Hello and Welcome

Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures


Minor Obsessions

Recently (and as always), I've been picking up arbitrary obsessions regarding different things. The flavour of the week, it would seem, are leeches, 18th century hairstyles, and cow skeletons (particularly skulls). I've also been drawing a lot more than I normally do. I draw a lot as it is, but usually it's more designing based, and tends to be followed with wordy paragraphs rambling on about who knows what. Not in this case! In this case, I'm back to my non-photocopying pencil and black pen combination. Excitingly, though, I recently discovered a new favourite drawing pen. It's a pen called Pentel Rolling Writer. It's like a hybrid between a sharpie or ink brush and a fine nib glossy writing pen. I'm a huge fan, and the lines it produces are great.

Including drawing things like women in 18th century hairstyles being sucked by leeches. Leeches are fascinating and grotesque little creatures. I read that they don't feed very often, but that's because when they do, they drink a great deal of blood. I read that in the span of half an hour, four to five leeches can drain the life from a rabbit. Poor bunny! However, it seems that we can learn a lot from leeches, and that they're still useful. They used to be used all the time in the medical field, mostly to clear out bad blood. Today they are still used, along with maggots. "Ew!" you might be thinking. "Maggots? Leeches??" Yep. Leeches are used to prevent infections and things of the sort by controlling blood going to a wound, and they are also being studied as potential aids in making medication to prevent blood-clotting related diseases (like heart attack and stroke). They have a natural ability to prevent clotting, so that they can drink away.

They also have 32 brains, are hermaphroditic, and have two suckers- an anterior and posterior. They have millions of teensy tiny teeth, are blind, but have one very sharp nose.

Those of you who have read the books and/or watched the movie will know why this is relevant.

Major Projects

All work and no play makes Emmelia a dull girl. Though apparently a happy balance means not as much work. It's funny, but now I have more of a social life, and I wouldn't have thought that it'd make a big difference, but maybe it is... Then again, I tend to feel 80% more stress regarding things than other people it seems, and right now my brain and schedule is overly full, to the point where I actually have to prioritize and give up on things for a little bit. Between school and Etsy orders and show preparation and everything.... Gah!!!

*deep breath*

Really, it's probably not as bad as I think it is. I just have a weird tendency to take a small, relatively simple thing, and take it to wild proportions to make it exceptional.

Example. My upcoming art show at Studio Intent. The art show is called 'White Rabbit', and is was a fairly simple task of having a collection of hand pieces and hoods and wearable pieces. The focus is on the hand pieces and gloves, and being me, I decided to make a whole new set of pieces, and now I am making individual boxes for the different pairs and single hand pieces. Madness? Clearly. Don't get me wrong, they look great.

I went all out with staining the wood, and lining the top and bottom of the box, with the addition of my label (since it's difficult to put labels on gloves).
The rest of the display is coming along well. I was under on the number of hoods I had prepared by two. It will be easy to whip those up in the next couple of days (might I remind you of my impending insanity?), but for now the four mannequin heads that I was responsible for are looking great. The owner of the gallery offered a neat suggestion for sprucing up dull white foam heads, by disguising them with stockings.

It really makes all the difference, and I'm liking how they're turning out.

Now, naturally, while I was finishing a beautiful Etsy order (working with Melton wool fabric! Gorgeous!), my needle on my sewing machine decided to break. This is one of those times where I have no idea if I have spares, and if I do, where they would be is a mystery. This means that I have to venture into the city tomorrow to get some needles and pins. I do believe that I'll stain the rest of my boxes before I leave in the morning, so that they have most of the day to air out on my windowsill. Low odour stains for the win!

Though, interesting tid bit. Today I learned through a friend on Pinterest that you can make a stain from vinegar by letting different metals sit in it for a week or so. I figure that it works in the same way as a patina, only you're using the residue of the patina instead of caring about what the metal looks like. I'll have to consider this for the future. Then again, I don't know if mixing acids and metals is any safer than normal wood varnish. Who knows...


Latesummer Night's Dream (And light bulbs)

For some bizarre and mysterious reason, the antique lamp that I have in my room is a source of inspiration and awe. It is decorated with many fabrics and things, and because of this, it always makes me think of Midsummer Night's Dream. Leaves and fairy things and fur and miscellaneous things that I'm drawn to...

The result of being particularly drawn to my lamp this evening was a photo shoot of sorts. My lamp still uses an older light bulb (a non-halogen non-"green" light bulb), and it doesn't have a lampshade. Because of this, it throws the most amazing light. It is also an interesting object to look at. Light bulbs are such fascinating mechanical creatures.

Recently I've been craving Shakespeare in my life. Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream in particular...


These Eyes

Behold, crazy Gothika contact lenses! I can't see while wearing them (I can't wear my normal contact lenses with them), but they are going to make my costume so cool! In general, they're super neat to wear. Now imagine them with super blackened eyes and stitched up mouth! Rahahahaha!

Coming soon...

My first art show is official. Coming very, very, soon!

Back on Track (An Attempt)

It has been about a week since I last posted anything, and in the world of blogging, that seems to be a long time. I keep having things to write about and post and overall excitement, but I can't seem to find the time to sit down and write and post a couple of photos. Monstrosity!

Alas, here I am now, and it's nice to be sitting and taking a break from my bustling lifestyle. Being back in school while also preparing for a few things is proving to be quite exhausting. That is fine, and I have no quarrel, but it's difficult to find time for one's self... Though I am an artist and I'd be making stuff any ways... It's a bit different. Any ways...

On with the show!

First of all, this gem. A few days ago, I was gallivanting with two of my very coolest friends, and in the spirit of being hipsters, we decided to go to an estate sale. Some day, I'm fairly certain that my house will look like the stereotypically "old person's" house, complete with taxidermy and decorative plates. Now, this won't be when I'm a sexagenarian or anything. It will probably be when I'm in my early thirties. There was a great collection of decorative plates depicting wild cats of various shapes and sizes (oh, I adore leopards), and a few things like a taxidermy pheasant and women's jumpsuits and the like. The find that delighted me was this weird thing. It was very likely a gag gift (for the person who has everything), and it's just so bizarre. Pictured above is a perfumed mink belly button warmer. It is for the "well-dressed person". It's so funny and odd. I can see how it's a gag gift, but at the same time, I'm curious as to who on earth would think of such a thing. Is there a place somewhere that utilizes this as a genuine source of warmth? Would a person feel better if their belly button were warmed with a perfumed and decorated piece of mink?

That should give you something to think about.

In other news... The second annual horron convention of Calgary is coming up this weekend. I've had tickets for a couple of months, and finally, yesterday, I came up with an idea for a costume. The idea popped into my head while sitting in class. I was doodling in my sketchbook while watching a 1980s documentary about science (it was so high tech!). This is what I came up with...

The idea that came to mind was a weir doll-like character, with scars in the shape of a grotesque smile, stitched up the side of the face. Above are rough sketches that I came up with. Initially, I couldn't figure out a couple of details. What colour of eyes? What colour of hair? I figured out the perfect dress, which should be fairly easy to make (with the help of a vintage pattern, I think), and slowly everything else fell into place. I found some 'zombie' contact lenses, that white out all of your eye except for the black pupil. I will need to get a black wig, hopefully a longer one with bangs. I'm really excited for this, but my personal deadline has never been more strict. What day is the horror convention? This Saturday, the 22nd. I figure that if I can make a full steampunk outfit in less than two weeks, a simple dress and petticoat combination should be easy. That and a quick trip to Value Village.

The other fun part to the costume is the make up. My special effects make up enthusiast friend showed me a couple of possible techniques, and tested out one on me. He thinks that it will work better to sculpt with wax or use liquid latex, with thicker stitches. I have a good idea of how it will work. The attempt on my face didn't work terribly well. The photo above was taken shortly after he was done, and the spirit gum holding my face together had already started to separate. By the time I had put my camera away, the redness thing you can see was completely separated. When we took the stitched out, it looked like I had an extremely grotesque sore. I'm excited to see how this costume works. And bonus, Hallowe'en is coming up soon, so I will have further opportunities to make use of it, or at least aspects.

Well, that is about all of the updating I have to offer right now. Hopefully I will have more opportunities to sit and post in this next week. I will be cat-sitting, which means that I will have plenty of time at home, and therefore plenty of time to do whatever it is I do!


Further Adventures in Food and Art

I've noticed a trend in a few of my posts recently. It seems that I have a thing for posting about the food I made, along with whatever piece I made or worked on. May as well follow that trend while I'm on a roll.

Today, I was in need of some delicious protein. Since the closest grocery store is the organic food store (back to that again), that is where I went. I picked up some arbitrary beef (something bloody and steak-like), and went home. Recently I've been on this weird schedule of eating breakfast late, and having lunch/dinner at 4 in the afternoon. It's not really a bad thing. Then I just have a snack later on at night. This meal was particularly delicious. I had a craving for fried mushrooms (along with beef), so I cooked up some of those and made some frozen vegetables. Still vegetables! I just don't have to worry about them going bad.   Mm-mm good!

As for art and creations, I was busy today. I made a couple of pieces for a gallery, started work on an order for an Etsy customer, and spent well over two hours beading the piece above. This is a collar type piece, made of fox fur, ribbon, and glass beads. Recently I've been enjoying doing bead work on pieces, and encrusting things with jewel-like things. Maybe that's just the magpie-pirate-aristocrat in me. I'm contemplating taking this piece further, but at the same time, I like it where it is. It still needs to be finished (in terms of clasp or what-have-you), but it's kind of neat, I think. In a weird tribal-royalty-chic kind of way? I think that recently I've been incredibly inspired by a Black Lotus Clothing photo shoot, in which Wednesday Mourning was the model. I guess by all definition, I'm inspired by the pieces by Black Lotus Clothing. However, I'm never inspired by any of their pieces, except for when they're modelled by my favourite alternative model.

Now I am more or less kicking back for the rest of the evening. I'm finally seeing Resident Evil (kind of), and it's not bad. Gotta love zombie movies! Though zombies have become a wee bit overrated and overused. Whatever the case... I find it important to see all of the classics.

Cabinet of Curiosity

This evening, I had a strike of inspiration in regards to arranging my curios in the fashion of a curiosity collection. I had many strokes of inspiration regarding making art and framing things and just having a pleasant evening after meeting a friend for coffee/tea/conversation.

The result of my hard work was the creation of a few nooks of oddities and strange things, and the compilation of an entire shelf with strange things and small things that I've collected. Though, the further result was realizing that I created a curiosity cabinet, but furthermore, my entire bedroom is a curiosity cabinet.

All of my strange things. I would try to go through all of them, but that seems like a lot of work. Regardless, enjoy all of the shoddy photographs, taken by the light of my very bright (almost too bright because it is lampshade-less) antique floor lamp.


Major Accomplishments

Right now you might be looking at the title of this post, and looking at the above photo, and then looking back to the title, scratching your head slightly, wondering if I really intended to write the title. The answer is... Yes, I did. Yes, the photo is of a sandwich, Babybel cheese, and some (relatively sad looking) apple slices. This was my lunch/early supper, and boy. Is it an accomplishment!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the first non-wrap, non-bun, non-grilled, non-toasted sandwiches I've EVER MADE. Am I proud? Yes! Was it delicious? YES! It was some 60% whole wheat bread, sliced chicken, mixed lettuce, and Caesar salad dressing. "What? Caesar salad dressing?" you're asking. Yeah! Caesar salad dressing. Try it sometime. This sandwich was basically a chicken Caesar salad in sandwich form. With the side cheese and apple slices, it was the perfect lunch, fun for anyone able to eat solid food!

Oh, I also learned that organic milk from a glass bottle tastes super delicious. Unless it's just my imagination. Whatever the case (placebo effect or not), I'm enjoying it.

In the realm of other things that I actually did today...

This is a red fox jaw with glass rhinestone teeth. It was missing the teeth, and it was actually why I chose this one. This is the first step towards being a neat (and weird) fascinator. Since this photo was taken, it has the addition of a fox paw which is for some reason antler shaped. I just need to add some kind of thing so that it can attach to a person's head. It's really quite pretty, actually. I might be hard pressed to give it up... Nonetheless, I have a goal to create a body of work focused on making pretty things out of dead things. I'm also going to make a fascinator out of a fox scapula and pearls or something of the sort. And a vintage birdcage veil, I think. More details on that later.

Cute as a....

I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I am amazed at the collection of buttons I have acquired. I guess it is more of an inheritance, in a way. My Grandmother is a wonderful woman, and she constantly gives me  beautiful pieces of clothing, sewing notions, hats, and so many things to make things out of. One thing that she has given me is a large collection of buttons. Today, I decided to empty out the many packages and try to sort them into groups, so that I might use them in future creations. I was mystified and thrilled by the treasures that brushed my fingertips.

One thing that I enjoy about the world is the ability to sometimes touch history, and come in contact with the past. To connect yourself to it in a way beyond text and movies, and create your own stories and musings surrounding a small object, a building, whatever it may be. That was how I felt when I was in London, in Bannack, in Fort Benton, Robsart Cemetery...anywhere quiet and somehow sacred, veiled in mystery and shrouded in decades or centuries.

That is the same kind of sense I get when I handle family objects or items in an antique or junk shop. Small items with its own history. A history you will never know because it surpasses your entire existence, and yet here you are, a part of that history, creating your own history around a tiny little thing. Because of this view of old items, I tend to become extremely attached to such things, like they're far more meaningful than something as small as a button or a piece of string or whatever it is.

Thus, my absolute adoration for these buttons. To me, they're more than just fasteners for clothing. It's like a rite of passage, passed down from my grandmother and my great-grandmothers and on and on. It might be silly to get such a sense from bits of plastic and glass... wood and shell... metal and cloth. However, to me, they're some of the most beautiful things I own.

While I was going through the buttons, I found some particularly wondrous ones.

Have you ever looked at the engravings on some buttons, or the detail, and wondered why? It seems that buttons are one of those things that suggest value and worth. They also suggest status, rank, where you belong. There's bound to be some kind of symbolism and suggestion there...

One of the buttons that caught my attention the most is a small copper coloured button with a stamped or engraved face.

It is a three-legged eagle, surrounded by the words 'es devs spes nostra', which means 'God is our hope'. Apparently there are many versions of this button (in all the buttons I found, I actually found two. The other one is a shiny brass button with a smaller crest, and larger face). I read that it is similar to a button used on uniforms during the British Revolutionary war, but also appeared on a myriad of sports coats, jackets, and so on. It is very likely that I will read about it further, and learn more about it. Talk about an interesting source for a timeline of an item, and tracking the history of one item. Why would a button with a Latin motto such as this appear on sports coats?


Health and You

Today, I remembered that I needed to buy milk. I was exhausted from a late night concert (Said The Whale! Finally!!), and because of this, didn't recall that I needed milk until after I had fallen asleep on the train and almost missed my stop.

Because of the location of my dwelling, I'm not really close to any real grocery stores. The closest things are convenience stores and a health food store. Due to the fact I feel dirty when I buy milk or any home food items from convenience stores, I decided to be adventurous and go to the organic food store (or health food store).

Health and organic foods are something that I have mild issues with. Just because something says 'organic', and you have to pay a great percentage more, does not mean that it is a miracle cure for healthiness. You may or may not be getting the same types of chemicals, but things like chips are still chips. Cheese is still cheese. A muffin is still a calorie loaded breakfast treat. People who only shop organic and only at expensive health food stores strike me as pretentious and only a little bit misinformed. I'm sure that they're great people, but great people can still be uppity.

So, I went to the organic food store for milk. Have you ever tried buying milk at an organic food store? There is no such thing as just milk. It is either magic milk made from beans or nuts or sheep, or it's highly organic, or it's three dollars more than a normal thing of milk. I decided to settle on some milk in a glass bottle. I figured that since I was spending way too much on milk as it was, I may as well make it special. Also, drinking from glass is far better than drinking from plastic.

After buying the milk, and some pistachios for a snack, I walked home, pondering what kind of step I had just taken in my life, and seriously questioning my overall diet.

Also, I was going to buy couscous. Could I find couscous? No! There was no couscous. What kind of health food store doesn't have the most perfect instant pasta in the universe??


Art Creationism

I am finally getting back into the groove of making art. Inevitably, this means taking a day where I get up at 9:30, stay in my pyjamas all day, and work on things for hours at a time. It often means drinking litre after litre of tea as well. At the moment, I'm teasing the idea of actually making something every day for a year. I don't know if I'm committed enough, but I imagine that if I got down to it, I would be able to do it quite easily. Here are a few things I've done recently.

The one on the left is my newly decoupaged sketchbook, or part of it. I tend to keep a lot of paper ephemera around, and I decided that since I don't hang it on my wall often, but I want to keep it, I may as well decorate my sketchbooks with them. Sketchbooks are not something I get rid of, and therefore I can keep these lovely images for ever. Note the photograph of the girl holding the fox mask. It is one of my favourite photos. Just a small factoid.

The image to the right is a loosely fitting fingerless glove that I made of vintage lace (it was kind of doily-place mat thing) and spent well over two hours beading. It is encrusted across the knuckles. I'm deciding whether I should add more beads, and if I should make a pair to it, and if I should put eyelets on the side, to make it lace-able. I can always decide later (as long as I do before the end of September).

Returning to the idea of making something every day... I find it extremely admirable. However, for me, I tend to have solid days where I work on things, and then go days without. Since I don't consider myself a drawer, I don't consider my drawings or journal writing to be art or creative. By all definitions, it is... But I have yet to be convinced.