Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Bunny Gone Wrong: A ShellHawk's Nest Tradition

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Image via

I've always wanted to try my hand at this kind of carving. Maybe this year...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Image via Concept Carz.
While I did not wake to find the above gorgeous 1937 Art-Carved Packard hearse in my driveway, it's been good so far. Birthday texts on my phone have been coming in, my Facebook page is blowing up with well-wishes from friends, and my husband brought me a cup of coffee and a warm hug and kiss before he left for work. I hit my fitness boot camp at 6:00 AM, and my coach, Val, lead the other bootcampers in a rousing, sweat-filled version of the birthday song. The cop who followed me a ways as I was on my way to boot camp did not pull me over. Life is good!

I am struck by how very lucky I am to live the life I do, and have the friends I have. Life is moving along at what seems to be an impossibly fast clip, yet there are those who make slowing the pace and enjoying that life worth it. I humbly thank all of them.

It is strange to note that half of my fourth decade is gone. Crazy, in fact. My life doesn't look anything like I thought it would at this point when I was looking at it from my twenties, or even my thirties. But when I look back at the changes the last five years have wrought in me, I think the time was, on the whole, pretty well spent. I can only hope the next five years will see me even further down my road as an artist, and hopefully, I can gain some wisdom and more compassion in the bargain.

Monday, March 25, 2013


That's right. Free!

Hauntcast 48, which will drop on the first Friday of April (hopefully, anyway...) will be completely free to everyone. If you haven't subscribed and thus haven't heard the show since we went on a paid subscription basis, April 5th will be the day you decide to become a subscriber. Things have changed, my fiends, and this show really is better than it has ever been!

Joining us will be Cydney Neil, Haunt Queen of the deceased Rocky Point Haunted House!
I'll be sharing all the details of cinema's number one master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and all of the Scream Team will be sharing music, marketing, and the very best of haunt edutainment with you. It truly is the best-produced Halloween and haunter's podcast out there, so don't miss it!

If you still have no idea what Hauntcast is, check out the Hauntcast home page for all the information and a rundown of what wonders of the haunt world could be found in our last episode.

Decayed Dash

Via Photo-topia, Abandoned Places.

Friday, March 22, 2013

They Live

"They Live" alien mask from Trick or Treat Studios.

The kids won't know what hit 'em! Most have never heard of John Carpenter's "They Live," let alone watched it!

The Art of Nikita Nomerz

Cool article and more pics here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The New Toy

Came in this weekend, thanks to the muscular efforts of Mr. ShellHawk and two great neighbors!

That's the stand to the side and left of the kiln. I'm going to need a stool to load this thing! On the up side, since I can now fire to approximately 2381°, there's a good chance I have a new venue to get rid of evidence when I need to... ;)
Oh, all the lovely things that will come from this!
I'm around 5' 5 1/2", to give you an idea of how tall this is. Mr. ShellHawk and crew said it weighed a ton! (It was only 300 pounds. What a whiner! lol)

Today I get to call an electrician for an estimate. I'm thinking of investing in a fainting couch, first, just in case...
Image via Scoop Web.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Photo via Trek Earth
Click on the pic for a neat-o play list!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Only 13 Shopping Days Left Until My Birthday!

...and I'd so love to have this for my home office! *sigh* But I need to pay for an electrician, instead.

Kimba the Witch, pre-painted model, at


Image via Wikimedia Commons.

By Mark Kobayashi-Hillary.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Icy Monument

Image via Gettysberg Daily.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Like Sands Through the Hour Glass... does the cash flow through my fingers.
Image via The Drum
Seriously. It's been an expensive week. 

A couple of weeks ago, I broke into the monies that the sale of my beloved Mighty Dodge and purchased a new camera. Our old DSLR was finally due for a replacement after nine years of faithful service. After weighing the pros and cons of spending the cash, I decided the upgrade was worth it. I could use the camera to take better pics of my pieces (after I got the hang of it, of course), so it made some financial sense.

Now, when you have only a very limited fund with which to work, you think very carefully about your spending. When you're part Swiss (and thus spring from a race of bankers) you turn your pennies over many times before spending them. I agonized over the purchase,  wondering if this was a valid expense. After all, I need a website, the ability to send out newsletters, and all manner of other things, not to mention it's time to upgrade my kiln. After all, that's why I sold the car in the first place. (Well, that and some serious nudging from a certain someone...)

So, the T3i arrived, and the book that will help me to decipher the intricacies of my new business tool. I went back to compiling my taxes.

Then the motherboard on my laptop fried. Completely. Irrevocably. Above all, expensively. And in the middle of doing taxes. When else? *sigh* The repair guy said it's a common thing in that brand and model, and when I thought about it, I had the first one replaced within a month of purchase of that laptop.

Research what would make a good replacement. Purchase new laptop. Lament the loss of funds. Suck it up and enjoy the new, larger screen. Use computer to search Craigslist for a new kiln while SATAs to USB cable is in transit so I can transfer the info from my hard drive to my new computer.

Whine at spouse about money going out, no kiln coming in. Spouse tells me to keep looking on Craigslist.

Find kiln. Wait! Find kiln?! WOO-HOO! 
The kiln on Craigslist is actually larger than this one...
Larger. Shiny. Nearly brand new! Only fired three or four times. Sells retail for $2779. Listed on Craigslist for $1500, which is the last of the money from the sale of the Dodge. (Inner cringe.) Look at stats: fires to cone 10 (that means it can go up to 2381 degrees! Cone 10 to ceramics folks...), is digitally controlled (that means I don't have to babysit it like I do my smaller kiln), has a venting system already attached. Simply everything I've been looking for, and is a good brand, too. That means I could do high fire stoneware... And larger pieces... And sculpture! Large sculpture!

I talk to Mr. ShellHawk about it, voicing my concerns that the cash from the sale of the car would be gone before I got the kiln I need. He agreed, and agreed to come with me and take a look at it.

The first impression that I had of it was that it was huge, especially in comparison to what I thought it was going to be. It's taller than what we use at Parks and Recreation, tall enough that I'd have to use a ladder to load it. It gives me concerns about my gimpy back.

We talked to Betty, the lady who's selling it, and got the lowdown on the unit, then went outside to talk it over. Mr. ShellHawk thought it was a good buy, even if it has to be set aside for a little bit while we decide where we're going to wire it. It takes 240 volts, and will need to be hard wired to the wall, and a voltage regulator put it.

Hyperventilation. Heart palpitations. Utter terror at not being able to pay the electric bill. More palpitations at the emptiness of my bank account...

I asked Mr. ShellHawk to do the negotiating. He did, and I have some money left over to buy some shelves for the kiln (which run at $30.00- $40.00 each), but not, unfortunately for the voltage regulator (which I'm told will cost me as much as the kiln) or the electrical wiring. For now, it seems, I will have a very expensive paperweight.

Mind you, I'm not complaining, exactly. I'm just really, really weird about spending large amounts of money in one go. I can blow $1500 in small amounts, over a period of time, no sweat. It's seeing it all go at once that gets the heart racing, even though it's a legitimate and logical business expense. 

It is time to grow, and this is just a growing pain.

But one day, I might, just might, be able to do work like this. Which is why I'm doing this crazy, expensive, time- and -money-sucking venture in which I will almost certainly never be rich.

Several people have suggested a Kickstarter project or something similar to pay for the electrical, but I'm hesitant. Others have suggested a donation in exchange for a piece from the first firings. Again, I'm hesitant. It seems a bit like begging, even though there would be a tangible object in the hands of the benefactor at the end of things. I just don't know that it feels right.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ghost in a Graveyard

Image via Battery Carriage House

Monday, March 4, 2013

Minor Marketing Mishap

It's important to note that no eyebrows were lost in creating
fabulous art!
One of this year's goals is to start to get a handle on marketing my business; to be an actual grown up and not just hide in my studio making stuff because I'm completely at a loss when it comes to all the minutiae of marketing, website building, logo design, etc. A friend made the really savvy suggestion of offering some of my work to a few interior design blogs (as well as some who will likely incorporate some of my Hallowe'en stuff into their fall schedules.) for a giveaway. I jumped in and sent a few pics over to a (that is exactly one) design blog.

I got a polite, if disappointing, response:
"I appreciate the offer but I don't do giveaways or other kinds of free advertising. I try to keep my commercial posts limited to just my sponsors. Thanks for thinking of me though."
Now, I'm enough of an adult to realize that I'm going to get a lot of no's. I appreciate that I was treated with courtesy. I understand and respect this person's point of view. I really do! But my ego latched on to that one part:
"I don't do giveaways or other kinds of free advertising."
Free advertising? Free advertising? Sweetheart, in case you hadn't noticed, it ain't free for me!   Just because you're not getting a check in your bank account does not make it free. 
The carving on this bowl took me longer than I care to

There's my time, the cost of my clay, the electrical bill for running my electric kiln, the glazes, and, in the case of a Raku firing, propane fuel costs. The item that I sell for $55 actually costs money and time, so if I choose to give it away, it's costing me money. And I spend a lot more time making my Raku jacks than this person does, making her little white dishes. (From what I understand, she got onto a couple of the right blogs at the right time and has, understandably, shut down all attempts to copy her item. Smart lady!)

This is work, and it. Is. Not. Free.

Again, it's all a negative ego response on my side. (Stupid ego gets me into more trouble!) I know that, shockingly, not everyone agrees with me or will do what I need them to do. That's life. I know that not everyone is going to want to make any kind of exchange with me, nor is everyone going to just leap up with hands clasped to their breast and swoon at the thought of using my work in a giveaway. Surprising, but true.

I know that this person probably makes a pretty good living with her paid advertisers, and I don't have their budget. My work, in all likelihood, does not equal one of her checks. That's just math, and that's how business goes. Business is business. Period.

But my brain is still stuck on that whole "free" thing. And I really hate that it's still on my mind, as polite as she was about it. I admit, it's stopped me from responding to her, just to say thank you for writing back so quickly, like I know I should. It's stopped me from being courteous, and I hate that. It's just life, Shell! Get over yourself and write to other blogs, already! Right?


Has anyone else run into similar situations? What do you think about it?