Crankin’

I won’t find out till March if I get in to this art show I applied to a couple of months ago, but I’m cranking on production like I will. Not because I’m any sort of optimist, but because if I do get in, I’ll have three months to get ready for it. Which seems like a lot of time unless most of what you make involves entire days when it has to just sit and be left alone lest you smear your glitter.

This I have learned about art/craft shows; be ready. You never know how it’s going to go. It could suck, true. But it could also rock and you will feel like an idiot if you didn’t bring enough stock. Especially if it’s a well established one. People go to art shows to spend art money. Not yard sale money. So bring your A game no matter what. And don’t apply to anything that isn’t juried. Non juried art shows are not always flea market type affairs, but don’t hold your breath. If there’s a Mary Kay anywhere on the list of vendors, skip it. Those are glorified yard sales, and if you expect to get actual money for your time and effort you will likely be disappointed.

So the nicho factory is hot. I’m at a stage with my Six Buddha Happiness nicho where it’s finally starting to look like something, I’ve started a Guanyin out of an old metal jewelry box, I’ve got a bakers dozen minis getting painted up to be turned into what I don’t know yet, and another one of those sewing table drawers about to get the first layer of paint to become a nicho dedicated to the dead. Any dead, really. There’ll be calaveras, terracotta warriors, ravens, and the like, with space for a small photo and votive so whoever buys it can honor their particular ancestor.

I know, I’ve gotten you all excited and I have no pictures for you. Fired! I will though. Probably tomorrow or the next day. In the mean time, have this…

http://www.shrunken-head.com

 

Fan girl

Like most crafty people, I’m into all sorts of artistic expression, and music is a favorite. I love all kinds. I like dancing to salsa, swing, and industrial music. I like driving to classic goth, new wave, and 80s pop. I love going to the opera and the symphony. I’ve had my mind blown by taiko drummers and throat singers (how to they DO that?), sitar players and omg Nusrat Fateah Ali Khan is my Elvis.

One type of music I do not like, is that breed of breathy, folksy female vocalist that got all popular in the 90s. Generally waifish and leaning towards whiny college rock, they just sort of pissed me off. I grew up learning about lady singers from the great mavins of jazz and blues, after all. Etta, Nina, Ella, Aretha, Billie. Then I discovered the women of Fleetwood Mac, Blondie, Joan Jett, Nina Hagen. Those women have pipes! Range! Balls!

Everything else pales in comparison. It stands to reason then, that I would have developed, between the fact that I always was and still am an unrepentant goth, and my attraction to powerful female vocalists, a deep and abiding love for Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blond.

I didn’t get to see them when they hit it big with Bloodletting. I consider that a win. Because what I did get was so much better. I happened to be in Arizona in March for the Arizona Renaissance Faire one year, working for an old hippie with a love of loud political discourse and, ahem, recreational herbage. I was doing leather work, hanging out in the desert and generally having a fine time of it. A dear friend, a six foot three goddess of Glamazonian proportions who is now a burlesque dancer in California, asked me if I wanted to go see a concert down in Tucson. Sure, who’s playing.

“Have you ever heard of Concrete Blond?” she asks in her husky drawl.

My face probably looked like this, “??!!0_O!!”

Now by this time the band had broken up, Johnette had done Pretty and Twisted, which didn’t go over very well, and I hadn’t heard of the band in years. Turns out they were back together, older, wiser and sober, and touring small venues around the area. One of which was an old theater about an hour and a half away from the faire site.

Long story short, she blew my mind. I was two feet from the stage in a not remotely crowded theater, while she belted out old favorites and new stuff, sang Tomorrow Wendy with so much mojo I actually cried, and generally rocked the joint. Hard. My Glamazon and her local pal, an adorable wee gal with dark hair and wicked humor, were dancing up a storm. I just stood there, probably drooling, staring at the most amazing woman I’d ever, at this point in my life, been that close to.

Last night, mildly insomniac and cruising YouTube for entertainment, I came across this interview with Johnette, spent the next hour watching Concrete Blond videos and thinking about powerful women and self expression. That’s all really. Just sharing something awesome I found with y’all.

Damn my speedy hands

Whelp, that’s the last of the caterpillar scrunch hats.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaCornejaNegra

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What was that, nine balls of yarn? It’s all hats now and dat’s all she wrote. No more knitting till I get some more cash to buy more yarn. Good thing I have the never finished Frankenblanket to keep my hands busy when they’re not painting or gluing or glittering something up. I was, in fact, a hyperactive child. Now I’m a fidgety adult. Nothing wrong with that.

Love me some creepy

Last I visited this site, Google gave me a warning that said some people had flagged it as having “objectionable content”, and asked me if I wanted to continue.

I don’t speak or read French, so if it’s got snarky remarks, Marxist propaganda, or pimping any kind of “ism”, I have no clue. I just enjoy the huge selection of vintage and creepy ass photography. For this same reason, I like music in languages I don’t understand. Saves me from trite song lyrics. Amr Diab is probably singing the Arabic version of hit me baby one more time, but I just get to enjoy the catchy beats. So, if you don’t speak French or are not easily offended, go. Enjoy.

http://e-l-i-s-e.blogspot.com

 

Say Something Hat

One of my more eye catching items also happens to be a good way to use up leftover yarn ends.

Voila, the Pigtail Hat

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The pigtail hat came out of a chance encounter with a girl at a renaissance faire that happened to remind me of Delirium of the Endless. When I told her this, to my utter amazement, she had no idea what I was talking about. Thus commenced one of my favorite things about makin’ stuff. Exchanging tasty information. She told me how to make the hat, I handed her a well loved but still serviceable copy of Preludes and Nocturnes and hopefully Gaiman changed her life, much as he did mine.

You can make Pigtail Hats out of very plain, understated, beige, suburban soccer mom yarn. But I don’t recommend it. It’s got freakin’ pigtails on it. This is a Say Something Hat. Go nuts.

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The pigtails are basically hella big fringe. Which is why it’s a good way to use up leftovers. Fringe takes up a lot of yardage, and the point of these guys is to be kind of a rainbow of fruit flavor, so it doesn’t too much matter if your odds n’ ends don’t really match.

I do, of course, have hats that don’t make you look like you’re down on Fraggle Rock. You can check out the very demure (most of them) acorn pixie caps on my Etsy page.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaCornejaNegra

It’s good to have something for everyone. Though one of the fun parts about having such loud chapeaus as a staple of my collection is that the people who want to buy them? Universally entertaining. No finer way to wile away a slow spell at a craft show than with someone who likes your Say Something Hats. Even ones that don’t resemble mad, punk rock manifestations of a concept have proven to be an absolute hoot.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Anyone familiar with my nichos will notice a theme. That theme being “there’s no such thing as too much glitter”, or something to that effect. I like it shiny. Not Vegas shiny. No, I like things rougher, simpler. More folk art shiny. But still, pretty darn shiny.  So I tend to pick subjects that shiny is appropriate for. But a maker of stuff doesn’t always get to pick her subjects. Sometimes someone else picks the subject for you, and it’s your job to bring your aesthetic to the table (if they didn’t like your aesthetic, they wouldn’t have asked you for a custom job) without eclipsing said subject, if it happens to warrant such a balance. It’s really really important to know when not to eclipse your subject.

Observe, custom nicho…

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That, is a 300 or so year old bear skull (best guess, I’m not an expert on animal bones, but I’m pretty sure it’s ursine) dug out of a plains Indian midden heap somewhere in the Dakotas. It is complete, which is pretty rare, and has most of its teeth, which is even more rare. It’s GORGEOUS. The mass and solidity of it. The elegant arches. The beautiful patina that only old bone gets. The powerful jaw and canines.  ::swoon::                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         No, I don’t have the vapors. I just love old dead things. But my point is, this skull is so beautiful, to do my thing to it would be criminal. Would take away the visual impact that it has all by itself. If I add…stuff…to it, I won’t make it less beautiful, but it’ll have competition for the eye’s attention. So, a little 2D collage action for a backdrop, a little texture on the sides, a dark color to really bring out that lovely patina and then? Leave it alone! It’s perfect that that skull is all your eye wants to focus on.

At least, I think so. But I like old dead things.

Satisfaction

You know when you get an idea in your head that just takes over your world? It’s fully formed for the most part. It’s got solidity. That’s how some of my pieces happen. Some of them, I’ll stare at a thing, an image, a piece of junk, and I’ll gnaw at it till it becomes something. But some of them just throw the door in my brain open and yell, “Lucy! I’m home!”

Well, Curnnunos did just that. So he’s been vexing me for weeks. How to make this thing that clearly exists in some universe or another, exist in this one? When you have to sweat to get these brain children out, it’s particularly gratifying when you succeed.

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The lighting is crap, because it’s my basement. But by the time I’d hung the last key it was already after 4. Good shooting light in mid winter ends by 3 or so. Now I just have to hope for a good sunny day so I can shoot and post him. There’s so much going on in this one, I need to get lots of closeups. His Borg eye has tiny gears in it, for example. It also happens to be a monocle that’s attached to one of the antler points. And there are very specific runes behind the possum skull fragment, the beads in his braids are wire wrapped vertebrae, and the bird’s nest is made with paper meant to be burned as prayers for the dead. I went a little crazy with the symbolism on this one. Eh, it happens sometimes.

Sometimes I just make ’em pretty cuz that’s how the wind is blowing. But sometimes it’s all spook and juju and I can’t help myself. I’m just happy he’s done. Not sure what to price him at yet. Conservative estimate is about 30 hours of work all told, plus materials.  I really dislike the math-y part. I guess it can’t all be glitter and rusty metal fun, now can it.