Jack’s Walk

The Hollow, Twisted Tree ©voyager, all rights reserved

“Mommy… Mommy,” I heard Jack call out excitedly from somewhere up ahead. Soon I saw him exit the forest and do a quick trot toward me on the trail. All of this was quite surprising because Jack seldom gets excited, and he doesn’t do the quick trot anymore, so something was up.
“What is it, Bubba?” I asked as he got nearer.
“Oma Troutchen is missing, and the fairies need our help.”
“Why do the fairies need our help?”
“They need my nose, and you have to drive,” Jack said, “Gnorman will explain it. He wants to talk to you.”
“Is Gnorman a fairy?” I asked, getting excited at the thought of finally meeting one of Jack’s fairy friends.
“Silly Mummy. Gnorman isn’t a fairy. Gnorman is a Gnome. Over here,” Jack said, walking back into the woods and stopping beside a tall, twisted tree stump.
I approached carefully and looked around, but I didn’t see anyone except for Jack.
“Where is he, Jack?”
“Up here, you Ninny, and put that camera away,” I heard a gruff voice say, but I still didn’t see anyone.
“Here, in the tree,” and sure enough there he was, a small wizened creature with a bushy white beard wearing a pointed red cap, standing inside the hollowed-out tree.
“Why must I put the camera away,” I asked.
“Because I told you to. Now, are you going to keep asking silly questions, or are you going to listen?” Gnorman said.
“I’m listening, but I’d like to take your photo, please,” I said as politely as I could.
“Maybe later. Right now, we’s got a lost fairy, and we needs Jack to help us find her. And Jack says he needs you to help him, so we’s decided to take a chance and asks you’s fur a bit of human help.”
“I’ll help however I can,” I said, wondering what on earth I could do to help find a fairy.
“It’s Oma Troutchen we’s lost. She was out collecting acorn caps with the school kids yesterday when young Freddy Fox wandered in and started sniffing around, and somehow Oma got caught up in his tail, and the silly fool ran off with her hanging there, and he’s done went and lost her.”
“That’s terrible.” I said, “Do you have any idea where she might be?”
“That’s the trouble. Freddy says that he thinks he lost her around Punkydoodles corner, but that’s a long way from here, and the fairies don’t have their wings yet to go looking for her. The birds is out looking for her, but they haven’t found her yet, and Oma ain’t gonna do well on her own for long.”
“Why won’t Oma do well? And why don’t the fairies have their wings?”
“Great grasshoppers! You sure do ask a lot of questions.” Gnorman said.
“Everyone knows that Fairies shed their wings in the fall and grow them back in the spring, so’s it’s easier for them to live underground in the winter. As for Oma, she’s very old and has the forgetting disease. Everyone in the forest is out looking for her. Even them drunken Imps are helping, but Freddy took her too far, and it’s hard to find a fairy who ain’t got her wings.” Gnorman was getting upset. “, where’s that stupid fox. He was supposed to meet us here to give Jack a bit more knowing about where they went. Hrmph! You just can’t trust a fox.”
“if you can’t trust a fox, how do we know he’ll tell us the truth?” I asked.
“‘Cause he’s got the whole durn forest mad at him and even a fox is smart enough to know you don’t mess with the fairies.”
“Everyone loves Oma Troutchen, Mummy,” Jack spoke up. “She’s been living in this forest for a long, long time and she’s friends with everyone. She was the first fairy I met, and she tells the best stories. I love her, too.” Jack sighed heavily, and I could see his eyes misting over.
“Alright, Gnorman. Jack, can you find the trail without waiting for this fox to turn up?”
“I can find fox trails, but I can’t be sure which one belongs to Freddy,” Jack said sadly.
“Well, then, I guess we’d better wait to see if Freddy turns up,” I said, sitting down on a log to wait.
“Thar’s a good girl,” Gnorman growled. “Now, I’ll let ya take one photo, but not too close. You humans always seems to make us Gnomes look silly.”
“Well, you do look a bit silly up in that tree,” I said.
“I climbed up here to make it easier for you, young lady, there’s nothing silly about that.” Gnorman smiled for the first time.
“Thanks,” I said, smiling back at him. “I appreciate your effort. And it’s nice to be called ‘young lady,’ no one calls me that anymore.”
“Well, you don’t look a day over a hundred to me,” Gnorman said merrily, and while I was letting that remark sink in, he quietly said, “Thanks to ya, fur helping us,” and then he blew me a kiss.
I reached for my camera and snapped a quick photo before Gnorman changed his mind.

Jack lay down beside me and placed his head heavily on my foot. I could see he was tired, and I stroked his back, hoping he would take a power nap.
And so we waited, hoping Freddy Fox would turn up soon.

Gnorman, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Corona Crisis Crafting: Smoll Things

There are some larger projects still in progress, like the dragon egg, but in between there was time for some smaller things, especially some that could be done with the kids.

#1 A birthday gift

©Giliell, all rights reserved

At school we have the tradition of “Geburtstagswichteln”. Now, Wichteln is what you’d call “secret Santa” at Christmas, but since the German word comes from “Wichtel”, a gnome, you can use it all year around. Tomorrow is the birthday of my recipient and since I cannot hug her or give her a present I sent her gift by mail. A necklace in the “smoke in resin” style, Lindt chocolates and nasturtium seeds for flowers.

#2 Shakers

You will remember my shaker disasters. After the second try I simply gave up and ordered some moulds.

They come in two varieties. Number one: open

©Giliell, all rights reserved

To finish them you need overhead transparency film and UV resin. You cut a piece of transparency to fit over the opening. Then you fill in your glitter and glue the transparency to the mould using UV resin. Then you fill the shaker with baby oil through the tiny opening you can see at the basis of the TV set and close that opening with UV resin. Finally you put a coat of resin on top.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The other version comes with two moulds, one for the shaker, the other one for the top

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The idea is the same, just without the transparency. There’s also a little piece to close the opening, but it’s not in the picture. I sent the first set of those to my friend so she can craft them with her kiddo as well. I know she’s got UV nail polish so she won’t need to go shopping for UV resin. I also noticed that while I know exactly where cutlery and plates are in their kitchen, I had no idea what number their house is…

#3: And, you already spotted them: Pikachus!

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These moulds are a set of four. I first cast them in normal resin and then added the details with UV resin. The local Pokémon expert informed me that the eyes were all wrong above so I had to do them again. Working with black and white UV resin is tricky because, duh, they’re opaque and need a lot of UV light and time for curing. So if you spot a madwoman with sunglasses in her kitchen, don’t worry, she’s a madwoman wearing proper eye protection.

#4 Landscapes

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I saw these moulds on Youtube and I was really fascinated by them. You cast the pieces in two steps: First you do the landmasses as you can see in brown here, then you put those into the other moulds and pour the sea. They are really pretty (the image doesn’t do the finished brown pieces justice), but they’re also a bit on the small side, as you can see in the Euro coin next to them (for ‘Muricans, a little less than an inch). I think they would work best in a necklace putting several of them next to each other, but for that I’ll have to cast them in the same colours.

Well, that’s it for today. See you next when it’s time for “thank goodness my hands are keeping my mind busy”.

The Finished Little Horse(s)

Kestrel has finished her little horse(s) and I think they’re all fabulous!

I finished my last horse, and in time for the deadline. I’ve already sent in my entries; it’s all over but the crying, as they say.

The final work is pretty subtle; the whites have been altered so they are not so stark, there is slight pinking in the area by the elbow where the hair is thinner, and in that second photo, finally, we have eyes!

©kestrel, all rights reserved

©kestrel, all rights reserved

He looks like he’s saying, “Are you lookin’ at me?” In case anyone wonders: those dark dots on the legs are to represent the chestnuts (as they are called) on a living horse. These are the remnants of a toe, because equids were originally 5-toed.

I’m including the photos I sent in for the contest, posted here in order of my painting them – so this sorrel horse is the first one I painted, and the bay pinto I’ve been working on is the last. Taking clear, focused pictures of something this small is pretty difficult, at least for me. When you get it focused right, the photos are brutally honest, and the artist can see every last tiny flaw and mistake. Well, this is to be expected for a novice like myself – I will hopefully learn a lot here and do better in the future. The dapple grey (third photo down) was particularly difficult for me. That color terrified me because I’ve seen so many people get it wrong; but I like a challenge so I tried it. It was, as I thought it would be, really tricky, particularly at this scale.

I’m not sure when the judging will take place but I will try and keep Voyager informed as to the outcome. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a glimpse into an admittedly very weird hobby!

©kestrel, all rights reserved

©kestrel, all rights reserved

©kestrel, all rights reserved

©kestrel, all rights reserved

The Art of Book Design: The Springtime of Life, poems of childhood

Algernon Charles Swinburn. Springtide of Life. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott: London, W. Heinemann, 1918.

Today’s children’s book is a collection of poetry dedicated to the early life of children by Algernon Swinburn. It was published posthumously, as a collection according to the author’s wishes and was illustrated by one of the era’s most prolific and respected artists, Arthur Rackham. I’ve included all the full-page colour plates, but the book also contains a wealth of line drawings of chubby cherubs and well-fed babies, a minimum of one per poem. I’m very fond of Rackham’s artwork and I hope it brings some pleasure to your day. [Read more…]

Corona Crisis Crafting VI: A Dragon Needs a Tower

While the next batch of dragons is drying, I built them a tower to live in, because that’s a natural dragon habitat.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

That first layer of stones needed to be absolutely even, because any differences in height would multiply by the time I got to the top. I filled the middle stone with concrete and anchored it in the ground with some construction steel, because this stone carries most of the weight of the next layers. I used up some left over gravel to fill in the gaps. The stones are set about 10cm into the ground so they aren’t pushed apart by the weight of the stones on top.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The next two layers. The stones are glued together by construction glue, the kind you can lift a car with. I am very proud to tell you that the second level only had a two mm difference in height on one stone, which is probably due to the stone itself. I let it set over night and finally today the first inhabitants could move in.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

There’s going to be one more on the left side. The two slightly mishap dragons also move in, lurking behind the bushes.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

I’m also happy (haha) to tell you that my mum is back in her good (haha) old shape. Yesterday I sent her a pic of the finished but unplanted tower. “You are aware that you can’t go to the hospital now if your back hurts, right?”

Today I sent her a pick of the finished tower, with grandkid! “Are you lurking around in hardware stores or what?!”

Yes, mum, I love you, too.

The Art of Book Design: Spicy Stories

 Spicy Stories, Sept. 1936.

I can deal with the skimpy outfit for grass cutting, but the heels are a bit much. Also, why must the woman look so happy when she is obviously about to have an accident with that mower. Nonetheless, this was an early men’s magazine, and it isn’t just the stories that are “spicy,” there are also titillating drawings and a few nude photos. Mild by today’s standard, but pretty saucy for the 1930’s. If you check out the magazine at the link below, be advised that it’s NSFW. Also, take a moment or two to read the ads at the back of the issue. They’re a hoot.

 

via: The Internet Archive