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 


Stuart C. Hellinger said...

Welcome Jessie. I guess the poppets will let you know what they think, but they should take their cue from Lisa!

ravyn said...

What a wonderful way to start the year! Welcome to Poppet Planet Jessie, i'm very much looking forward to seeing more Poppety goodness in the days to come :-)

Unknown said...

Thank you guys! I'm excited to get to know you all!

Melissa P said...

Welcome, Jessie! Thank you for diving in to Poppet Planet and helping our artist make room in her life for more art and more play.

Lisa, sending you lots of positive, happy energy and loads of love and light to start off the new year. Can't wait to see what is coming in 2014!

Carolina said...

Welcome Jessie. Maybe you could teach some of the poppets to knit? And then one (or two...) can come live with me :)

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Jen said...

Welcome, Jessie! Happy new year to both you and Lisa! :)

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