Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hallowe'en Mantle 2015 - I almost didn't do it.

Since last mid September I have been dealing with prostate issues; surgery will be happening in a couple of months. I also had a hernia occur at the same time and the surgery for that will happen after the other surgery, unless God heals those two areas like He healed my back almost two years ago. Needless to say I am moving around at a somewhat slower pace.

All of this makes me sound like a total wreck! I'm not, life happens!

I was so late this year with taking down Thanksgiving that I almost didn't put up any of my Hallowe'en decorations. I did put up decorations but it happened in three seperate stages, each time saying, "Well, that is all I am going to do".

This year's Hallowe'en display is slimmer and very different. I began taking down the Thanksgiving items five days before Hallowe'en. As I was doing this I decided I would do a token display.

I left the wooden stool and all of the leaves and flowers in place. Canadian Thanksgiving is two weeks before Hallowe'en so October 31 for me has included coloured leaves, flowers, berries as well as pumpkins and squash of all sorts.

Fireworks were definitely a part of Hallowe'en growing up in Victoria. More and more people are setting them off in their yards again. I love it!

I went into the garage and brought out the prop fireworks that I made many years ago for a Hallowe'en window display.

These were arranged on the hearth section and on the mantle. The raku pots were added and that was all that I was going to do. I was exhausted.

The raku pots are always on the hearth, the colours are muted and autumnal, that is the only reason that they were included in the display.

This metal tambourine was a gift from a friend for repair work done on some of her vintage Christmas items; I am glad that she had doubles of it. Thank-you Karen, I love it. It was added later along with the other Hallowe'en collectables.

A day or two later I was in the garage and remembered the ebony vanity set that I had bought at Salvation Army for about $8.00 and a turned ebony/teak candlestick that I had bought for about $4.00; out they came and were arranged on the marble side table, $15.00 from Sally Ann. I love shopping at Salvation Army!

My bottle of Carter's mucilage, an old oil can, a vintage marble, a piece of a broken saucer found in the garden, and feathers were added. Two purple and one orange candle finished off the vignette.

I was done.

When the few Hallowe'en items were introduced to the merry mix I added this wonderful Japanese ceramic pumpkin candy dish.

right click for a larger view

Two days before Hallowe'en I decided that I would put out the few items that were in an antique cupboard in the garage; everything else is packed in boxes and stored away.

The hand-carved farmer and the squirrel nodder were part of the Thanksgiving display, two of my favourite pieces. Those two pieces and the fireworks were all that going to be in this years "sort of" Hallowe'en display;  and then the few Hallowe'en items were brought out.

right click for a larger view

These were the fortunate items to be displayed this year.

Here is a close-up of some of my owls. The egg cup is Japanese. I picked it up at Salvation Army about two months ago, I have never seen this design before. The owl beside the eggcup is a tape measure. His head, wings, feet, and branch that he is standing on are brass and his body I think is bakelite.

The little pumpkin head in behind is a stickpin.

The chenille witch is sitting in front a burgundy fez so she is a little difficult to see clearly.

right click for a larger view

The rest of this year's display; party hats, Gurley candles, a fairly new plastic pumpkin whistle, a celluloid witch lantern, a wind-up black cat, and three pumpkin cups each with different glaze combinations. The pale peach pumpkin cup I picked up in a thrift shop in Sydney, a town about thirty minutes drive from us.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the pins that you see marching along the front of the mantle were supposed to hold lights in place with some sort of garland or leaves to disguise the wires. That never happened, I was just to tired and busy to do it or even care about doing it!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

“Landscape Rattle - Simon and Hugh at the Masquerade Parade”

Hello and Happy Hallowe'en to you! Thank-you for stopping by to have a look at my October offering for the Emporium. My apologies for the VERY sparse posting, there are very few descriptions. Health issues that are not serious but have slowed me down somewhat have made things travel at a slower pace. Enough of the ramblings, have a look, I will add more details tomorrow.

“Landscape Rattle - Simon and Hugh at the Masquerade Parade” 

Mixed media sculpture

Right side view

Back view

left front view

This view shows a bit of my hand so that you can get an idea of the scale of the sculpture.

The underside view showing the handmade branches hiding the three bells.

$450.00 shipping not included.

The overall size of the sculpture is 19 1/2" high, 6 1/2" wide, 5 1/2" deep.

This is a sculpture not a children's toy.

I will carefully pack this sculpture to ensure that it arrives safely to your home to become a treasured part of your collection.

This sculpture arrives duty free into the US.

Please contact me at if you wish to purchase this sculpture. I accept Paypal as well as credit cards through Paypal.

Head over to "The EHAG Emporium" and have a look at what others in the group have available for sale.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Everyone!

Have a great weekend. Enjoy your family, your friends, and the food. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Studio News - The Best Laid Plans...

Yep, the best laid plans can often slide sideways when you lest expect it.

 Medical issues raised their ugly head in mid September so I was unable to finish my sculpture for the September EHAG Emporium.

I went to emergency at our local hospital. Various nurses raised the thin sheet, that is supposed to keep you warm, to do various medical procedures.

I eventually went to a urologist, he gave me his expert and kind advice. I have since seen him several times and he has, shall we say, seen me several times as well.

This is how I am imagining you at this moment upon hearing all of this.

I haven't been able to do any blog posts until now but this is closer to how I am feeling.

I will hopefully finish that sculpture for the October EHAG Emporium and there will be blog posts.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Drawing a blank but the inspiration is always there

I thought that I would give you a glimpse into the way that I create my sculptures, in particular my "Landscape Rattle, By the Light of the Silvery Moon" that is in this months EHAG Emporium.

I don't design any of my sculptures. I run headlong into the making portion, sometimes with an idea and sometimes I just starting making a prop or base for the sculpture, point A, progressing on to point B. Sometimes,quite often actually, point B just doesn't work and so another alternative has to be created; the journey for me, seeing where I end up, is what it so much fun... and surprising.

My post about the making of the trees was point A for my last sculpture "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Designing this way is scary sometimes but it keeps me on my toes, I have to be conscious of every element that is being created or replaced.

I had the trees but that was it. I was depressed because there was not a single idea... blah, blah, blah...

I felt empty because there was no direction... blah, blah, blah...

I never design my sculptures... blah, blah, blah...

they occur organically... blah, blah, blah...

if I did drawings like everyone else I would have an idea... blah, blah, blah...

(Sometimes the above happens, thankfully not that often.)

The only thought that came to mind was the paper wrapping the barrel of the drum rattle, I had used it for the “Landscape Rattle, Ambrose and Monty, his Parade Lantern”...

as well as the “Landscape Rattle, William and Timothy and the Toffee Apple”I didn't want to use the painted paper for a third time.

I headed to my paper drawer; this paper was the inspiration. The colour combination didn't feel correct...

but this one the fit the bill.

A song or phase kept coming to my mind, "Dancing by the Light of the Silvery Moon". I had my idea, the Man-in-the-Moon dancing under the trees.

I looked up Jazz dance in Google images and found some great pictures of Fred Astaire...

and Gene Kelly. There it was my idea, pure gold, just waiting to be made.

I never intended to use two trees as they take a while to make and that translates into cost but he had to be dancing under two trees. He was strolling and dancing, having fun along the forest path.

I made the barrel rattle section of the sculpture added the trees and the realized that in order for the trees to appear tall I would have to make the Man-in-the-Moon about two inches to three inches tall. So much for my idea of pure gold, it s now a lump of lead. Are you starting to see how the process goes, point A sometimes does not necessarily connect to point B.

The Man-in-the-Moon is up at the top of the trees having a conversation with two of his friends and will on the ground shortly joining in on the fun.

Placing the Man-in-the-Moon in the top of the trees was challenging, I had to defy gravity. He had to have the appearance that he was floating above and in the tree limbs and not the tree limbs supporting him. I am pleased with how it turned out.

Merton, at the base of the tree on the left surrounded by the fireworks, helps to ground the composition. His eyes and the jumping jack firecracker on the ground in front of him direct your attention over to the dried yellow grasses at the base of the right hand tree which then direct your attention back up to the group at the top.

I had no idea that this is what the landscape rattle would look like. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. "Landscape Rattle, By the Light of the Silvery Moon is available here

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

The August EHAG Emporium is open!


I am so glad that you have stopped by to have a look at my offering for this months Emporium.

“Landscape rattle - By the Light of the Silvery Moon” - $350.00.

Who doesn't love a party! The Man-in-the-Moon has stopped by to join his friends for an evening of fun, food, and fireworks.

The barrel rattle that the landscape rests on is 5 3/4" wide and the ground that was built up with composition is roughly 3" wide. The cardboard cylinder was covered in a paper of my own design before adding the composition ground.

Inside the cylinder is a ½” wide x 2 1/2” high x 5 1/4” long piece of wood filling the centre of the interior, it has been glued in place.

Holes were drilled through the cardboard cylinder into the wood to hold the two 11 ¼ “ tall trees, the Jack-o-Lantern, his name is Merton not Jack as you would suppose, and the vintage turned wooden handle securely place. The handle is 5 1/2” long. Cardboard, painted black, covers each end of the rattle. Screw eyes were inserted in the centre of each end to hold the silver bells. It was then covered with a double layer of black glass glitter. Glue was painted over the glitter to hold it in place when the bells move across the surface.

The two tall trees were hand built from vintage florist pips, tissue paper, wire, and painted with acrylic paint. Check out this blog post to see the process of creating the trees.

The Man-in-the-Moon is made of composition and papier-mâché over wire. His colouring is built up with ten layers colours patted on by hand to achieve his mottled skin tone. In his right hand he is holding Arnold, a carrot lantern. Jane, a turnip lantern, is in his left hand.

At the base of the tree on the left side is Merton, a pumpkin lantern; he is surrounded by miniature handmade fireworks.

Sections of reindeer moss, corn silk, tiny twigs, and vintage yellow and purple florist stamens were glued around the base of the two tall trees at the back and in the front.

The composition ground has been painted with acrylic paint. Once dry, glue was liberally applied to the ground and a mixture of roasted sterilized soil, finely cut hand dyed green, brown, and natural sisal twine was dusted onto the glue.

This view shows a bit of my hand so that you can get an idea of the scale of the sculpture.

The overall size of the sculpture is 20” high, 8 1/2” wide from bell to bell, and approximately 3” deep.

This is a sculpture not a children's toy.

I will carefully pack this sculpture to ensure that it arrives safely to your home and will be a treasured part of your collection.

This sculpture arrives duty free into the US.

Please contact me at if you wish to purchase this sculpture. I accept Paypal as well as credit cards through Paypal.

Head over to "The EHAG Emporium" and have a look at what others in the group have available for sale.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Behind the scenes, how I build trees and shrubs.

Well, that title makes me sound like a master tree builder, creating these things for years on end, or is that in my mind alone!

The truth is that my wife and I love going for walks in the forest, the rural countryside, and by the ocean; we are so fortunate on the southern end of Vancouver Island that all of these areas are 5 to 20 minutes away from our home. I love looking at the plants and trees observing how the leaves and branches form as they grow as well as the landscape that they are growing in, so it is only natural that they pop up in the sculptures that I create.

The picture above is a bundle of vintage Made in Japan flower stamens that have been wrapped in tissue. Thirty-five years ago I bought the entire lot of stamens from a craft shop that was going out of business, at 75 cents a bundle that was a deal.

The batch of tissue wrapped stamens are then painted with a base coat of brown acrylic paint.

I sort the stamens into piles of one, two, and three stamens. The piles of two and three stamens are then wrapped in tissue paper and left to dry.

When they are dry they are then painted and left to dry. There is a lot of "Hurry up... and wait" during the creative process.

Wire is then cut into six to eight inch lengths. Each small branch is made up of a group of one, two, and three stamens.

The stems are painted, you can see at the bottom of the picture that I vary the placement of the one, two, or three stamen bundles.

Five stems are then wrapped together to create a larger limb. Several limbs create a tree. I use the branches and limbs to create trees or shrubs of different sizes.

Here are a few of the sculptures that have handmade branches and trees in them.

This decoration "Black Cat Came as a Bush" uses a crown made of leaves to create Black Cat's costume, a small bush with a pumpkin in a nest that is resting on his head.

I have created branch staffs for "ilexander", a holly berry candy container...

and this "Giant Portrait Rattle - Jack Came Dressed as an Autumn Jester".

This was the first tree that I created for one of my sculptures, a candy container and table centrepiece, "Patty, Wayne, and the Party Tree". The 24" tree is meant to be decorated with your personal ornaments.

This "Landscape Rattle - Ambrose and Monty His Parade Lantern" has my first very small tree, it stands 10 3/4" high, as part of the landscape.

I have used three small trees as part of the undergrowth for this sculpture, “Landscape Rattle - William and Timothy and the Toffee Apple”.

Bye for now, I must get into the studio and work.