Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Inside Joke


Made a surprise pepper mill for Rana's kitchen out of a wooden cat toy, wooden disks, and various metal bits and beads. Held the odd bits together with a clothespin while I brushed in glue to hold it together. The mill's body finish is a dusty porcelain crackle with a brass top. Rana also got a sealed gift bottle of saffron petals courtesy of an old miniature Tabasco bottle, adding to the others collected.

Taking a cue from readers Brian and Rane in the comments earlier, I stained the cottage floor with nothing but pure coconut oil. It worked like a dream and still looks rich after it's dried. Thank you, guys!

Friend of reader Peggy Fussell, Sharon Ferg, has made something beautiful for Halfland. She crafts wonderful woodland things out of acorns and raw wood. I couldn't resist buying one of her spectacular miniature tea sets. I knew it couldn't be made large scale enough for Rana, but if she made it small enough, it would be ideal for the Writing Mouse. The excellent photo of it above was taken by Sharon before she sent it but it looks even more magical in person. Sharon so generously also sent along a bonus of mini knitting needles (including tiny a knit underway) and a proper pipe.

The Mouse puppet above is the small version of the character. He'll be made larger for Film 2 and should be able to use it then. You are extraordinary, Sharon, thank you for sharing your talents in this film.


The explanation: I'll say this quickly: When I was a child, my mother would often show me a newspaper clipping she carried in her wallet of what I remember was a photographic version of Magritte's famous L'Explication of a blended carrot and glass bottle. I can see the clipping crystalline clear in my mind. It was well done, many years before computers, and had a perfect representation of a 3D carrot-bottle made in a darkroom. My mother was fascinated with the image and her enthusiasm for it affected me. She would repeat, "See, Shelley. it's a bottle [pointing to the bottle] and a carrot [pointing to the carrot], and then say, a carr-bottle! [pointing to the blend with a big smile]. It's one of the few moments I recall her ever talking to me.

I guess this won't be quick. A while back while I was making props for Halfland, I thought about Magritte's painting, and the photo version from the 60's from the wallet, and Half-Land now. I thought about pictorial metaphor, synthesis, hybrids, double image puns, unifying objects of different domains, surrealistic works, etc. Maybe my entire interest in half-animal/half-human creatures originated with the moments I spent closely studying that image in my mother's wallet. I thought for a private joke to myself I'd include a carr-bottle growing in the set's garden, as a progression of the figurative idiom.

I made a replica of the blended bottle out a dark glass bottle I had here. I bought the more wine shaped ones to make additional configurations; maybe split down the center, etc. But the scale of it didn't work for either the bottle or the carrot. So I made a carrot growing inside a bottle. It was fun making the carrot out of cut foam so it would stuff inside the bottle's narrow neck (I had experience from xmas gift 2007!) I don't know if it's successful, but it is a nod to the concept and truly an inside joke.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Racking My Brain

Porch construction underway; Cut lathing strips to fit on a cardboard shape for the porch and taped the ends together; attached the taped slats with screws and positioned the now wooden porch to the set but found it needed further cuts around the roots and door threshold. I taped the top side of the revised porch and plan to take out all the screws (slightly too long) and adhere it to a solid piece of 1/8" plywood to increase the heft when seen from the front.
Tested out furnishings on the porch including a new metal bracket that can either hold a porch lantern or a pulley rig forgetting pails of water from the rain barrel. The old iron wheel I have doesn't have a groove but it does have an axle that might do something. Does anyone have a contraption idea?

I looked a long while for miniature glass bottles for a Halfland reason that will be explained when I can make a post about it. I can tease the topic by saying it has to do with Pictorial Metaphor. I ordered a couple of add'l styles of bottles while I was there to use as background props in the kitchen. I was delighted to see that they were not only the perfect scale for the film (I didn't check) but also the perfect color. Plus--as I was opening the package of them tonight, I saw that one of the bottles was wonderfully dusty and dirty, I thought. I looked more closely (love when things like this happen) and saw that a small spider had built a web in the neck of one bottle and expired there. How delightful! Not the death, but the idea of a living spider in the bottle's neck in Halfland's kitchen! I'm keeping it in of course.

I was inspired by a scrap of expensive fabric I've had here (unearthed out of context when I organized my fabric stash (see last photo). This scrap of fabric gave me Halfland's water construction method. I'm THRILLED with the concept now.

I'll describe HALFLAND WATER; I'll buy two lengths of either silk or polyester sheer organza, dye it in two shades of watery colors, like aqua and pale green; the layers will be randomly machine stitched in loose lines running in jags here and there. The silks will sandwich long tendril threads of bright metallic silver lurex, sequins, and real Mica flakes. The stream of fabrics will then get glued to the sides of the stream shore with slack. The swimming mermaid puppet can be pulled along/animated under these translucent layers and it can be animated by running my hand along it between each frame.

ART BONUS: In addition to book projects, ballet, and housekeeping, I've been playing a little with other creative arts such as these (click through to Flickr if you'd like more description of them):
Natalie and WaxBeeswax Fine Art
Wax Dipped Robin's Egg BeadsBeeswax Robin's Egg Beads
Gray-Creme NervousNew Technique of Beading and Textiles
Racking My Brain: Last week there was a mountain of over 100 white wire racks by the dumpster here. I strained myself trying to figure out a way to use them, or a dozen of them at least. They were too good, for something, to pass up. I remembered that people with nice fabric stashes are always complaining about having to refold the whole stack over and over as they grab something when in the throws of a project. I thought these mystery racks could hold each piece of fabric, like a library book shelf, making it easier to grab and put back. I hung a few on the back of a wire storage wall. I added a couple more to the sides of my baker's rack with zip ties too. Makes a great system for stowing armature wire. No more tangles. (Paul told me tonight that the video store next door has closed shop--oh--that's what these were!)
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