Thursday, December 31, 2020


Like most animals, my Grace has her own schedule, influenced by mine, of course. Sometime between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM, she sticks her wet nose in my eyeball or whines to be let out for her morning constitutional. These days, that means it's likely still dark out when we trek out to the back yard for her to leave her calling card.

Since I've been making a habit of meditation and am training myself to just be present in the moment, I try to remember to take that moment of waiting for her to be done, and I look up. This time of year, the moon is still up. The brighter stars and a planet or two are still visible, even through L.A.'s light pollution. The drone of the freeway is quieter at that hour, though it's never silent. L.A. is a busy, twenty-four hour town, after all. Even during a pandemic.

I pull a deep breath into my lungs. As I breathe it out, I breathe out gratitude and appreciation.

I remember I'm grateful for the vision to see the moon and stars, and the clouds drifting by. Grateful to hear the first chirps of the morning birds and the hum of hummingbird wings. Grateful to be able to witness and feel the softness of the morning air, whether it's L.A. winter cold or summertime warm.

Sometimes thought intrudes. This morning, the last morning of the year, made me think of departed friends. Some passed away, far too young to be leaving this planet. I miss them.

A couple removed themselves from my life. While the latter caused some pain, I discovered within myself the ability to wish them well and continue on. I've been through the deliberate destruction of my life by people who were closest to me; after that, these kind of losses don't have quite the sting they would have.

I reflected that all in all, I'm pretty lucky, and in spite of the twists and turns of the most toxic year in my memory, somehow I managed to fall forward instead of backwards. I gained ground and experience this year.

I produced a proof-of-concept short, pulling together a film crew when I've never done it before, and made the necessary deadlines. I did it while maintaining my regular duties and I had fun doing it! My boss, a VFX legend with four Oscars and many other awards, believed in me enough to give me the responsibility, which tells me I must be doing something right. Since then, I learned a new program to track where we were in the process of adding the new technical processes and coordinated with a foreign VFX house for the first time. I had guidance, of course, and am truly grateful for the patient explanations to my questions. I'm a little old to be starting on a new career path, but everyone involved answered questions and treated me like a colleague with decades more experience than I have. And they were pleased with the work I did!

I started making ceramics in earnest, again, and sold out of all of my sculptures. I only have three jack-o'-lanterns left. I'm a little more than halfway in saving up for a new kiln to replace the one I had to sell when I moved to L.A. For being a plague year and thus being unable to attend any shows, I did really well. Old fans of my work came back to get their fix and I even have some new ones! This was the first time someone told me they bought a piece of furniture to display my work, year-round!

I got to witness the convergence with my dad. I got to spend a lot of time with him, and I am so very grateful for that! I feel lucky that none of us caught the 'Rona. I'm hoping that we can avoid the new strain, too.

I keep making strides forward. I'm educating myself on investing with the help of a financial planner. I keep falling into great opportunities and I'm pretty sure that whatever curve balls 2021 brings, that particular form of good fortune will continue. I'm open to good things and people in my life, and I'm learning, learning, learning!

I hope that 2021 brings you what you need!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

You Need to Sleigh This Sale!

See what I did there? ;)

Anyway, yes! I am running a sale in my shop: 30% off all Christmas ornaments and 20% off everything else in the ShellHawk's Creations shop. All funds after I cover expenses are going into replacing my kiln and all the stuff that goes with it, so every purchase will help to get closer to that goal!

Meanwhile, I hope you're having a very happy Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Gruss Vom Krampus


Feeling cute. Might beat kids with birch twigs and take them to Hell later, idk.

Krampuslauf reminds me of that famous quote by Argus Filch:
"A pity they let the old punishment die... Was a time detention found you hanging by your thumbs in the dungeons... God, I miss the screaming."

Ah, the good old days, when you could threaten kids with Hell if they didn't behave...

Sunday, November 29, 2020

It Was a Very Good Autumn!

One of my pumpkin people and a jack-o'-lantern in their new home.

This year has seen some significant strides forward for me. As my healing process has continued, aided by some hard-core therapy, I've felt lighter and more steady. I'm developing new coping skills, I'm becoming more mindful. I feel as though a part of me now has room for other things; plans for the future, space to rest and relax, awareness of each small moment of happiness and the return to the habit of searching for those moments.

I discovered the unexpected rewards of doing the work have been the resurgence of my creativity and the desire to get my hands back in clay and do what I do best. I find I look forward to sketching out my ideas and I'm feeling free enough to accept the mistakes which come with experimentation. They feel more like an, "a-ha!" than an, "uh-oh!"

The open house went well, as I mentioned before. Afterwards, I received a few pictures of my creations in their new homes, or waiting to go on to their new homes as gifts.

Several people sent messages telling me how happy they were with their new purchases; how they use them daily, how they put them on display for all year, rather than just Halloween, and how much happiness their purchases give them.

You can see the jack in the upper left corner!

There's a warm glow of satisfaction comes with pictures like these! And it makes me look forward to making even more wares for my clients.

BTW, I'm having a sale in my Etsy store until tomorrow night, so if you've been wanting to grab something for yourself, now's the time!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

 To my supporters, I wish you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Untitled (Man With a Bat on His Head)

 Via The Art Institute of Chicago. Edward Gorey, artist.

Friday, November 13, 2020

My Murder in November!

Those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning know that aside from my love of Hallowe'en, I'm also a creative and eclectic person. I describe myself as spiritual, not religious. I'm a firm believer in "use what works for you," in terms of your spiritual path, if you're on one.

Hence my Murder.

You're probably wondering what I mean by that.

Well, I started out life with a witchy/pagan leaning. I naturally gravitated towards animals and plants. At one time, I thought about becoming a licensed falconer (gave it up because the ones I knew were dirt poor and always late with their rent). I've owned a horse, multiple dogs and a few cats over the years. More often than not, animals seem to like me from the get-go.

Those we think of as witches were always noted for their connection to nature, its cycles and its creatures. When they're pictured in old texts, they're usually surrounded by wild things, especially crows. 

Los Angeles is pretty much overrun by crows. You hear them calling all day long. It's part of the background noise of the city, along with the flock of wild parrots which traverses the San Fernando Valley, screeching their presence to anyone who'll listen.

I decided that since I'm now a Woman of a Certain Age, living my own life by my own terms, what I really needed to do is something that would have gotten me burned as a witch or diagnosed with "hysteria" a hundred years ago. Hence, my seduction of the crows which hang around my office parking lot.

It's gotten to the stage where, when they see my car drive up, they start calling to each other and they start flying in to wait for their goodies. What started out as two or three has grown to nine or ten. They give me good eye contact, and I'm sure they have my face in their memories, now, with or without my mask. The other day, I took Grace for a quick walk around the block and had several of them accompany me down the block, flying ahead to land on the tree in front of me, then on to the next and the next. It was a good feeling, even though I know they were still just trying to mooch more food.

I don't feed them all day, every day, because I don't want there to be complaints about bird poop or to attract rats. (I'm pals with the squirrel, Smalls, still.) I'm nothing if not a considerate weirdo!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Saturday Morning Cartoons - Hallowe'en Edition!

 Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Buffy vs Edward

An oldie, but a goodie! Click on the pic to watch.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Deathworkz and Lynette Brown, RIP

I lost another friend over the weekend, this time to pancreatic cancer.

Lynette Brown, owner and creator of Deathworkz Haunted House, passed away on Saturday after a long fight with the disease. Lynette and I met when I was still living in Folsom at one of the CalHaunts NorCal meetings, and just hit it off. We stayed in touch over the years, even after I moved away, and we discovered that we had much in common. I'm going to miss our talks.

She was smart, funny, fierce, and suffered no fools. If anyone should have lived to see Trump lose the upcoming election, it was her.

Rest in power, Lynette. You were one awesome lady!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

More Jacks in the Shop!

I am beyond thrilled at the response to 2020's crop of handmade jack-o'-lanterns! The open house was a great start, and the continuing interest from collectors of my work - as well as new fans - has been humbling and thrilling, all at once! Because of you, I'm inching closer to my goal of purchasing my new kiln and all the things that have to go with it!

You can click on each picture to be taken to the listing in the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy Store.

Yes, it gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction to see the body of work I created this year! Once I get my kiln, I can play around with my fine art again, too. Maybe I can add to the award I received from that international ceramics show I was juried into, Feats of Clay!

Wouldn't that be a triumph?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Deadtime Stories

 An animated pilot for MTV which wasn't made into a series (as far a I know), by Michael Dougherty. Click on the pic for a creepy cartoon!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Rule #3


Rule #3: Never blow out a jack-o'-lantern!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pepper's Ghost - Lots of Bang for Your Buck!

It's been a few years since I posted about Paul Lasaine's Pepper's Ghost illusion and his subsequent how-to video. but I felt that with social distancing being the watchword for Hallowe'en 2020, it could use another bump!

Paul Lasaine is a production designer, VFX art director and supervisor, matte painting artist and supervisor, and won an Annie Award (awards are for outstanding animation) for his work on Boxtrolls

Though the original video was posted in 2007, it's still a high-impact, low-budget effect for 2020. It's fairly easy to achieve for the rank beginner if you're willing to invest some time and patience. While I do enjoy the more commercially available projection effects we have access to these days, what I like about the Pepper's Ghost illusion is that it looks realistic and has a huge "wow" factor. I feel that we've become so accustomed to the look of CG, the "reality" of Pepper's Ghost is still as viable as it was in 1862, when it was developed.

Take a look at the videos and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020


 My first Artist Open House in three years went beautifully, in spite of the 'Rona! It was a real push to get everything done on time, especially with having a full-time job, too, but it got done!

Here's the part where I plug my awesome dad. He was incredibly supportive and helpful at every turn. Coming from the background of a VFX producer, he kept tabs on all the little tasks which needed doing and kept things moving along on his end. He made signs, suggested changes on the Craigslist ad and the personal invitations, and was an all-around good sport! He was a soothing presence to my artist's anxiety and pre-show jitters! 

A friend came by and helped with setup and hung around to help wrap and bag each piece sold, so they'd arrive in their new homes in one piece.

 We got lucky with a beautiful, clear day and light breezes.

Our patio is a mixture of wisteria-covered trellis and solid wood, so we set up in the comparatively cooler shade so people could shop in comfort. I didn't get pictures, but dad made up a "masks required" sign with that cute German Shepherd showing you how to wear a mask, so that people would be a little safer.


I wasn't able to get pics once people started showing up, but we had a busy time there, for a bit. Busy enough to make doing the Open House worth it. A number of my old high school friends showed up to support my little business and they were really surprised to see not only the volume of work I had made, but the quality and variety! Many of the cups and bowls I had on display had come from my old digs in Folsom, and I even brought out my Christmas ornaments.

As always, people were drawn to the Raku-fired jack-o'-lanterns I had made. As far as I know, you can't get them anywhere else.

Eventually, the day wound down and folks ambled off with their purchases, looking happy behind their masks. Their pleasure reminded me of why I make ceramics; my pieces make people smile! It gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction to know, for instance, how much joy a set of cups will give my friend for years to come!

We sold a respectable amount of pieces, but of course there were some left. Lucky you! If you keep an eye on my shop, you can have one in your home, too!

These guys are already in my Etsy Shop, ShellHawk's Creations!

I'll be adding more as the week progresses!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Lights of the Night

Lights of the Night, by artist Ascending Storm.

This image screams, "Hallowe'en!"

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Saturday Morning Cartoons - But for Adults!

This is not a cartoon for kids! 

Who's Hungry is a creepy and atmospheric mix of Hansel and Gretel and Jack the Giant-Killer. 

Can we all agree that looking under the bed is a viscerally terrifying thing to do? A grief-stricken boy loses a part of his Ferris wheel under his bed, and - well, strange creatures happen, and magical things ensue.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Halloween is Grinch Night

 Did you think the Grinch was just an anti-Christmas guy?

He wasn't! There was a prequel to his attempted sabotage of The Other Holiday: Halloween is Grinch Night. 

Released in 1977, after the passing of Boris Karloff, who voiced How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the animated TV show was voiced by Hans Conried. The songs, written by Sesame Street veteran, Joe Raposo, were still sung by the legendary Thurl Ravenscroft. The show won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

Click on the pic for the full movie.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Terror of London: Springheeled Jack

Read about the Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack here.
I wanted to share the imagery with you all, because the way the Victorians pictured him was so atmospheric and creepy!