Playing Around

Guess who received their wings?  Claude!

I took a photography class in high school and boy did I love it.  This is back in the darkroom days just to date myself.  I’m still fascinated with photography.  This led to a discussion with the Triplet Muses and the Daemon Gourds who decided I will now do photoshoots to capture their essence.  How do I let them talk me into these things?

Let me set this up for ya.  It’s a balmy 30-ish degrees (Fahrenheit) outside.  The ground is covered in frost and partial re-frozen snowmelt.  I’m wearing shorts and a coat.  My house is often extra warm because we burn wood, thus the shorts.  Anyhoo, I missed the window of the early morning light I desired.   Looking around the yard,  I chose to take these amongst last year’s sunflower garden.

It was worth the cold wet bottom and dirty knees even if they aren’t quite right.  I needed some outdoor time and practice.

The next set of photos will be inside with props and everything.  I’m probably far too excited about this than I should be.   Without further ado or chilly knees, I present Claude a Red Daemon Gourd.

Claude taking a moment to survey the surroundings with that feline-like gaze. This one is my favorite.

Claude looks almost happy in this one.

I swear Claude saw something they wanted to pounce on.

Prot wanted in on the fun until the cold hit their bottom.

I have the day off from the Land of Lunch today so there will be more playing around with the camera.  However, there is a boatload of dishes to wash, a couple of loads of wood to bring in and some errands to run.  Blerg.  Well, the errands could prove fun because I have a Michaels gift card burning a hole in my wallet. Hmmm…

The next Daemon Gourd that’s coming over will be sporting pantaloons and has curlier horns.  And a parasol?  What?!  Really?!  Seriously, this just came over the wire:

“I’ll need a parasol.”

Good gravy.  What have I gotten myself into?

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What’s Coming Next

Hullo!  Oh my! Where do I start?

I had to make a decision.  Do I offer dolls for sale or do I make them for my own pleasure and amusement?  This consisted of an unglamorous pros and cons list.  It also required that I take a look (again) at what brings me the most joy and happy.  What makes me giddy and laugh out loud with delight?

Let me back up a bit first.  These creatures, beasties, and beings live in wondrous worlds that I want to share with you.  I love creating stories and worlds and looking at things through that strange lense of my imagination.  My creative hootenanny takes many many forms and needs an outlet or I will literally explode.  In fact, when I don’t give myself this outlet, it tends to ooze over into the day job much to the amusement and head-shaking of my fellow Ladies of Lunch.  That’s partially why I’ve been quarantined to the Room of Snacks.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  The oozing part is all true.

I am re-working the website so instead of your beige run-of-the-mill thing, you enter my Lair which is a magical portal to the worlds where Gourdish Oddities and Curiosities live.  I’ll handle all the Interdimensional Time and Space travel paperwork for you.  Let me tell you, the paperwork required is a doozy.

Of course when building anything, one needs a solid foundation.  Through a series of Universe inspired and muse led serendipitous bread crumbs I arrived to how it looks and how to go forward.  Or in layman’s terms, how does one pull this off, make it coherent and sustainable. I won’t bore you with the blueprints and breadcrumbs.

My goal is by late Fall of 2020, you’ll land here and have the ability to be matched up with a Daemon Gourd that is perfect for you.  You can enter their world (It’s an Island in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle) for a visit.  You’ll hobnob with few Daemons like Prot and Claude pictured below to get a feel for their personalities and then… Here’s the exciting bit. We’ll put an ad in the Daemon Gazette for the perfect Daemon Gourd to come live with you.  Your ad would read something like this:

Kind human being looking for Long haired blue bodied pantaloon wearing curly horned Daemon to share in adventures on the earth realm.  Saucy attitude and into collecting large hairy toes a plus.*

Prot & Claude. Claude’s feeling a bit nekked without wings. Soon Claude. Soon.

*IRL (in real life) this means you’ll fill out a form telling me what sort of Daemon you’d like.  Ie. hair color, eye color, facial expression, pantaloons or skirt, etc.

Between now and then, the muses, my Interdimensional Time & Space Travel Agent, and other assorted helpers and I will be building the foundation (the website) to make this a thing.  I’m interviewing a couple more Daemon Gourd who will assist in coordinating the necessary travel arrangments and match-making process.

The idea is, once Daemon Gourds are successfully launched, you can meet even more Gourdish folk like Hags, Witches, Goblins, or whoever else gives me a call wanting in on this gig.

Phew. I’m a sweaty mess.  I need to put away the hardhat and construction orange clothes so I can get ready to enter The Land of Lunch.  I hope your day is full of delightful sweet things!

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Don’t Be The Flamethrower, Be The Flame

Hello, 2020!

Part of my mission for this year and beyond is to be softer and kinder.  Kindness seems to be a radical movement these days.  It’s so easy to become enflamed and lash out with all that’s going on. Kindness, mindful kindness asks us to step back, assess and reach out instead of lashing out.  In other words, be the flame that warms and melts vs. the flame that ignites and burns bridges.  Sure, there are times when you must burn things down to start anew. I wasn’t coming from that place.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is this:  when feeling disconnected, step outside.  Breathe in nature.  Listen to the trees, the birds, the stones, and Mama Earth.  They speak volumes on endurance, slowing down, and taking the long view.  Crows especially remind me that magic is always a-foot and working.  They also remind me to be playful and mischevious.

In the dark of this morning, I took a walk around the yard and a moment to breathe in the stillness.  I had a chat.  I shed a few tears while gazing at the wonder of Madame Moon shining brightly through a veil of clouds.

It’s good to be reminded of the things that endure.  It helps to remember the wonders that exist.  Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a stroll around your own backyard.

*The title of this post was some sage advice given to me by one of my Sisters-in-Lunch after she read the Burn It All Down post.

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Resisting The Urge To Burn It All Down

There’s this thing that happens.  I’ve heard it’s a Sagittarian thing, but I can only speak for myself.  When I’m through with something, totally tired of it, feel like it’s going nowhere or it’s pissing me off, I have the urge to metaphorically burn it all down.

In my head, I’m dressed from top to bottom (with kick-ass boots) in fire-resistant garb holding onto a flame thrower of ridiculous proportions & lettin’ er rip.  The other version, I have flame thrower eyes much like Cyclops of X-Men fame only my shades are Safety Orange with Prince Purple polka dots.

What exactly am I wanting to burn down?  My social media accounts.  On FB I have a handful of groups that I adore so until those find a new home, I’ll stay.  I’m torn on the whole Instagram thing.  There are comedians, drag queens, drag kings, singers & artists I like to follow.

FB has become a time gulping indigestion giving monster.  Plus, there are so many things wrong with the direction that social media has taken that upset & anger me.

Yet, in today’s day & age, they say that it’s vital to be active in these sorts of places, especially when one is going to sell goods/art/products online.

Is it? Is it really?

Call me nostalgic, but I miss the forum days.  Do those even exist anymore?

Instead of hauling out my flame thrower & closing my accounts, I’m going to take some time away to re-evaluate how I want to show up & utilize social media in 2020.  If I’m honest, I miss the building relationships part of it so that will be a key piece to look at.

Plus, this time of year I get the strong urge to hibernate, cultivate, dream & plan for the upcoming year.  I have to honor that.

And, those Daemon Gourd Dolls aren’t going to create themselves (although sometimes it feels that way) & they are morphing/evolving in a way I didn’t see coming.

That means, there will be more posting over here of what’s going on, in case you cared, wondered or were just plain nosey.  Hey, I admit to having the noseys on occasion.  Well, more often than I’d care to admit.

What are your thoughts on social media?  Love it?  Hate it? Or do you feel like Ralph & Kermit?

“You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em
There’s somethin’ irresistible-ish about ’em
We grin and bear it ’cause the nights are long
I hope that somethin’ better comes along”

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Blowing Off The Stink

I took a hot minute to walk outside to blow some stink off. Hey, it works for the cats so I figured it ought to work for humans too.

It’s the kind of early morning where the air is so still words will shatter it like glass. Snow gently fell upon my being like the softest of kitten kisses.

I must remember to go out & blow the stink off more often.

Now, I’m back in The Lair, a favorite candle is lit & I’m prepping for another creative meeting with Claude & The Muses & then some writing. Claude insists there needs to be a wee history lesson about Daemons. Claude began narrating it to me while I was driving to The Land of Lunch yesterday. Thank the phones, there is a recording app.

If you think yesterday’s meeting was strange, this story Claude began takes the cake. It’s about the Viking Augustus Albert Georges Walker (name changed to protect his & any descendants identities) who discovered Daemons & introduced them to humans. Because of that fateful day, humans are now the favorite pet project of Daemons due to their brains being too big for their britches. They don’t bother with your every day mammal such as dogs, cats, or cows. They have no worries about poultry or fish or insects because as species, they have their shit together.

This story, thus far, is… well… quite unbelievable. Claude insists it’s all true & a tale that needs to be told. We’ll see.

Deep breath… I’m going in.

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A Peek Inside a Creative Meeting

The Daemon: “I’d like to start by telling you my name.”

Me: “I thought we weren’t going to do that.”

The Muses: Giggling behind three pairs of clawed hands. I give them a stern glare.

The Daemon: “It’s important. And, I want a little bio, an introduction if you will… as you’d see on a dating site. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

The look on my face is a cross between incredulous, a light bulb has gone off & exasperation.

The Daemon: “ I rather like Claude.”

Me: “…..”

Me: “Fine, Claude. Whatever you want.”

Claude smiled disturbingly wide with a mouth full of glinting sharp teeth.

Me: “Stop smiling at me like that. Okay, so let’s hear your bio.” Jesus Take The Wheel I’m going to regret asking.

Claude presented a piece of paper, typed in what I can only describe as chicken scratch.

It read: “Hello. My name is Claude. I’m a scrawny red Daemon into hairy big toes, writing poetry & crooning 50’s love songs in hot places. If you like a great pair of horns (wink wink) and long lashes then I’m the one for you! Please bring ample baby oil.”

Me: “Uhm… NO! I don’t think that’s the direction we want to go. Muses?”

The Muses were picking Gawd knows what from their teeth & ignored me.

Me: “Look. You’re all about empowerment & standing in the truth of who you are and… and… Damnit!”

Claude: “Exactly. So if I’m into collecting hairy big toes er, I mean liking them & crooning in hot places, then I’m being true to myself which is the whole point of my existence & setting a good example.”

Claude: “And furthermore, stop trying to cute & flufffify me.”

Me: “First, point taken & fluffify is not a real word. Second, I don’t know. That’s so random & strange & weird. Oh Holy Hell, let me think about this. Meeting adjourned.”

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Long Live The Lash

Hello! How are ya? It’s been a hot minute since the last doll update because I’ve been busy with Dad. He’s moved from The NC to The Flatlands of OH.

The Father Unit in his new place!

Anyways, I’m glad he’s here now and living close to one of us. It’s going to take some adjustment on both our parts. I have to not be smothering and want to do all the things for him. Yeah. I’ve caught myself a few times.

Are you ready to see where I’m at with this doll?

I know! So. So. So darn cute and weird and WTF all rolled into one. That stuff on top of the head is how we figure out what to use for hair implants.

Look at those lashes! Here, yet again is the influence of Drag Queens.  Lashes Baby.  Lotsa lashes.  I doubled up on these beauts.  I can’t put lashes on my own damn eyes.  I wish I could.  Since I can’t, my lust for lush lashes must be lived through dolls.  Don’t judge.  I’m tempted to try those new magnetic ones.

I decided to go whole-hog on the cloth arms and legs. Thanks to Carmen Alana Tibbets’ Agosia Arts and her YouTube videos, I now have a way to execute lightly poseable appendages.  This is something I’ve wanted to do for a lot of years. Who knew a simple thing called button joints would work brilliantly on a gourd?

Look Ma! I’m bendy! Fun tidbit: There were several knee blowouts due to using a bead vs a button for the joint. A few surgeries later and it’s all good. Buttons are now on the things to look out for at estate sales.

A couple of change orders came through from The Muses. I forgot about this one.  Hell, I didn’t remember what these were for when I found them.  I guessed arms until I bent them into silly shapes.  This doll beastie is going over-the-top and wants horns.

They are way too long in their current form. Plus, I have no recollection of what’s underneath that string.  No other way to find out but to go in with the knife.  Mwhahahahahahaha.

The other change was to cover the face with eggshells in addition to the body.  This is one of those rare times when having egg on your face is a good thing.  The egg that lands on my face is of my own doing and entertaining to others.  Here’s another fun tidbit; You have to remove the inner membrane inside the eggshell (membranectomy) before using them.  Luckily, I had a stash ready to go.  I live dangerously and have all of my eggs in one basket.  Plus, if I consume copious amounts of eggs, I break out with eczema.  Not fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple close-ups of the button joint. This is commonly used on a cloth body.  The needle is fed through a button, the arm, the body and poked out the other side through the arm and another button, then back through.  On a gourd, holes are drilled on each side of the body because the shell is way to hard to poke a needle through.  I had to cut a hole out of her bottom in order to feed the needle through the leg holes.  Let’s not mince words.  She had a bumectcomy.  Ready for another fun tidbit?  I lost the piece I cut out.  I know!  Can you imagine a surgeon misplacing one of your parts?  I fashioned a new bottom out of wood so we are good to go.  I am one resourceful surgeon.  Great with gourd people, but not one you’d recommend for a human being or beloved animal companion.  Plus, I don’t have the stomach for gooey, squishy insides.

What’s next?

Cut down & attach horns (Greate, now I have a 2 Live Crew earworm (explicit). Damn earworms)
Attach said horns
Sew hair wefts
Implant hair wefts
Clothes (Cute ruffled undies are on the list)
Create bat-like wings.

I told you, over-the-top weirdness.  I’m rolling with it because it’s fun and I like the wackadoo direction this is going.  That all fits perfectly for where I’m at, what I’ve been feeling and where I’m headed.  I’ll share more about that when it’s finished.

Have a super day, stay weird and may your lashes be lush and long.

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Drag Queens, Small Feet & Large Hands

Contrary to the title of this post, it is not about Drag Queens having large hands and small feet.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  This is about how the creative process is not always smooth and easy.  It can be messy to the point of turning the air blue with swearing and looking for something pointy to stick into your eyeballs.  You might be like me and forget that we all, even the professionals who have honed their craft with years of experience, didn’t get there overnight and still have those sort of days.  We aren’t privy to the blood (literally, some of the dolls I’ve made have taken blood), sweat, and curse words that go into creative work. We only see the polished end results. There will be smooth days and days where you question your ever-loving sanity. Yesterday was one of those days.  The challenge is to know when to keep going and when to walk away. Let’s not forget the challenge of showing up to start it all over again.  To take a vision, raw materials and bring what you see into the physical world is not for wimps.

I had a hard time getting into the creative mood yesterday.  When that happens I have to woo and lure The Creative Beastie out of her hidey-hole.  I called in the sure-fire luring tool, The Drag Queen Council on Spotify.  Men in wigs, dresses and fabulous make-up singing catchy pop songs and campy tunes seduces The Creative Beastie every. damn. time.

Now that I had her out and we could begin, it was time to tackle the second leg and foot for the doll I’m making.  And DAMNITALLTOHELL if that was not going well, at all. 

I’m learning a new-to-me way of creating a boot with a sole (soul?). The other leg and boot were made a few weeks ago. That meant I had to remember how, where and what I was doing. I didn’t measure it correctly or line up the sole when sewing or something. It took two attempts before the boot was made, beads attached and we had a pair of legs for days. 

Look at them sexy legs!

Okay, we are cooking now!  Let’s try the new-to-me way of creating hands!  Sally (the sewing machine) decided to act weird.  It took me half an hour to figure out what was going on and put the bobbin back in.  It’s a front-loading bobbin vs. the drop-in kind. I tend to take out more parts than needed.  Then, I have to remember how the Hell it fits back together. GAH!  Once she was ready to go, I forgot what I had to do in order to make the hands.  Jesus just take me now.  Back to a refresher on the YouTubes and I was in business. Except in my wisdom, I decided the hands were far too small and needed to be larger. They were revamped, sewn & TADA, a beautiful pair of hands.

I did it! I did it! Look Ma! I made hands!

Only, they were too big. I didn’t measure them against the doll’s face or feet.  Uhm, OH CRAP.  Now I have a pair of ridiculous big cartoon looking hands and goofy small feet.  This is about the time I performed a beautiful swan like face plant onto the desk. Isn’t this fun! What the Hell.

Poseable fingers! I think this expresses how I felt.

Do I revamp the feet which I’ve done countless times?  Do I have enough fabric left to do more feet? Do I make new hands? Of course, there is the other option, grab a cranberry Marguerita and call it a day. The Marguerita won. Not really. I just walked away, ate copious amounts of popcorn and watched Louisiana Pawn Stars with The Hubs. Don’t judge me.

Here I am, back to square one.  I’ve decided to go with the original hand pattern.  I measured it against the face & the foot.  Yup, sure as flies attract kids with spoons, I have to make new boots.  I had a prototype (the original size) and it’s perfect. 

Sonofabitch.  Now, I’m re-thinking the arm and leg material, beads vs. cloth.  This all started because someone (me) thought it would be a great idea to have semi-poseable limbs for this style of doll.  I need to have a stern talk with me that comes up with this stuff and me that agrees to it, leaving me to suffer through the execution of the idea.  Confused yet?

I’m going to make both bead and cloth arms, hold a meeting with all of me, The Muses, and the doll.  We’ll take a vote and go from there.

Wish me luck.  The Creative Beastie is panting and drooling to get started. I’m going in. 

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Why & Back In The Saddle

I decided to take a break from art as a business. It wasn’t fun anymore. I was working extra hours at the Day Job & my energy was zapped.

Also, stuff & life happened. Sure, one could say that’s not a good excuse to stop making art. I think it was an important pause. A chance to reflect for sure. I felt like I had no time to myself, was spent energy-wise & it was topped off with a large dollop of meh.

I’ve tried digging into the big why I do what I do. I’ve come up empty or with pretty sounding reasons. I’d wear them proudly for a bit but sure enough, they’d fall off. I was always looking for more KAPOW & more REASON behind what I make. What I was doing was never enough. Naturally, the searches for more improved REASON & KAPOW wasn’t sustainable, not needed, nor helped in figuring out the big why.

The real reason I make art? It’s my escape from an overwhelming chaotic & scary world. There it is in all of its ugly truth. It’s been that way since I was young. I’ve been wrestling with that truth, trying to deny it or smoosh it out of existence. Nothing lofty & holy there. Nope, but there it is.

This escape mechanism (art, not the eating of all the delicious food that crosses my path) allows me to reconnect with seeing & dreaming of a better place (cue Imagine by John Lennon). It helps me remember that I have more control than I believe or think I do. Escaping into this alternate reality is how dreamers shape & shift what feels stuck & unmoveable. Making art forces me to find the wonderful in the mundane everyday stuffs. Ask any human that works with gourds & they’ll tell you. Under that ugly dirty hard-shelled squash-like thing is something beautiful. It takes work & some elbow grease to find it. The same thing applies to life. Sometimes it’s right there in front of your face. Other times you’ve got to do some polishing.

I’ve saddled up the Art Unicorn & I’m jumping back on for the ride. Yes, art is my escape from all that’s wrong with this world. It’s also what saves my sanity (quiet in the peanut gallery) & helps me remember that there’s plenty that’s right about it too. We need to be reminded of that, the good stuff. It’s honoring the light at the end of a dark tunnel. That & those that hold the light are what keep us going. Time to giddyup. I’ve got some light to shine.


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