Archive for July, 2010

Curly Stars and Rainbows

Posted in Art, constructions, design, dolls, handmade with tags , , , on July 31, 2010 by darcyarts

I am busy today making an Orange Curly Star pillow.

I love stars. You might recall I got a star tattoo the spring I freed myself from sagging corporate slavery. It is not a curly star because I didn’t trust any local tattooist that much. I’m sure there is some tattoo artist out there capable of doing a really clean curly star but unfortunately, I was following an artistic impulse. I know that is bad when it comes to tattoos but a vision is a vision.

I’ve just made what I hope will be a workable pattern for the curly star pillows. I was doing each of them individually by placing five parts of a star on the material but I want more consistency.

I also played with color on my existing images this morning.

Red, purple, blue yellow.

If I could use the photo processing  software to change colors that would save time, too.

It’s kind of cool but maybe tacky.

I was fretting yesterday about the little time I’ve got to get stocked up for the holiday season. We’re down to 15 or 16 weeks.

I’ve been intent on “getting ahead” of my orders since January but I’ve had work to do everyday. That is a very good thing. I’m not complaining. I just feel I need to really bear down produce.

No more invention of new items, just refine the existing, appreciated items and make, baby!

I can do a rainbow of pillow pictures easily now. That is good.

I also have lots of rainbow fleece –ROY G BIV in one piece — that I can make pillows from.

I want to get those pillows done soon.

You can see the rainbow material in the photo of the caps and hats. It’s pretty cool stuff.

I’ve got a really exciting Soft Boy going, too. Two actually. I’ve got a Ziggy face nearly finished and I’m hard at work on Stevie Wonder!! A Wonderful 🙂 request from my most enthusiastic Soft Boy buyer. I even found sunglassed that i think will be the perfect size.

Check back for photos of doll work next week.

Mother’s Distress

Posted in nature with tags , , , on July 30, 2010 by darcyarts

Up at 5:30 a.m. Open up the doors to let the days cool air in. Granny’s cat likes to take a look at the world through the screen door. I’m reading things online when I hear a loud rattling sort of screeching. Too loud to be any kind of bird we’ve seen here. Too insistent.

I leave the computer screen and look outside. A mother racoon is hustling three young raccoons off toward the river. The cover of darkness is fading. She’s carrying one pup by the scruff of the neck, then lets go, screeches, fusses, picks up another. Then I see the third has a bum back leg.

The lame pup is struggling to keep up with mother and the two siblings, hurrying along so as not to be left behind. The dead leg drapes and drags like a second tail.

I’m too gob smacked by the sight to grab the camera and photograph the group as they make their escape. I don’t want to add to the mother’s distress by opening the door and following them. My Disney-addled heart is broken. There will be no happy ending for a little racoon broken and slowed.

I saw the saw the chimpanzee documentary. A mother and baby too close too some male fight action. The baby gets bits, his spine is injured. The mother carries him around for weeks. Finally, unable to fend for himself, he dies.

Life can be so cruel.

I, Consumer

Posted in finds, food, shopping, socialization with tags , , , on July 29, 2010 by darcyarts

We are living in interesting times. Our consumerist paradigm is slowly shifting. We are doing things differently than we once did. Our expectations of what we should have and what we should want were molded in an earlier world. One that is passing away.  The internet has changed almost everything. Some changes are obvious some slowly shuddering, rattling and causing slo-mo upheavals that may escape our attention as we continue our work-a-day lives with eyes averted. 

Our mental and even physical geography is changing.  These changes seem to be democratizing aspects of our culture, even our commerce. I expect our consumerist desires will evolve. 

I spend the money I have on the basics — food, shelter, transportation, reading material, music, cinema, art/photo tools and materials and thrift store finds. 

I think I’m still learning about the relationship between work and consumption. Money is a strange beastly mechanism. It freaks me out. I struggle with the one to one relationship spelled out on each dollar. What does money mean? 

Yes, we need money to live. Yes, I have accepted help when I really needed to do so, but money for money’s sake has never been my goal. There are many kinds of enslavements born of wealth. I want to be as free as I can be. 

I work seven days a week but pretty much on my own terms. I feel I still need to buy less, consume less. I know that when the time comes for a change in my lifestyle, when I am no longer occupied with caretaking, I can sell off or recycle a thousand little odds and ends, and move lightly through the world once again. 

I must have lived previous lives of great self-indulgence. I have some strange and disembodied guilt, shame, disgust about possessing giant wads of cash. 

As Andy Warhol said about sex, it’s so abstract. 

Yes, I imagine that great wealth grants a certain kind of freedom but it has a sickening power to pervert relationships between the haves and the have-nots. It becomes a necessity to swim with one’s own kind to avoid the unpleasant aspects of power imbalances — jealousy, envy, murderous intent. 

I have been able to observe a sort of muddy area from my worm’s-eye view. 

I was raised by my grandparents in what would be identified by sociologists as a working class environment. Though we had everything we needed, we were low men on the economic totem pole. I noticed, only occasionally, through accidental encounters with more lavish lifestyles. These were few and far between and the gap was fairly small. There are barriers in place to prevent crossover of from semi-poor world to exceptionally well-off  world. Moving between these worlds has been, traditionally and intentionally,  discouraged. 

If a young man/woman grows up with money and fails to follow the prescribed path to produce $ at the level of his/her elders he/she is in for a very rough transition from his/her privileged world to a less well-endowed reality. That is, if he/she believes that lots and lots of money is the goal of life. They are condemned to a sort of  limbo. Remembrance of all the comforts they had in youth stick with them, taunt them, as they live with less, as they fall just short of what once was theirs. 

It is no easier to make the transition from poor to well off. We’ve all heard the horror stories of  what happens to  big-cash lottery winners. The good news is when Oprah-rich you can hire gurus to guide you through your mass-cash discomfort. New age econo-gurus who will show you how to feel deserving. You can institute all sorts of helping agencies. You can encourage others to do so. You can arrive at the belief that every man/woman is responsible for their own economic enlargement. You can believe that you are helping the bedraggled to step a bit closer to wealth by exposing them to hucksters who will sell them “The Secret” on DVD for $35. There have been times for some of us when $35 was an impossible sum to raise for non-essential goods. 

Can we learn to be happy with something less than the dazzling candy mountain of goods paraded daily before our hungry consumer eye? I’m stuck right in the middle of the spider web. I love to make things. I can’t keep them all so I sell them on the interwebs. I contribute to the vicious cycle of wanting more than what we need. I’m trying to be my own guru. What a sloppy struggle. 

Maybe I’m incapable of paring down to essentials until I have no other choice. Lordy.

Keats, Cupcakes and Collage

Posted in constructions, esoterica, family, rock n roll with tags , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by darcyarts

Assemblages happen in the Hamilton Street studios of DarcyArts. Everywhere you look there is some little creation, something thrown together.

John Keats with tiny plastic top hat and bitty cupcakes.

Bob Dylan on a magenta road with and old truck, harmonica, star cookie cutter, Brian Jones in pink and glitter, Kombucha Wonder Drink bottle.

Some things desire other things. I put them together for a while.

These are visual poems.

They can be disassembled after a decent amount of  time has passed.

Frida Kahlo pin, plastic lizard dead moth on the base of a small HDTV.

Marc Bolan and matching bobbins of thread — shades of blue.

Assemblages are benign yet effective hoodo. Mojo piles that slowly work on the mind. The Marc Bolan Soft Boy doll needs to be coaxed out.

David/Ziggy comes first. Two buttons depict the eyes. One with a blown out pupil.

Snake grass blooms of crystals and faceted beads collect in a tin can.

Reflection off the rainbow twirler shows red and green through the biggest crystal.

Reflections move light.

Gentleman bunny, Peter Rabbit stands by the matchbox tagged with a glittery Muhammed Ali phrase — Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Peter Rabbit is happy to be there. A little sunlight comes in.

Roaring hippos and little owls and blocks, worlds of found objects scattered and tossed like runes telling a whimsical tale, or a joke that only ghosts get.

Afros, lace, lime green hats with rainbow trim, pink Halloween wigs.

Marla, the German Expressionist head form, is wearing the Rasta Pony tail. She’s out of the afro, wearing a rainbow cap, looking down from the highest shelf.

You’ve seen her.

Family photos, the faces of love, the smiles like energy bars feed the psyche. Just look up, just snatch a glance in the midst of work. Happy. Love.

Frank at 17, Colby and Jessica, rubber ducky, clay starfish star, Muhammed Ali, big beige rocks, Japanese script.

Pockets heavily littered, little work spaces, nests for doing.

Busy, buffered, being among them in thought, memory, wires of connection in the brain, stimulated, tied to emotion that spells comfort, familiarity.

Elements of a life spread like cookie crumbs, like glitter, a trail to follow back to that place in the collective heart.

A shared place, a sacred place perceived differently by each participant, each petal on the lotus catches and reflects the light from a different angle.

The best thing is reflecting the light back at one another.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

Flaky Pie Crust or Bust

Posted in esoterica, family, food with tags , , , , on July 24, 2010 by darcyarts

I have set myself a daunting foodie goal. I want to learn to make the most delicious flaky pie crust. I have three weeks to achieve perfection!

Next month, Frank and I will have the great pleasure of joining in an alterna-family reunion. Amazing souls from our early days in the city will gather. We will travel south from Redding to Sebastopol. It’s a great little place 50 miles north of San Francisco, which is also a great little place, but then you know that.

We roamed a bit in those environs north of SF a few years back on a little impromptu vacation which centered around taking daughter Jessica south to the city (actually Berkeley) to see David Bowie. How could you not be the driver that makes that dream come true for a 16-year-old?

Jessica was invited to the show by son Brian’s then girlfriend who lived in Sebastopol. Driving there for the first time was wonderful. It reminded me of parts of pre-Disneyland Orange County, CA,  lots of open space and vegetation.

Let me go back to the beginning of this post. That word perfection is bothersome. I think perfection is a messed up concept. Every time we create, we make something unique every time. I think I have carried a notion somewhere in my head that tells me all the great crafts people, artists, makers can make the same perfect thing over and over. Nature contradicts this assumption.

Every action occurs in a different moment. I believe the real art is in opening the heart and focusing the mind completely on the task at hand. So it’s Lotus heart and Diamond laser mind.

But aggressive or forceful address will carry that force and aggression. It will be etched on the thing made. Somehow in every moment we have to surrender, observe and gently guide the materials as they come together. Roll like a river always picking up elements, expelling elements, combining, roiling, transforming.

Still is doesn’t hurt to have a little instruction and knowledge of where you want your piece to end up.

This video on pie crust making will help me get started.

Facebook updates from reunion participants clued me into the fact that someone else has taken on this same pie-crust goal. I almost gave it up but I need to learn this for myself. I ♥ pie. It’s my favorite dessert. Here’s an old post on the cherry apple pie I made last year. Chapple pie.

The instructional video stresses the importance of keeping the simple ingredients cool. Ideally one should turn out the dough onto a cool marble slab. I do not have one of these. Thrift store?

Yes. The search is on.

ReDo # 99

Posted in constructions, design, handmade, projects, television with tags , , , on July 22, 2010 by darcyarts

I must admit a fondness for change but it often stems from a practical need. In my work spaces I try different things usually to gain more space, have things more readily at hand and, yes, so that things look interesting.

I’ve redone the kitchen work space for about the fifth time. This redesign gave me the most space and the most desk top area.

Lots of light for a portion of the day. Lots of lamps when the sun is farther to the west.

Everything is within reach and I got rid of the claustrophobia-inducing dark shelf and the table set up that cut into in the middle of the small space.

I back slid and bought a little HDTV for the space. It was ridiculous to have TV in this room when the TV was as big as a safe. This little screen is nice and I can listen to and occasionally glance at my favorite HGTV and Bravo shows.

I’ll tune into MSNBC when Tamron is on, or when the President is speaking, or if there is something really important going on but I can no longer take the nattering of most weekday politi-news shows.

I’ll tell you something though, I ♥ Florida Congressman Alan Grayson!

This man speaks his mind in a ballsy straightforward and, yes, theatrical way. He’s smart and I like his intelligent no-bullshit way.

I love all the little crap I collect in my workspace, too.

This little robot lights up when you push on his head, I gave him a little red plug buddy.

Here is my yellow mushroom with spools of pink embroidery thread, an old photo booth pic of Frank and I and a decorated matchbox I did around 2004 or 2005.

Color, baby! I love it so much.

I made my first plush, beaded mini-donut from the hole cutouts from the giant donuts.

It came out nicely. I had slightly smaller tube beads to use for sprinkles.

You can see the small donut against my new storage shelf. Above it is a bag of patterns for my dolls, mushrooms and a dragon tail.

My old heavy cardboard shelf fell over earlier in the week so I grabbed up my remainder pieces of wood and cobbled together this shelf. It was made to fit in this space. It’s long and narrow and I’m glad I had just the right pieces.

I took out nearly all the materials for doll cloths. I had big plans to make a million dolls with skirts and blouses made of cute, glittery socks.

I’ll get to that if anyone buys one of my Soft Girls.

I am giddily happy and thank the beings of light every day that I have a patron for the Soft Boys. My rock n roll dreams made into goofy, embroidered 3D portraits of my favorite musicians. ♥♥♥

It’s easier to do in this new space.

Here I will create donuts and dolls. Joe Strummer with a mohawk, David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust, Robyn Hitchcock and Marc Bolan must come next!

I’d like to do other Mick and Keiths, Frida Kahlos, women artists and just plain ol’ weird cute dolls. I will.

I got an idea yesterday for some crazy little kid lamps surrounded in plush critters I want to try soon. That means a trip to the thrift stores.

I may stumble upon just the materials I’m looking for.

I was reminding myself that I need to get it together to find garage sales soon. There have been a few in my neighborhood over the last month that I have just blown off. I don’t need more junk, I tell myself, but there could be treasures I could share with my Etsy friends. Maybe this weekend I’ll go out early with a pocket of cash and hut for good finds. The latest check of Etsians selling in the north state reveals I’ll have lots of competition out there. Game on, eagle-eyed buyers. Scavenger hunts as recycling is the mode o day.

It will be hot soon so I better end this long blog post.

Frank and I want to catch Inception later today.

Mr. Incredible

Posted in dolls, family, film, finds, shopping with tags , , on July 20, 2010 by darcyarts

I have given thought to controlling my buying habits. I’ve done well in some areas and in others, not so well.

I don’t buy many things I don’t really need at the thrift stores anymore. It’s part of my current work to buy really cute things. If they are vintage and I can sell the on Etsy. So that makes it easier. It’s like a free pass but those things have to be really charming.

I’ve made a firm rule that if there is one bit of doubt on any item I leave it in the store and walk away.

With Mr. Incredible there was not one speck of doubt. He is magnificent.

I didn’t see Mr. Incredible on that trip to my favorite thrift store. Frank found him and knowing how much I love this digital cartoon character, pointed him out to me. That’s what I call being a great partner.

I could not come up with any reason to leave Mr. Incredible behind. He was definitely well-worn. His face is a little damaged. You can see that he was made with his eye mask and that it had been rubbed off. HE has a cut over his left eye. The soft “skin” is split. That’s pretty normal wear and tear for a super hero. It’s rough protecting the world.

Look at that hair. It’s great.

When I need a little lift I can push the button on Mr. Incredible’s belt and he will say something pithy. 

His mouth actually opens, His chest puffs out to open the speaker area.

“I am Mr. Incredible!”

“I can break through walls but I can’t find my socks.”

“Can’t the world stay saved for a while?”

Yes, Mr. Incredible has human foibles. I guess that’s why I love him. He loves his wife and kids, lived the quiet, non-super hero life, so much so that he got into a funk, got bored and missed being able to rescue a world in trouble. It got to the point where he had to get a taste of glory. In little ways.

He sold life insurance to make money and denying claims was repulsive to him. He’d figure out ways to help little old ladies work around the red tape.

Mr. Incredible is too cool. He’s the first super hero who ever captured my imagination and the first to make me understand that super heroes are all about our dreams of releasing the super powers within ourselves.

We all want to radiate out special skills and powers, our creativity and sparkle.

The whole Incredible family is  especially talented and when they need to fight evil menaces they come together like a well honed machine, each playing their part.

The prices for The Incredibles action figures over at Amazon lead me to believe I’m not the only one who loves them.

Mr. Incredible humungo action figure at Amazon.

Iggy of the Cloth

Posted in Art, constructions, dolls, music, projects with tags , , , on July 18, 2010 by darcyarts

My Iggy Pop doll is done. He’s got a dog collar, a bare chest and silver pants.

His head is a tad large but it’s because his big eyes need a big head and don’t you feel like Iggy is mostly head? Well, and abs and, well you know.

You’ve seen this pose before, haven’t you? Hit YouTube and there it will be.

I tried to keep it simple though Iggy really has so many edges. Lots of shadow and light.

I haven’t gotten to where I feel good about painting in body details.

Maybe  someday I’ll do them.

Iggy is one of my Taurus loves. The are just so “there”

“Can you feel it?” Asks Ig.

Yes, I can feel it.  I think this collar is just a little high. I might look for a thinner one.

I do like the purple glitter look.

Creative urges led me to give Iggy armpit hair.

It’s subtle. I think the silver pants came out pretty good. Dig it.

Lust For Life, Iggy

Posted in Art, constructions, dolls, music, projects, rock n roll with tags , , , , on July 17, 2010 by darcyarts

I’m nearly ready to give Iggy a head. The parts are ready to unite. I’ll do a last-minute inspection and then sew them together.

Here is how I started:

Then I filled in the facial features with embroidered detail.

It’s all to balance out those big blue eyes.

I may change my mind and make the nose more narrow.

Yes, I think I will. Take the bottom section in just a bit on each side.

I’ll take out the stuffing and put in a new line of stitching.

I want to make him anatomically correct. It’s Iggy, after all. At least as anatomically correct as a cloth doll can be.  I did give him nipples. He will be shirtless. I think.

In my youth I learned a few embroidery stitches and I have made use of one of them here to create little nipples. By winding the thread arround the needle and then sticking the needle back through you get a nice little knob. It’s good for flower centers and nipple tips.

Iggy will wear silver pants.  That is my intention, anyway. I have never tried sewing this material. Wish me luck.

Before he hits the street the Iggy Soft Boy may need a few more tufts of hair. I think I may make it a bit longer.

Next up on my request list for Soft Boy creations is Joe Strummer with a mohawk, David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust.

I still want to do Marc Bolan, Robyn Hitchcock, the Roxy Music Brian/Bryan duo. I might make a really big  Josh Homme and keep him all for myself. Artist Soft Girls  — Georgia O’Keeffe, Yayoi Kusama and Natalia Fabia — are definitely on my list and probably more Fridas.

This is pink-haired woman is Natalia Fabia at an LA art show with her new work.

Iggy would have been put together by now but his progress was stalled by an emergency do-over. A set of curly star pillows for a Bronx biz got lost in transit. Not really lost but misdelivered.

I have had excellent luck with all my packages getting safely to their destinations but the U.S. Post Office screwed up royally on this one.

The package stopped in the Bronx and was then sent off to Glen, New Hampshire. A local clerk here in Redding tried to find out what happened but it remains a mystery.

The Orange Star Pillow turned out well and will be a new offering at DarcyArts.

I needed to make one in the same purple as the original set. I cut the curls to be longer. The tricky part is getting them wide enough to turn inside out after stitching. I do the tips by hand, in a chain stitch for maximum room.

I will make more and keep em bright.

AMC Confession

Posted in TV with tags , , , on July 16, 2010 by darcyarts

I have been watching All My Children, off and on, since it started in 1970.

There have been years when I did not tune in and I admit that I have little patience with the whole set up of soap opera. I want people to be happy. I like it when couples stay together. The soap opera makes drama from messy breakups, out-of-character cheating and unrealistic character flaws. It’s irritating but sometimes they do a storyline that is attractive.

Bianca’s fling with Zoe/Chloe was very interesting.

I always had a soft spot for Tad and Dixie. I loved Trevor Dillon before his wife Janet went off the deep end and stashed him in the freezer.

My current faves are Jake (so cuddly) and Amanda. After all these years my affection in always tempered with a sort of  cringe. Jake and Amanda are perfectly happy. When will their love be destroyed, smashed to bits?

I like Damon, Tad’s new out-of-nowhere son but not nearly as much as Ricky Paull Goldin’s Jake.

I will be very interested to see what Michael Nouri does on AMC. His confession-of-lost-love scene broadcast Wednesday brought tears to my eyes. Pretty cool, Nouri.