Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Shouldn't Have Taken a Day Off...

New sugar skull platter. I'll be doing more of these!
I finally got the last bits of Halloween goodness out of the kiln yesterday, having done the last glaze firing on Tuesday afternoon. I couldn't even open the kiln until around 11:00 a.m. yesterday, because the last thing I needed was to have crazing on the plates because they  cooled too quickly. (Crazing is an unwanted crackling in fired glazes which can be caused by too-fast cooling or the glaze body and clay body not fitting together properly. Of course, in Raku, we want crazing, which just goes to show that you can't please everyone, all the time!)

I finally got everything packed and shipped off to West Coast Haunters yesterday at 3:30 p.m. I started this year's Hallowe'en ceramics inventory list, which is part of what took me so long. I've also started to create hang tags for my work to include with each piece. They're very, very basic right now, but they'll evolve once I actually get a logo made for the Hallowe'en art of ShellHawk's Creations and can start the work of creating the shapes and sizes. I ran across the idea in Mea Rhee's (of Good Elephant Pottery) pottery blog. She calls them "little salespeople," and she's right. This year I am slowly (glacially slowly, at times) moving things forward, and hang tags are part of the marketing plan.

Anyway, making the ceramics, glazing it, creating the tags and then attaching them to each individual piece always takes more time than I anticipate. You'd think I'd know better, but that suicidal optimism kicks in and hamstrings me every time. Since I wasn't actually anticipating going to this show until comparatively last minute, the last few weeks have been more hellish than I anticipated. Memorial weekend brought a birthday party, and I had suggested to Mr. ShellHawk that we go to Amador county to go pick up our wine selection for our wine club. Etc., etc... 

Ah, well. We needed to spend some time together, away from both of our works, and we had a great time!

With luck, I'll post some pics from WCHC over the weekend, but if I don't get to it, I'll post when I get back.

See ya!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Leeeaaaaving! On a Jet Plane!

Friday morning, I'll be winging my way to West Coast Haunters Convention in Portland, Oregon. I'll be bringing some of my Hallowe'en ceramics to booth 27, the Hauntcast booth, so please do stop over and say hello if you're in the area!

There are some really amazing workshops lined up this year, including this one on chroma-depth, a three-d technique for your haunt:

And Joel Watson and I have been asked to introduce the Halloween Home Haunts movie at the screening on Saturday, from 3:00-4:30.

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Potter at an Art Fair

I have had this conversation.



Click the pic to watch. Ripped off fair and square from Gary Jackson Pottery.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Creative Mess

Making ornaments to take to West Coast Haunters Convention. I often do this kind of glazing inside, on what Mr. ShellHawk calls, "The Most Expensive Craft Table in the World," i.e. the formal dining table.

The kiln is cooling right now, with a load of hand-thrown and hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns to glaze and fire. Some will be Raku fired and some will be low-fired in my electric kiln.

I just can't wait to see my electric bill this month! *wince*

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Halloween Home Haunts at West Coast Haunters Convention!

Click on the pic for the trailer!
I have been silent here for a few days because I've been feverishly working towards the West Coast Haunters Convention! I was, for the most part, cleaned out of my Hallowe'en ceramics last year, so I'm trying to have some stock to take up and sell while I'm pimping Hauntcast.

In the midst of this preparation, I got an email from Kasey Roberts of the West Coast Haunters Convention (she coordinates the speakers and is Ed Roberts' wife and supervisor! ;)), saying that Jonathan Morken of Apprehensive Films would not be able to attend the convention and introduce his new documentary, Halloween Home Haunts, at the premier screening. Would Joel Watson of Heartstoppers Haunted House and I mind doing it?

Would I mind? Of course I'd do it!

Attention whore? Me? Yes!

Kidding aside, I'm very honored to have been asked, and super honored to sharing the duties with Joel Watson. I just can't believe it's next week, already!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Exciting News!

I'm super-excited to let you know that I've been accepted into the Halloween and Vine Show in beautiful Petaluma, California!  I've submitted applications for the last several years and hadn't gotten accepted, but got the email notice this morning that I'm in!

I'll pass on updates as time goes by, but I just had to share the good news!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Reflections on "Jaws"

Photo via Original copyright Universal Studios
Over the weekend, Mr. ShellHawk was channel surfing and happened to land on one of my all-time favorite movies, Jaws. Jaws, of course, was based on the book of the same name, written by Peter Benchley.

I'm of the opinion that Jaws is one of the most perfect films ever made. It's got action, scares, family interest, tension, naked girls and blood--pretty much everything you could want in a film. The pacing of the film, in my opinion, is perfect, the dialogue and interplay of the actors easy and unpretentious.

I love it. I own it on DVD and pull it out every so often while I'm glazing or sculpting to keep me company.
Iconic image of the poor hippie girl about to get eaten. It still scares
the crap out of me! Image via
Anyway, Mr. ShellHawk and I watched for a while, and I mentioned-not for the first time-the film's perfection. Then another thought struck me:

"This is one of those films that they could never re-make to be as good as the original."

He looked at me for a minute, then nodded in agreement. He knew where I was going with my thought process, a side benefit of having been together for eleven years.

You see, if this perfect movie were remade today, it would be utterly and completely ruined. First, we'd likely be stuck with Michael Bay as the director, and the film would be so effects-heavy that the story line would be incidental. And the story itself? Completely rewritten to make it a senseless teen flick.

Quint's character, for instance, would likely be completely different. He'd be made over into a thirty-something hottie like Adam Levine. He'd be in a twelve-step program, deeply sensitive, and he'd cry at the drop of a hat.
Quint's landmark "Indianapolis" speech would be made over completely, having been deemed too old fashioned and inaccessible to today's teens.

The motivation for his obsessive hatred of sharks would stem from a story about how he knocked his fiancee-who was pregnant with twins- off his luxury yacht in a drunken display of clumsiness, where she was eaten by a shark within seconds of hitting the water. This would be told with tears rolling down his face and would spell out for us why he's in a twelve-step program, because we wouldn't be considered smart enough to figure it out for ourselves.
The shark, itself, wouldn't be the mechanical monster, Bruce, that we all know and love. It would be a CGI extravaganza, and would appear in every scene, even photobombing police chief Martin Brody in his living room. We would see him so much and know so much of his tortured upbringing by his single mother shark that we would identify with him and feel that the persecution of this poor creature is nothing short of cruel.

(Those of you who know something about the trouble Spielberg had with Bruce's mechanical malfunctions will remember that those problems, themselves, made the shark more threatening, as his presence was, perforce, suggested and not seen until much later in the film.)

Brody, himself, would, of course, be divorced and trying to start life over with his twin girls. They would be slutty-looking teenage nightmares, giving poor old dad a hard time about moving away from Los Angeles and all their friends to this little podunk town in, say, Arkansas. (Yes, I know there's no ocean in Arkansas, but Hollywood people would invent one, anyway!) 
Click on the pic for Chrissie's last swim. Be warned! It is uncut!
One of the twins, Chrissie, would be a meth addict and fall in the water and consumed at the beginning of the movie, replacing the original Chrissie's death scene and giving her surviving twin, Ashleigh, a reason to be the one on the boat when she kills the shark with a diamond-studded tube of Guerlain lipstick. We would see all of Chrissie's "charms," as the scene would take place in broad daylight so we can watch her strip tease.

In the closing scene, when Ashleigh and Brody get rescued by a grown up Jeffrey Voorhees (he played Alex Kintner, the boy on the yellow inflatable who got eaten by the shark.) doing a cameo for the film dorks who might actually show up to see this new piece of garbage, she would tell her father that she knew that $62,000 lipstick would come in handy, and wasn't he sorry that he gave her such a hard time about wanting it? Of course, he would agree with her and offer to sell both kidneys to help her buy another tube.

Poor Matt Hooper would be the comic relief/annoying environmentalist who keeps nagging at Quint and Brody that the shark must be caught alive and transported to a marine sanctuary for re-conditioning and released back into the wild as a vegetarian. We are relieved when he is, at last, eaten by the shark, sans carrots.

The studio would then feel obliged to make ten more movies for the franchise, each of them more costly than the rest...
Ape, frolicking with Robert Shaw's model at last
month's Monsterpalooza.
I guess you can tell by now that I'm not into remaking old film for the sake of it. Movies like Jaws, in my mind, are sacrosanct. Remaking them, particularly in today's found-footage and laborious exposition-heavy movie-making style, would just kill the whole thing. Most of today's audiences who are not fans of the movie would laugh at Bruce, because he wasn't CGI, and all other manner of disconnects would occur. 


Hmm... I have some glazing to do today. Perhaps I'll have to plug this in for another watch!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nice Show

I'll just make a brief post today as there is much to do around here!

The El Dorado Hills Art & Wine Affaire was an o.k. show this past weekend. I did slightly better than I did last year and certainly made back my booth fees, which is always a good thing. But of course, I wanted to do significantly better than I did. I find myself wondering what I'm doing wrong.

"Oh, my God! I just love your work!" "Each piece is so unique! I've never seen anything like this before! It's wonderful!" "Oh, this is just gorgeous!"

Both my Jackalope and my "Conundrum" (A very small dog gazing contemplatively up at a very tall fire hydrant, which is looking down at him) sculptures brought people into the booth, and smiles and giggles with them.

One lady had bought a teapot from me last year, and specifically came to tell me she loved it and used it every single day! "The lid fits well and is tight and it pours just perfectly!"

Yay, me! :D

But then the "Omigherds" would walk away without purchasing anything, when they had a fifteen dollar item in hand. Fifteen! One. Five! Not $625.00 as the Jackalope is priced. (And by the way, people in El Dorado Hills generally have $625.00 to blow on a sculpture!)

As Yul Brynner said, "It is a puzzlement."

Of course, I had one horrible woman (who really deserved a punch in the nose) try to talk me down in price over a hand-carved porcelain teapot, which I had priced low because of a crack on the inside of the lid. I told her it was $16.99 because of the crack (which wasn't going to have an effect the teapot in any way), otherwise it would be $60.00, because it was all hand-carved. "No," she says. "Oh, yes," I said, and turned my back on her so I could continue to pack my booth away. Stupid cow. This isn't a garage sale.
The view from my booth. No, I don't know who that lady is who ruined my shot!
The balance to that was the sweet young man looking for a Mother's Day gift who bought a nice little bud vase from me. That was my last transaction of the day, and really helped to wash out the bad taste in my mouth from that awful woman.

I was very blessed to have a fantastic "next door neighbor," David Chesney of Chesney Studios. He created some truly fantastic bronze wall pieces (and I am really considering doing a bunch of wall pieces because I think that may be some of my problem-in that people don't always have the real estate to put a sculpture that's meant to sit on a flat surface), and was funny and kind, too. We baby-sat for each other when we needed to take a potty break, and bought each other frozen yogurt from a great little store that was only a few steps away. He gave me some names of some solid shows to which I should apply, places where people like it, buy it, pay for it and say, "Oh, by the way, how much was that?"

I need a few shows like that to pay for a new kiln! I will be applying ASAP!

We took a little time to chit-chat, and he mentioned a flyer his friend (also a crafter) had made, the gist of which was "If you love the work you see at this fair, please support it by purchasing a piece today. It costs us money to be here and we can't afford to show up and not make enough to cover expenses." I'm going to email him later to see if I can get a copy of it. He said it was very nicely written and politely phrased. Maybe I'll use it, maybe not, but I'm interested in seeing the exact wording.

On the opposite side of the coin, there's a post that was written by a crafter in the U.K., which has a slightly different view of this phenomenon of "loving" and not buying. She views it as a chance to build her mailing list (and I do, too, because you never know what that will bring!), and warns crafters to maintain a positive attitude during shows, even when sales haven't been good-which I also do. I am almost maniacally friendly and smile nearly constantly, even when I feel it starting to slide off my face in light of not-nice people. Even when people are rude, I keep a rein on my temper and restrain myself from saying anything less than classy. After all, you never know who's listening, and people like that are not worth getting a bad reputation. 

In any case, it's time to prep for West Coast Haunter's Convention, so I need to get moving! (I guess this wasn't such a short post after all!) Any thoughts or comments on this would be appreciated!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

E.D.H. Art and Wine Affaire This Weekend!

I simply can't believe the El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire is this weekend, already! 

I don't feel prepared-I never do, truth to tell-but I don't feel as stressed and crazy about it as I did last year, for some reason. Maybe it's because I have some new sculpture to fill out the booth and bring people in:
Not to blow my own horn, but this sculpture makes me smile every time I look at it! I'll be taking some pics of it today on my new, super fancy graduated background so it looks all artsy and stuff! ;)

Of course, The Most Interesting Jackalope in the World will be there, too. (I need pics of him today, too. I'm just not satisfied with what I have!
After the show, it's straight into Hallowe'en prep, as I'm heading to the West Coast Haunter's Convention at the end of the month. I hope to bring a bunch of new and very cool Hallowe'en goodies to the show. It should be loads of fun!

In any case, if you're local and are planning to head over to the E.D.H. Art and Wine Affaire, please stop by the ShellHawk's Creations booth and say hello! I'd love to see you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

For Tiny Witches

Image via Dark Squirrel on Etsy
Other dark dollhouse delights to be found at Upon a Midnight Dreary blog.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Hauntcast 49-Live From Grover's Mill" Is Up!

Season 5 of Hauntcast is shambling into existence in a sci-fi extravaganza! Now with super-model(maker) Dave Lowe!

Propmaster at Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show, designer and creator of the ParaAbnormal comic strip, Dave Lowe drops into the Dungeon.
 GHOULIE GROOVES: Brian Davis of Grave Tone Productions drops a few cuts from his new EP, Dead by Midnight.
THE BONE PHONE: Barry Shieferstein and a preview of the 2013 Midwest Haunters Convention.
We stay inside the box with Brian Siwicki of Asylum Coffin Co.
The Voice From Hell with advanced brain drilling for fun and profit.
Revenant looks to the skies and prepares the haunt for alien invasion!
Our Mistress of Mayhem invades your ears with the history of H.G. Wells’ classic tale, The War of the Worlds.
Denny and Chris get busy molding and casting.
Vysther with an overview of horror cons and a review of Horror Hound Weekend.
Wick-Ed Gannon shines a light on the effective use of hidden trigger mechanisms.
We wriggle and writhe for The Village Mire’s Vine Creature prop.
This month we give away a couple of Hearth Coffins from Asylum Coffin Co., a set of Joe Arms from Dapper Cadaver, a 2012 Haunters Video Collection DVD set and a Shocktail Hour T-shirt.
Congratulations to our winners this month: Scott Messinger and Jean-Francois Pomerleau (Hearth Coffins), Aaron Hart (Dapper Cadaver Joe Arms), Nick Tadrrzynski (DVDs), and Jason Pietras (Shocktail Hour Tee).

Enjoy the show! Subscribe (or resubscribe)! Stay Scary!
If financials have prevented you from subscribing, we now have an option for three and six month subscriptions in addition to the one year option, so what are you waiting for? :)

The Walking Dead Friday Funnies

Hat tip to Hauntcast Minion Daniel Craig Hoffman for this one.

Oh, and? La-bibbida-bibba-dum.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Jack Season is Creeping In

Jennifer A. contacted me through my ShellHawk's Creations Facebook Page and asked if I could make a certain pumpkin royalty jack-o'-lantern for her. Of course, I said, "YES!"
It took me a while to get to him. I had a bunch of stuff to clear up before I could get him thrown on my wheel. I made him a few friends, too, so he wouldn't be lonely in the kiln.

I had to fire him twice, because I just wasn't satisfied with him the first time. The finished guy is in the above picture, on the far left. I got him wrapped up and shipped almost as soon as he cooled. 

Now, not only was Jennifer patient about waiting for jack, she was even kind enough to send me a picture of him all lit up!
That's definitely going into the "My Pumpkins in Their New Homes" photo album on Facebook! Looking at that album is definitely a "ShellHawk's Jacks Evolution Through the Years" kind of thing. Wow, has my style changed!

Next up, making some goodies for West Coast Haunters Convention. After the El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire show next weekend, that is! (You know it's high class, because it's got that "e" hanging off the end!) You are coming out, right? :)