Monday, March 13, 2017

Sock Monsters....what happens after the socks go missing.

There is always that one sock that has lost its mate forever, destine to live solo at the bottom of the sock drawer, or your favorite socks that have the unfortunate fate of becoming holey. Good-bye lonely and holey socks, Hello, Prisco-37!  Made from a wool sock I bought at an Italian market many moons ago and a cotton sock on permanent loan from my son, Prisco-37 is a sample for an up coming workshop I'm teaching at Vincents Art Workshop in Wellington.   

 I love his little nose....

The glamorous reality of taking photos for the internet......   

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Zoo Animal Masks: Part II, Sun Bear

hand made mask

Creating masks for a recent local zoo animal themed show was tons of fun.  As it turns out, my Sun Bear mask design was more local zoo than I first realized.  Pictured below is Sasa, the Sun Bear.  Little did I know, Sasa's mother over zealously cleaned her ears as an infant and as a result, Sasa has tiny stubs for ears....and since this was the photo I used as a reference, so does my Sun Bear mask.  

sun bear

sun bear mask

bear mask
Add caption

hand made mask

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Zoo Animal Masks: Part I, The Caracal

handmade masks

Recently, I had the opportunity to create zoo animal themed art work to place in an up coming exhibition. After dusting off my mask making skills, I got to work!  


The inspiration for my first animal mask was a Caracal, a medium sized cat found in Africa, the Middle East, and parts of India. Caracal have absolutely amazing ears, all the better to hear you with....and really fun for mask making!

caracal mask

And while the Caracal was incredibly fun to make, the urge to make a Punk inspired Caracal was overwhelming.....mask number 2 was created. 

punk rock mask

Using different materials was inspiring, and thinking about different types of stitching to complement the look was oddly challenging, but ultimately freeing...I've worked really hard have neat, regular stitches  

handmade mask

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bouncy, Happy, Labrador Mask

Labrador Mask

Introducing the hot off the press, Labrador inspired, Dog Mask PDF Pattern!  It's been awhile since I've made a new pattern.  This one comes from a customer request! You can find the pattern in the Etsy shop!
Dog Mask

Puppy Mask

Labrador Mask

Dog Mask

Dog Mask

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding Home...

I've always thought of myself as someone who would create no matter what the circumstances....that creativity was some how my savior, or at least a large part of my happy place.  I created during the most stressful 4 years of my life, as a student at of my saving graces was "drawing" my anatomy notes.  I was creative during bouts of depression in my early 20's, but somehow 2014 was different...and really it all started mid 2013.

July 2013 my husband and I decided that our life in Italy was unsustainable and we need a change, a great big, gigantic change.  After much discussion, research and consideration we settled on moving to  New Zealand.  At this point in the story it is easy to say, "Oh, poor baby, moving from Italy to New Zealand," and in many aspects you would be correct....but the reality of completely uprooting your family and changing hemispheres is quite unsettling.

In August 2013 we began the visa process.  From August until March 2014 we fretted daily, sometimes hourly about whether or not we would get the visa, and what we should, or should not do if that became a reality.  Think of a really intense roller coaster ride that lasts 7 months.  Add to that the worry of finding a new job from halfway around the world.

March 2014 found both the visa and the job....we were going!...going into the the complete unknown! In June all of our possessions where boxed up and put into crates. We said "good-bye" to our home of 7 years, to the only home my daughter had ever known, to all of our friends, to the friends my son had had since preschool.  We said "good-bye" to our adopted Italian family, to the children's surrogate was rough, very, very rough.  By mid-June we had left the summer heat of Italia and entered the beginning of the New Zealand winter, in Wellington.

I had managed to arrange temporary lodging for 10 days in New Zealand.  During those first 10 days my husband started a new job (after 3 days), my children started school, and  just in the nick of time I managed to secure more temporary housing.  The last day of June we moved into a little furnished apartment in a lovely little suburb just outside of central Wellington.

Wellington winter is rainy and cool and extremely windy!  So while the rest of the family was at work and school I was at "home," trying desperately to make good use of my time and do something creatively meaningful....anything would do.  Alas, "Funk" became my middle name, and on some days my first and last name as well. Creativity was not flowing, not even a trickle.  I had bouts of depression in college, it made for some great "dark" art, but this was different.

September 2014 the tides began it change, we found a fabulous "character home" on a hillside, with an amazing view, and moved in the second week of October.  October I was busy getting everything unpacked and getting everyone time to worry about creativity or the lack there of.

I also started a new job, in October, working once a week as a tutor at a really amazing Art Workshop space in Wellington.  As part of my training, I attended a zine making workshop taught by one of the other tutors there. I attended the workshop to learn how workshops were run, but came away with so much more....or at least the spark of so much more.  

I went in to the workshop with no idea what so ever as to what I would make a zine about, and just started working on the first thing that popped into my head.  I named my zine "7 departures....7 arrivals...Finding Home."  It started out to be about the physical journey of arriving here, but ended up being a realization that it was this idea of "home" that I had been missing.

I am well aware I can create through stress, and through depression, but I was surprised to learn that the creative juices dry up with out the security of "home."  They say home is not a place, but a feeling, and I suppose that is true, but I needed a place where I knew I didn't have to pack up and leave any time soon, a place I felt secure, that is for me it turns out home is both a place and a feeling, and an absolute necessity my creative process.

Which leads us to November when I was approached by a costume designer from Boston.  She inquired as to whether or not I did custom mask patterns.  I ended up acceptingd a challenge that at other times I would have politely declined, and have spent the last two months in the throws of mask designing and making!  I put the last of the masks in the mail yesterday.  I feel like I might be back to my normal Creative Compulsive self....I have about a million ideas right now.....


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Raccoon Mask

rocket raccoon mask
OxeyeDasiey Raccon Mask
Today is the Raccoon Mask's premier in the Etsy shop!  Yes, we did see Gaurdians of the Galaxy, and yes, we are Rocket Raccoon fans, and yes, it may have influenced the decision to make a Raccoon Mask!  Fun, fun!  Hope you enjoy the new mask!  

Fun for girls....

raccoon mask
Raccoon Mask
and boys (of all ages)!

raccoon mask
Raccoon Mask

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Muskox Birthday

When I asked my daughter what kind of birthday party she would like, I was not expecting "MUSKOX!"  In fact my first response was something along the lines of, "REALLY?!"  Unbeknownst to me muskox are fluffy, and comfortable, AND her favorite animal!  Who knew.  After the initial shock, I must admit I was really, really excited to have a muskox party.  She knew exactly what she wanted, a muskox pinata, a Pin the Tail on the Muskox game, muskox masks for all her friends, and a muskox cake.

Party preparations started with the muskox pinata.  "So what color would you like the muskox to be?" "BLUE!  I would like a BLUE muskox!"  Obviously, what a silly question.  So early on the muskox party turned into the blue muskox party.  During the making of the pinata, we went from just any ol' blue muskox to "Rachel"...."Rachel the Big Blue Muskox".  

The only problem with naming a pinata is that it makes the thought of breaking the pinata terribly stressful....which is how I ended up making two pinatas and Rachel became a party decoration and NOT a pinata.  

Finally the day of the party arrived!  As requested, we played Pin the Tail on the Muskox.  In my experience, Pin the Tail on the Whatever is wildly popular with the young ones.  Muskox tail pinning was no exception.  

I enjoy making the games a part of the party decoration.  As it turns out, I found painting blue muskoxen very satisfying we add another game/party decoration....and another blue muskox....

This game we called "Wrangle the Muskox".  Basically a game of ring toss, we used hula hoops and a the muskox painting attached to a post.  We had three hula hoops going at once which made waiting for your turn much shorter, and the game more enjoyable.  

Rachel had her moment in the spotlight when we played, "Feed the Muskox".  I wrote a blog post a few years ago titled, "The Ultimate Birthday Party Game Guide".   Bean Bag toss is one of the tried and true favorites, and can fit almost any themed party.  Like the hula hoops in the ring toss, we had many bean bags making it unnecessary to wait long for a turn.  My son and his friends helped things run smoothly by tossing the bean bags back to the waiting crowd.  

We used the muskox masks in a game of chase.  I gave all the children muskox masks and one a wolf mask. Once you were tagged by the wolf you switched your muskox mask for a wolf mask and became a wolf until everyone was a wolf.  The kids played this game for a very long time and when it was finally over we were very ready for cake! 

OK, fair mocking the cake.  If you are ever tasked with making a blue muskox cake with cream cheese frosting and you succeed in making an amazing cake, then you can mock my cake...but until then, only smiles and nods allowed.  It tasted good, and she loved it.  

Our last hoorah was the pinata.  As promised, Rachel was spared.  The pinata was filled with candy and small plastic animals.  

Blue Muskox turned out to be one of my favorite themed birthday parties to create.  Most importantly, our 7 year old had the, "BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!"