Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stumbling forward. Is small the new big?

*This morning I put my apron back on. I'm taking that as a sign of repair. It's supposed to be 110 today. In protest, we've released this year's "anti summer Poppet." Later, we shall shake our fists at the sun, glimpsed between strips of shade, and we in the thankfully-still-cool water, holding drinks with little umbrellas, in plastic cups, of course. It seems the best way to face this whole summer thing.

**A friend suggested that the only way to appreciate the Poppet Mini is to hold it in one's fingers, so that it can be felt and turned and seen close up and that if I get these 'tiny pieces of art' into other's hands, they'd see them as I do. This friend has a long history of giving me good advice, so I've put our Steampunk Mini up at an introduction price, to get them out into the world where they can watch over their Poppet fellows and help humans think differently about size.

Is small the new big? Only Poppets know, and they're not telling.

*** We're trying to get our collectors moved over to the Etsy store for open editions. I really like the community of Etsy. I'm collaborating with other artists to create cool things for the winter holidays, like silver poppet jewelry and journals, and soft squeezy Poppets.

But for hard-core eBay shoppers, we put the Steampunk Mini's there too.

****Yikes. When putting the Steampunk Mini's in the eBay store, we discovered a typo in the listing of the Mini Red Poppet. A big one. It was listed for $30 and was meant to be $20. Sorry about that, it's now corrected so that the price matches the one's on Etsy. Good Grief and Sheesh.

*****We're moving our very cramped shipping department to a new space next week. We've had a few slow ships and some other minor mess-ups these last months. Now we can spread out, be more organized and kick ass like we used to. Thank you all ever so much for your patience while we were in transition. As collectors go, Poppet collectors are the cheese (to our macaroni.)

****** So today, simple things. Extra time underwater. Stumbling forward, at least.

have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

strength and skies, friends and poppets

I'm still feeling fragile. Too fragile. There was the slow burnout, then the smashing upon the floor, then losing Gurtie. Sent me into a real tailspin.

Damn. But I don't give up. I use the tools I've acquired to stop the descent so I can start pulling myself up again. That doesn't mean that occasionally I don't cry like a baby.

I'm starting to gather up the catnip mouses and other things that set me off.

The temps are 'normal' now, (106 today) so there's little going outside until evening, except to be underwater.

I tend (as if you haven't noticed) to turn my attention often to the sky. Clouds by day and stars at night. I tend also (I've noticed recently) to use the analogy of flight for describing emotions.

I did finally get "Amelia's Skies" finished. It's been sitting for weeks, so very nearly done. Getting her finished and photographed feels good.

She's the first of a new series of Poppet sculptures honoring humans Poppets love. We made these really cool hand painted boxes for her ---good enough to keep---with a replica of Amelia Earhart's pilot's license inside the lid, acquired from the excellently cool Propnomicon. Very worth checking out.
So. there you are. I told you I'd keep you posted on the 'fixing' of your burnt -out artist. It's been anything but a straight line so far. I keep hoping some wonderfully helpful advice will come out of this, because I know a lot of you deal with similar issues. So far, I have no all-encompassing formula. But maybe you'll glean something useful from my sharing the experience. I hope so.

Spencer and I have some really interesting pieces (that do things) in the works for Halloween and the World Fantasy Convention. That helps. This weekend I'll spend some time with my buddy the Neil Gaiman and meet Amanda Palmer, whom I already feel I know. That will help too. The house is tired of me and really wants me to go away.
be safe

Monday, June 22, 2009

dancing puppies and the worry poppet

A few shots from Zoya's recital on Saturday.

(Zoya in center, ears flying.)

A new steam punk poppet car, collaboration with Bent.

Poppet 'worry doll' in a box. When I was a little girl there was an elderly lady living down the street. Mrs. Brewer. Her backyard was surrounded by an ancient grey fence with porcelain nails. My brother and I marveled at the smooth concavity of these strange nails. The bottom of this Poppet feels just like that, cold and smooth. It's hard to stop touching it. So I turned it into my version of the 'worry doll.' My own will live on my desk, but if that doesn't work, under my pillow she goes.

I feel a bit like I'm made of lead. I keep reminding me that this will go away. I know that's true . We can always count on things changing. So I work a bit, and rest a bit. Weird schedule, but it can work in summer. There is at least that.
And books. And cable. Oh Sookie. Oh Bill. You've made a sad human chuckle.

Friday, June 19, 2009

good things

This morning I walked by the bench that was Gurtie's favorite spot for napping. Her impression is still there.
I'm not going to hide from the sadness,
but I won't go looking for it either.

There are other things around me.
Zoya at ballet. Baby hummingbirds in a pot by our front door.
Sensations of the seashore, lingering fresh, despite the days between.
I'll take all these things with me to the studio and work. They'll go into the mix and become part of whatever I make next. That's the nature of art, and human beings.

Thank you ever so much for your comments. You are definitely on my list of good things.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June sky and sadness

Pelicans. I watched them and gathered up inspiration for new work. That was good.

June Gloom has arrived on the coast, and summer here in the desert. It's too hot now to walk in the evenings, so this morning I set out very early. On the way back home I was surprised to see Gurtie stretched out in her favorite position on a neighbor's lawn. But she wasn't sleeping. Their sprinklers were on.
I gathered her into a blanket and Spencer and I buried her in the garden.

For the past few weeks I've been terrifically burnt out. The year has taken a toll. Of course it has, we're no different from anyone else. We find ourselves working much harder for much less.
I need a break ---constantly in my head.
I need a break.
Now I've got one. Immobilizing. Standing, staring with my hand on the refrigerator door. Sitting, staring at my hands. I recognize grief when I'm in it. It breaks us.
Oh, Gurtie.

I know these things are part of life. I know they happen to everyone. I know that they never happen quite the way we expect them to, or when. We never expect it to be now. And I know there are worse things.

No need to worry or fuss. I needed to write something. It's a cathartic, lonely sort of impulse that readers tend to understand best. It's a good part of being human, that we share our burdens. Some of you were there when I chose to love this cat.

Embracing Gurtie was a good decision. I'm not sorry.
But for now, I'm deeply sad and somewhat numb.
Thank you for being here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

There is new work up on Etsy and on Ebay. There are new works in progress on every table in the studio. There are meetings scheduled and lists upon lists. There are commissions in progress. There are long overdue projects in que. There is the one project I long to work on and rarely get to touch. There are people waiting for my calls.
I feel nowhere near a stopping point. I don't think things will even begin to ease up until October.

So, I'm taking a little time off, getting a change of scenery.

Because I can't afford not to.

I'm tired from overworking, still sore and recovering from the brutal encounter with the floor, but mostly, my brain needs some fresh air.

We all work better and smarter with rest. They don't call it 'recreation' for nothing.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No time for extra credit, Mom. Put the pencil down.

A glimpse of how we spent our evening. These last weeks leading up to the event have been interesting indeed. I thought about what I might write about it, but the truth is that for those who haven't had the experience, the interesting parts are irrelevant---there's no point of reference. For those who've had the experience, there's no need for words.

Congratulations, Aubrey. Congratulations to all of you, Class of 2009.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Road is Strange and Crooked

It's always something.

How clear the words become.

So, on the path to fixing.
Orion and I (photos, previous post) had root beer floats. We discovered that ice chips could be skipped across the water just like stones. He was as thrilled to triple-skip his ice chip across the pool as any boy ever to skip a smooth stone across a Norman Rockwell pond by the train rails, quiet on a Saturday and warmed by the sun.
Oh wait, it was a girl-- and it was me.

Anyway. We had fun.
I'm still good at skipping stones---thanks Dad.

On fixing, it was back to the realization that this is a tough time for lots of people. We're working with a skeleton crew--- lots of hours and lots of hats. It takes a toll, especially the stress.

I'm not very good at stepping off the wheel to recharge. I tend to plow through. A good trait for emergencies and deadlines, but not so good for long-term. I'm learning.

By Tuesday I was a bit better, having rested and watched a movie or two with Aubrey (including Pontypool) and played with Orion. I was ready to get back to work. As I sat with my feet up I played with clay, making little things, including tiny Poppets. By Wednesday afternoon I was in full swing, so much that as I zipped around the corner from studio to house I slipped on the tiles---ceramic, very slippery and quite rigid. Then I enjoyed a lovely demonstration of the laws of physics--- in slow motion, of course--- and jarred my entire body and split my lip, creating a Jackson Pollack-ish painting in red on the floor and giving Spencer, who arrived moments after, some distinguished new grey.

Dammit! Foiled again.

So, okay. I'm still learning some things the hard way.

A couple of days of no sudden moves and pain meds, which tend to make me grumpy. Reading and on-demand movies. I tried working. I read email from a customer with a legitimate shipping complaint and I responded to her pretty much like the soup Nazi.

Add shame to the mix.

The good that came of it is that we all agreed that the artist should leave customer service to the professionals.

Now it's Saturday. I slept late, I chipped away at the looming backlog of photography. I'm still extremely sore, but my lip is pretty much normal sized. I rinse with salt water several times a day. I'm trying not to grouch at the kids. So far, so good. The "fix" holds, oddly. I still find myself able to step away and back, as I did with sun and root beer floats, so that I can forget about the bumps in the road.

What road? All these moments seem to take some other shape. It's so weird, and so human, the way we imagine ourselves on a path, traveling in a specific direction toward the future "up ahead."

I don't know what it is I stumble upon. For today, I'll be content with the stumbling. At least I'm still moving. I'll do my best to bat away any dark moods that try to sneak up on me.

There's root beer in the fridge. I checked.

Hope you have a good weekend.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

pictures now, words later

in progress on the 'fixing of your artist.'