Tuesday, August 31, 2010


When was the last time you thought about malaria? I can tell you for me, it's been about twenty years. That's when I left the laboratory and became a full-time artist. I still read scientific journals occasionally, just not Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.

But Malaria has gone on about its business whether I was aware or not. Sonia Shah's blog is here.

It's all too easy to get lost in the details and miss the context. Each of us is part of all of us.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Looking for Autumn

Had a slow Friday. Was exactly what was needed. Spend the day hand-sculpting while watching silliness on cable. Tried to get photos of Soosi, but she was in full wild-kitten mode, so I got a dozen gray blurs.

Had some fun with this photo. It felt good to work on something just for entertainment. This is important for us, to play at our crafts. Most of us rarely do. We're driven by deadlines and worry. These last two years have left little time for play. When I do have a little time, I tend to spend it with Orion. I'm not doing myself any favors if I don't play. It's important to the care and feeding of our brains to play in all its rooms, including the ones specifically for 'the zone' of video games and other activities (like playing with photoshop) that exercise that area.

And I made the first of the Autumn Poppets. Different room, but important also to get lost in the details once in a while. To let go of other things and concentrate on one small thing.

Glow in the dark is always fun. I will always be a child when it comes to glow in the dark.
Today Spencer and I are going for a drive. Just a little change in scenery and higher elevations can be rejuvenating.

This is the way we near-crazy desert people survive the last weeks of brutal summer. I watch the news enough to know we have a lot of company this year. If you're feeling it, do what you need to now to refresh yourself. Before it gets you.

Have a great Saturday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sometimes it doesn't.

Today was hot, humid and oppressive. We watched clouds roll past, followed by more clouds moving like herds rumbling above us. There was a rainbow high in the sky. There was lightning. Later, there was a radiant Venus. And finally, even more lightning. But the ground stayed hot and there was no rain.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

What the hell is up, Doc?

,l',lkuuuuuuuujo\ippppppppppppppppp (thanks, Soosi)

So I had this dream. Excruciatingly detailed--I can recall the pattern of the rug--as most of my dreams are, but that's not the point so I won't go into it. Well, except that there was a Maloof chair---very organic and beautiful. Anway, I'm working in this place strange to me but home to my dream self, and there's a knock on the door. I open it and in saunters Bugs Bunny, bearing flowers. Naturally I'm surprised to see Mr. Bunny but before I can say anything he embraces me and pulls me into a kiss. I'm not talking a cartoon kiss either. I'm talking a deep human kiss that goes on forever and has all the sensations that go with.
Right. I know. The rabbit teeth. But dreams eclipse those sorts of impossibilities and human beings happily overlook them, e.g., Everything On Cable. His teeth are pretty big too. Besides, if I've accepted that Bugs just walked through my door, may as well go all out, down to the wabbity smell of his fur.

He leaves as suddenly as he appeared and I'm left stunned and breathless, in a turmoil of conflicted emotion.
I love Bugs? I...love...Bugs.

My alarm went off then and I woke a bit confused, amused and even embarrassed to find Soosi inches from my face, looking as though she saw the whole thing.
Easily enough explained---Orion found an old "Best of Mel Blanc"collection and watches bits of it at breakfast and snacks---but still fairly twisted, even for me.
I decided right then to keep it to myself.

That was Sunday.

I've been working on new art for MadCon. Yesterday morning Aubrey pointed out that I was talking to myself (more than normally) as I worked. I'm building a piece that's a sort of wunderkammer and apparently I'd been talking rather animatedly to its inhabitants.
Really? Hmm. sorry about that.
"No," she said, "It's cool to see you really into working." She looked around the room. "I like your new stuff."

"Yeah," I said. I was putting the finishing touches on a little fellow with six cuff links and feeling pretty satisfied with myself. "I love bugs."

Go figure.

The bugs were given to me. Thanks guys! I killed the black widow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

staying up late with H. G. Wells

Thought you might like this photo. Poppet and words later. Sunday for more sleep, reading, lovely talk with the Mr. Gaiman.
Tomorrow to wake and go back to making things.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

passive renewal

ok. so not a vacation. not the change of scenery.

still, a quiet weekend of rest and recharge. Can't pull stuff out if you don't put stuff in.

reading. movies. sleep. food. already improving.

adapt or die, silly human.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel.
is fun. poppets liked it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

stories, made up and not

Finally found time to go to the library. Found a "Complete" volume of H. G. Wells short stories. There are still a few I haven't read. Only a few. And a copy of Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson, also the flavor I was looking for, it turns out.
Among the books for Orion we chose Three Tales of My Father's Dragon. This is a classic I missed somehow. Can't read everything, despite my efforts. It was brought to my attention by Eva Volin, who is, among many other things, supervising children’s librarian for the Alameda Free Library in Alameda, California. She commissioned a reading poppet a few months ago:

Eva, if you're reading this, thank you. We've had a wonderful time reading these stories together. It's obvious why they've endured for over sixty years.
Orion doesn't want them to end. We've promised to read them again in the future.

I just returned from one of those late, quick trips to our neighborhood Vons. The night clerks are always more interesting. I show up occasionally at odd hours, in studio grunge or in winter, pajamas under a trench coat. If I'm there for one thing, I usually try to throw in another item for contrast---for instance, 16 bags of rubber bands and and a tub of butter. Artists not only get away with this sort of oddness--it seems generally expected.

I think the long, difficult summer has finally caught up with me physically. I've tried to keep things balanced, but after a while, one has to have a true break, complete with a change of scenery. I don't know when that will happen. Not in the foreseeable future. Like sleep, I don't think there's a substitute.
I feel pretty much like crap. I'm avoiding looking in the mirror. Too unfamiliar, too scary. Right. It is what it is. It's a tough profession I've chosen. I'm in good company. Times are hard, could be worse and all that. I know. I get that. I even appreciate it. But sometimes it's still just fucking miserable and nothing to fix it. Dr. Seuss knew this and he was wise beyond human. I think he was secretly a poppet.

When I came out of the store I saw the crescent moon. It stopped me short. Just about to set behind the mountains, it was huge in a dark teal sky. It was a delicate illuminated sliver of glass, of ice, of magic, balanced on point. It was my moon, performing a secret dance just for the rare spark of a little girl who still wonders large. I stood dumb in my flip flops, clerks and cleverness forgotten, clutching my trash bags, doughnuts and vodka and crying like a baby.

By the time I got home it was gone. There was just the mountains, the garage light and things to do. I'll sleep soon. Dream. Tomorrow is its own story. All I need do is show up.

Silly human.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Lavender and Sanity

I've mentioned before that I'm making changes to decrease the environmental footprint of the studio. One of the new mold rubbers I've tried recently becomes a beautiful shade of lavender once mixed. That's not the weird part. The weird part is that it smells like lavender. Or lavender candy. Or any candy the color of lavender. I thought it might be a figment of my imagination. But no, I've asked others and they agree. Now, normally mold rubber isn't horribly toxic, but it's not something you want to breathe. Weirdness.
I imagine the evil villain with the biological weapon. The airborne something contained in colorful bubbles that on bursting, release the scent of freshly baked cookies. Or lavender candy.
Evil, evil, evil! The brain is a terrible thing.

On a more positive and practical note, I mixed a bit more rubber than I needed, so I poured the extra into a plastic picnic plate. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sticks to mold rubber, so it makes a pretty handy palette for acrylic paints. You just rinse it when you're done working, or peel the paint off after it dries. It also makes a good work surface for tiny objects like watch parts, or a really good no-slip pad for a vase or even a piece of furniture.


It's been a difficult summer for me. Without a doubt it's been a difficult summer for lots of you too. It's always a bit of a conflict, writing about the process. On the one hand, I like the idea of sharing these growing pains as they happen. On the other, I know from experience that a little time will give me perspective, and then what I write would be more useful (and probably more coherent.)
I've given serious thought to letting Poppet do the talking. But then, Poppets don't have mouths.


This begins to make sense in a way that makes me a little dizzy. Like when you look at the stars and truly contemplate the distance. When you look at the moon and are so grateful it's there.


There are some great new images up for Poppets on Tour: The Project. Already I'm finding photos there that inspire words for the book. Thanks to everyone contributing.


Ok. There's too much noise in this house. I can't concentrate as well as I'd like, so I'll leave you with this blank to fill in:

"I'm most sane when I'm_________________."

You don't have to share it here, but it will be more fun if you do.

I'm going to look for a quiet spot.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Soosi is settling in. I promise not to ply you with cat photos. Mostly this one is to celebrate the end of kitty drama and getting back to making art.

The Halloween Shop is now open.

There's a new section for special sales and retiring poppets.

Having fun with costume designs.

The poppet-who-lives-on-my-desk says the goldfish is depressed. Poppets' jokes tend to be mostly of that sort.
Sea Breeze happened because I wanted one. It felt good too.

We're adjusting to having a kitten in the house. I don't buy cat toys. There's just no topping a ball of yarn on a hardwood floor.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. g'night