Friday, August 31, 2007

Feline of the Day Princess Fluffy

Her Daintiness is one of the smallest of the four 2 week old babies we found in the backyard. She always looks perfect, plays with her siblings gently, uses sweet meow and feline wiles to get her way, and snores louder than a truck driver.

When we first took the 4 in, she was one of the sickest and I had to constantly ungum her eyes and wash her teeny face. I used to rub her back and she'd sneeze gunk everywhere. She'd sneeze and sneeze and flop over in my hands and let out this tiny sigh and fall fast asleep.

Now she can hold her own with the biggest of my grown cats. She just blinks those lovely peridot eyes and puts out a tiny paw and swings it with deadly accuracy. Max (one of my biggest Toms) now sports a nasty scratch over his right eye because he had the audacity to touch "Pinky Mouse" (a pink fabric mouse ... not a food item for hawks) while Her Daintiness was having her late afternoon romp.

Fluff usually finds the highest place to sit and look about her domain. Those eyes just seem to say, "Yes. This is all Mine." When she rubs your hand with her soft little head and holds a finger in between her paws, it's hard to disagree with her.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

In search of the Perfect Eye-The Next Step

When I started making dolls, I just used beads for eyes. Eventually beads weren't good enough. My husband MJ brought me some cast off resin eyes that they sometimes use in "background heads." They might not have been right for film, but they were perfect match for my style of working.

I love these eyes in my pieces, but they are time consuming and expensive to make. I haven't wanted to give them up, but I found VanDykes Taxidermy
Their prices for glass eyes are much less expensive than the resin ones. I was worried that I would have to choose from a set color list, but they offer clear glass eyes with just a pupil.

I'm thrilled that I can still have custom color eyes. One nasty problem with the resin was that the pigments would sometimes react over time and change the iris color. I'm not going to have that problem with glass.

My favorite part of the planning process has to be the color matching. These material swatches and eyes became this little green bunny Dunwich for LibraGear
It will be nice to choose colors and not have to try and anticipate what the resin may or may not do six months down the road.

So now I am again at a crossroads in my work. The glass eyes that I am beginning to use now will still have a hand done quality and be more durable. But in some ways, I'm going to miss my resin eyes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feline of the Day- The Daring Rescue of Kirby The Small

I have 9 rescued cats already. I wasn't planning on taking in any more. But this kitten season, there seemed to be a bumper crop.

3 Weeks before MJ found this little guy, Kirby, half dead on our patio, we had taken in four 2 week old babies. Surely 13 was more than enough cats. But, he was so pathetic ..... It just didn't seem right to just drop him off at my vet's office and walk away.

Sound asleep there on the porch, he looked like that infant Jesus all stretched out dead in that Mannerist painting -The Madonna with the Long Neck. He was so tiny and he has a disfigured left eye and other problems from a nasty respiratory infection. Even after the vet gave us an immune system booster and antibiotics for him, we were concerned he wouldn't make it.

Worried that the other older kittens might injure him, I set up a little pen for him and put one of the extra wire panels from the pen on top. I went into the kitten room that afternoon to give them all their second feed of the day and found a serious commando raid taking place on the pen.

Pan and Jackie O, the 2 largest kittens were enthusiastically pushing the roof of the pen and Sniffles and Fluffy were hanging on the pen sides encouraging Kirby to climb up. After a couple of jumps and a spilled water bowl, Kirby got up the side and through the tiny hole in the top. He and the other 2 jumped to the floor from the roof . Squeaks of great happiness ensued, as all 4 kittens rolled him around the room like a little fuzzy ball. Naturally, they all stayed together after that wild raid.

Now Kirby is a few weeks older now and much better. He actually looks like a kitten now and has velvety fur. His favorite game is rattle ball. When he's excited, he's a wonderful little dancer prancing and "Meeping " happily. The other kittens still baby him shamefully though.

The big cats... well they're watching the situation with their usual disdain.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Work Habits--Or It's nice to pick which 12 hrs a day to work

I have done many different things in my life. I've been an Art Teacher, a Retail Store Manager in a collectible toy store and a thrift store. I even lasted 4 months as a Bill Collector. I was a very bad collector.

After I left hell job, I tried to find other work, but being in your 40's and handicapped isn't usually on most employers most favorable traits in an employee list. I threw myself into my doll making and I have been seriously trying to make it work for me for about a year and a half now.

Will I be a success? I hope so. I'm working my tail off creating and promoting. I know my work is going to appeal to a limited audience, but frou frou girly dolls just aren't me. I'm a different sort of person and I'm sure there are others out there like me. I just have to find them.

Right now things are exciting for me. I'm making art dolls that are either one of a kind like Captured or done in a limited series like my Crawling eyes. I've also started designing magicked animals like the cat Amber Moon, with their own backstories that I want to collect together and self publish. I want to design a line of tiny animals and maybe some animal or Crawling eye patches. We'll see what the future holds for Le Chat Noir.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Concept of Beauty

I've been creating these sculptures like Winter Sky for a couple of years now. They're fun, slightly odd animals , but they're more than that too.

When I was a kid, I always wanted a doll like me. I have cerebral palsy and my right arm and leg are atrophied. It would have been nice to have such a doll and say to my friends..."This is me"

When I was training to be an art teacher, I worked on a study with pre -schoolers. The younger a kid is when he or she is introduced to people who are different the more accepting they can be. From what I saw, a kid has a set idea of what is normal by the time they're 6 yrs old. And in a way that's scary.

Most parents want to protect their kids of anything unpleasant or strange, but aren't they doing more damage than good?

I started my dollmaking career creating dolls that were human, somewhat realistic and disabled in some way. They either scared people, offended people or were deemed ugly. A person with Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy looks a certain way... that's just the way it is. Are they really UGLY or just not the standard beautiful? And does it really always have to come down to looks?

I've wanted to be a working artist since I was 5 and crayolaed my Grandma Bartlett's dining room wallpaper. She told me Dad to back off and that I would be an artist. So I decided to figure out some way to make appealing physically different dolls. I finally decided my best option was to work with fantasy or mythological people and creatures.

So far, I've had fairly good success and have only come across people who are afraid of my stuff on random occasions. I figure they're probably the same people who would be upset to see any kind of doll that isn't physically perfect. Hopefully I'll be able to keep promoting the idea of relative beauty and it eventually helps people expand their ideas on what is beautiful.