Milestone

I just posted my 200th item on my Etsy page. Woohoo!

Hey, maybe that’s no big deal to anyone but me, but my shit is labor intensive and that I have 200 of them is awesome. Go me.

Here it is, my 200th thing!

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Tomorrow numbers 201 and 202, a hat and another mobile, get posted.

This is the most stock I’ve ever had. Which is me, steadily achieving the goal of being absurdly well stocked before the season even starts in spring. Whoot!

And I’ve got projects still on deck. There are ten nichos, that hand thing, and possibly another mobile that will be ready to post by the end of the week, and I finally found a head for my Dryad, so that will keep moving towards completion, possibly in time for the start of the show season.

I’m really proud of myself today. Which is a thing someone who is trying to make their living this way should take note of and savor. And I’m gonna do that. With this lovely zin mah boo brought me…

 

Goin’ Junkin’

I love going junkin’.  In a town like Chicago, a lot of the shops have delusions of grandeur when it comes to their junk. There’s one place in Andersonville that has bar none the best junk ever. But their prices are absurd and I’ll only go to browse. Go next door however, and there is junk of equal caliber but kick ass prices. The difference? Location and window dressing. Shop one is on the main drag and fancied up for your seekers of shabby chic. Shop two is just off strip and essentially in a warehouse. Guess were we went? Mmmhm. Why? Well, in addition to being generally broke as most crafty types are, I’m making their junk into new junk which is my junk and selling it. Low cost of materials makes everybody happy.

So to Good Deal Garage we went. The proprietors name? Is Elvis. Right? I mean, c’mon, you know Elvis will, in fact, give you a good deal. And he did.  Found a lovely bird cage for one of my many homeless baby heads. That added to the gorgeous rusty sickle that my pal kindly put a bunch of holes in for me (sacrificing what, five drill bits to the cause? old farm tools are hard as goddamn), and a leftover cow bone from last season and I’ve got the makin’s for a Mobile Marathon this week. Which is good. I need a break from all that epoxy.

After Elvis made us happy, we went to Ya Ya’s Antiques further south on Clark for a couple of old and decrepit frames. One will be my new shop sign, one will either house my beautiful Gomez and Morticia watercolor that the outstanding Molly Young made for me, or a gas mask/sun god thing that’s been percolating in my brain meatz. Not sure yet. Gomez and Morticia will get framed and hung, I just need to decide in what.

Lastly, to Wooly Mammoth on Foster. Which is not a junk shop, but an oddities shop. Which, sadly, I can’t afford. But I do go for inspiration from time to time. And because mah boo had never been, we stopped in. And saw this…

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Seven and a half feet tall and begging me to take him home. Anybody wants to give me a very expensive present, he’s only $8,000. Which is actually pretty reasonable for enormous taxidermy. Waaaaant!!

That, and the trepanning drill, and the human skulls. When I wed, we’ll be registered there. Fyi. Because those who wish you a happy marriage, do it with taxidermy.

Making a statement

Whelp, first show’s application went up two days ago.

As usual the application process was weird. It’s rarely just a case of “here’s my stuff” and done. This time they wanted an artists statement. I hate those. I hate reading them, I hate writing them. Because they’re typically full of absurd jargon and nonsensical sentences that, broken down, mean absolutely nothing and don’t actually describe anything. They boil down to, “my work is incomprehensible and filled with deep significance”. I call shenanigans.

That is so deeply, significantly, NOT how I roll.

What I make is about squeeing and laughing and finding joy and maybe a bit of creepy sacredness in random objects Frankensteined into bigger, weirder objects. It’s about playing with culture and mythology and how things should go together. If it’s art to you, great. If it’s not, great. I’m certainly not going to throw some gibber jabber at you and expect to create meaning where there isn’t any because if you can’t understand it, it must be very significant.

I wanted to write something very plain like, “Dig it or don’t, I’m good either way,” but that is not how we get in to art shows. We get in to art shows by pretending we give a damn about telling you what it meeeeeeans and then cheerfully going about our day. In every profession, a little stupid must fall. And truthfully, if writing artists statements and vomiting out some nonsense whenever I’m called upon to speak Art Jargon is the stupidest thing I have to do to make a living at this, game on. It beats dancing on tables.

Though it does bum me out more than a little. Because incomprehensibility seems to work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for the “meaning” of something, only to have them look disappointed when I told them that was up to them. Spoiler alert, I am meaningless. By which I mean that there’s no intent behind what I make. I’ll put some elements together deliberately because they go together symbolically, but that’s about the end of it. I put things together because they please my eye, so you can consider them a blank slate for whatever meaning you personally wish to find in them. Sure they tell a story, but it’s the kind of story that’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. I think that’s right and proper. Once my brain babies leave my hands, they’re not mine anymore. They’re waiting for the people who will love them, like adoptable puppies that don’t poop all over your house. I’m not going to tell you what to love in them. You find that on your own. I think it’s more meaningful that way.

But that’s totally comprehensible, and therefore not suitable for an artists statement. I made up some bullshit about “drawing from a wide palette of mythological, cultural and textural influences” and hope for enough incomprehensibility to get into the show. I’ll know by March.

Nowhere else I’d rather be….no wait. There totally is.

It is currently a balmy -15 degrees here in the big Windy, with windchill bringing it down to -40. This isn’t typical for us. We get below zero, but not usually by this much. After a combined snow fall adding up to almost three feet in some areas, this? This sucks. On the plus side, not being able to leave the house means I’ve been doing nothing but production. On the minus side, I’m running out of glitter but it’s too damn cold to go for supplies. Or beer. Which I’m also running out of. Though the Jewel is way closer than the crafty store so at least one problem is easily remedied.

In any case, the omfg cold got me to reminiscing about mah travlin’ days. Rennies chase the good weather all year long. When you do it full time, and if you choose where you spend your off season right, you almost never have to have winter at all. The faire season started in Arizona and Florida in February. I did the AZ show for 8 years. Long about mid January it would be time to start thinking about a road trip to far more pleasant latitudes. It is so much easier to put up with these long months of cold and dark when you know that two weeks into the thick of it (the “thick” being January/February, which are the most gawd awful heinous weather months in this latitude) you’ll be packing your stuff and going here…

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Those are the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. They were in my back yard at the Arizona Renaissance Faire.

Though Phoenix and it’s environs has the distinction of being the meth capital of the US, the upshot was that we were out in the desert looking at THAT ^, not in the city with meth heads. There isn’t much besides meth, Mormons and snow birds in the Phoenix metro valley, but the desert around it is full of awesome. Hiking, hot springs, arboretums, trail riding. If you’re not the outdoorsy type you’d hate it, but nobody who doesn’t at least tolerate the thought of living in a tent in the woods joins the renaissance faire so it’s pretty safe to assume we were all the outdoorsy type.

The show was never great money-wise, but after a cold winter waiting tables or dancing on them, these babies were a welcome sight, and so was the dry, (usually) warm desert air. Besides, even when the desert spring was crappy, it was a damn sight better than three feet of snow and negative temperatures.

It’s funny how you get to miss even the weird and annoying parts. Like shaking my boots out in the morning to dislodge any scorpions that had taken up residence in the night. Or looking down the privy hole for spiders. Not even kidding. My first year at that show I nearly put my lady bits in dangerous proximity to a black widow who had built a web in the porta john. Look before you lavatory when out in the bush.

But the sunsets were epic and there’s nothing like waking up in the middle of the darkest, starriest night ever to coyotes serenading the moon.

::sigh::

Don’t judge me, man. When this is what’s outside my window…

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I can hardly be blamed for getting nostalgic.

To all my rennie peeps who are hitching up their wagons in a couple of weeks and heading to warmer places to begin a new season, as the Romany say, latcho drom. Safe travels. And think of me for a second when you taste the first breath of warm air when you get where you’re going. Cuz I’m jealous as hell.

Whatcha been doin’?

Someday I will be able to afford a bitchin’ photo quality printer. On that day, I will have ALL TEH GODZ!

Till then I’m a bit limited. But only a bit.

Nicho-landia was starting to look a bit monotheistic, so I hunted down some fabulous old Hindu postcards.

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Shiva and Lakshmi are especially well represented, and I’ll actually have a Hanuman mini.

And also this is happening.

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Yes, that is a giant ass paper mache torso. I found an inflatable person at American Science and Surplus and man am I having fun with THAT.

She’s going to get the usual treatment of course. There’s a calavera going in there somewhere and a heart (my shipment from Dapper Cadaver should come in any day now) and bugs and shiny and lord knows what all else. I never know what I’m doing till I’m done.  Which reminds me, oh internet, anyone know where I can get a complete (which means intact lower mandible and sinus) four to six point buck skull? The usual sources are coming up dry and my girl here needs a head.

In any case, I want to make a bazillion of these. I can’t, because huge. But someday in addition to ALL TEH GODZ, I will perhaps also have enough storage. In the mean time, one at a time will have to do. Because the twins are coming along. They have wings now, and seem to finally have decided where they’re going, so I gotta get em there. Kids are so demanding.

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So yeah. That’s gonna be my January/February/March and most of April. I really want these large assemblage done and outta my way by spring so I can throw some hides on the table and get some leather work done. Back to my roots, yo. But since the dye is omfg toxic I need the ventilation of outdoors and currently there is about half a foot of snow falling, so, not happening just now.

Hey, it’s midnight. Happy New Year y’all. 🙂