Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Birthday Gift for John Landis

Click on the pic for a wonderful tribute from Max Landis to his
dad, John Landis, in honor of his birthday.
All of us Hallowe'en folks of a certain age know, and probably love, the 1981 film, An American Werewolf in London. It was a landmark film for director John Landis, and was inspiration for many of us to become haunters, horror fans, and fans of practical effects over CG animation.

Dread Central did a fun post on a tribute Max Landis and Homemade Movies did for his dad in honor of his birthday, of David's famous first transformation into a werewolf. Completely homemade and hilarious, it speaks of the love and honor given to both father and iconic film. Max, who starred in his film, even did a side-by-side comparison of both film segments.

Nice work, Max. And happy belated birthday to a great director!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Another Year, Another Halloween Artist Ripped Off By Grandin Road

Haunter Ken Meade brought this to my attention. It really frosts me that Grandin Road does this year after year, and never suffer the consequences any of us "ordinary" folks would suffer for making money off another person's work. For crying out loud, why don't they just hire a couple of people to do these designs for them and pay them for their work?

Last year, they stole William Bezek's skeleton dolls, without even bothering to change any of the details. The year before, they stole Grim's Cloaked Ghost design. Pumpkinrot did a post on both of these outrages.

And what does Grandin Road do? Threaten the wronged party with a lawsuit if they don't take down the posts exposing Grandin Road's blatant thievery.
Spread the word again, kids. Not that they'll stop ripping us off, but more people should know about this. Feel free to spread the above graphic around. And post on their Facebook page. Just use polite language, please.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Scare LA Post Mortem

I got home from Scare LA safely yesterday. Wow, what a great show! The coordinators and the volunteers were truly fantastic, checking up with everyone regularly to make sure everything was going alright and to see if we needed anything. The crowd was good both days, though several of the vendors said it was a little thinner compared to last year.

I had more to sell than I ever have before. Apparently working until I fall asleep at my work (which I did, a couple of times) is a method for putting out a lot of pieces in time for a show! My jacks, predictably, sold very well. So well, I know exactly what I need to get to work on if I'm going to have any to sell at Halloween and Vine or in my ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store!

Just as a side note, it's interesting to see how the fine art side of ceramics has influenced and improved my Hallowe'en-themed ceramics. People very definitely notice the difference in the quality of my work versus the junk you can buy at Wal-Mart, particularly in a venue where it can be picked up and held, turned around and experienced. And very few people who do Hallowe'en conventions are aware my fine art has been seen in international art shows or even at the Crocker Art Museum. They just see quality, and they know how it makes them feel, which is happy! That's the best part: the happy!

I have to tell you, the delighted giggles in my booth as people looked at things made me feel really good. I got a lot of love at Scare LA this weekend, and given that when I overwork myself, I get overtired and down in the dumps, the love was just what I needed. One couple came in and bought a bunch of things, and want to commission a set of plates, so hooray for that!
New BFF Eric Pigors, now the proud owner of one of my jacks!
A number of Hallowe'en artists, blog buddies and haunter pals stopped by the booth to say hello, too! Eric Pigors, whose work I've loved and purchased over the years, popped by to see what it is I do, and I was delighted when he was drawn to one of the jacks I made with one long eye and one smaller one. I'd been given a hard time about this particular face, with people saying he only had one eye and they just weren't sure about it, so Eric's choosing of it was very satisfying! He's a sweetheart, and I'm just tickled he owns one of my creations.
Blog buddy and prop-builder extraordinaire, Dave Lowe.
I was so glad to finally meet Dave Lowe in person! He stopped by to introduce himself late on Sunday, and after years of almost meeting, it was great to see him in the flesh. He bought one of my jacks, too, and stuck around awhile to chitchat with me and my dad. I just felt all giddy and fangirl!
Of course, Ape came, too. A number of his pals stopped by to say hi to him. One person even said, "Didn't he go to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show without you this year?" Ape, it seems, is all grown up, with a life of his own!
 As you would expect, there were monsters galore to be seen. I wish I had more pictures, but my booth was pretty busy all weekend, so I only got a few.
An undead Lucy Westrin bellies up to the bar...
Rhode Montijo's booth. Bummed I couldn't meet him, but his wife was lovely and gracious!
My dad, taking in one of the slider shows. Lots of fun!
Such fun! I can't wait until next year!
UPDATE: I got a picture in an article about Scare LA

Friday, August 8, 2014

Getting the Magic Going!

Load-in to Scare LA went pretty well today! It turns out I have way more stuff than I have space, so my dad and I are borrowing another table from a neighbor to bring in tomorrow. I'll set it up before the show floor opens.
 This guy came by while we were setting up. Look! It's me! :D Totes legit, now! W00T! (Now, if I could only find my doggone banner!)
And my dad and friend Lola were there to help set up, and will be my booth monkeys this weekend. I am so relieved to have extra hands to help out, I can't even tell you! And Lola is a huge fan of all things Hallowe'en, so having her boundless enthusiasm bouncing around in my booth will be great. I'm still nervous about giving my presentation, but by and large, Hallowe'en folks are pretty supportive, so even if I suck, they probably won't throw tomatoes!

Well, off to bed. Big day tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Cliffs---of INSANITY!!!

She's alive! ALIVE!!!
To say that it's been busy, prepping for Scare LA, searching for a job, having my tiny business audited by the I.R.S., is to make a pretty hefty understatement. 

When I noticed this morning I haven't posted anything for a couple of weeks, I could only sigh and remind myself that the blog is not on the priorities list right now. Making product and getting everything ready for the show (and my accountant) is at the top of the list, with looking for a job running a close second.

The great news is, the new kiln is running like a champ. I've had friends over to help me glaze so I can have as much ready for Scare LA as possible, and they worked their butts off in 105 degree weather to give me a leg up. The results have been great!
I found myself praying "The Bride" would make it through o.k. I had nightmare visions of the plate twisting in the heat of the kiln and splitting, like the one in this post from last year. I spent about eight hours painting the glazes on to get her to look right, and I would have been crushingly disappointed, to say the least!
I was pleased to see that at last, one of my large bowls turned out well, plus some of the mugs I put in at the last minute. (There's another load of high-fire stoneware mugs and pint glasses in the kiln as we speak, and I may leave for L.A. tomorrow, rather than Friday, as originally planned, so, sort of worried about them cooling off in time to pack them and take them with me!)

In any case, I hope to see some of you there. My booth is 415. I'll be teaching my class around 2:30 or so on Saturday afternoon, so don't look for me in my booth between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

20% Off Scare LA Tickets! WOO-HOO!

If you're planning to head over to Scare LA on August 9th-10th, be sure to click on the link above and order tickets. Use my super-special code on checkout for your 20% discount:

I've been working  my tail off after those bowls I posted a bit ago suffered damage in the kiln. I've even had some Hallowe'en Elves come in and give me a hand with glazing things (they work for food, which is super!) so I have enough product for the show.

Counting down to a super fun show!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Real Deal

I love using real candles in my pumpkins, but I'm noticing the trend towards flickering tea lights. I understand the safety factor, but I'm addicted to the smell of scented candles from Dark Candles burning, the amount of light they put out and the bonus of being able to stick some cloves to the lid of the pumpkin and have that scent wafting through the air.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014


 Just saw this great Tweet by Scare LA... Check out the pic!

Friday, June 27, 2014

W. I. P.

Hit the ground running this week with my first bisque firing the day after we got back from our trip. Twenty two jacks and two skulls waiting for Raku firing (that's going to be a long, sweaty day!), plus have a few more things waiting for the new kiln to get wired up.

I'm busily underglazing some new bowls and shot glasses, and will be adding some specially-designed, ceramic pint glasses.

Full speed ahead!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dark Harvest

I was searching for books to download onto my Kindle for my trip to Ireland, when I ran across this wonderful gem. 

Written by Norman Partridge, Dark Harvest tells the story of a town embroiled in a Hallowe'en-themed "The Running Man"-type of race. From the Amazon description:
Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. 

Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror--and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy . .

I couldn't put it down. Seriously, couldn't put it down. And it made me want to build Stewie another brother to play with! I had also purchased Johnny Halloween before I left, which is a collection of short stories by Partridge. It includes another story about the October Boy, with a different slant to it, and we are introduced to a younger villain...
Now Partridge revisits Halloween with a collection featuring a half-dozen stories celebrating frights both past and present. In “The Jack o' Lantern,” a brand new Dark Harvest novelette, the October Boy races against a remorseless döppelganger bent on carving a deadly path through the town's annual ritual of death and rebirth. “Johnny Halloween” features a sheriff battling both a walking ghost and his own haunted conscience. In “Three Doors,” a scarred war hero hunts his past with the help of a magic prosthetic hand, while “Satan's Army” is a real Partridge rarity previously available only in a long sold-out lettered edition from another press.

But there's more to this holiday celebration besides fiction. “The Man Who Killed Halloween” is an extensive essay about growing up during the late sixties in the town where the Zodiac Killer began his murderous spree. In an introduction that explores monsters both fictional and real, Partridge recalls what it was like to live in a community menaced by a serial killer and examines how the Zodiac's reign of terror shaped him as a writer.

Halloween night awaits. Join a master storyteller as he explores the layers of darkness that separate all-too-human evil from the supernatural. Let Norman Partridge lead you on seven journeys through the most dangerous night of the year, where no one is safe…and everyone is suspect.
The cover art, as you can see, is inspirational. I'm already going nuts with trying to get everything made for my upcoming shows, but these covers really make me want to abandon all responsibility and make some new props for Halloween, since I haven't had the time to make them for a while. And the stories, themselves are engaging and wonderful grist for the horror and Hallowe'en mill.

But maybe, just maybe, I can stop sleeping for a few days--? ;)