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

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Around The Studio

Jessie Human + Astro Cat

Lisa + Zombie Puppet

Lisa + Unimpressive Text Message Convo

Lisa + Brain Nomming Fun Time Plush Dolls

The Attic Sale Lineup

A new old friend--gift from Aubrey, made by Ladies Auxiliary hospital volunteers

Rubie Poppets--coming soon! 

Amelia, assemblage, Jessie Human's travel kit, frames, misc. 

Chocolate milk.  And some poppets and things.  Paint.  It makes sense if you know the makings of poppets. 

More paints.  Always with the paints. 

Lisa + Clown Makeup.  Stunning.  

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Of Queens, Girl Friday and A Distant Carnival on the Horizon

              Happy New Year to you, fellow traveler.  All my hopes for your happiness.

PJ pants, poppet shirt and bed head.  Photo by Pete Clark

  Twenty-thirteen began as another year of digging out of the Great Crater created in 2008.  Progress was made, energies were renewed and by the end of summer- despite two months of illness - I seemed to be trudging steadily uphill, hoping again to reach the edge of the hole and climb out.    

     It is a wonderous and terrifying thing to understand precisely what one wants.   I began to know which direction I'd head in, once I got back to level ground.   Now I see that unexplored carnival on the distant horizon and I'm headed toward it. I'm in no particular hurry because what truly matters, fellow traveler, is where we are right now.
Of course, stopping for the strange and wonderful along the way of any journey is essential.

  By November, I knew it was time to begin enlisting help.  I knew the sort of helper I needed first and had suspected for some time that Jessie Pearl Stuart was just that.   It must be someone with mad skills, a sense of humor and most of all, a sense of what Poppet means in its heart of hearts.
  Jessie is all that and a bag of chips.   And she's a good writer too.  Such that her words will help you know her better than anything I could say.    Read on then, and join me in welcoming Jessie.
----Your artist.

Words from the Jessie Human:
Queen Of The Garden on Etsy
This?  This beauty?  This marvel?  This freakin' fairy queen goddess just hanging out poolside on a sunny Southern California day in December?  This is my job.  Chasing these things all over Lisa's yard and house and hoping they'll hold still for a photo.

See also:  feeding the dragons in the garage.
See also:  scraping paint from the bottom of my boots
See also:  jousting windmills in the desert

My name is Jessie Pearl Stuart and I work at Poppet Planet under the direction and guidance of Lisa Snellings.  My official title is "Poppet Liaison."  I am more or less Lisa's personal assistant, a painter, a list maker (we do not do lists, lists are bad according to the boss), photographer, poppet/fairy/brain/creature wrangler, fetcher of things, copywriter, listener, sound board, noise board, tootsie roll, all the things type person.

 This is not a job I was looking for, but it's pretty much the job I have always wanted to have.

I have been homing poppets on my own bookshelf for several years now.  I have admired Lisa's art for more than just its beauty, since Lisa lives not far from me and therefore to me she's a "local artist."  It makes me feel all tricky to say that.  Palm Springs, where Poppet Planet is located, is really a 45 minute drive from where I am here in Yucaipa, which is a small mountainy apple orchard town with only one main road and no hospital.  Ever since I found out that Lisa lived so close, I would make up excuses to try to visit her.

"Oh hey this poppet broke, will you repair it for me?  I'll totally bring it to you in person so we can just skip the mail..."

"Hey uh, Lisa...hows about like, you know, maybe I could come visit and take some pictures for your website?"  (The oldest trick in the book for a photographer.)

I even tried offering to intern for her in the studio a few summers ago just doing desk work type stuff.

And Lisa, with all of her arty wisdom said "our time will come."

I found out now that she'd always wanted to meet me, but under the right circumstances.  Lisa contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me to come out to the studio because she wanted us to sit and chat.  And I was less star struck, and more excited to meet this person who makes these irresistible little bookshelf goobers that, you know, just look at you.  With their eyes.

Lisa told me many things that day.  Mostly of what direction she intended to take her art next and how she needed a hand to free up some of her time. She wanted to tackle some projects that have been on the back burner for some time.

I looked around and saw my beloved goobers in all states of unreadiness.

I thought at first that maybe visiting Lisa's studio would be like visiting Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.  But I soon realized that there was a lack of oompa-loompas.  And because of this, there was a lack of The Next Big Thing for Lisa.

The gumption is there.  This lady amazes me.  The way her wheels turn is nothing I could ever describe, for it's something to experience to hear her think out loud about art.   So she asked if I'd like to be her right hand woman.

"You'll also need to paint poppets.  Can you paint poppets?"

I showed her a picture of a naked fairy sitting on a mushroom that I made in high school ceramics.  She said, after examining the picture, that I could paint a poppet.

I looked at the unfinished poppets, the globs of still wet paint and little notes she'd written to herself.  "As a lover of poppets, it's strange to be learning of the things and the magic that goes into them."

And then she began to show me how to dry brush.

She sent me home that night with a bunch of poppets that needed to be sanded and base painted.  Boy I bet she's glad I returned and didn't just keep a shoe box full of free poppets.

Heart of Winter on Etsy
Next thing I knew I was set on the Heart Of Winter poppet and painting tiny red dots with the end of a tooth pick. 

"We need to come up with a new poppet," she told me.  And I said "How about one with a ukulele?"

Play With Me on Etsy
And "Play With Me" was strumming us a tune not long after that.

We seem to bounce things off of each other well.  She hand chose me she said partly because of my talent and creativity.  I am honored that Lisa thinks I have talent. 

Okay so I totally also mixed a horrible batch of barfy paint on some brains and I am very sorry.  But I didn't totally blow the brains because purple was my idea for this little duo, The Brain and Dr. Circuit.

The Brain and Dr. Circuit on Etsy
The barf paint was a mistake.  The purple steampunky brain thing?  Lisa loved it when I brought it to her.  She ran with it and immediately started in with that circuitry and those wicked cool glasses.  She also decided that the brain should be accompanied by a poppet, and Dr. Circuit showed up to play. 

For real, poppets show up to play at Lisa's.  So do her cats.  So do lizards.  In fact, there is pretty much always something new greeting me on the porch every time I ring her doorbell--which doesn't work so I have to knock loudly in case she's in the garage with the Dremmel attaching hands to something that doesn't usually have hands.

I swat at all of these glittery half finished Bugs that get all playful when we turn on the lamps.  Twice, something has literally eaten my backdrop.

And don't let queenie pie here fool you.  I almost fell in the pool trying to snap a photo of her basking perfectly on a leaf when she suddenly decided to fly up and over me and check out a humming bird that showed up to one of Lisa's feeders.

 Visiting "Strange Studios" is not at all actually strange, not one bit!  Right.

So yes, I am the new girl around here.  The poppets are trolling me, but I will stay.

A little about me:  I write, I photograph, I knit, I read, and I always dress like I am going to snake church.  I shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and I brake for things on the side of the road that say "free."

I am a descendent of the Jersey Devil and Charlemagne.  I don't do hugs.  I speak fairly fluent sign language.  I have three cats and a corgi and two boys and Willie.  I have been described as "a leprechaun with a camera" because incredible shots just seem to jump at my lens, and I have also been described as "a f&($ing documentarian."  I don't know if that is a word, but that's what was said.

I'm really excited to meet Lisa's friends and fans.  I'm also excited that Lisa makes brownies in the microwave in little snow flake coffee cups.

Find me all over the interwebs:
My Blog
My Flickr
My Facebook
My Goodreads