Sunday, January 31, 2010

EHAG Emporium

The doors have been flung wide open! The EHAG EMPORIUM invites you in to browse and purchase wonderful one of a kind Hallowe'en themed art pieces. Do not forget that each piece is one of a kind and available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis. You must email the artist personally with questions concerning the piece that you are interested in or intend to buy.

The Man in the Moon was very pleased when I had mentioned to him that I was going to make a large portrait rattle and I wanted to have him on both sides of the rattle performing a few of his magic tricks. He loves it and I must say that I do as well. Black Cat says that it looks just like him.

Click here to go to my sales blog for all of the information about this double sided portrait rattle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 14 - Stage Magicians, Thurston

I hope that you are enjoying the magic posters from the US Library of Congress as much as I am. This set of posters are some of my favourite of the many that depict "Thurston - The Master Magician". I really like the early magic posters from the turn of the 20th century but this poster has a joyous care free jazz age feel to it and may just be one of my very favourites. (Right... and who is my favourite child?)

A giant top hat is on a table for all to see underneath, it is shown empty and then top hats, umbrellas, animals and lovely young assistants are produced from the giant top hat filling the stage.

A large car is on stage filled with his lovely assistants, it then disappears in a puff of smoke before your very eyes. The poster does say that it is "The wonder show of the universe!"

Magicians at the turn of the last century used a lot of scientific references in their shows. Today's magicians do as well such as cutting a woman in half with a laser but back then science was new and exciting. So many things were being discovered. Everyone takes space flight for granted now. The props for this illusion almost appear scientific, a young woman is brought from nowhere to appear inside the spinning glass cylinder.

The poster says that "a boy, donkey and girl appear and vanish several times in different parts of the theatre." I have no idea why this illusion is called Balaam and his donkey. Balaam was a prophet from the old testament who had been asked by the Moabites to curse the people that had come into the land out of Egypt. God said no you can't they are blessed and are my people. Well after much back and forth with God and with the Moabites Balaam hops on his donkey and heads off with the princes of Moab. God was not pleased at all and put an angel in Balaam's way that was about to kill him. Balaam did see not the angel but his donkey did and went to the side 3 times crushing Balaam's leg against the wall. Balaam hit the donkey each time and finally God made the donkey speak asking why he was being hit. The donkey explained that he did not normally do this to Balaam. Balaam then saw the angel that the donkey had seen all along, and then fell down worshipping God. He was told to go with the princes and prophesy, each of the four times pronouncing a blessing over the Israeli people. The princes were ticked off with Balaam. He then prophesied over  each of the three princes showing them their own destruction.  See what I mean.

The Indian Rope Trick is legendary. The Indian fakir comes on stage with a young boy. On stage is a coil of rope and a basket. The fakir takes hold of the rope and tosses one end into the air, it becomes rigid and the young boy climbs to the top and disappears. There is a noise of fighting heard and the boys limbs fall to the floor. The fakir picks up the limbs, places them in the basket and then the young boy emerges completely restored.

I like this poster. It doesn't show any illusions but the idea of the magicians pets that include a donkey, a chimp, a lion, and a goat mixed in with the traditional pets is quite amusing.

Kellar hands over his success to Thurston in this poster saying that "Thurston will be the greatest magician the world has ever known". The illusion depicted shows a male assistant strapped upside down in a cabinet who then disappears from the cabinet.

Once put into a hypnotic sleep the female assistant rises off of the couch, floats all over the stage, over the audience and then vanishes like a fading cloud.

These last three posters show individual illusions and may have been displayed in the lobby of the theatre for the audience to view as they made their way to their seats. These later posters are interesting but don't compare in quality to the early posters. The posters are self explanitory, this one proclaims "The magicians painting comes to life."

This poster shows Thurston creating a living woman. The words to reinforce the image say "A rag and a bone and a hank of hair, are changed into a lady fair."

Thurston's trusting menagery of birds have their seperated heads and bodies put into a large basket, they then come out restored but with the wrong heads to the wrong bodies! As the writing on the poster says "Magic gets the best of nature and mixes things up a bit."

The Man in the Moon was by last night...

...and asked me to put up another reminder about the EHAG Emporium. If you haven't been to the Emporium yet well there is no excuse. You know who you are. Black Cat said that those slackers (his words not mine) didn't pay any attention to his list so he is getting me to type it out again. I said I will just copy it from the other blog about the EHAG Emporium, it is so much easier. Black Cat said that would be alright as long as I get those few people (he wanted me to type SLACKERS in capitals but I said no you mustn't talk to people like that.) to read his list, follow it, and not just think that they will do it later but do it right now. Black Cat is a very loyal friend of the Man in the Moon and backs him up whenever he can. He is also fond of singing for the Man in the Moon who has mentioned that B.C.'s voice is quite remarkable.

1 - Go to the EHAG Emporium Blog!
2 - Bookmark the website address!
3 - Become a loyal follower of the blog so that you don't miss out on any of the latest news and works for sale!
4 - Have lots of fun!

Black Cat would very much appreciate you to visit our new blog site where the sales will occur. Mark you calendar to join us on January 31st, and all months that end in 31 except for New Year's Eve.

Here is a sneak peek for you to ponder. Remember the 31st of January.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 14 - Stage Magicians, Kellar

I have been working like a manic fool getting my piece ready for the EHAG Emporium. The manic fool part occurred when I was looking at a calendar and thought that I had less time and more work to do. That calendar I realized was for the month of December 2009 and is now taken down. Here are some more magic posters from the US Library of Congress to have a look at.

Kellar performed in the latter part of the 1800's and in the early 1900's. These early posters convey a wonderful sense of mystery and intrigue.

This poster and the one following are depicting an illusion that Kellar created called "The Levitation of Princess Karnac".

I much prefer the previous poster but the electricity that is zooping out of his fingertips would be a great party trick.

A curious cabinet in the background that causes strange things to happen to the articles placed inside and a dancing handkerchief, what more could you want for an evening’s entertainment at the theatre?

This wonderful poster depicts several of Kellar's illusions. The artistry of the layout and quality of the draftsmanship are superb.

A cabinet is assembled on stage raised from the floor so that the audience can see underneath. A chair, a tambourine, and a bell are put inside of the empty cabinet, the doors are closed, and then the "Perplexing Cabinet of Mysteries" begins with the ringing of the bell, the shaking of the tambourine, and finally tossing out of the chair onto the stage. We want to know how it is done but in the same instance we don’t want to know, we want to have mystery in our lives. Ah well, I must get off to work and get my project done.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 14 - Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde, Magic Apparatus, and Stage Magicians

There are very few magicians on North American television other than Chris Angel. Fortunately one of the French stations in Canada, TV5 in Quebec, has a program that comes from Paris once a month called "Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde" that translated means "The Biggest Cabaret in the World." If you speak French, I don't, go directly to that link otherwise Google it and then press translate to open it up. Those of you in the US that do get Canadian television may get a chance to see the show. There is a lot of talking between acts but the acts mostly are done to music so that it doesn't distract you from the performance. As well as about 5 or 6 magicians there are occasionally quick-change artists, acrobats, and jugglers, this is cabaret. You can also type in Le Plus Grand Cabaret Du Monde on youtube to view individual acts.

I love stage magicians. I used to do magic when I was a kid but soon realized that what I liked was the look of the apparatus. The antique magic apparatus is beautifully crafted from turned brass, wood, and richly detailed. Modern magic equipment by comparison can tend to be a little tacky when it comes to quality.

The first three images of Victorian magic apparatus for young boys, is from "The Golden Age of Toys", published in 1967.

I have gone through books and magazines but don't have that much in the way of illustrations. Unfortunately most of it was given away years ago. When I was looking on the Internet I came across a site that mentioned that the Library of Congress in the US had a magic poster collection. The rest of the images are from their collection. This poster depicts the stage setting for "The Magician's Palace - a Realization of the Most Extravagant Dreams of the Arabian Nights."

This poster is "Act 2 - The Magnificent Orient and the Wizards Enchantments." Few magicians can afford to put on such an extravagant show as the magicians from the early part of the 20th century. The cost of support staff let alone the props and the illusions is not cost effective in todays economy.

I love these tables and wondrous "objects of magical purpose". Nowadays people would just look at them and know that they are mechanical. The modern public is different in respect to knowledge about the mechanical workings of everyday life but are no different in that they want to believe that what the magician is accomplishing in front of their eyes is in fact real.

This illustration is of a magician producing owls, cards, a rabbit, and a woman from a miraculous bowl.

This poster shows an illusion performed by Servais le Roy called "A Flying Visit." Teleportation is one of the illusions performed in various guises by magicians throughout history.

In this poster Zan Zig performs four different illusions; the production of an assistant in a glass trunk, producing live doves from an empty bowl placed over a live flame, levitating his lovely assistant, and a decapitation illusion where the severed head is alive and then reunited with its body.

Zan Zig is pictured producing a bowl of goldfish, a chafing dish from which two live doves are produced, a rabbit, a flowering shrub, and a small brass bowl spilling out more pink roses than it can possibly hold, all of this comes out of the suitcase at his feet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Man-in-the-Moon is quite excited...

...And you should be as well. EHAG (Eclectic Halloween Artists Group) is announcing the grand opening of our online marketplace on January 31st at 9 PM EST. The EHAG Emporium will have over 20 EHAG artists tempting you with some wonderful one of kind works of art. Each artist will have one item for sale. There will be one image to tempt you with as well as contact information, shipping information, and a link to their blog for a more in depth look at that particular piece.

Black Cat said people like lists and then handed me this list. He also stood beside me while I typed it out on the blog!

1 - Go to the EHAG Emporium Blog!
2 - Bookmark the website address!
3 - Become a loyal follower of the blog so that you don't miss out on any of the latest news and works for sale!
4 - Have lots of fun!

He is gone now. "All of those exclamation marks," he said, "are very important, it helps to reinforce the information; it has got to do with psychology".

Do visit our new blog site where the sales will occur. Mark you calendar to join us on January 31st, and all months that end in 31 except for New Year's Eve when everyone is out with Father Time celebrating their socks off.

Monday, January 11, 2010

When you go down to the woods today you're in for a big surprise!

Those woods just happen to be where Sweet "B" Folk Art and Retro Rudolph's are having a birthday party.


It starts January 12th at Midnight and ends on January 15th at Midnight.
the Party Starts is on both sites, so go and enjoy yourselves.

During that time you can enter to win Birthday Prizes from both of them. Go to their sites and check out the rules to enter as well as see what the prizes are.

A Little Tour of My Brain, Part 13 - Party Hats and Noise Makers

I love vintage party hats and noisemakers. The hat styles are way more elaborate than the modern versions and vintage noisemakers are equally more beautiful than most modern styles available and to top it off they are not plastic. Don't get me wrong I like the bright coloured plastic that is available today, there will be a blog post about modern plastic items. Back to the noisemakers, the graphics on the old items are so beautiful whether they are printed on paper or metal. This image is from the "Children's Party Book". The crown would possibly be made from card and the rest of the hats from crepe-papier.

This birthday party is pictured in a 1938 paper cookbook called "How to make Rennet Custards and Ice Cream" put out by Junket brand rennet that was available in tablets for making custards, as a pre-sweetened powder for custards or as a mix for making ice cream. These party hats were most likely crepe-papier.

I do not know why but I have always had a fascination with party paraphernalia. The two books as a child that I would look at when I could were my dad's 1930 "Pip and Squeak Annual" and my mum's "Dennison Party Book" from 1928, both of which I now own are most likely why I love it so much.

There is something about the bright colours and the drama that is created when a room is decorated; it takes us out of the everyday into a fairyland of fun.

Party Hats, noisemakers, and decorations are pure escapism. It is all about fun! Most of these hats, including the swan, would be made from crepe-papier. These last three images are all from the British 1930 "Pip and Squeak Annual".

"Alphonse" is marotte or music box toy. His accessories are very much influenced by the party hats and noisemakers of the past. The toys from the past are very detailed and for a perfectionist that is wonderful. To purchase "Alphonse" click here.

I have used the next three photographs before; they are the close-ups of the Christmas tree decorated with party hats and noisemakers from last year. There is no better way to show you a fairly broad selection of my collection that definitely has an influence on the ornaments and accessories for the larger pieces that I produce.

Crepe-papier in large ruffles or fringed, foil, and fringed cellophane have been used to decorate hats and noisemakers. If you want to take it farther and make over the top hats and noisemakers that appear vintage but would never have been made because of the cost, check out books on vintage ribbon work and millenary books.

The two cardboard accordions are from Germany and do work.

This is an image of two separate advertisements for the French Line. The first advertisement is from December 1953 and the second one is from October 1950. They haven't changed much in 3 years; life on the ocean liner is one big party.

These four Hallowe'en Decorations are directly influenced by the hats and noisemakers of the past. Click hereto go directly to the web page to purchase these ornaments.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Mantle Display for 2009

This is about all of the decorating that I did for Christmas this year other than the hallway entrance that you have already seen. My wife reminded me that most people decorate in a few hours not days! She is right, I suppose I am a little (?) obsessive with decorating. Mike our middle child and the only one left living in Victoria put up the lanterns and garlands. He didn't think that I was going to put them up. I was going to but I am very happy that he did that for me. He said that it won't seem like Christmas if they don't go up, I agree!

For those of you interested in a closer look at the images just click on them. Some of them are very large this time so that you can peruse them easier.

We had spent a lot of money for the wedding so this year we decided not to buy a real tree. I missed the smell of the fir tree in the house. The feather trees that are usually put in other areas around the house, this year are grouped close to the mantle creating a grove of feather trees.

The mantle was a complete departure this year and I am very pleased with it. There is a group of items that I have put there for some time but this year to save time I featured a portion of the tinsel garlands and all of the beaded glass spikes. The tinsel garlands are put into milk glass vases and left to cascade over the edge. The tinsel also gave me a bit of a foundation for holding the glass spikes in place. Tucked in this glittery landscape along the front of the mantle are Santas. All of these items are vintage or antique. All of this was placed in front of faux broad leaved branches and then mini lights are carefully placed over, under, and around the vases and Santas.

Here is a better and much larger image of my grove of feather trees. I chose a sample of various ornaments to put on the trees. I think that all of the celluloid is up, a sample of the chenille santas are up, and most of the cotton batting birds, fruit and bells are up.

This year I used some items that are not Christmas decorations but the colours are completely in keeping with the holiday mood. During the summer I purchased a Moroccan star lamp ( probably made in China!) with some birthday money. I tucked in a strand of 20 mini Christmas lights to great effect. In front of the star is a green ceramic planter with two green parakeets facing each other on the rim of the pot, it is probably from the 1920's. The colours of the glazes used on it are very rich and vibrant. It is resting on strands of 1940's (or earlier) rice fibre roping. Tucked inside are a vintage Christmas hanky two tiny chenille trees with imitation candles and a pine cone Santa. The star and the planter turned out to look very Christmassy indeed.

I must get to work. Alphonse and Jerome are still here staying in the colder part of the house. Alphonse loved the marotte and agrees that it does look just like him. Black Cat has teased him about being vain but that hasn't bothered Alphonse he just puts an icy finger on Black Cat's tummy when he is fast asleep. Despite the tomfoolery everyone is doing well.

Jerome has asked that I would finish the pond tray. We have talked about it as to whether he should be sitting putting on his skates or actually skating. Several other ideas have been suggested amidst gales of laughter but we will see what happens in the studio.