Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Spy Series 2011 or...when I was a little girl

I can remember at the age of 4 running in the back yard with an empty Smucker's jar in my hands.  I was running because I had found a tomato caterpillar (that's what we call them in Illinois) in my father's garden.
Tomato caterpillars were fair game when they were in my father's garden.

My very first job at 4 years of age.  Hunting and removing tomato caterpillars from my daddy's garden.  Let me tell you I took that job seriously.  I would put a caterpillar in a jar with leaves to eat and a branch.  I tended my jars of pillars until they all hung upside down from their branches, wrapped in a silky cocoon.

Thank goodness for a mom who saved jars!

I would take jars to the creek for crawdaddies.
I would take jars to the park for ants.
I would take jars to the field behind our house for butterflies.
I would take jars in the backyard at dusk and collect fireflies.
I would take jars to the lake and collect tadpoles.
I would take jars to the big alley next to our house and collect beetles.

Yup, Smucker's jars and tiny eco-worlds were an obsession all the way up to now.

When I was 9 I saw my first Diorama at a natural history museum.  The idea of placing deceased taxidermied creatures in a box and re-creating their world absolutely knocked my little socks off!  I was enamoured and entranced. Such an odd macabre site, yet, I couldn't get enough.

There was a strong connection to these moment's of life in a glass box that has stayed with me all my life.  I have a fetish for creatures in glass cages and aquariums. I visit pet shops just to stand and watch.  But the natural museum diorama is the real fix to my addiction.
I have taken these two childhood influences and brought them forward into the I Spy series.  I Spy is art and homage and love and memories pouring into every glass jar and box for my I Spy series.  It's a family affair, too. Christopher, our son the author, gave me his childhood bug collection to pick and choose resident's for I Spy eco-world's.  My husband found this tiny frog, dried up and passed under our cafe table in the sunroom.  What a perfect subject!  And so...another I Spy Diorama is born in a jar.

I Spy is close to my heart and every piece is one of a kind and will not be reproduced.  They are small, they are special and they each carry a childhood love forward.  I hope you will find them as engaging and beautiful as those jars and dioramas that influenced me so long ago.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Small things that fit in your hand.

As time goes by, and more buyers contact me wonderful ideas stack up for experimentation.
I had a few requests for smaller smallthings, at a smaller price point.  So I've added a line of smaller, simpler
GenePool creatures to the lineup for quick gift giving, or collecting.

These GenePools will be approximately 6 inches or less and as all other GenePools each creature will be one of kind pieces signed and dated.

This is Lil Phin.  A new smallthing you can find online.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Muddy a mudskipper fish

Muddy sat idle in the wet, wet mud.  Mudskippers do that you know, sit idle.

Mudskippers sit idle because they aren't swimming.  Now if you saw Muddy in the water depths, well that is another matter!  He out swims his family, his friends and his neighbors.  Quite the swimmer, that Muddy.

But for now, Muddy sat idle in the wet, wet mud.  He listened, he waited and he idled.  There were his friends to the left and right. The mud bank was full of mudskippers this time of day. The winds were right, the sun was
low and the heat dissipated over the mud.  Ideal time for mud fleas to show up.  And mudskippers loved mud fleas.  So by association it was time to idle on the mud bank and wait for the descending fleas.

It was best to idle with one's mouth wide open as fleas jumped wildly and blindly in huge cloudy masses.  A mudskipper didn't even have to move at dinner time.

A mudskipper just needed to swallow fast.

Turner found a Blue Crab...or a few parts of a blue crab...

We took the boys Turner (our tough-guy silky terrier) and Bruiser (our easy-going-big-cuddle-bear Golden Retriever and Chow mix) to the beach near Wheedon Island in St Pete, for fun.
Turner found the remains of a blue crab floating in the surf.  After he had his fun I brought home the claw and the crab's back shell

And like Dr Frankenstein I put him back together again.  I recreated his legs and body with clay and paper mache. 

I found a beautiful cherry wood chest at an antique store and completely retreated it to look aged and wet.  I was going for a found object from Davy Jones' locker.  The project took 6 weeks, and it pleases me to no end.  Davy Jones' Locker is available here

Thursday, January 13, 2011


"Steady as I go," caterslug thought to himself.  Steady, steady, steady.  Caterslugs weren't the slowest creature.  Once, he'd tried traveling with a centeslug.  Surprisingly enough, 100 legs did not assist the centeslug with
quick travels.  He was tripping over his own feet more than moving forward. After a few days of that, Caterslug bid farewell and turned down a different path.

Caterslug traveled at night, in the grasses and leaves and veggie bits on the forest floor.  Good hiding from the birds and lizards and bugabits that would gladly make a meal of him.  It seems caterslugs were the perfect
mouthful for quite a number of forest neighbors.

"Steady, steady as I go," not so fast to miss a threat, not so slow to be passed by a centeslug.

Carpe Diem the fish

Oh, it was a bit too early for all this hubbub!  Carpe woke from the comfort of her anemone bed.  Pink fingers unfurled as she looked over the scene of tuna fish crisscrossing in chaos above her.

"Oh, it is way too early for all this hubbub!!  Tuna! Tuna...what is going on so early?"  Carpe was inconvenienced at this point, and sharp in tone.

"Wha wah....wad'yousay???" Tuna darted back and forth and up and down and over and around.

"TUNA!" Carpe was sterner this time. "What are all of you doing so early??  I'm not done with my beauty rest!"  She lay on her side looking even sharper than her tone now.

"Wha wah....carp it's NOON!  And the sardines are here!  And we are eating...why are you just sitting in that pink anemone!?"  Tuna didn't really care about that last part.

"Humph! " Carpe sat up as the tuna chased the sardines on and on and away.

She lay back down on her other side. "I shall Carpe Diem...later."

Monday, January 10, 2011

GenePool wall art - Nubibranches!

Nubibranches are seaslugs...little poisonous colorful slugs that wonder the reefs.
I'll be pricing these so you can buy more than one and group them on the wall.  Fun!!

Where are they now?

I'm lucky in as much as clients and collectors email me about buying my pieces. It's always a compliment to know someone loved your work enough to purchase it and take it home.  It's another to know who and where that home is located.  It's an absolute tickle me pink moment to receive a photo of them on display.

Currently GenePools are in IL, MO, FL, GA, CA, NV, MD, LA and TX.

Toad and Dart live in  IL with Bob and Lynn.  They look good don't you think?

So please! don't hesitate to send a photo along. It is a most gratifying moment for an artist.

Friday, January 7, 2011

WTF the toad

Wow. Really. Just wow.  What is it with amphibians anyway? What is their fundamental problem?
Toad specifically built this mud spot for specifically his use. Kinda obvious as it's his butt-shape
in the mud, not that frog's.  And what was up with that amphibian being back in the grass-mud anyway.
They can't handle the mud.  They want grass and water and all that amphibian stuff. But seriously.

"What am I supposed to do with this now? Just look at my mudspot. My buttshape filled to the brim
with slimy, sticky, PINK frog eggs!" WHAT is wrong with frogs!?!?" WTF hop-stepped full circle taking
in the spectacle in front of him. Hundreds of pink frog eggs deposited in his mudspot.  It looked like
cotton candy, but not nice cotton candy.  It looked like pink sticky frog egg cotton candy.

He protested with a hoarse croak and hopped deeper into the grass-mud.

"WOW! Really, just wow! What is wrong with amphibians?! WOW!!  The last word parting from sight. 
The last part of toad, a large, warty, wet toadbutt disappeared between the tall blades of mudgrass.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A bored toad

Today was a good day to do...well something. But poor Toad couldn't quite put his toe onto what to do. Toad was bored.
"I suppose I could hop over there and sit." But Toad wasn't convinced he felt like hopping there, right then.
"I suppose I could hop over here and sit." But Toad wasn't convinced he felt like hopping here, right then.
"Hmmm, I can hear the marsh flies over that hill." But Toad wasn't convinced he felt hungry right then, and what's the point of hopping over a hill if not to
eat marsh flies. Toad was bored. He sat drumming his toes on a lily pad, he watched as the white lily above wobbled with every toe drop.
"I suppose I need not do a thing right now. It is a good day, I want for nothing." Toad sighed a little toadsigh.
Toad wasn't bored.
Toad was just right, which leaves little to do but sit under a lily and enjoy a good day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Phin the channel fish

Thump!    Phin needn't open either eye for that vibration. He knew all too well it was a shiny hook with a sorry excuse of a fake shrimp, shag, or mullet stuck to it.  After 17 years living in the dark recesses of the channel he'd seen it all come to the bottom.
He also witnessed his kind disappear to the bright heights at the end of those hooks. They were all fooled by the entity at the other end. Sometimes there was a fish on those hooks. A fish yet alive, but snared onto the hook swimming about in lost circles as it descended down. 
Ironic really, using a fish to catch a Phish. 
"A slap in the gills more like!" his grandfather would carp. His grandfather taught him well all those years ago. 
Phin sprang up with a burst  of wiggle and fin to resettle away from the rig. He watched as the impatient entity pulled it back to the bright heights. So impatient they were, the lot of them, thought Phin.
Pomp!   Phin opened one eye with indignation.  Yet another lure presented to the sandy bottom of Phin's world. 
A slap in the gills more like it, indeed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A small tutorial for small things clay

I receive a consistent amount of inquiries as to how/what I use to create my world of GenePool creatures. Duly note I only use Super Sculpey and Sculpey III clay.  I've not used the Super Sculpey Firm, but if you are looking to achieve sharp edges and angles, you would do well to try that version.

Here's the short answer.

Dart the frog

Dart was a leaf sitter. One of the best leaf sitters around in his opinion. He could sit on any leaf on any tree without worry or trepidation. He wore his colors bright and clear.
'Don't bother this dart or I'll leave a bad taste in your mouth!'
It was with this lack of fear Dart became the best leaf sitter in the Bog. But being the best leaf sitter does not mean you are the best dinner catcher. Alas, his enemies saw his colors bright and clear, and so did many a favored meal.
Kaydidits, and beetlebrooms rarely flew overhead. They could see him from far away. Caterpills, dragonflits, butterwhips and buzzybees all were aware of his presence. It didn't matter if he stayed under the leaf lip, hanging from suckytoes, or if he sat on top as a splendid leaf sitter. They all knew he was there waiting for dinner.
Dart swallowed with satisfaction. They all knew he was there waiting for dinner except bog flies.
Bog Flies are colorblind.