Friday, July 1, 2011

A not really happy birthday

So tomorrow I turn 25. This fact has stirred all kinds of emotions in me, most of which being negative as I recall all of the many broken promises I have made to myself and subsequently the elite few of you I call my fans. I fail day after day to preform for you, my people who I can only hope understand me. I am not going to turn this into yet another forgiveness begging speech, as I have made many of those in the past.
 But as of 4 in the afternoon tomorrow my age can be described as a QUARTER OF A CENTURY. This is a rude awakening for me. Any last little shred of a post high school wannabe teenage creature in me needs to die a painful death as I hurtle toward the next adult step in my life. I need to take things more seriously, not only for the few of you who will read this but for myself. I am not a child anymore. There is no one to blame but myself. I fight tears as I write this, angry at myself and scared of an uncertain future. I don't know if I can make it as an artist, performer, writer, or whatever title I end up wanting, but I owe it to myself to at least try. I have let months pass without a thought. That's the funny thing about time, it doesn't need or want your permission. It will march onward like a trusty soldier whether you want it to or not. And time has started pelting me like a ton of bricks that is just warming up.
I can't and won't promise monumental changes in the way I run things but I would like to. I know myself too well though. I am prone to failure when I take too much at once. I've gone through moments like these feeling like I need to make a mad dash toward maturity but falling short and feeling like I deserve breaks that grow into unwanted ruts. I don't want to do that now. All I want to do is to say I realize I am, as an understatement, flawed. I will try to maintain a basic format for things to get myself in order but try is about the most I can promise. Aside from wrestling with my own procrastinating inner monologue, I am facing many personal demons in my own life.  These things get in the way some times.

I can say I will do what I can though. Changes must be made.

To the few that will read this, you are my muse. I love you all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So since I have once again allowed this blog slip into the clutches of neglect, I've missed sharing a few things with you few fine folks here.

Mid September of last year, I decided to shake things up in the hopes of chasing away a depression I was fighting. On a whim, I submitted a few pictures of my work to a jurried art show that would be happening in November called Oddmall. Up until then, I'd never tried to have my work judged for any sort of show or gallery.We had already planned to attend this show in the hopes of meeting one of my heroes, Ms. April Winchell who was scheduled to appear. I figured "What the hell" and so I sent the email, expecting a rejection and hopefully helpful criticism.

Not more than a half an hour later I received a response that just about blew my mind. I was told that my work was exactly the sort of thing they were looking for and that I should reserve my booth immediately. I was thrilled.

I dedicated all of October to working furiously towards having an impressive booth when the big day came. I've never turned out so many completed pieces as when I was working against that deadline. If only I could harness that momentum for everyday use.
I started to run out of room on my trunk.
The month marched on and the day grew closer.

I've never done a craft show before but I spent my childhood tagging along with my mother and aunt as they did antique show after antique show. I was the dirty little girl you see running around the flea markets, playing little games and taking naps under the tables on top of boxes. 

My babies all packed up for their big day!
So I have had experience with putting together cohesive booths and working with customers. I knew how to play the game, this would be the first time I would be in charge of things. 

All wrapped up for the night. 

On November 5th we left at about 2 in the morning and drove all night and all day to Hudson Ohio. We faced hiccup after hiccup and finally made it to our hotel, a shady looking hole in the wall (not the place where it was being held). And as we pulled into the parking lot of what would be our base camp, It began to snow in heavy clumping sheets until it was nearly white out conditions. But none of the hassles and problems we dealt with could spoil the excitement. We headed to the show to set up, spending about five hours preparing the first official Mad Gypsy booth. 

The next morning, bright and early it was showtime.

It was incredible. Despite the crowd being thin due to the unexpected blizzard the night before, it was still amazing. I watched a little girl fall in love with a barrette and beg her mother for it and then wore it immediately. I saw a woman examining an ornament and then returning hours later saying he was calling to her and she just couldn't leave without him! It was such an great feeling to actually be there to watch someone fall for a creation. Simply amazing.

So yes there were snags, and weather issues, and it was less than profitable when travel and expenses are figured in.
But I can't wait to do it again.

Hopefully you will see me at the spring show!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Okay this time for reals.

I'm super serious this time.

I've yet again neglected this blog for months on end but that's ending right now. So brace yourself world.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Queen Of Snark: My tribute to the one, the only April Winchell

 This post is quite long overdue.
Ever hear of
No? You're missing out.

Regretsy is an amazing blog that singles out and ridicules the bizarre and sometimes just bad items from, a global handmade marketplace. But it's so much more than that.  It's the internet's best hypnotic time-sucking website. It's a living breathing empire of snarky people who adore the out of the norm art and making fun of people who take things too seriously. It's inspiration to take your own art more seriously. It's a virtual society with it's own language and a goal to do as much good as possible to "reduce the asshole footprint." 

Basically, it's just about the greatest thing ever made and it is run by the one and only April Winchell, aka Helen Killer.

That woman is my hero. She is so unrelentingly funny and confident that she has firmly earned a place in my heart. On March 24th she posted a call for items for a charity auction and so I set to work. Within a week, this doll is what I came up with. However, I fell in love with the outcome so hard that I prayed that April would see the doll and be unable to part with her.

She stands at about 16 inches tall and comes complete with a built in weighted doll stand, sewn into the luxurious black fur cape. As with all of my dolls, all of the fabric used on her is from recycled thrift store clothing. Her head, arms, and accessories were sculpted from white polymer clay and painted. My dolls always come with a story card that is written from their point of view and explains a little bit about themselves.

I sent her an email saying,

"When you posted your call for fuckery for the auction, I immediately began scheming. Within an hour of that post, I was at my desk, painstakingly sculpting your visage. And as I worked on this small tribute to snark, I half wanted you to keep her. So I humbly offer this to you to do with as you please. Either keep this doll for yourself, donate it to the auction or burn it and sue me for defamation of character and gratuitous use of a glue gun.  I would be overjoyed with the first two and if you went with the third, well ya gotta do what ya gotta do"

A week passed and I began to get discouraged. And one day, I opened my email and shrieked to find a response from April.
 She had this to say:

"First let me say how much I ADORE this doll.  I just love it more than I can say.  There is so much detail and thought and insanity going on here and it delights me no end. Everything from the mittens to the skants to the toilet paper . . . it's just fucking magic is what it is.

I will gladly and gratefully accept this, though I'm not sure I want to auction it off.  I'll try to be a sport about it, but I'd really like to keep it."

I cried when I read that.  My dark eyed rendition of the funniest woman alive had her stamp of approval.

I've mailed the Queen out and she arrived safely from her long journey to Cali. I am so elated when a piece goes home to its rightful owner. My only wish now is a shot of April with her new doll. Then I think I can die a happy woman.

She is literally COVERED in Regretsy references. If you're not yet a fan, PLEASE go educate yourself in the wonder that is Regretsy. If you are a snarky person who isn't easily offended, you'll fit in nicely.  Hopefully there's a few of you who know what I am talking about and will giggle when you notice the skants, the red mittens, the "embroidered" toilet paper, the earring necklace, and the all around whimsicle fuckery of it all.  And if you followed me here from Regretsy, thanks so much for taking the time to check out my doll. Hope you stick around for more of my art! Please let me know what you think of her! 


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Four Small Dolls

First off, sorry for my long absence from this blog. I've neglected it again for some time but the up side of this is I have amassed several projects in the meantime that I'll be able to post.

Here we have a set of 4 small dolls I have created for a swap. I often participate in these mini doll trades and if you are a doll maker I would LOVE to engage in such a swap with you. The only rules are that they are between 3 and 6 inches tall and have a loop to hang them from. My goal is to have a massive collection of these one of a kind creatures decorating my home. The Yeti I featured a little while back is one of these dolls created for SpookyPooky, one of my crafty art crushes. 

Here is the most recent set I have created. My goal this round was to build as much of each piece from polymer clay as possible. Enjoy!

My first partner had listed mermaids and Day Of The Dead artwork on her likes so I combined them into this lovely. She is constructed entirely out of polymer clay, with the exception of her jointed dangling arms and tail fin. Her fin is made out of one of my favorite materials (as I love any craft that requires fire) Fantasy Film.  I've also heard it called "Angelina Film." It's a thin plastic film that is heat reactive, changing colors and warping shape and texture. It is perfect for things like wings or fins and is oh so much fun to play with.  

My next partner expressed a love of birds and so this was created. The basic shape was built from polymer clay and then painted a royal blue. I then covered the piece in blue and white feathers. Oddly enough, this gave it the perfect texture, weight and density to feel frighteningly realistic. I feel so sorry for my partner who for a half a second when she opened her mail and reached into the bubble mailer, must have worried that she had gotten a lunatic for a partner who sent her a dead bird.  She later told me that due to his stern expression she had named him "The Blue Bird of Seriousness"

This happy little mushroom is entirely clay and has one of the cutest faces ever. I originally intended to make a psychedelic multicolored  funky friend but after I started sculpting he begged to be painted in natural warm colors. The details I put into him like the  ridges under the cap (that I failed to get a good shot of) came out so well that they demanded I stay in realistic tones.

And this spectacular little fellow is by far my favorite. My partner's list included things such as bat wings, eyeballs, tentacles, "the aesthetic of old retro toasters" and the instructions "Go a little mad, and I will be sure to love it." The answer was so very obvious: The Space Toaster from Hell.  She loved him so much she mentioned she was considering divorcing her husband and running away with this fabulous creature. 

I love this Toaster. Love, love, LOVE it. I love that she loved it. I love that it loved her. It makes me so unrelentingly happy when a creature I have created is so perfectly matched with and cherished by it's recipient.

Hope you enjoyed this latest edition of my dark eyed creations :)

Much Love!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tagged like a captured beast let back into the wild.

So I was tagged by one of my favorite crafty broads in a recent blog. The lovely and talented SpookyPooky, Alexz expressed an interest in the exciting and mysterious world of The Mad Gypsy. Okay well maybe not that mysterious or even that interesting lol. But if anyone is curious, here it is:

7 "Interesting" Facts 
About The Mad Gypsy

  1. I learned my skills in crafting and basically just "making stuff work" in my 3d studio class in high school, the two years I spent working in a small craft and scrap booking store and things I have picked up through trial and error. Which leads me to my next point,
  2. I never went to college. I had every intention of going to art college but that didn't end up happening so I guess I am doing this instead lol. This is why I do swaps. I treat those as assignments in my own little art uncollege. Isn't that lame? 
  3. I LOVE giraffes. Ever since I was little they reminded me of alien horses. 
  4. I have a cat named Jables and I love him dearly but he will never be as close of a friend to me as my old cat Max. Max was my best friend and my best editor. When he died I was inconsolable. I had to call out of work for 3 days because I just couldn't move without him. I intend to name my first son Max. 
  5. Jables is named after Jack Black. I have a thing for the confident class clown who will look ridiculous for a laugh and be proud of it. Jack Black is so amazing. I want his confidence and charisma. And him. I just want him. 
  6. I have a severe Alice In Wonderland complex. I have been obsessed with Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass ever since I was little and the books were read to me. I took Tim Burton's interpretation of Alice In Wonderland very personally. It bothered me that so many liberties had been taken and it was still marketed as the story of Alice In Wonderland. I would not have minded so much if he had titled it something like "Almost Alice" or "Alice At Last" to make it clear that this was some kind of adaptation or sequel. I felt betrayed to find that the story had been so butchered. I could rant for a very long time about this movie. I wanted to like it! I really did! I have been waiting for it for two years. But despite how pretty it was at some points, and how very typically Tim Burton it was, I just wasn't feeling it. And so now EVERYONE is obsessed with Alice In Wonderland and I feel like a jackass though I have been "down with the rabbit" (lol) for as long as I can remember. A trendy jackass. Ugh. 
  7. Animal Muppet is my spirit animal. 

Well there you have it. That oughta hold ya for a while.  I suppose now I should go about my tagging. 

not a lot but a few fun people who pique my interest :) 

well, like the fat kid in dodge ball with a limp, I'm out! 

Much  Love~

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If you're gonna make a giant cupcake, you might as well make it light up.

Let me introduce you to
The Cupcake Of Whimsy

My roommate called this "The Deathstar of Whimsies. With sprinkles."

This monument to all things sweet and dessert was made for a recent craft swap called The Jar of Whimsies. 
The goal of the swap was to take your partners likes and create or find some kind of container for them and fill it with "whimsies" which could be any small item your partner would enjoy. At the end of the swap there is a voluntary contest for best "jar." This was the first time I had ever done this swap so I knew I wanted to do something big and different. When I got my partner's survey and saw she loved cutesy cakes and cupcakes, building a giant cupcake box seemed obvious.
 Then it was just a matter of figuring out how, which I probably never would have done if it wasn't for this wonderful tutorial on faux cupcakes . Celebrate Creativity is a great blog with tons of easy to follow tutorials. For my cupcake, it was easy to adapt her methods to a larger scale.

So this is the story of how this, a mere floral foam half ball, a wooden tambour (the stuff used on roll-top writing desks and breadboxes), a wooden circle plaque, miniature purple lights, and a container of lightweight Spackle,

Became this

This whole piece came together really by chance. While brainstorming how to actually construct the cupcake I considered a lot of different mediums. My first idea was to simply cover a cylinder canister in corrugated paper to give the appearance of a cupcake wrapper.  This lead to a brief escapade of ordering what was labeled as "red corrugated paper" off of ebay, only to find when it arrived that it was not textured at all but just printed with lines to look corrugated. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. 

After returning the paper to the seller, making sure they should know to make note that the paper is not actually what it is labeled as, I needed a new idea. My roommate mentioned "the stuff from those old fashioned writing desks" and it seemed perfect! However, after finding that not only were the tambours, as we learned they were called, hard to find but they were expensive as well, I was frustrated and back at square one. 

Once every week or two weeks my mother drives out to see me on her day off and we visit the billions of thrift stores around my house. Usually we are on a mission for something for a project for me. My mother loves when we are searching for something for me to turn into something else. It ends up being a scavenger hunt for us. On one particular day we were walking through one of our favorite shops and I was telling her all about my frustrations and how we thought of the perfect medium but what were the chances of ever finding any? 

Literally, as we were discussing the concept of the wooden roll-top pieces, we turned the corner into the next aisle and saw TWO of them piled up and marked with $0.99. Truly the thrift store goddess was smiling down upon us. 

After finding that, constructing the cupcake went pretty quickly. The wood was cut to fit around the circle plaque and then nailed into place. The floral foam half sphere was a little smaller than the container ended up being. So I cut a disk of craft foam board from an old piece I had laying around to make up the difference.

I really should have known better.  If you have ever touched floral foam, you know it pretty much starts to disintegrates when you handle it. It turns into a fine green dust that is harmful to breath and can cause mild skin irritations, so I was quite angry with myself for buying it by mistake. To combat this since I was going to need to be able to handle it a lot, I gave it a thick coat of white acrylic paint. The base was painted a bright bubblegum pink and sealed with a gloss finish.

The lights were the very first thing that I found before I even got my partner. Thrift store for $0.50, originally from Ikea. I had no clue what I would do with them, if anything, but I knew whatever I was going to make would probably be much cooler if I could manage to make it light up. So some tiny purple lights and a bunch of staples and....

Tada! Instantly this project is much more awesome.

The Spackle smelled so awful for being such a lovely color. I want to pause for a moment here and talk about the medium I used to tint the "icing." There is a bottle of red food dye in the shot which I did use a drop or two of but it's effect was not even close to what I wanted. I found that the answer to my problem was one of my favorite supplies in my stash.

The Pearl Ex Pigments by Jacquard are simply AMAZING. They come in 40 different colors. The color I used here is an iridescent pink from their Duo collection, in certain lights there is a shine of blue to it. They are such a versatile medium  that you can mix into or dust onto any wet paint, ink, glaze, whatever. They can also be rubbed onto paper to give a soft subtle shine, and about a billion other ways you can use them anywhere you want to add a flash or tint of shine.  I love this stuff so much that I had to share it with you all. Also, I wanted to say thanks to my partner for including the tiny blue scoop spoon because I had nothing to use before and was just tapping the pigment into whatever I needed. :) It was quite useful in mixing the perfect shade for the frosting.

Very much just like frosting a cake, this step was simple enough. The spackle needed to be built up around the lights so that none of the excess plastic bits showed. The edges needed a thick layer to fill in the space around the bottom.

 It did not take long for the Spackle to harden enough that it was more or less stable and sturdy. I pressed small seed beads one by one into the surface to look like sugar sprinkles. I also want to point out the inside of the container because this is the one of the only shots I have that shows it. I glued in a soft black bedsheet material and lined the edge with pink grommet tape.

Also I think my dreads look cute, but that is neither here nor there.

 Filled with whimsies.

My partner Lindy was able to get this gorgeous shot of the lights! My camera never wanted to show them this good.