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.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yeti for SpookyPooky

This was a small hanging doll I did for a swap with the very awesome and talented Alexz aka SpookyPooky.  Seriously, go check her out. Her work is so adorable and she is constantly putting up new designs. She is obsessed with yetis and so I came up with this little guy. I bought a new book on fantasy polyclay sculpting and it has completely revamped my techniques.

Fairies Gnomes & Trolls: Create A Fantasy World in Polymer Clay by Maureen Carlson

I highly recommend it to everyone wanting to tackle the task of facial sculpting and expressions. It has done wonders for me! Every page was in full gorgeous color and the pictures are so vivid, making the instructions easy to follow.  

I was so proud of this yeti when he was completed. But I wasn't sad to send him away. He seemed to just be begging to be sent home to his yeti loving new friend. :)

Let me know what you think of him!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Belly Dancer Doll

As some of you know, I am a Craftster swapping ADDICT. Craftster is an amazing crafting forum that has done wonders for my art and inspires me everyday. One of the great features that the Craftster community has to offer are the Organized Craft Swaps. Nearly any theme you can think of and they are constantly changing. I treat these swaps as kind of assignments in the sort of art un-college of life that I am attending. I grade myself based on my partner's reaction when they receive their items. If I can manage to create a perfect gift for a total stranger, I have passed in my eyes. And as an added bonus on top of the proud validated feeling I get from a grateful partner gushing about how much they loved their package, I receive an amazing box of goodies that someone else has poured their heart into, working to fit my own tastes.Swapping has forced me to branch into different styles, techniques, and even mediums that if left to my own devices I would have never tried. 

Basically, it's the kick in the ass that a loony artsy slacker like me needs.

So all that being said, I would like to share with you the latest of my swap creations (latest in that my partner has received this one and it is now safe to post elsewhere on the interweb) my Belly Dancer Doll. 

She was created for my belly dance swap along with a matching burgundy hip scarf. The doll is sculpted from poly clay and stood about 6-7 inches tall. I had wanted to do something inspired by those dancing hula girl statues that have a movable piece around the waist, giving them a bit of a wiggle and a shimmy. I was disappointed that the covered ring of wire that I added the beaded fringe and chain to to was unable to move as freely as I would have liked. I first tried to attach the ring with a bit of clear elastic through a whole bore through her waist at the sides but that only allowed for a front to back tilt of her "hips" Not what I was looking for. I filled in the hole and attached eye pins to the front and back of her and to the ring itself. It gave a bit of wiggle but because she was so small the fringe just kinda tilted to one side (as you can see in the picture.)

Despite her inability to "dance" like I had in mind, I was still quite proud of her. Though since sculpting her a couple weeks ago, I have completely rethought my clay technique. I've been studying a new book about fantasy sculpting and it has taught me how to approach things like facial features with ease and detail. Just wait till you see the things I have created since this. Thanks for looking and let me know what ya think!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Alright, enough playing around. It's time to get serious.

I am quite pleased with the look and feel of this blog now. After spending two days designing this and swearing at the html, (I felt so stupid once I realized how simple the problem was lol) this finally looks like a presentable respectable blog for an artsy whackjob like me. So now it's time to start using it. I want this blog to be more than just a half-assed portfolio. Ideally, it will be at least a weekly updated journal of my adventures in my art. I know I have thrown words like "weekly" around before on other things and followed through for oh about a week but dammit this time is different, (I hope).

So to kick off this new bloggy attitude (wow I kinda hate myself for using the word "bloggy"), here is my current project and goal list. I am hoping this helps me keep track of everything that I start and never finish. I have a habit of having like four billion projects that I plan out and then get distracted and forget about. I have a very short attention span, combined with a mind that is always scheming about something new. Hopefully this will be the kick in the ass I need to get going and take things seriously. The Mad Gypsy is getting her head in the game now.
  Everything I have planned or in the works already. I'm going to try to keep this list as updated as possible.  Expect this list to reappear as things can be crossed off and others added. Items for gifts or swaps that are a surprise will have more detail to them once they are crossed off.

 Project List 2010
  1. Belly dancer doll for Belly Dance Swap
  2. 3 dotee dolls for dotee swap round 8 (1 of 3 done)
  3. Personal swap with Alexz "SpookyPooky"
  4. Jar of Whimsy swap
  5. Make-A-Friend Package #3
  6. Alien tattoo design Commission
  7. Halloween Book Purse 
  8. Moon Book Purse
  9. Beach Book Purse
  10. Halloween puzzle piece necklace
  11. Halloween altered puzzle
  12. repainting the wooden giraffe from Jai
  13. Gargoyle doll Commission
  14. Large Scale 6ft monster Commission
  15. 5 Fuzzy Kitty Lump dolls for Etsy
  16. belly dance belt and hip scarf for Jaime and Leslie
  17. wooden tree wall hanging
  18. Pink monster pimptress sculpture
  19. small monster doll for my dad
  20. "Witchy Red" Belly dance costume
  21. Jai's rainbow "Skants"
  22. 25 pairs of earrings for Etsy 
  24. 20  cards for Etsy
  25. Geisha wall hanging
  26. Wooden Castle Jewelry boxes for Etsy
  27. Three eyed goddess doll
I think I am going to try to post one new completed piece every Monday, Wednesday I'll post an update about a work in progress, and Friday I'll share something like a tutorial, inspiring art or artists I have found, or  something else that caught my artsy attention. Sound like a plan? I am going to try.

My birthday is in July and all I really want for my birthday is a fanbase.
Well, a fanbase and my flower sleeve tattoo. Let's try to make both of those things happen.