Thursday, June 19, 2014

Your Chance To Own An Important Piece Of Poppet History

Since I started working for Lisa in November of last year, I've been admiring a large table she's kept in the studio and said very little about.  All I knew was that it was a work that she'd started right around the time of the big recession of 2008 and that she couldn't afford the time to complete after downsizing and donning the many hats required by her Poppety Empire. 

Now that  Poppet Planet has found it's way,  Lisa can begin to devote some of her energy to larger pieces, and move forward into the book projects she longs for. She has decided that now is a brilliant time to finish this very important piece of Poppet's history--and her own as well.  She is actively looking for a commission to complete this work.

You are looking at an unfinished gaming table sculpture made with the original casting of Poppets, of which there are very few left.  This sculpture is  the last that will feature such a large grouping  of the original casting of  Poppets.  Lisa's art is transforming into something that tells of a bigger picture--one that requires fewer Poppets and more of their world.

The title of this work is "Complimentary Colors," and tells the story of two opposing armies that meet in the middle and cancel each other out.

This piece is designed to be a gaming table, and it comes with a 24"x 24" beveled glass top. There are several options for table legs, to be decided at the time of the commission.

If you are interested in commissioning this piece, or if you have any further questions about it, please email us at

I personally would love to see this piece finished.  That being said, I'll be sad to see it go because I know how much it represents for Lisa.  Saying goodbye to all of those Poppets who have dutifully  stayed in their little places all these years waiting for Lisa to tell them what's next in their journey.  They've been in this war just as long as she has been.  It's time to see them off.

--Jessie, assistant to Lisa Snellings

Friday, May 09, 2014

How To Make A Poppet

Jessie P. Stuart, 7 Eleven aficionado 
Hey everyone, it's Lisa's assistant Jessie.

You may have received a similar greeting in an Etsy convo recently, followed up with "I swear we didn't forget about you, your order is coming, we just weren't expecting for Neil Gaiman to link to the shop and get so slammed with orders that we're just now getting to the order you placed on April Freaking Tenth."

The Poppet business is booming, and because Poppet Planet is currently a two-bit operation and everything we sell is hand cast or hand sculpted and hand painted and hand licked kissed on the face by Our Artist, we have quite a bit of actual nose to the grindstone work to do pretty much round the clock.

I want to tell you a little bit about the process of making Poppets just in case you ever felt disappointed when you opened your mailbox a week after placing your order and still seeing no sign of a cheery package from Palm Springs.  Also, this will explain why Poppet says "read our shop policies," which kindly remind you to convo us immediately to tell us if your order is a gift so that we can make arrangements to get it to you in time.

Don't make Poppet tap the sign.

How To Make A Poppet

by Jessie Pearl Stuart, a human who knows and has done seent it all

Baked, not fried
Step One:  Sculpting or Casting the little buggers

Poppets are cast in resin and marble dust, or they are hand sculpted by the artist.  Yeah, by the artist.  As in Lisa.  As in they are not outsourced or made by the hundreds in a warehouse or even passed off to Jessie to perfect.  Hand Sculpted Poppets are indeed made with Lisa's hands.

They start as lumps of polymer clay.  Our Artist fashions them into various sized balls for each piece of the poppet.  This includes one large "gumball" sized ball for the body, a "marble" for the head, three "blueberries" for the two arms and the rough, and two little "BBs" for the hands.

Poppet Parts Chart
Lisa provided me with a "Poppet Parts Chart" for reference, as I will on occasion, as her lovely assistant, roll hundreds of tiny balls that are ready for her to just pick up and sculpt.  This saves her some time, but after having sculpted many many many poppets in her days, she can whip up these balls to their correct size with no problem.  Still, if I can save even two minutes of her time, I will.

The balls are then formed into their various shapes--which if you have not noticed, are all pretty much teardrops.  Look at your poppet.  Can you count the teardrops?

Some of the more elaborate poppets are only hand sculpted once every few weeks, as we have discovered a bit of a time saver.  After Lisa sculpts, say, Poppet On Tour, we make a mold of it. 

The molds don't last forever, but if we can get 30 poppets out of it before it begins to deteriorate, it's worth it.  Making the poppets via mold isn't just a lickety-split cookie cutter process though.  The poppet will come out with "flash," where the seams of the mold come together and squishes where the clay comes out of the sides and creates a sort of "extra skin."  Lisa takes her trusty X-Acto knife and cleans it up, and adds back any delicate detail that was lost in handling.

Once they are perfect, they are set in the toaster oven at something like 250 degrees F and a few minutes later we have poppets!  Or we have a terrible smell and a moment with a lot of curse words because we forgot that we'd put the toaster oven to "broil" for our cheese toast that morning.  (It happens more often than you think.)

Now, that's just the hand sculpted poppets.  When it comes to the Classic Poppets, pieces such as An Angel Named Grace, A Child's Garden, Piper the Gnome, or those big wonderful garden sculptures, it requires goggles and a trip to the garage.

Willie cold casting a marble sculpture
More often than not, Lisa is the one doing the marble casting--which is a complicated sciencie process that I do not fully understand.  There's measuring and mixing and timing and that's not really my thing, but she is training my delicious man friend Willie Dean all of the sorcery that goes into the process.

The liquid form of a poppet is similar to the same texture you get when you add milk to your ice cream, or like a well blended cottage cheese.  It is poured into molds (molds that were created by Lisa, that were created from hand sculpted originals) and left to sit for some certain magic amount of time.  There's some kind of bass-ackward nonsense about the time being shorter for larger pieces because the chemicals heat up when they react, and with more material there is more heat and it cures faster.  Don't hold me to any of this information though.  Like you, I just see the finished product and go "yay!"

But I do know that there is a lot of frustration with too chunky of mixes or spoiled batches of whatever, so we're not exactly talking about some easy cheese science here.  It's Grandma's scratch brownies with real vanilla extract compared to the Betty Crocker mix.  It's gotta be exact for it to come out right.  You can't just add an egg and expect it to be as good.

Freshly cast poppet
At last, that familiar little totem is popped from the mold, and we have that clean little doo-dad.   It may need some cleanup, like the one in the picture here that needs some sanding on the bottom.  And because of the marble, you might notice little "freckles" on Poppet's face.  We're starting to leave these because they're kind of cute!  It's just the grain, but it adds character.  Some poppets are very freckly, though.

I am not with Lisa at all times, I do not know exactly how many poppets she casts in a week or a day, but I can tell you that last Tuesday Willie cast about 30 figures that included some poppets, some rats, and some other random things that he found molds for--some things that pre-date Poppet that you've never seen before.

Wow, 30 figurines though!  That's a lot, and all within about three hours?  He's a little poppet making factory!  He's a machine, that Willie Dean!

Yeah so about step two...

Step Two:  Base Coat Painting

Base coat stages of Poppet
Every Poppet, whether cast or sculpted, is painted black (except for its face.)  The crevices of the rough, all of it.  Black.  And paint takes a minute to dry, as you know, so usually the body is painted first, and when the paint is dry 10 or so minutes later, the head is painted.

When all of the paint is dry (and the rough takes the longest because of all of the little holes) we use a technique called "drybrushing" with white.  

To drybrush, we dip a flat brush in the white paint, and then make several strokes on a piece of cardboard, or our apron, or whatever is handy to eliminate most of the paint from the brush.  Then, when the brush is mostly "dry" of paint, we make several quick strokes on the poppet, which leaves a chalky white effect that allows the texture of the poppet's robe to show through, as the white paint does not fill in the creases.  A second hit with the "drybrush" is made to areas that need to be highlighted, such as the rough, or Poppet On Tour's backpack, or the little cup of cocoa and bunny slippers on the Cozy Poppet we know from winter time. 

This step is very important to the painting of poppets.  It's what creates the unique layered look that you can observe on your poppet's robe.  In fact, if you took a microscope to your poppet, you would see the white and black paint under the colors.  Cool, huh?

Bibbit.  Bibbit Bibbit.  Bibbit?
There is another painting technique that we give to some pieces called "washing."  This is a technique we use on little Bibbit, for example.  This is a technique where we mix lots of water with the paint and let the colored water sort of "stain" the piece.  The neat thing about this is how it runs into the cracks where it is dark, and it stays light on the surface.  She has also used this technique to give garden sculptures a sort of mossy patina by washing them with green.

A very cool thing that happened recently was while I was being nosy and snooping through Lisa's house, I found a cache of rats.  Jester rats!  I brought them to her and told her I loved them and asked if there was some way we could save them from their little shelf in the dark room I was "accidentally" looking around in by accident on purpose.

"Valentine Chester" was made many years ago when Strange Studios was more than just a two bit operation, and there were actual hired Poppet Painters who really did work in a warehouse in the desert.  Many Valentine Chesters were painted.  Many never sold.  But why does he have to be only for Valentines?  I get that his pink heart and cheery red robe are very Valentine-ie, yes, but Lisa came up with an idea to update Chester a little to give him a more year-round look.

The new and improved Chester Jester
We put a black wash over him.

The result?  Chester has less of a bright red robe and more of the Alizarin Crimson color that the Classic Red Poppet wears, the bubblegum pink trim on his sleeves is darkened to a more "Lisa" sort of blacky-pink, and his fur is darkened to a more ratty sort of grey.

We finished him up with a gold tooth, a touch of glitter, and a glossy coat on his fancy jester clothes, and even gave him glossy black beady eyes that make him look very lifelike.  Like, he might actually be alive.  I don't know.  It freaks me out when it's dark and they're all looking at me.  But anyway, he is now for sale

Of course, all of these fancy little bells and whistles like glitter and gloss are a glimpse into Step 4.  Now we go to Step 3 with our base painted poppet.

Step Three:  Painting The Poppet

So even if a poppet is just one solid color, we're looking at about two hours of solid work before even coming to the point where we can paint it that solid color.

Various stages of painted poppets
The color is drybrushed on over the white drybrushing, but not covering up that black undercoat that the white left exposed.  This can be tricky.  Too much paint and you cover up your texture.  Not enough paint and the white shows through. 

Then you've got to do the rough.  And make sure that the little holes in the rough are filled in.  And then you've got to touch the rough up again to cover up where the paint from the holes slopped out.

And let's not forget that beautiful face.  Poppet's got to have a face!

If the poppet needs to have a white painted face, we paint a thin layer of white in 2-3 coats, similar to painting your nails.  When the face is all painted, we take a very fine brush and paint an outline around it.  And then we dot the eyes.

I?  Am not very good at dotting the eyes.

Truth be told, even Lisa sometimes has trouble dotting the eyes.

This is where the licking comes in.

If an eye goes wonky, and you're quick enough, you can simply lick off the paint.  No, you cannot just use your finger.  Or a washcloth.  A tongue is the only tool that will do.  Not every poppet is licked but it happens.  And now you know the company secret. 

Sometimes the paint sets too quick and we are beyond the licking point and have to repaint the face.  Oh and yes the paint we use is nontoxic, but I think that's only for it's regular use.  Probably isn't meant to be ingested.  But who cares, because Art.

Cracker surfing
Touch up, outline, paint the little hands and there!  A Little Red Poppet.

HA!  As if all we sell are single colored poppets.  Surely you jest.  Surely you aren't suggesting that we don't spend hours coming up with new designs to entertain you folks so we can get sales and, you know, make a living.  You're too much.

Let's take a look at the shop, shall we?

Oh I see this cold cast marble Day Of The Dead girl with her drybrushing, wash, tiny flowers and I won't even bring up her umbrella.  Or the Pizza Chef who starts off with red for his sauce, which is stippled with yellow for his cheese, all of the outlining for the apron, pepperonis and mushrooms which all have to be painted, along with the little bell peppers, and his "sauce splatters."  I won't mention his hat or that rolling pin.

"None of this will matter when we don't have any water"
And the Mushroom Clown with it's perfectly round "face paint," all of the highly detailed Game Of Thrones poppets,  and the very very detailed tiny landscape scene painted inside of Yesterday.  And yes, that is a hand sculpted 3D flower in there, but I won't get to that yet.

From the dots and spots on the Birthday Poppet to the frogs on the coats of the the steampunk professors, there's a lot of tiny detail on these puppies that is usually applied using a toothpick.  Not to mention, everything needs an outline, so it all has to be applied twice.

Depending on the detail of the poppet, this can take hours.  And because it is easier to get several done at once, it takes even longer.  In the end though, instead of having spent two hours on one poppet, we maybe spent six hours on 10.  That's working smarter, not harder.

So now do you want to talk about umbrellas, rolling pins, and 3D flowers?

Step Four:  Bells, Whistles and Schmancy Little Thingies

Fret and Worry
Is your favorite poppet holding or interacting with a schmancy little thingy?  Does he have clown hair and a clown nose, or a mask or an umbrella or glasses or a tiny toy or a knife or anything that we didn't just cast into his little hand in the first place?

You are not alone, because there are hundreds of poppets with little add ons that make them special and unique.  A poppet for sale is exciting, yes.  But put something in its hand or on its head, duuuuuuuuuuude I'mma need a stack of those.  And we sell stacks of them.  STACKS.

These fancy little add ons are made by hand, or if they are a charm or a bead or something, they are usually attached by Dremmeling a hole and gluing the piece on with the help of a piece of wire.

There are a few little pieces that made with an epoxy that Lisa is allergic to and it gives her big rashes on her hands.  But this substance is the only substance that will do for the perfect thingy.  Dedication, yo.

Glass shard nail polish and microbeads
But the thingies!  They add so much!  

I will never forget the time that the little brass ukulele charms didn't come in so Lisa hand sculpted some so we could send off orders, and she used a razor blade to cut four tiny little strings into it.

Sometimes the fanciness of a poppet is done with a hat tip to some gawdwaful funky nail polish that even a 14 year old girl will dismiss with a haughty "gag me with a forklift."  Sometimes we get bored and start gluing things to poppets, such as microbeads or candy sprinkles.

I personally go overkill on glitter but everything I've put glitter on has sold so I don't think it's all that overkill, unless you're buying it because it's overkill and that's what you like about it.

Finally, it's time for the finishing touches.

Step five:  Finishing Touches

(Not in Kansas)
How do poppets get their glossy coats?  This is a little known secret that may surprise you.

Poppets are fed a diet of raw egg and avocado with a little bit of salt, pepper, and cayenne.  The protein lends to the thickness of the coat, whereas the 20 different vitamins and minerals give poppets their shine.

Have you ever dropped a poppet on your tile and breathed a sigh of relief when it survived without a scratch?  This is due to the high cholesterol and monounsaturated fat in the poppet's diet.

I'm kidding.  We use clear nail polish or floor wax.

Each poppet is hand finished by Lisa.  She inspects every one for imperfections, touches up my sloppy work (sorry, not all of us have been doing this for 25 freaking years) and signs the bottom.

Would you like this on a shirt?
PS, did you know that Lisa's designed her signature to look like fish bones?  

Okie dokie, so you've now got a pretty good idea of what goes into each and every little poppet on the planet.  Now, I'm just telling you about what happens between the time that you place your order and the time it is shipped out.  If this was the first poppet made in a series of poppets to be made, or a one of a kind, we'd now take it for photographing, work up some ad copy, list it on Etsy and promote it via Facebook and mailings.

But since this is a poppet that you ordered, your pal Jessie here will put together your brilliant little package.  You know the one!  The one with all of the ribbons and bubble wrap and "scraggle" (which is what I call the shredded paper accordion stuff) and pretty little gifts and a thank you card.

A few notes about the packaging--

-Lisa prints those little art cards, one of us uses spray glue to back them onto cardboard and then cuts them out.
-I sand the edges of the cards with sand paper by hand
-She hates my bows, so if the quality of the bows on your packages have gone down it's because I am doing them and I apparently suck at it
-I put in orders for your little treats, like the pinback buttons.  We aren't making those, another shop on Etsy does them for us. 
-Each package takes between 10-20 minutes to finish.

So if you've ever wondered why shipping on a little two inch figurine is $5, it's because a human girl really did put in a bunch of effort to wow you and there's a lot of stuff in that box surrounding your little friend.

Now I hope you understand why we sometimes fall behind at Poppet Planet even though Lisa is working until 10 or 11 at night every day of the week, and why correspondence starts off with "Hey there, this is Lisa's assistant Jessie."

By all means, if you have questions, please send them.  And by all means, if you have a gift to order please tell us so we can make your order a priority.

Our shipping is not slow.  Our production list is long, and our orders are backlogged.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not have a stock room of hundreds of pre-made poppets we can just throw in a box and send out.  Though we may have a few extras on hand from our "work smarter not harder" production technique, it took us time to make those too.  And believe me, I may help out but the brunt of the work is done by her.

Lisa and I thank you for your patience while we adjust to all of this growth.  The majority of our customers have been super cool these past few months, and you've been extremely patient with me specifically while I learn.  Thank you for not making Poppet tap and re-tap the sign. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Difficult Work vs Hard Work

     The Great Recession rolled over our studio like a wave,  leaving us with a different dynamic - fewer humans to do more work for less money.
  So for awhile everything was multitasking, economy of materials and no movement or moment wasted.   My brain switched to a new gear that was creative, innovative and just at the edge of panic. Our studio and household were in a sort of survival mode and stayed there for several years.  We were the Nostradamus and we forged on.

 It was during this time that I learned the difference between hard work and difficult work.  It was then  I learned to dovetail the two for maximum efficiency.
Clowns will kill me in my sleep.
 But of course, there's a cost.

Eventually, I learned that
this pedal to the metal
approach is highly

Ease up, Ripley - you're
grinding the gears.

Divide and Conquer:   

Poppet on Tour waits for a polish.
Hard work is a full day of marble casting. It's mostly physical labor and plenty of it.  It sounds like a good idea to be planning and thinking while using mostly my hands.  I mean, I've got this large portion of my brain not engaged, why not make mental lists, think of everything wrong with my life or plan the next project?
  Because  over time, it's debilitating.  It can lead to the dreaded mental flat spin and a crash.  Who has time for that?

Instead, why not put on some music I really like and zone out?  I can get into the motion and routine of the work, truly enjoy the craft, and appreciate the hard-won  skill of my hands.
And I can give my brain (and creative soul) a rest and refresh.  I can enjoy the work I'm actually doing.

Difficult work is planning an exhibit, finding the right metaphor, writing an article, working out the mechanics of a kinetic piece.    Do I really need to do this while I'm loading the dishwasher or folding laundry?
Do I need to be frowning in concentration about something else while my hands are shaping beautiful wings?

  Sometimes the answer is yes.  Sometimes it's unavoidable, as in periods of change or when pushing to meet a project deadline.
Maestro continues to work on a unified theory.

  Otherwise, it's not a bad idea to give the body a rest while doing the difficult mental work.  True enough, I've had some great ideas while working.  Overall though, I solve problems more efficiently while at rest.  A casual walk, sitting comfortably somewhere or even floating in the pool.

   Difficult Work vs Hard Work.    Rest your body for one, rest your mind for the other.  You'll have more energy and be more productive in the longer run.

And don't forget that sometimes, humans must stop working, period.   We need time to play and time to rest.

Have a great Easter, fellow travelers, whether Pagan, Christian or Cadbury.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A stitch in time saves nine? It's the "in time" part that counts.


      Orion and I headed out to school this morning in a sprinkle of rain, though there were no clouds overhead.   Clouds were moving in over the mountains, which were tipped in snow.  A rainbow cut through it all like a bright banner.   As I slowed at a traffic light, the brakes whined and I heard the pop of the CV joints.  These things must be fixed soon, because it won't take long for them to fail completely, causing at worst an accident or at least affecting the whole car system and bringing it to a halt.
  The clouds are brilliantly lit.  The desert is beautiful but like the car, there are problems that threaten its dynamic.  There is a drought that isn't likely to go away.  There are sixty three golf courses in the desert.   Closing them and turning off the water that keeps them green will turn these to dust bowls.  And one thing we have enough of in the desert is blowing sand.
  Then the entire system fails.  No golf courses, no visitors.  No visitors, no economy.

  Could we live with fewer golf courses?  Could some of them be used for growing something useful, like food?   Is there a solution for the desert?   Might we find a way to sustain ourselves?  We now face the distinct possibility that we cannot.

  Systems fail.  In my observations, it seems that the micro and macro tend to mimic each other.  Small systems --  like a car, like the health of an individual, a relationship, a business, a family --seem to fail in similar fashion.   Things start to go slowly---the suspension, an untreated dental issue, a festering resentment, fewer clients, loss of income.  Things break, can't be replaced, adjustments are made and a downhill spiral begins.
  Only spirals get faster as they go.    We all know the best time to fix something is at the beginning.
Replace the button, repair the cracks.  They will only get bigger.    This applies to the washing machine that needs bearings and to the economy of a nation that's off track.  Or a desert that's based on a climate that no longer exists.

  It's very possible that we've broken our desert home.  It's possible that we've broken our planet.  It's possible that these things are beyond fixing.  Or not.

  Either way, it's clear to me that it's past time for a very large shift in our thinking.   It's clear that if we continue to put off the things we can change, we'll be faced with things we can't.

  Does this stuff worry me?  Every day.  But not all day.  I can only change myself and the small bit I can reach.  But if I'm doing what I can, I have more peace.

  Tell me your thoughts.  Do you worry?  How is your life affected by the changes, and by the knowledge that more change is coming?


Sunday, March 16, 2014


The best words of wisdom I have for you today is that the only way to make something happen is to schedule time for it and show up.
  I'm not so late learning this one but pretty damned far along to be putting it into practice, so you're likely way ahead of me here.

Knowing the path is not walking the path.   I'm walking it today.  Good enough.   Now I have to practice, practice, practice scheduling time and showing up.  Not poppet time.  Not shop time.  Time for making the things I want to make.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Schrödinger's Cat via Lisa's Quantum Circus

From Lisa Snellings' Quantum Circus:

Poppets like Physics.  And Philosophy. 

Poppet Explains Schrodinger, once more.

In a short video made with photos of a sculpture that incorporates paintings.  And Poppets.

How very interstitial.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poppet Rainbow All The Way Across The Sky

So Many Colors In A Rainbow, available on Etsy
JPS here, aka Jessie Human aka "you're fired" aka "aaaw, you're hired."

I have been Lisa's assistant and liaison person since November.  We have been constantly busy, and yet she says "this isn't busy season."


In November and December she was training me in the art of Poppet Painting.  I painted many poppets, but something I love about Lisa is that before it can be shipped, she personally inspects, touches up, and signs each one.  Often, she kisses their little faces.  She also kisses her paper dolls and her cats and my kids and my husband person Willie--but not in a "why is this woman kissing my husband person" kind of way.

If you've not met Lisa Snellings, let me just say that she's pretty much one of the coolest people you'll ever meet.  Hands down.  Her food, her stories, her random creative ideas that turn into something I can hold in my hand and honestly ask "so...can I have this one?"

Various works in progress. 
Once the new year hit our favorite artist got this beauty streak in her.  She got all happy and creative and she started being inspired by crap we'd find in thrift stores and anything that had anything to do with the circus.

Which includes boiled peanuts.

Which are now my favorite food ever.

Part of the reason I work at Poppet Planet is because Lisa wasn't getting enough time to work on larger projects.  Poppets are so popular and well loved, our artist was on what she called "a poppet hamster wheel" and couldn't put time into the really big ideas she has.  Now that I am on the poppet hamster wheel (and I love it, and I think I need one of those neat tube systems to go with it as well) Lisa is cookin' on the new stuff!

And I probably shouldn't talk about any of it.  But I do take studio pictures, like the one above, so feel free to take a look at them and try to decipher what is going on.  (Is that a tiny piano I see?)  

We needed rainbow poppets, she told me the other day.  She told me "Lisa's palate," because she occasionally speaks in third person--which isn't as strange as when she talks in Silence Of The Lambs (it puts the glue dot on the mat board)-- "is made of colors that have black in them.  The crimson, the winter blue, they all have black in them."  She had me look at pictures of past Rainbow Poppets to get an idea of how to do this year's.

Out of all of what I found, I liked the "classic" one best.  Probably because I enjoy the classic poppets more than the hand sculpted ones.  Then again, there are some seriously amazing hand sculpted poppets in the shop right now

I loaded up with "Lisa's Palate" friendly colors and ended up with this little dude:

I think he's adorable.  Or it.  Lisa says we try not to give them genders unless it's obvious.  Or that's her Silence of the Lambs thing again.

To me, rainbow is male.  But Lisa told me that there is a collector who sees all poppets as female.

Do you think poppets have genders?  Does it matter?  Leave a comment below. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Brief History Of The Ouija Board

Lisa's assistant Jessie here to school you on the history of the Ouija Board. 

The history of the Ouija board is more romantic than your God fearing grandmother would have you think.  In Victorian times, lovers would sit with their knees together on a chaperoned date, which gave them an ample opportunity to play footsie-feelie.  At the very same time, these couples were able to send secret messages to one another that the chaperones couldn't overhear.

Imagine the naughty things being said in this classic Norman Rockwell picture.

Poppets, as you know, mimic humans in a gentle, poking-fun way, including our emotions, beliefs, experiences, and culture.  Poppets explore Ouija, seeing the unknown not as good or evil, but as, well, unknown.

 You can explore the mysteries of the Ouija with your very own Poppet Ouija Board and Planchette hand made by Lisa Snellings.  Purchase at Etsy

Not willing to play the game?  No Victorian lover to rub knees with?  Leave it to Ouija Board Poppet to discover all that hooky-pooky woo woo creepy mystical nonsense.  Purchase at Etsy

Coming soon:  Pocket sized Ouija Boards with tiny planchettes that you can give as a Valentine or keep for yourself. 

There are plenty of other Poppety Sweet Valentine things in the shop, come check it out

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I love the smell of paperbacks in the morning.

I think a lot about books.  There were always books, from my earliest memory.  I can thank my parents for that.  My mother's reading habits and my dad's willingness to drive me to the library in the next town every Saturday morning.
 Yesterday I took a day off for much needed rest.  Surrounding me on the bed were my laptop, my Kindle, a paper copy of "The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland" - a kind and timely gift sent from Michaela in Germany. And, of course, the ever changing plethora of cats.

  I hear a lot of discussions about how sad it is that paper books are going away.  Of course they are.  Paper is going away --or at least its widespread use.  I don't have a problem with that, short of a little nostalgia.  This is the information age after all, and I love it.  I have a library that fits into my purse, windows into the world in my house.  Any question I have can be answered in the time it takes to ask it.

  Everything has a price.  Remember beautiful stationery?  You may not, but I do.  Printed and scented and tied up in pretty boxes.  So exciting to choose the new box.  So thrilling to get a fancy envelope in the mailbox.    But then, once upon a time the sight of a woman's ankle could send a proper man swooning.  (And no, I wasn't alive for that, having grown up in the relative freedom of the 70's.)

  We move on.

 Some of us will  always love paper books. Of course we will.  They are our childhoods. And they likely won't disappear overnight, wiped out by a single cataclysm.  Instead, they will evolve into something else.
They will become artful, valuable and precious.   I expect that in short time the word "book" will replace "electronic book" and "paper book" will replace "book."  Or some such. Time will tell, and less of it than we may think.
I'll do what I can to preserve my small library of precious editions - my Sturgeon, Padgett and Leiber, my Bradbury, Asimov and Ellison.
Some argue that reading is going away.  Yes, indeed it is.  Language is changing at a logarithmic pace and videos  replace words and pictures.  This, to me, is a larger concern and another topic.

  But hopefully there will always be those of us who love language.  Writing is an art form.  A sentence so well crafted to give us pause will hold its place as such. Time will choose the classics of every era, including this one. At least I hope for this.  Stories can be read on screens as well as on paper.  In the end, it's the words that matter.

Despite my many faults and missteps, I've done my part as my parents did, in that all of my offspring read for pleasure.  And each of them writes creatively.   I don't have to wonder if they will pass the love of language on.  That's not my concern, but theirs.

  If you're filled with longing for paper books, go to the library or a used book store and breathe deeply.  Look at the light slanting across the stacks, dust motes dancing between.  And don't be sad about books. If you love them, you'll always have them.

Hope your Saturday is inspiring.

--your artist