Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Katsuyo Aoki

I am constantly amazed by the art others create! 
This incredibly talented, woman artist's website can be found here. Please, do yourself a favor and go check it out. Her work is nothing short of breathtaking!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Maya Lord of Death

Images via National Geographic.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Halloween is the ---


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fur Kids

So now that I've written an utterly depressing post, I feel compelled to give you guys a little happy from my life.

As you know, we lost Josey last year, just before Hallowe'en (which was extremely inconsiderate of her!). Coda, our "new" black German Shepherd, came to join us shortly after, from Westside German Shepherd Rescue. I posted a couple of pics when we got her, but not too many since. Here's a collection of them, celebrating her becoming a year old and a month more...
On the way home from Los Angeles.
German Shepherd: Face-hugger edition
 She was a very girly love-bug from the start, I have to say. Cute and knows it!
With partner in crime, Sam, who is still my tiny little puppy, even though he's 85 pounds!
I happened to walk by this photo op, and couldn't resist taking this shot.
How darling is our girl? :)

"Of COURSE I'll smile for the camera!"
 She is definitely the apple of our eyes. Always happy and smiling, sweet and loving. We really scored with this one!

Oh, and? We're guessing she's around 100 pounds, now. She's about 1 1/2" taller than Sam! And still clonking her head on tables because she's not used to being so tall and keeps trying to run under them without ducking her head! Totes adorbs!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Connections...

I guess I can talk to you guys, right? I mean, I'm writing this before the "tourist season" (October) of this blog begins, when I get thousands of hits per week vs. the staunch supporters of the "everyday" ShellHawk, the person you "see" the rest of the year.

So here it is. It's been a really, really rough year at the Nest. Our beloved fur-daughter, Josey, passed, and the anniversary of her passing is next month. And things just have been difficult ever since then. Foot surgeries, while great because things are now, blessedly, fixed, are tough to get through, particularly for a restless and active person like myself. Surgery is just hard on the body, I guess. Then there was getting laid off, another surgery, and absolutely not least, my grandmother's passing.
My dad, Oma, and Opa.
Mixed in there was my second acceptance into an international ceramics show, which was a huge high! But FedEx broke my piece in the process of wrapping it for shipment. Wah-wah. There goes my amazing exposure and professional cache. Wins turning into losses.

Hauntcast released its last episode. Another loss, even though I valued getting that time back in my schedule.

To top it off, I've got a partially torn rotator cuff, and have been in pain every day for months while we're trying to sort out our new insurance from Mr. ShellHawk's new job. I've got a lot of ceramics to make, and wedging (kneading) clay with a torn rotator cuff is not on my top ten list of most fun things to do, particularly when the ibuprofen is doing nothing to take the edge off. And I haven't had more than three full, uninterrupted nights of sleep for months.

My other old dog is on the verge of needing to be put down. My mom is old and really not doing well. My dad is getting older, and every time I look at him, all I can think about is how much it's going to suck when I can't pick up the phone and call him, anymore, even though he's doing well for his age.

I'm not having the success I'd like at finding a part time job, since in my area, one job opening gathers hundred of applicants. (Time to head to a recruiter, I think!) And I need the money to keep paying for supplies and help Mr. ShellHawk with household expenses.

It's all focused my mind on things which aren't the positive. 
Commission in progress
At the same time, it's not like this entire year hasn't been without wonderful, life-list fun, right?  I mean, I got to go to Ireland for my 10th anniversary! How many people get to do that in a lifetime? I got to go to Irish Beach here in California, which is stunning as only the California coast can be. I finally got my new, larger kiln, and I did my first live talk on creating a home haunt while I was at Scare LA. I got a really nice commission to do a set of plates from this nice couple from Colorado while I was there!
My glazing crew, who work for food!
Very importantly, I've had friends step in to help me prep for that Scare L.A. show. From glazing to cataloging, to figuring out the cost of items and pricing them, to putting together my inventory spreadsheet and putting all the hang tags on everything, these incredibly wonderful people took the time to step in and help me out. I've gotten better at throwing, so I had more stuff than ever ready for sale. If I hadn't gotten help, there was no way everything would have been ready in time. And Mr. ShellHawk put up with the entire house looking like it was hit by a very artistic tornado, inside and out! Seriously. All the public areas of the house had my crap everywhere, since all my product was in various states of being finished or packed, and the poor man had to deal with it for weeks!

I have friends! I keep reminding myself. I have friends who take me for pedicures and lunch, who invite me to cocktails and dinner, and who actually get me.

We finally replaced our old SUV and got a new one, which is a great, 2011 Ford Explorer Limited. It already has been tricked out with various "Firefly" accoutrements. I'm so happy to have it!

I mention the positives so you understand that I'm not completely lost in the Pit of Despair, even though I'm having trouble seeing the top of the pit right now.

I think the worst part of the Pit, is that I've started to doubt myself as an artist. I've endured a lot of the "flaky artist" judgmental attitude from both strangers and some who are closer to me. While I know I am most definitely not a flake, that kind of judgment takes its toll on me, especially when I'm looking at all the hours I put into what I do, and how little I have to show for it, financially. I feel like I'm constantly under attack, and it's wearing me out. Try defending your life for months on end and see how you feel. I feel effing beat up.

Worse, I've fallen into the "comparison" game, comparing my work to others and seeing theirs as better/more worthy. In my darker moments, I don't feel like I've grown enough, and I deeply envy those who went to school, got their MFA degrees, and know what they're doing.

I find myself wondering, "What's the point?" more and more often. Why make art? Why bother with anything, even?

When I catch myself doing that, I turn my mind to my eventual goal of being in a larger, dedicated space. I dream of being as skilled and fast as the production potters I've seen on YouTube. (I mean, being able to produce sixty cups an hour? That's a goal!)

I dream of buying my own building and making it a workspace with gallery space, and maybe some room for students. I dream of growing it so that I can employ production potters to make my designs and free me up to focus on the creative end.

I dream of paying a bookkeeper to do all the paperwork I hate and am no good at.

I'm doing everything I can to pull from whatever reserves I have inside of me to keep going. I'm just having a hard time finding my happy place. I know this because the nasty voice in my head catches me dreaming and tells me I'll never have any of those things, and will never be good enough.

I know others have things really hard right now, too, like my friends over at Davis Graveyard, who are struggling to find employment and keep their home. Others have lost family members, had health challenges, etc. I try to remember that and send them good vibes.

Meanwhile, I'm holding on by my toenails. And trying desperately to remember that I love my life, my family, and, of course, Hallowe'en.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Season is Creeping Up!

It looks like Creepy L.A. has just released a listing for all manner of scary events going on in L.A. and Southern California during the greatest season of them all! It makes me want to go for a visit, especially since the Bloodshed Brothers Field of Screams Haunted Stadium is going to have five different attractions set up this year!

Creepy L.A.'s haunted attraction listing here. More haunts are being added every day, and if you know of one which needs to make the list, contact them and give them the 411!

Friday, September 5, 2014

You Learn Something New Every Day

This morning, I was going through my emails, when a AAA Member Deal came up for Rosetta Stone.

Me: I wonder if they have Rosetta Stone for Klingon?
Mr. ShellHawk: I don't know.

I checked. They do.
Of course, everything worth buying is over at Think Geek, including "Learn to Speak Klingon."

Loving the product description, too:

LET LANGUAGE EXPAND YOUR UNIVERSE!

Rosetta Stone - Learn to Speak Klingon
Klingon may be a difficult language for humans to wrap their smooth heads around, but it's made even more complicated by the constant threat that saying the wrong thing might accidentally land you in a battle to the death. And that's why you need the comprehensive Learn to Speak Klingon course from Rosetta Stone.
You never want to find yourself in a position where you're flipping through a copy of Introduction to Klingon Grammar, trying to sound fluent in front of a group of native speakers with photon torpedoes. This complete Klingon software package will enable you to express your thoughts safely and effectively in Klingon and master the conversational skills required to conduct negotiations, request medical assistance, and partake in the rich Klingon culture.
Why Rosetta Stone? Rosetta Stone is the world's most popular and most advanced program for learning a new language. Having helped millions of learners from around the world, Rosetta Stone is uniquely situated to be able to broaden the reach of the Klingon language so that it can become truly universal.
Rosetta Stone® - Learn to Speak Klingon
  • Everything you need for conversational Klingon
  • Compatible with Windows XP+ and OS X+
  • Requires CD-Rom drive and headset with microphone
  • Learn at your own speed
  • Master the use of inflected prefixes and situational suffixes
  • Let our speech recognition technology improve your pronunciation
  • Don't sully your reputation by sounding like a hur'q
  • Package includes
    • Language software that will take you from simple greeting to arguing about sports over a bottle of Bloodwine
    • Live conversation sessions with native speakers (guaranteed to be from Beta Quadrant)
    • Language-enhancing games
    • Free, downloadable mobile companion app
And of course, there's a commercial! (Click on the pic to watch.)
I think it's wonderful, how accessible learning a new language is these days!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Clearing Space on Labor Day!

I have a few candle packs, pillars, and votives left over from Scare LA, all made by the wonderful Dark Candles company! I'm selling them on my eBay store at a discounted rate, along with those adorable Hallowe'en- and horror-themed voodoo string dolls, so amble over there and pick yourself up some Hallowe'en love!

ShellHawk's eBay store.

Feel free to spread the word. Dark Candles candle packs are a staple around our house at Hallowe'en, and make great hostess gifts during the season.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Repeat After Me

Via Garage of Evil. Sign designed by Jeffrey Sherrard.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Few Good Mugs

I finally got around to posting a few of the newest "regular" pieces from the new kiln on the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store.

There's also a brand new Hallowe'en project in the making... Stay tuned!