It's that most wonderful time of the year! Halloween is around the corner...my lovely wife Claire is making preparations for the most amazing Halloween costume ever, and people are whipping themselves up into a spooky froth. I'm in Virginia right now, and had a great conversation with my friend Sarah last night about a common candy corn obsession--having to eat them color by color. Three bites is about right for a piece of candy corn. Candy corn pumpkins are an abomination...they're just too big of a lump of candy-corn-ness.
I digress. My real mission is to write about the phenomenon of haunted dolls. My friend Javier, who is the biggest Halloween booster (BOOster?) that I know, just sent me this link to the Haunted America "Haunted Doll Museum". Apparently, Chucky aside, haunted dolls are a pretty common manifestation of the paranormal. Dolls sometimes come complete with the spirits of unfortunate children attached to them:
For reasons unknown, dolls seem to attract spirits. More troubling, dolls seem to become easily imbued with the spirit of the child to whom it most closely connected. And there is ample evidence to at least provoke suspicion that some dolls stay connected via this childhood link for years, even generations after their childhood playmate has grown to adulthood or succumbed to early death.
Today, many a haunted doll live quite comfortably, though well guarded by their owners. Visitors are welcome to see them here in the haunted doll Museum, though taking pictures has proven to be difficult for some of their owners. Cameras tend to stop working when pointed at the doll, only to resume normal function when pointed in the opposite direction.
Dolls, simple child’s playthings, primitive or highly stylized,
have been around for centuries. Every culture seems to create these
little imitations of humans and all seem to do so for the same purpose:
to provide companionship, entertainment and comfort to our children.
With such innocent and well-intentioned origins, what could possibly bother, or, in some cases even terrify us about these loving childhood companions?
For my part, I've never experienced a posessed doll. My sisters kept their dolls in check through a regime of strict discipline. My sister Sooze traumatized her handmade doll with a porcelain head and hands by regularly clapping the hands. We call her "Nubby" now. I seriously hope that Nubby doesn't start haunting my sister for her misdeeds.
If you've got a haunted doll, Haunted America would like to hear from you. Apparently, they're very hard to photograph, so you might want to hum the Ghostbusters theme when you approach.
LINK thanks Javier!
Hey Richmond, Virginia! The Extreme Craft Roadshow is rolling into your town on Tuesday, October 28th. I'll be giving a public lecture at the Craft/Material Studies department of Virginia Commonwealth University. The lecture begins at 7:00 pm in room 535 of the Bowe Street building. Thanks to all of the people who have been sending me crafty Richmond tips!
Red leather! Red leather! When I saw the picture on the right, which accompanied Politico's article about the $150,000 that the Republican National Committee shelled out for clothing for Sarah Palin, I instantly knew what chord the RNC was trying to strike. Talk about Maverick! Sarah Palin is being sold as the new Eddie Murphy--a trash talking, outrageous public figure that struts the stage, taking the powers that be down a peg.
I just hope she releases a version of "Boogie in your Butt" soon.
Obamaware is NOW!!!!!! Check out one of my favorites above, a memento from the "Palin Family Annual Picnic and Book Burning" by John Byrd. Due to overwhelming response (can you say 140,000 hits in the first 24 hours?), the Obamaware event has moved to eBay. You can exercise Buy it Now priveleges to buy the pieces you choose, or you can choose to bid on your item and duke it out with the other Obamaniacs queuing up to outbid you. You can bid on my contribution, "Light/Darkness/Light" HERE.
This is a Three Day event, so get to it!
At various times in my life, I have waxed and waned between slavering Andy Warhol fan and slight ambivelence (currently swinging back in the direction of slavering fanboy, but that's a long story). I'm certainly aware of Brigid Berlin's legacy to the artworld. As a part of Warhol's factory scene, Berlin was a provocateur and performance artist, and popped up regularly in the photos and films that churned out of the factory.
I didn't know that Berlin is still an accomplished artist, and that she has shifted her allegiance to the dark side....CRAFT! Her delightful needlepoint pillows are being shown at John McWhinnie in New York. Berlin eschews typical needlepoint subjects like flowers and samplers in favor of a topic that she knows much better: tabloid newspapers. Her tabloid subjects are fitting not only because her antics were tabloid fodder back in the day, but also because her father was Richard Berlin, who oversaw the Hearst media empire for most of his life.
The show will be on view between October 21st and November 22nd. See if you can ditch your security detail and the paparazzi to see this.
Lego Artist Nathan Sawaya's story is familiar to Extreme Craft readers--he was a lawyer in Manhattan turned $12 an hour Lego model builder at Legoland in San Diego. He parlayed his Lego gig into a full-time career as a Lego artist. Now he makes a handsome living and has solo museum shows under his belt. What could the logical next step be? Try the 2008 Nieman Marcus Christmas gift catalog, the best place to conspicuously consume for the holidays. Hey! It worked for Andy Warhol! For a cool $60,000, Sawaya will create a life-sized replica of your beloved:
"Acclaimed artist Nathan Sawaya is obsessed with LEGO® bricks. Uh, trust us, he is. He fills his New York studio with more than 1.5 million of the interlocking toy building blocks, and he can sculpt anything out of them — a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton or a 7-foot-long scale replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, for example. Given the skill and depth of his devotion to his art, it makes perfect sense to immortalize your own magnificent self with our 2008 His & Hers gifts. Send in detailed photos and measurements, then Nathan gets to snapping and BOOM! One-of-a-kind, life-size sculptures of yourselves in LEGO bricks. We priced our exclusive gift individually, so Nathan can "brickalize" you and the S.O., the kids, Granny and/or anyone else you obsess about. (Just make sure you have the rights to their likenesses; we're not here to judge.)"
Okay. So Obama's an honest guy. I can't pin any drug allegations on him that he hasn't already admitted to. So the brother wasn't above snatching a doob every now and then. I'm talking POT of a different kind. Ceramic superstar Ayumi Horie rounded up 27 of her fellow ceramic artists to create an Obama fundraiser called "Obamaware".
I'm proud to be a part of Obamaware. The piece I sent was originally created in Fall, 2000 when the forces of Sauron first started to nip at our heels. Originally, the piece was entitled "Darkness/Light/Darkness", but I've reworked it in this time of economic crisis to reflect my new spirit of cautious optimism. I've reversed the two plates, so the title is now "Light/Darkness/Light". You can purchase this piece, as well as plenty of others at the Obamaware website. A preview of most work goes up today, along with an essay by Sarah Archer reminding us that political ceramics are nothing new.
I already own work from many of the artists featured in Obamaware, including Mike Corney, whose work is pictured above. Take this opportunity to support the Obama campaign and be a patron of the ceramic arts in one fell swoop. Go TEAM!