Grass Roots Sea Change

Thanks for hanging in with me. I am so sorry, I wrote a detailed entry about where I've been--(I just put it elsewhere, sparing you my whining waa waa no time waa waa vet appointments (still struggling with Izzy's skin) woes woe.) but you know, all that is just excuses--I've simply got to make different choices with my time. Doctors check ups for me and Izzy's severe situation notwithstanding, handmade Christmas cards, well, ok, that's seasonal and necessary in a way as we don't buy gifts for anyone. And yes, I did add teaching ballet and private art classes to my skeedooly, so yeah, that along with all the rest would take up my precious time in Halfland. The point is that I miss it in a way that requires I make some even more ruthless decisions concerning taking ballet classes and graphic projects in the new year.

In other news, there's a wonderful MAJOR Announcement to make today in Halfland...
"Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being. Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves."
--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Some of the prints and cards of her wonderful works Rachael sent to me that I keep now right in front of me here.

Last week Rachael DiRenna, the incredible artist that I posted about loving her half/human/half/plant nature spirit, devic, papier mache sculptures, wrote in the comments how she'd love to help the project any way she could from her home in Pennsylvania. After I picked myself up off the floor, I calmly explained to her that it would be my fondest wish for her to create the Flowering Thoughts depicted in the finale of the first Halfland series. I had that as a secret unspoken thought ever since I'd seen her work-- unbeknownst to me she had thought of being a part of Halfland when she first visited here as well! Oh, JOY!

She's all for it! Saints b'praised! I'm going to sketch for her as much as I saw for these creatures and then entrust them totally to her, and I really do trust her. She sent me other photos of this type of creation she's made in years past that were scary spot on! I'll send her wire/and/or simple armature made to scale for the puppets the Thoughts will grow on, and will answer any questions I can via emails. I may make a mold of her sculpts and cast them with wire inside, or just ask her to create as she's used to with papier mache on wire and animate them for as long as they can take it. I might even animate their growth process with replacement sculpts, montage style. This has all just happened, so these points will be sorted out, beautifully. Misc. images from the pre-rachael 1/2L. Flora and Flowering Thoughts collage, yes, the date on those part human/plant sketches on the bottom is 6/94! There's also Quay Bros. brilliant weeds for their Roundup commercial several years ago and a real photo by Andrea Scher at the SF Botanical Gardens where she spotted this purple orchid (on right) with a real standing gray bearded monk at its center!

The truly unexpected, amazing thing this new arrangement represents is a wholesale shift in Halfland from it being my exclusive playground to more of a communal collaboration with artists of shared sensibility/interests.

This wasn't the first time I'd opened up the creative door to Halfland. Several months ago, I had asked reader from the UK, Ben Stables to create a miniature painting that will be used on the easel of the Painting Chicken character. He's working on that now (yeah, Ben?). (Ben's been a real support here, really paying attention and offering some great suggestions. My payment to him will be some plastic ants I have that he coveted and some other extra art supplies that I think he'll make good use of.) But there's more I can do with this new approach. And this is where YOU come in!...This is the actual completed door prop (second thing made for the films)for the underwater rock entrance to the seas around Halfland. I also have a good selection of shells and coral and sand (I know, glued down) ready to dress the undersea set.
I am opening up this undersea door to Halfland right now and allowing anyone reading this journal, to craft in anyway they'd like, a small sea creature of some kind, fish, seaweed, shellfish, starfish, anything, that will be used in an early sequence of the first Halfland series. It's the scene where Kyra, the black mermaid, takes the viewer off the sand of our earthly shore, beneath the waves, into the sea where she disappears inside an old wooden doorway that leads to the sea surrounding Halfland. All the creatures I receive by a certain date prior to shooting that scene will be arranged on the underwater set and filmed as Kyra and the viewer swim by.The wilder the creatures the better (see my reference collage above for some ideas about color and fun shapes!) No matter how wild your imagination, nothing can beat what nature has really made under our oceans! So go all out. They can be a small school of normal fish with unusual markings or color, just attach them all together with wire so I can animate them as a grouping! They can be a bloated big black and white puffer fish that belches out a smaller black and white checkered fish, and then that one pops out another, and so on. maybe the checkered fish belches out a sea horse that looks like a rook chess piece!! Woo! Go for it! No holds barred.

I'd be honored if you'd consider this. I'll provide the secure mailing address to send these masterpieces to, and the date to have it in by, posted on my sidebar. This is strictly a volunteer effort on your part, although I will make certain to credit you appropriately and appreciatively in the film's crawl. Be sure and provide your complete name as you'd like it to read along with your wonderful creation.

Why am I doing it? Because everyone who makes a fish or sea creature or underwater flora contribution will be saving me the time it would take me to do it, thus bringing Halfland closer to being. And more than that, because opening up this project for others to participate in just feels right. Why should I hog all the fun?! Other opportunities for joining in will be offered as they occur to me.

Additional ACTUAL NOTE:

One of the other developments in Halfland was my realization that the transition from day to dusk will play a more important role in the film. It's already written in that the time of day shifts from late afternoon in Halfland at Rana's cottage when she goes outside to collect Kyra from the stream's banks and brings her inside for tea by the fire. We know that a gentle rain falls as Rana prepares for bed, blowing out the candles and closing the shutters. That's when we notice the Pink Snail lumbering in the fading light with the porch lantern swinging next to her shell home's door.

Now I see that Yanu, the Mothman, will stay near the paper lanterns hanging across the cottage porch and into the tree (seen like the lamps in this magazine ad). I did a Halfland gasp and smile when I grasped that the Moth would be, of course, attracted to such a light!

I bought a few battery operated tea lights that will fit inside the colorful paper lanterns I will make for such a gag. They have on and off switches and last 100 hours. I took one apart for science to see whether I could make it small enough to fit inside the candles in the cottage's overhead chandelier but alas, it was so well made (!) it only came apart in gravel-sized clumps and was destroyed.


  1. Oh hooray! I can't wait to see how Rachael's work comes out in Halfland. And those lanterns - so incredible!

  2. Rose Red! You are the one that introduced Rachael here! I'm so happy you found me and brought all your fairy friends along!!!

    Bless you always! Thank you.

  3. sounds like stuff Is really blossoming Herself!

    exciteing from the outside 4 sure!


  4. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Where's this sidebar with the date you need the sea creatures?
    And more questions:
    Scale/size range? How big should a "small creature" be?
    Will you be able to erase support wires for swimming creatures? Or would it be better to make a bottom-dweller whose support can be hidden behind it's body?

    - Anonymous puppet maker (with good intentions, but not sure if I can do it yet).

  5. Hey, Justin! Next time you come over for lunch, the price will be a fish puppet, maybe one from each of your talented kids!?

    Anonymous puppet maker!!! Hi!!! This is so exciting, you are my first *Lurker* coming out of the electronic closet! yay.

    I'm so glad you are thinking of making something! Thanks for asking about dates right away. Let's see...

    Hmmm... Truth be told, the underwater scene won't be shot until my main cottage set is built, er, and that'll still be a bit. I think it's totally safe to estimate the Fishy Due Date to be the Ides of March (3.15.08). That seems far off enough not to scrunch anybody yet not so long as to seem forever away.

    I'll set up the sidebar info now...


  6. Very tempting to put something together for you... What I have in mind would be a pain in the butt to send you. It might be better if I animated it against a bluescreen and sent the finished video to you, and you could composite that into the film.
    I am totally not sure I would have time to do this... But with the best of intentions, I am interested... Email me and I'll let you know what I am thinking of.

  7. Hi Paul (42 style)! I am open to your creativity as it's formidable. My new slogan today is, "If it's an obstacle, make it simpler"

    Off to email you...
    Gotta hear!

  8. In case it helps, I've specified the size to be and the deadline to be:

    The undersea door to Halfland is now open. You are invited to craft, in anyway you'd like, a small sea creature of some kind; fish, seaweed, shellfish, starfish, anything between 1 to 4 inches long (2 to 10 mm), that can be used in the underwater scene (film 1; scene 2 in the outline linked below) early on in the film. Be sure and provide your complete name as you'd like it to read in the credit crawl along with your fun aquatic creations by the 15th of March 2008 to: P.O. Box 111509, Los Angeles, CA 90011 USA. All submissions will also be included in a Fishy Flickr badge here with your name and link of your choice!

  9. how fun! so approachable and inspiring, i think i want to play, too. thank so much for adding the short paragraph w/ the specifications & deadline: very helpful!

  10. Hooray! oh, gretchin, I hope you do make something for this! You gotta!

    I'd love everyone to get a piece of themselves into this!

    You can use any materials, even your new found fondness for woolens and sewing! hint!

  11. Anonymous1:51 AM

    Anonymous puppetmaker here...
    Might as well out myself, now that I see there is enough time for me to make something.
    I have a bottom-dweller or two in mind, but I also like Paul's idea of animating the creature and sending bluescreen footage - especially for a swimming fishy thingy where not casting a shadow on your set won't be obvious. Could this work?

    erm... 1 inch = 25mm, 4 inches = 100mm.
    I struggle to get my fat fingers to work at the smaller end of the scale, but 3 to 4" is possible.

    This should be cool!

  12. Count me in too, Shellster! One tiny sea monster coming up!

    Kidding :) I'll make something sweet and halflandy for you....maybe an octopus?

  13. Hooray for Nick H! What a thrill to have you in on this! A file would be fine although at this stage I wouldn't know what format or settings to request it to be. Thanks for the metric poke--I was being loose with centimeters-doh.

    I'd love a Nick H bottom dweller! Even you it ended up where you might not have time to animate it yourself, I very much still would want it in the film.

    For my far far away puppeteers, the postage should be modest for things so envelope-ish small? Hoping. Everyone please let me know if the cost becomes a hindrance to joining the fun. I'll do my best to cover it.

    YAY! Ubatuber! Hey--why do you always think of 1/2L as Sweetietown, USA?! No way-- ok, it isn't horror/slash but GRUESOME, UGLY and (tastefully) NUDE are all encouraged! Give me your best Sea Monster! I know it'll be great--it's you!!

  14. Well I know you, you're the sweetest, and you cant help but craft sweetness into everything that you do :)
    Actually, I dont know that I could pull off a 4" sea monster at this point, plus I'm liking the octopus could be half-octopus, half-something else? Cat, maybe? An octopuss, hee....tentacled kittie, thats actually pretty monstrous, isnt it? Unless you dont want to deal with tentacles and want something simpler...

  15. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Too exciting!

    I've just finished my first 'serious' stop motion puppet (can be seen on ma blarg - with digital clothes for modesty, ha!) and am now working on the second. With a deadline in March and a break from school, surely I can conjure something. Hmmm, sea creature, sea creature...

  16. Ubbie, I forgot to type, Yay! Octopus! And now I can type even yayer to OCTOPUSSY!!!! I lerve (stronger than love) it! BONUS POINTS for half things! Ding ding ding!

    YAY, RICH!! Woo hoo!! I was hoping you would do something! I'll check your blarg later, God willing...

  17. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Hey - I've just come back from sculpting a 3 1/2" Helmeted Quadropus (kind of like an ammonite but different shell shape) - think of it as a Halfland octopus, but a "shelley" one. (Pause for groans.) Do I get my bonus point?
    With Ubatuber going for tentacles too, sounds like there could be a cephalopod population explosion...

    I'm roughing out a fish too but it's looking boring so far. Will have to go radical on the colour scheme to ping it up or it'll never pass the audition.

    Animating smooth undulations on a fish that small won't be easy. But if it was a matter of supplying footage to be composited in, the puppet could be any size (12 " would be easier for me), and multiplied into a school. The image can be reduced for compositing.

    The small ones are ideal for mailing though.

  18. I would *love* to be in Halfland! Yes yes yes! Let me know what, if anything, you need from me.

  19. @Nick H: A 3 1/2" Helmeted Quadropus?! I dont know what one is but I LOVE it already! Thank you so much.

    Can't wait for the inventively colored fish too, Nick!

    See, if you animate the critters, it will look better than anything I animate in the rest of the film--which I guess could be COOL, like a real star CAMEO appearance.

    I say, to everyone, animate the goods if you have the time and means, ship it if not--just be a part of it in any way that makes it happen, yay.

    @Rose Red, YES! After seeing your beautiful face on your blog from the other day, I think you would be the absolute perfect one to cast as the young beauty playing with simple white paper versions of the Halfland characters in a little paper theater at the first series' end!

    At some point this year, I'll send you those items (--or have you make them yourself--if you are so inclined to do that sort of visual craft/art?) and have your husband (if we could recruit him?) shoot a short clip of your playing with the paper puppets in that fairy light across from your house. I'd incorporate it into the film's style with editing and trick effects.

    It might make Halfland too corny to suggest it was all in the beauty's imagination--or--it might be the perfect overtone. Either way, I'd love to experiment with that, if you are game! Thank you for being open!

    @Rich! Dude! I LOVE it! What gets manufactured in such a turtle factory? Doesn't matter--it IN! So cool, and right somehow. Thank you!

  20. @Nick--Ding ding ding!

  21. Anonymous2:07 PM

    What gets manufactured? Why, what else could it be!

    ^ ^ *Looks up* Maybe when I get around to making it I should just send the puppet to Mr Nick to animate...

  22. SEA BEANS!!!!? Never hord of'embfore!

    I wonder if this factory is werking near Bolivia?!

  23. Anonymous3:23 PM

    To do animated shots for compositing, we will need to know the camera angle and lighting of the shot they will go into, which probably won't be known for a while yet. So I'll start with a couple of critters I can send.

    Hey, this entry probably has the most responses since the one with the rude bits! Nothing like a bit of audience participation!

    Shelley, how can I email you so I can attach an image for your aproval/rejection/guidance?
    My address, slightly disguised to bamboozle the spambots:

  24. Hi Nick H, Thanks, I will email you toot sweet--I need to ask your for your mailing address there anyway for your Time Fly prize for naming them Musca Tempora!

    The undersea scene is so quick really that everyone's angle, lighting animation style will just hodge podge together. I'm not going to attempt to match the shots. I'll blend and add effects in post to make it look as great as possible but it's going to really be more like a crazy underwater party down there.

    Can't wait to see what you've made! Woot!

  25. Hi, I recently found your blog and I'm totally fascinated by your project, so I went back to read the past entries too! I'd love to contribute a little something, I'm pretty crafty but I haven't a clue about stop-motion so I have some questions:
    - would something "static" be ok? I have some pictures I took years ago at the aquarium of this crazy skinny curly starfish and I was thinking of making one out of polymer clay, maybe with a bold colour (they were a a yellowish white) but it would just lay there, not much movement involved. (I will try to upload the aquarium pictures somewhere)
    - I have some idea for fishies: what is better, a "half"(one sided) fish, with a blank side where you can attach wire or whatever is better for you, or a full fish? Should it have holes, or wire embedded in it, or else?
    - yesterday I began playing with something that could become a jellyfish but the bell has a diameter of about 8 cm. (slightly over 3 inches) To make the tentacles proportionate they would be at least 15 cm. (6 inches) is this too big?

    ok, enough for today :)

  26. Enui-- YOU ARE ON! Welcome welcome welcome! I love your ideas and would adore having your creations in the scene!

    -Static is fine, if your puppet creature doesn't have any flexibility to it, it'll just lay there in the shot or float by.

    -Half vs. whole fish, either is great. If it's half, then it will only been seen from that one good side. If it's whole it might be seen from more angles, it just offers more shooting options but regardless your piece(s) will be in there.

    -Holes are fine, wire is fine, rather than specify to all artist's stage of know-how I think I'll just let everyone send in what they think will work and do my best with it.

    --bigger jellyfish is fine, you can see (in sea critter slide show in scroll, at right) that Jeffery in New Orleans is making his Octopuss for me about the size you describe.

    You obviously are a sensitive and thoughtful person to ask all these specific questions so I'm certain your fishies with be a fantastic addition to the Halfland sea!

    I'll try to also email you this info ad a reminder to be sure to send along the name and link you'd like to see in the film's credits!

    Hoooraaaayy for Enui!


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