Hot Donuts Now

Alright folks, for those of you interested (I know, there’s not an unbated breath among you) I just put a buncha new stuff up on my Etsy page like, just now. Ok, so it won’t taste like fresh Krispy Kreme, but still.

Check it out.

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

Mostly minis, but the big ancestor nicho is up too. Soon to be followed by Six Happiness and another half dozen minis by weeks end.

Anyone interested in nicho goodness, or any other item for that matter, and thinking about heading out to buy in person at Art in the Park in May, be forewarned, my prices will be higher at the art show to cover traveling and show costs. So if anything tickles your fancy, get it on line where the gettin’s good.

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Crossroads of awesome

There’s a bit in a book called Neverwhere, by my very favorite author, Neil Gaiman that goes;

“He opened his eyes. They were on the other side of the wall, he assumed, in what appeared to be a junk room. Not just any old junk room, though: there was something rather strange and special about the quality of this junk. It was the kind of magnificent, rare, strange, expensive junk one would only expect to see somewhere like…”

Richard had found himself in the British Museum. That’s not where I found myself. But the description is perfectly suited to the place I like to go when I need a little something…special. There’s junk, and then there’s Junk. There’s stuff you find at yard sales, and stuff you might find in the attic. Of a Tardis. That is capital “J” junk, and that is what is contained at Lost Eras on Howard street.

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In a somewhat sketchy neighborhood of Chicago’s north side that you wouldn’t find yourself in unless you had business there. It’s been there for a couple of generations now, servicing the theater and film industry with a truly epic selection of costume and prop stuff. But that’s not all they do.

Connoisseurs of the unusual will find themselves wanting a flashlight and snacks, because to step into Lost Eras is to commit your afternoon to spelunking the treasures of Old Chicago and possibly Atlantis, and you will, I promise, be there awhile. It is huge. Lord knows how far back, or how far down, it goes. Room after room after room. I’m fairly certain it occupies more than one dimension. I believe the basement has access to subway tunnels occupied by mythological beings. The proprietress, far too cool to be human, may be one of them.

There is an entire room full of china. Not just china. Various delicate tchotchkes abound, as well as the type of furniture one would keep china and tchotchkes in, both ancient and modern. Also, a box full of skeleton parts and at least three cast iron stoves from the turn of the century.

You need an accordion? They have them. You need a large, taxidermied antelope? They have several. Buffalo too, if I’m not misremembering. Costume jewelry, non costume super antique crown jewel type jewelry? Got it. Antique cameras, instruments, electric fans and typewriters? In the basement. Oooo, the basement. It’s filled with every kind of rusty metal thing you could ever imagine. Also, luggage, silverware and serving pieces of serious vintage, lamps, farm equipment and stuff I simply can’t identify. But if I need glass insulators for high tension wires, they have them in the basement. If you keep following the basement’s yellow brick roads, you will find a room full of vintage clothing, hats, and accessories. Also a pile, nay, a veritable ziggurat, of giant bunny heads. There they are, piled under a stair like some weird sacrifice to the god of Furries. There’s a whole room full of skeletons and piles of foam skulls. There’s a closet full of mannequins. There’s a six foot long clothing rack hung with nothing but cassocks. If I need a coffin, they have two. That I can see, anyway. There may be an entire mausoleum under the floor for all I know. I suspect it contains the bones of dead gods to counter weight the amount of delightfully creepy religious art lolling about the front room.

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Chandeliers, gas lamps, fur coats, old 80s movies on VHS. You don’t know what it is you need, but they have it. And you’ll know it as soon as you see it. I promise.

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For those who celebrate Halloween as their high holiday, there is only one place to go for their accoutrements.

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That’s just one costume room. And though from the pictures it looks a little chaotic, there’s a definite rhythm here. An order to the universe, as it were. You can find anything you need if you just open your mind to the funky mojo oozing from every crack in the ancient plaster. I went in looking for a skull. I thought I needed one. Turns out, that wasn’t what I needed at all.

THIS, is what I needed…

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That’s baby Pubert up there. And Beulah Mae La Montagne, Miss Clamita’s new friend. Did I know I needed them? Of course not. But when you go, go with an open mind. Because as you sift through the antique china cups and big eyed porcelain dogs, the colony of feather boas, you’ll hear it. You’ll hear it in the hissing of the radiators and the imperceptible sound of accumulating dust. You’ll hear it in the groan of 100 year old hardwood settling. Listen. It’s the juju. It’s telling you what you need.

 

Fired

I’m a horrible, lazy blogger. I am! I own it.

Ok, I am not without a legitimate excuse for my laxity though. I’m tryin’ to get legal, see. Like, tax licenses and whatnot.  And get supplies for production. And stuff. And produce. Which I’ve had precious little time for this week. I have managed to get a few things done though.

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Ancestor nicho, done. After some serious thought, I put electric tea lights in it rather than chance anyone putting an actual candle in there. I can just see it now. Someone decides it’s a good idea to put fire in a small space and bam. I’m suddenly liable for not putting a warning label on it. We live in a world where shampoo bottles have labels saying “Do not eat”, and itty bitty screw drivers warn, “Do not insert into tip of penis”. That is our world. I must work within its boundaries. But they look cool after a good dose of glitter, so it’s all good.

And about half the minis are done.

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The light is really bad. Whaddaya want, I shot them at 9 pm in a basement. I’ll take nicer ones on the next bright day and post them here…http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaCornejaNegra.

I’m thiiiis close to being completely done with this batch of nichos. The last minis are moving along, and I shut down operations this evening after putting the last touches on Six Happiness Buddha.

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Yes, that is a pair of side cutters balanced on a tube of glitter glue. They’re holding an ornery flower in place while the glue dries. Yep, that’s my secret folks, hold stuff down with precariously balanced stuff. My table often looks like this. Tools and tubes and the smell of gluey, gluey goodness.

I promise, I will get to the Best Junk Shop in the Universe sometime this week and tell you all about it.

Show time

A right good thing it is that I’ve been in the lab, whipping the horse for these however many weeks now, cuz I just got notice that I got in to that there art show I applied to.

I have till the end of April to rock it, but, well, glad I been rocking it. As of right this moment, I’m well stocked. When I get this batch of nichos done, I’ll be quite well stocked. When I get whatever else all I end up being able to get done by deadline, I’ll be extremely well stocked.

I feel pretty prepared, actually. I do need to tweak the layout a bit, but that’s not hard. I also need to set up mobile credit card capabilities, which I don’t currently have. Art show money, remember? If I can sell one of my shawls, or Cernnunos, it’ll be a good day. But most people don’t carry that kind of cash, so it behooves me to make myself as flexible as possible.

So now I decide how much of my meager savings to invest in materials for this bad boy. I definitely need to make more pigtail hats. The acorn caps and caterpillar scrunch hats are cute, but the pigtail hats are the belles of the ball, and that’s the eye candy that draws people in to the shop. Well, those, and my utterly fabulous mannequin Miss Clamita.

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She’s got no legs, only one arm, and was so creepy I had to give her a drag queen makeover. She’s not technically mine, but she’s on a “keep her till I need her” loan from an artist friend of mine.

Tomorrow it’s shopping day. I’ll restock on everything I’m out of, go to the Best Junk Shop in the Universe, and then proceed to kick my own butt till show time. I’ve got 19 nichos, all within days of done if I can just get the materials, and at least one mobile to do if I can find a good skull. Or hey, some other interesting thing to hang in the center. I’d settle for a creepy doll head, having been recently inspired by this…

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/04/island-of-dolls-mexicos-creepiest.html

I wanna go there, don’t you?

 

Recycling is fun

I’ve been experimenting with mobiles lately. There are several things rolling around the lab that just aren’t screaming “Put me in a nicho already!” at me. Remember that picture of the old baby doll arm I posted a while ago? This is what it turned in to.

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It’s weird. And kind of creepy. Which suits my aesthetic completely. And did you know that iron keys have a lovely chime when struck? I have no idea how the public at large will feel about it, but if you love it, it’s here.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/123455615/creepy-baby-doll-assemblage-wind-chime

The doll part is plaster, so you can’t hang it outdoors. My next one will be out door friendly though. I have an old brass birdcage and a pile of cutlery that’s just begging to be strung together. There’s going to be a skull involved, but unless I get very lucky at the Best Junk Shop in the Universe (not it’s actual name), it’ll be plastic. All materials that can safely be rained on. There may be a post about the Best Junk Shop in the Universe, actually, as I am not averse to sharing my dirty secrets with y’all. We’ll see if the proprietors are cool with being photographed and pimped online.

Till next time, happy Mardi Gras y’all!

Break

Yesterday, while in the lab, I experienced several episodes of weakness in my left arm. It gradually crept up into my shoulder and neck.

Now, I’m an admitted hypochondriac. I think everything is cancer. So I figured I was having a heart attack and I’d die any minute. I kept working though. Nineteen nichos, man. I got stuff to do! No time for death. Actually, I soothed my frayed perception of reality with logic. I’m on the cusp of 37, I eat like a hippie (well, a hippie that loves delicious meat) and work out five days a week. And while there’s some minor family history of cardiovascular problems, I was given the full work up six years ago, shortly after hurricane Katrina, because I was having tachycardia twice a week. Turns out it was stress induced (you’d be stressed too if you lived in a town recently eaten by a giant hurricane), but the result was that I had ultrasound and echo, and blood work that it’s probably good to have in general. So I figured, ok, probably not dying.

This morning, my left bicep is tight and sore, the tendon down that arm is tight and sore, and my shoulder is pretty convinced it should be closer to my ear than it has any business being.

This illustrates the problem many focused thing makers have. We spend hours in weird, fixed positions and we don’t get up and move around enough. Where has my left hand been for two-ish weeks? Near my face, holding stuff for my right hand to be painting, glueing, glittering, and so on. Fixed, bent, and tense, so that I don’t mess up the paint job. Gee, I wonder why I could be having problems?

This post is me yelling at myself to knock that crap off. You may use it to yell at yourself too, if you find it helpful. But I’m taking this weekend off, and not setting foot in the lab till this arm chills out. Because if I break myself, I can’t work. And since I like my work, this is unacceptable. Time to call my massage therapist (also known as “sweetie”) and see if he’s got the energy after studying for board exams to slap some sense back into my left side. And also, yoga.

Take care of your body parts, crafty people! Every job comes with physical stresses, but ours are sneaky. They can apparently manifest as symptoms of a heart attack. So beware. And take a day off.

Speaking of weird things in Wisconsin

Ya ever been to House on the Rock?

Even if you’re not a Neil Gaiman fan, you should look into a field trip to this place. It’s in a tiny town called Spring Green, Wisconsin. It could be argued that there’s nothing resembling art in anything in there. I say, you’re not looking at it the right way.

For one thing, who builds this in their house?

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It claims to be the largest indoor carousel in the world. Don’t know if that’s actually true, but I want to meet the person who’s job it is to travel the world measuring indoor carousels. It’s got 269 animals on it (none of which are horses, btw), and 182 chandeliers. Tacky? Yes. Art? Well, if a guy can hang urinals upside down on a wall and call it art, and more importantly have people agree with him, then I say, this is definitely art.

It’s the interactive kind though. The fact of the existence of something like the Mikado isn’t all that remarkable. Examples of epic bad taste are everywhere.

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But when you’re in that room, made small by the presence of this enormous…thing belting out this horrifically loud, completely out of tune music while all these creepy dolls play their instruments in nothing resembling time with said out of tune music, it’s life changing.

Who but an artist, would build a four story tall whale fighting a kracken in a pole barn, for example?

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There’s a kracken in there, I promise. The thing was just so huge, this was the only shot I could get of it. See that tiny little man to the left of the mouth? Have some scale.

Things like the Streets of Yesterday, a half scale replica of a vaguely western town, is something you might find in a museum. Cute, interesting, sure. And adds to the overall flavor that is House on the Rock. But this?

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Another room full of self playing instruments, howling at top volume, totally out of time and tune. This is art, baby. The house is full of these. For a quarter you can make any of them play at you. Every last one sounds gawd awful. It’s fantastic.

I won’t go into the creepy doll carousel that’s two stories tall. Or the room whose every wall is hung with carousel horses. Or the hundreds of winged mannequins hanging from the ceiling in the carousel room. Or the half scale hot air balloon, ball room sized pipe organ, circus wagons, antique firearms, doll houses, and stained glass collections scattered about this space, which I swear occupies more than one universe at a time. You come out of there feeling like someone dosed your Snapple with mescalin.

Spring Green, Wisconsin. Just a skip away from the Dells. Go. And if you’re a Gaiman fan, take a picture sitting on Wednesday’s wolf, which the House has kindly set up for fan girls like me to enjoy.

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