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Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

Yeah we are all rushing around like crazy people trying to get all sorts of stuff done. Everyday stuff like the laundry and holiday stuff like decorating and gift shopping. No News There.

However I think there are things we need to stop for a moment and take a breath for. Like reading one of the best pieces of advice I’ve read in a while. Specifically this blog post by Greg Ruth over on Muddy Colors.

Like me, you’ve probably read similar posts before. I’m really glad Greg took the time to write this now, as this time of year is when we tend to forget to think about how important this stuff is. How no matter how busy our lives are that we need to set aside a least a little time to think; that’s it just think.

So take ten minutes and go over and read this truly excellent advice.

Galaxy cover emshwiller 1951

Also a little oddball vintage sci fi humor to cheer your day.

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The Duel

I find the seemingly endless human capacity for hate, violence and ignorance increasingly appalling.

It is appalling that our world, our humanity has slipped so far towards hopelessness that people fall to this.

Eiffel Tower Image

Je Suis Paris

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I have recently purchased the most marvelous book. (please note the smudge under the title is a weird reflection caused during scanning)

figs 4dim cover

Figures in the Fourth Dimension by Ellen Rixford is a delight to both the eyes and the brain. If you like puppetry and/or automatons you will love this book. If you want to build puppets, marionettes, or automata, you will be ecstatic.

This book is big, heavy and loaded with beautiful photos, extremely cogent diagrams, instructions and other valuable information. It starts with basics; the parts and devices used in building mechanical things. Then it moves on to tools, supplies, and setting up workspaces. Then there are chapters on artists working in a wide variety of styles both in the visual and the mechanical approach.

figs 4dim 1

Like this bright colorful killer tomato automaton.

figs 4dim 2

Or this modern statuesque carved wooden automaton, both these examples use similar mechanisms but the artistic esthetic is totally different.

figs 4dim 3

figs 4dim 4

Then there is this elaborately controlled elephant marionette who picks up and eats a fruit.

figs 4dim 5

EL Wire body puppets that in performance are light in motion.

figs 4dim 6

figs 4dim 7

This wooden spaceship is an example of how not only do you get a description of how the device moves/acts but also of how the action is achieved.

An outstanding feature of this book is that while it shows many, many different devices it also explains how to make and use the different mechanisms that the various artist used to achieve the motions.

figs 4dim 8

This last picture is here because I’ve adored Paul Spooner’s art for a very very long time and this one is a perfect example of why. It’s called “The Borgias’ Cat” who happens upon some spilled milk and laps it up . . . and dies. Wonderfully Silly! Dark but silly, just love it.

It took me a very loooooong time to decide which images to share, I finally chose on the basis of variety of styles as there are too many entirely gorgeous photos to choose just a few favorites.

So if you’ve ever wondered how puppets, marionettes, ventriloquist dummies and mechanical automata (both modern and antique) work, what their guts look like, or how to build one. Buy this book. Even if you’re just curious about these things: BUY THIS BOOK!

This Book is Totally Amaze-Bones!!!!

Figures in the Fourth Dimension website is here where you can see more about the book; including the entire table of contents (5 pages — this is a thick heavy book — hooray). Then did I mention . . . you should buy it!

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There are plenty of places out there on the inter-webs to look at design boards. Can you say Pinterest?

I like design boards, they’re fun to put together and are helpful in dialing in a focus on what you really want to accomplish in a given project.

Here is a collage of design boards that I found fascinating way back in the long-long ago.

art of muppets gatefold left

art of muppets gatefold right

They are the center gatefold images from a lovely little book about the Muppets.

This little book in fact:

Art of the Muppets cover

Don’t you just love the muppets? Doesn’t Everybody just love the Muppets?

So go out and find some inspiration. Let’s all make something fun and wonderful.

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and to always be open to little silliness.

one day when we went walking

Trust yourself, believe in faeries, and remember that the bah-humbugs can all go jump in the lake.

Have some fun over this long overdue three day weekend!

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Divide By Cucumber . . .

. . . Reinstall Universe And Reboot.

I thought I was handling this just fine, after all we all knew it was coming. I heard the news on Thursday and while I’ve been sad, I thought I was mostly OK. Then I walked into the library to exchange my books and there was a big pile of books along with his picture. I started to cry. The librarian who put them there started to tear up. We talked for a few minutes and then we laughed. Proper fitting memorial.

I got home (with my new books) and found the invisible wombat wobbling around in circles muttering (wally, wally . . . Crivens!) This is not a good sign. The ground under my feet doesn’t feel quite real, I feel distinctly off balance, nothing is quite right. (There is however the distinct possibility that this surrealness is due not entirely to my grief but instead to a recent (brief) severe illness and hospitalization.) FYI — the invisible wombat is not a Terry Prachett invention. The invisible wombat is mine and he’s been with me practically forever. For a better idea of the dynamics of this relationship watch the movie Lilo and Stitch — I’m both of them.

If you’ve no idea whatsoever who I’m talking about . . . well I pity you. You’ve been missing out on something entirely wonderful.

Terry-Pratchett

Here are a few things you should google: Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Discworld quotes, Hex (explains the heading of this post). Don’t forget to click for images. Google has helpfully put up a list of his books — click on it. Then go read them.

Meanwhile I’ll be trying to pull things together. So far the best I’ve managed is a momentary state of “out of cheese”. Which is dire enough to be going on with.

GNU Terry Pratchett

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I know I’m supposed to say how inspired I am about the prospect of a brand spanky new year and all the wonderful things that I can/could possibility do with it.

210 things to do

However all I seem to be able to think about is how little I have achieved in recent years and how daunting the process of making any genuine progress can be.

Perhaps I am not alone in feeling somewhat frustrated by all this New Year’s Resolution crap.

Let’s all try to maintain a positive attitude and baby step our way to better things.

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Yeah, yeah, I know this is completely and totally late. If you view time and space as a linear progression that is.

Anyway, I found this little photo gem in a quite old book in my collection and wanted to share it.

Dalek dressing-up suit

Yes indeedy my timey wimey friends, a photo of an authentic Dalek dressing-up suit. Which moment in the above mentioned Adventures in Time and Space made me laugh out loud. That little girl was just soooo thrilled to be dressed up as a Dalek it was impossible not to laugh.

On a technical note it was interesting to see how the dressing-up suit was constructed. The body is fabric suspended from a hoop that hangs just below the shoulders from suspender straps. This same hoop forms the support for the helmet which fastens on with snaps. This was a smart design decision: the helmet is supported by the shoulders and leaves the child’s head unencumbered. The two appendages are made of plastic and the rods enter thru the side slits and are held in the child’s hands. You really weren’t meant to stick your arms out the slits . . . but it was handy that you could so as to pull in an emergency sandwich or beverage. After all being a Dalek is thirsty work.

I wanted to get this posted before Thanksgiving as a reminder that sometimes you just have to get wacky in the face of disfunctional situations. It is my most sincere hope that even without said reminder if you found yourself in a unduly difficult place that you found the strength of character to slap a colander on your head, pick up a whisk and say (in a loud, flat, metallic voice) to all assembled: Exterminate! Exterminate!

If nought else, it would certainly shift the mood.

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is not such a bad place to be, if indeed that is where you find yourself.

InDarkForest

The cool pools of shadow, the dense drifts of pine needles; it can be an ideal place to just sit and think. Part of the charm are all the little creatures with sharp little teeth and hungry little tummies. Remember to bring a jar of peanut butter and plenty of spoons to go round.

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What crocodile? You know what crocodile. This one:

Crocodile

The one what ate the alarm clock and who eventually comes for us all. That crocodile.

Why am I going on about a ticking crocodile . . . because he came for Akira. The truly wonderful and entirely talented Akira Blount. Remember these:

Akira Cat Man 150ppi

The people with animal face masks. She taught classes in this, and though I didn’t get a chance to take one I hear they were great.

Akira Twig Hair

Her work later began to incorporate more and more natural materials, like this piece with twig hair.

Akira Wooden Skirts

And finally, these fantastic pieces with turned and carved wooden skirts. Forgive the tragically bad photo, conditions were way less than ideal.

Akira Jack in the box

This jack-in-the-box is the only piece of Akira’s work that I have. It was the souvenir at the annual NIADA conference one year. I remember leaving the banquet that night holding it and hearing Bill Nelson crowing to a group of people ahead of us in the hallway about how great his Jack’s thumbs were. They were the best Jack thumbs at his table. So we (the people I sat with a dinner) went over and asked what was all this about thumbs? Bill explained the clear superiority of his Jack and then said “Show me your thumbs”. We (my dinner group) had not paid particular attention to the relative quality of our Jack thumbs. So we popped open our Jacks and held them up for inspection. A deep silence fell . . . and persisted. Bill scowled — at me; my Jack’s thumbs had bested his. Then we all laughed and went to find a cosy place to laugh some more and talk the rest of the evening away.

It’s been really, really hard to write this post. That damn crocodile has been wreaking havoc among this particular group of people I care about. Mirren, Martha, Susie, Elizabeth, Barbi, and now Akira. These aren’t just people I admire and am inspired by. These are people I knew, people I’ve spent time with; had long talks with; shared meals with. People I had a deep and lasting affinity with. People who are leaving a significant hole in both my heart and my life.

So if you even think you hear something going “Tick-Tack Tick-Tack”: Run Like Hell.

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This is meant to be just a short little post to redirect you over to Muddy Colors for today. Watch this kinda ancient documentary short by Walt Disney on the importance of pursuing individual style.

Do not be put off by the rather dated documentary filming technique or the somewhat wooden narration of the four Disney artists involved. Instead concentrate on what they are saying; the reasons why they are all interpreting the same subject in different ways.

Also vitally important to me is how the beginning portion of the film talks about how when working as a team on a project each member must subvert their own personal style in order to make a cohesive whole. Collaboration is interesting for that very reason; sometimes we can create so very much more as a group then we would have as individuals. However, it is so very very important for all of us to make time for developing our own work. To find that voice that is entirely and uniquely our own.

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It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure.

I wish that I felt like this:

Piglet with Violets

Lying around in a soft meadow, the warm sunlight on my face, the moist delectable smell of dirt rising up from under the grass, sniffing and occasionally eating a violet. A particularly good spring feeling that possibilities are endless and that life is truly fine.

Instead I am stuck here:

Pooh and the Gorse Bush

Right smack dab in a pricker bush. And worse, every time I start to crawl out and brush off; something bungs me right back in. Just lately while I’m lying there still stunned and thinking “What the bugger am I doing back here??” someone/thing kicks me in the head a few times for good measure. And they aren’t even considerate enough to wipe the mud off their boots first.

It’s a tiny bit hard to take. Still it is somewhat hopeful that I am persisting in my attempts to crawl out. If only hope were enough. Good thing I’m terribly stubborn.

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