Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shop's in Shape

The only way I could fit into the bedroom is because these older places have very large walk in closets. I took $20 worth of plywood and made it into shelving with minimal intrusion to the closet walls but enough to secure for quakes.

Sets stowed on top shelf, trays of materials for still-needed props on middle shelves, heavy metal card file, with 22 very deep drawers (open drawer on right above is only about 1/3 way pulled open, plus--they come all the way out on a rolling tray, separately.) now with colorfully painted fronts, holds odds and ends for building.

Paints stowed in rolling racks on the floor, long plastic boxes on top of drawers hold puppet/character materials, one box for each of the main seven pupps left to build, their wool hair, their dyed fabrics for costumes, etc,
At the other place, I had acres of raw walls that I could cover with as much project reference material as I could ever want. Here there is zero, so I had to come up with another way to keep these images, growing all the time, as the web relentlessly shows helpful shots to grab. It took a week, but I managed to go through all the images and sort out only the boards that still needed to be referred to, putting the things already done away-away.

The boards still in play were then sorted by subject, clipped together, and labeled with large masking tape flags. These are kept like a giant loose leaf book of sorts. They're kept upright in the closet, one in an old board portfolio, wedged between the paint caddies and the closet wall opposite the drawers.

As each subject needs to be looked at, I look through the "book", pull the bundle and will put them up on a clothes line or something near where working.

The room actually has gorgeous polished hardwood floors. But in order not to damage them while living here, we had a roll of Ram Board put down before anything else was moved into the studio. The other day I installed a $19 plain canvas drop cloth, using double-sided duct tape, over the $50 Ram Board in the middle of the room so I wouldn't have to read the words all over the Ram Board and see the black tape lines.

Now I can work in here without concern. It's a tighter fit. But will make it work.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cats Move In

Couldn't find Izzy one night after looking in all her known hidy places. For some reason I checked the cottage (upper left). I snickered pretty hard at seeing she had thrown the blanket off the bed and curled right up on Rana's bed, sassy style. Since then, I find her in the cutest positions in there every day. I laugh. She is extremely shy. Any photos of her are very rare.
Not to be outdone, the darker grey bossy boots FeLINE producer Cloud had to see how it was in there for herself just because she is in charge.

Friday, October 26, 2012


 The Stones Coming Conscious are now meditating among the other rocks and odd parts of time pieces that have washed ashore.

Under the Bounding Maine

Skinned the set pieces that had a lot of scene detail on them down to the plaster layer. Too messy to use, dust everywhere, paper machéd the back sides (with Christine's needed help). Took a week. Painted the back sides blue to use as an ocean set when needed, why waste the undersides? (sky components being painted medium blue in middle shot)

Took another week on the floor to seal all set piece edges with masking tape and flexible cement then repainted the entire top sides to look as natural as possible. Close-up texture details, only where specifically needed for actual shots in the film, are added while sitting at a table back in the studio.

Halfland Hero: Dick Kaneshiro

True friend, moco master, professional animator, and fellow stop mo head, Dick Kaneshiro
graciously came over several times, from pretty darn far away mind you, and built Halfland's new professional stages! I learned so much working on them with him. Now I know how clamps can make construction so much smoother.
I think Dick should use this shot for cards, so cute.
I NEVER would have known what to build nor how to build it nor been able to build it without Dick's amazing help. Thank you, my Halfland Hero.

Halfland Hero: Win Hampton

Before during and after the hell storm of a move. The set rotates on the stages, Dick built. The rest of the landscape set pieces can be propped up and layered on as needed.
From the sad, Dark Days of the move. Win Hampton, extraordinary craftsman (he's built his own homes in other states) appeared out of nowhere to perfectly dissect and move the set on his own with Noah's help.
Here's Win's secret method of reassembling the tree at the new location; wood blocks and screws. (I'm making a map of these screws with clear tape, like a sewing pattern, made on the tree, so that I know where the buried treasure is should I ever have to disassemble the tree again [cue whimper].)
He helped restart my building mojo and helped with the tough stuff to get me going again.
I will always be grateful to Win. Thank you, Halfland's Hero.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Face the Caterpillow

I'll have to tell you who this amazing person is, and how she happens to be sitting in my sun porch sewing a PERFECT face for the Caterpillow puppet, another time. For now you need to know her name is Christine, an accomplished artist, extremely intelligent, and has a pure, delightful way of being.

First thing this morning when Christine came to work on the production (!), I showed her a photo I'd taken of a pillow lying on a table near a window, noticed as I was waking up recently. I tilted the photo sideways (upper left) to express to her how I'd had the notion to make the Caterpillow puppet's face hit that marvelous HALFness ambiguity by using the natural shape pillows make rather than simply imposing features onto fabric.

She, being she, noticed a board of folded paper faces I had in the shop and realized afresh that they held good solutions to employ for this, a connection I never would have made. Just Right.

I sat and talked her ears off as she brilliantly used needle and thread to render a character into the miniature pillow previously prepared for this pupp. Christine's sensitivity to what I was hoping for was astounding. She created a character that I'm sure exceeded what I would have thought of/been able to make. I absolutely LOVE her result with it!

She took wire arms that I'd been twisting while she sewed and fed them carefully through the inside directly to line the features of the soft sculpture so that the character can be animated to give a little yawn (!!) as Rana the main character settles into bed.

(Coming soon; The Case for the Face.... hint, tea stains and scallops)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tiny Things

The little clip was found on a flashdrive inside the box and shows Jeff's adorable (!) son, who wasn't even conceived of when Halfland's blog was begun (!!), mentions that he's collecting the pine cones for Halfland. Such a lovely gesture for Jeff to have thought of this and to send it! I am deeply touched by their kindness. A keeper for always. Thank you, Guys!

It was great fun to get such a surprise in the mail. It had a charm and magic to the gift that feeds the soul. It arrived to my box Wednesday from long time blog-friend, artist & animator, Jeffrey Roché (Ubatuber) in New Orleans. Inside, a handmade wooden curio box's shadowbox lid read, "A tiny gift, picked by tiny hands, for a tiny world."

In its belly, a wee pile of half-inch long little cones that looked just like miniature pine cones, perfect scale for use in the Writing Mouse's house too.

There are a few children now who will have known about Halfland their whole lives. It freaks me out when I realize/think of it. I don't think of it as a children's film exactly, parts of it will be chilling, confusing, distorted, there will be bare half-bodies, etc. I'm making it to express some sort of nearly unconscious idea about folktales and other lands where all creation strives toward greater connected experience. Its premise can go as deep as one would wish it.

But on another level, little things are just plain cute!

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