texture to art as well. Good stuff.

    Yes, the dust bunnies do multiply and they like the carrots in a bottle! I've got three done already and as per Peggy's idea, I'll be having them roll by the carrot bottle as a subtle joke!

    A big welcome, Miss Season! I love your work and am following whatever stop motion art you make with great enthusiasm!

    Cheers, everyone!

  13. Hi, Mikee! Needle felting! GAH! I didn't even think of that! and I LOVE needle felting! I was thinking the core needed to be transparent to give a nearly-not-there air-filled effect.

    Again with the corner cutting prime directive I think I'll just twitch these bunnies--ahh--but wouldn't it look great if they hopped!? gah.

    Hi Brian, point well taken, animate anything, no constraints.

    I could use Mike's hot glue/alcohol tiedown technique to move these fluffers.

  14. I've been checking in for weeks it seemed (well, turns out it was) looking for a new post, and here it is! Yay, Dust Bunnies! Not so yay, medical scare - hope you and yours are ok.
    Taunting the poor bunnies with carrots sealed under glass...

    Can't get on my high horse about cutting corners, I'm currently obsessing over some minor bits of set dressing that will be half-seen in the distance in a street scene that will run no more than 27 seconds. You go ahead and do what feels important to you!

  15. HI Nick! I hate the idea of you clicking over here only to see the same image stuck on here for so long!

    Can you use a blog reader? I use Bloglines but I'vealso heard great things about Google Reader ( "...Read them in one place with Google Reader, where keeping up with your favorite websites is as easy as checking your email...."

    Then you couuld subscribe to this site and when there's a new post the name is bolded and you know to click through to read it... no more wasted clicking!

    And DON'T TELL ME I don't have to try to cut corners here! May I remind you that if I don't I'll need to reincarnate to finish the film. Maybe that's how I got into this pickle in the first place!?

    Doing what feels important is brilliant advice but I have to temper that with some practical MOVE IT ALONG! whip snap. *ker'SchNAP!

  16. Animating dust bunnies... Vaoww I would never think about animating dust this way if I didnt read your post. I would definetely try with some of my cats hair..

    Your website looks great Shelley. It shows your graphic art perfectly and that all matters. Yeah and another thing.. those are what take your time away from Halfland! Oh well, at the same time those what help you work on Halfland in this money money... world!!

  17. Shelly!
    Thank you for your metioning me!
    Hehe! We have been having loads
    of fun thinking of all kinds of
    ideas since we last chatted....
    nut maybe it is best I not say....
    you must cut corners.. hehe..
    poor you. I hope you are feeling
    As for the dust bunnies the kids
    nearly died... oh so cute!
    Leo was thrilled that his idea
    came to pass. He thinks your dust
    bunnies are way more cute than
    ours... haha!
    The carribottle with the bunnies
    is oh so funny! Everything is just
    falling into it's place it seams!
    Love it!
    I love that Rana's home is not
    perfect! Spiders... dust buns...
    heehe...carribottles... you need
    a eaten carribottle... the greens
    in a bottle.. let the watchers
    figure out how the dust bunnies
    did it! haha!
    Love this post, you are super
    creative! Can't wait to see what
    post is next. When do we see
    Rana? The kids wonder, they want
    to see what she looks like.
    Loads of love to you and Halfland..
    Rane and kids.

  18. it's obvious everyone loves them, but let me also say how cute the dust bunnies are. can't believe you made them out of tape!

  19. hehe!! those dust bunnies are sooo cute!

  20. HI Yaz, you are completely right! Yes, I'll change my attitude from a childish resentment of the paying graphic jobs to a grateful realization that they help to make things here possible. Thank you, seriously.

    You're welcome, Rane! Thank you! And your four incredible kids for all the interest and ideas! I hope that their questions will get fully answered in time when they see the film develop. (Warning: There is some artful nudity in Halfland so, please use parental supervision in choosing whether they see all the material here!)

    Please go to this link and see if you want to show the kids Rana carrying the black mermaid Kyra! (

    Much love and my thanks.

    Hi gl! Thanks! Yep I sat at my computer and watched old movies online while crumpling and cutting clumps of sticky tape!

    Thanks, DJ! Everything is alive in Halfland!

  21. If only my dust bunnies were this sweet! Then I really would have an excuse for not keeping up with them :).

    I'm sorry to read about your medical scare - I hope things have started to work themselves out on that front.

    Your design site is wonderful too. I love being able to see the "practical" side of your art as well. Thanks for putting up for all to see!

  22. HA! Thanks, Amy, I have Dust Moose here!


    Anyway, thanks. I'm feeling better each day. And the design site is the first time I've posted any of my practical art.

    I love that term! I'll use that! Thanks!

  23. The dust bunny is actually really cute LOL. Good idea using the tape.

    All the best,

  24. For anybody who doesn't want to go to the trouble of subscribing to Bloglines or similar service (Nick, Im lookin' at YOU!!) nowadays many blogs have listings of their fellow bloggers that are constantly updated. New postings show at the top, and it says how recently they posted. One of the most thorough for stopmoland is Mike LeTendre's Phil blog:

    For convenience's sake, you can click to see Mike's blog from my sidebar, and it will show you where to check next. Emmymme and Idothing also have pretty extensive updated listings.

  25. Thanks Mike! I checked out Mike LeTendre's blog, and found the little update icons. But I don't mind checking in at my 2 favourite blogs every few days - Halfland and Dark Matters.

  26. I thought it was a clever idea, Mikeee. Great thinking.

    And Nick! Way to pour on the high compliments and pressure! I'm sewing as I type!

  27. (^hey..psst:
    (^ CARRb0Ttles 4 Halfland dust bunnies >

    (^ 7 or so minutes of .. well . my back yard I guess.
    so shelly? here it is. bland. shaky: awkward voice over. but the bottles are there.

  28. Great stuff, Brian! I love the way the glass bottle greenhouse/cobble stone garden look. So interesting. And that you are growing carrots inside some of them, I still can't get over that coincidence.

    Maybe the carrots will, as you say, grow through the bottle neck while small and then continue to grow! Then you'll have inverted versions of the bottle in Halfland!

    My thank for your posting the video and to your sister for her wonderful art docent work.

    From now on, I'm going to call my seemingly chaotic stacks of materials: Installations! Love it.

  29. Its these little quirky and unique things that will make the film so special, fantastic!

    Shelley, if you're interested in needle felting I follow a great felting blog, take a look, she does some amazing work:

  30. Thanks, Seamus. you're so mature and articulate, it's as though you are really a 45 year old artist only pretending to be a teen!

    Kay's felt work is very good. I love working in felt. I love everything about it. That's why Rana is a goat woman who weaves with wool!


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