Monday, May 7, 2012

Alebrije of 2012

I have a pretty good rhythm going with the alebrijes (not), at one per year. Here's this year's!

His name is Mundo.

More photos after the cut:

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Needle felting classes in Navasota, TX!

I'll be giving two needle felting classes at WC Mercantile, my favorite place to get merino. I use their wool in most of my sculptures, and their superfine merino is the softest stuff I've ever worked with. Go support them, and me, and learn a thing or two!

There will be a Beginner Class on April 28th, where I'll teach how to make all the basic shapes out of core wool, attach them to each other, and cover them with nice dyed roving. No experience or materials required, everything is covered!

Then, on June 2nd, there will be an Advanced Class where each student will design a creature, then I'll go over how to make a wire armature (if necessary), how to make a structurally sound core shape, and how to decorate it with dyed roving and mixed media. Since the class is only 4 hours, you may not leave with a completed creature of your own design, but you will have made a lot of progress and will definitely be prepared to finish it on your own and make as many others as you want!

Here's the skinny:

Date & Time: April 28th, 1-5 PM

Cost: $40

Materials required: None!

Date & Time: June 2nd, 1-5 PM

Cost: $40
Materials required: Felting needle, felting foam, small pliers

Location for both:
WC Mercantile
201 E. Washington Ave
Navasota, Texas  77868

Hope to see you there!!

Lety RZ

A side venture

I've always loved comics. When I first started going to art school, I wanted to be a comic artist. That didn't quite pan out, but I still faithfully follow a large number of webcomics. Most of these artists don't make a living from their comic work; they get a little money from merch, but it's mostly a labor of love, putting their work up on the internet for people to enjoy for free.

My husband has a webcomic. It's called Hobo Lobo of Hamelin. In this loose adaptation of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, there are these little rats that I adore. I wanted to make something to show my appreciation, the same way I make animal sculptures to express my fascination with them. It was thus that I made my very first piece of fanart:
Hamelinian Rat, from Hobo Lobo
While I was really happy with it, I had a conundrum. I didn't want to put it in the Cretur Fetur shop, because it didn't really have anything to do with the goals I wanted Cretur Fetur to accomplish. I could maybe open a different shop, and make more of this sort of thing, I thought. So I set about contacting a few of my favorite webcomic authors, asking for permission to make their characters into 3D needle felted sculptures.

And so, Stabwool was born!

Death from Lamezone

Onion baby from Bad Machinery

Fox from Gunshow

Barbary sheep from Skin Deep

Giraffe by TPHD

I have approximately a thousand million plans for more of these, and I don't plan on abandoning Cretur Fetur either. So, if you like them, please follow my Tumblr for updates, and my Twitter for progress photos and inane ramblings, and check out all these people's lovely comics (though, be warned, several of them are not safe for work).

Thanks for reading I love you hi

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Two pink things

I made a tiny axolotl.

It looked to me like a strong and steady worker, so I gave it lots of jobs.



and magnet.

I also made a strange creature of the deep, a fleshy-bodied angler fish, the Coffinfish.
This one I just kinda let sit around. It has a distaste for work. And sunlight.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New year, new photography paradigm

Happy 2012! Let's hope the world doesn't actually end. In the meantime, I'll be making creturs and taking pictures of them.

I recently went to my favorite local art store and bought a bunch of colored Canson paper, to replace the battered old warm grey piece I've been using for over a year and has withstood many a sudden gust of photobombing wind. Now that piece can retire in piece and pursue its dreams of seeing Aruba or whatever. Godspeed, warm grey Canson. We had good times together.

Anyway, here's what things are going to look like now, as illustrated by three custom cretur orders:

Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla)

Meerkat (Suricata suricata)

Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba), but pink

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kea - the remake

As you may know, I often repeat animals. Bats and axolotls are frequently revisited species here at Cretur Fetur. But I've remade other things, like the hoatzin. I intend to make some awesome hyenas soon, too. Before them, though, I remade another bird.

Weighing in at about two pounds, it's the clever little New Zealand parrot, the clown of the mountains, the terror of sheep livers, the kea!

New and improved Nestor notabilis!
There's many things I did differently here. First, the embroidery. That was an adventure! I've never embroidered anything before, and I think sadly in some places it kinda shows.

Well, it's not too bad.
Second, the feet. I seem to have discovered the Terrible Secret of Bird Feet. I'm positively thrilled by the results!


Third, proportions. I seem to have a better grasp on that nowadays.


In summary, remakes are not always a bad idea. And it's always good to remember where you started and keep experimenting!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The happy versatility of spherecreturs

For a while back in my youth (i.e. about two years ago) I made little spherepigs. They were clumsy beginner things, cute but not really the most impressive shows of craftsmanship.

Musclepig, unloved for all his lifetime, now a permanent resident of the Cretur Box.
Apricot pig. ... That's all there is to say, really.
So I tried to make them more interesting. First there was a holiday-themed one that ended up being given away at a craft fair. I don't know who got it, or even if anyone ever did; for all I know it floats in the ether and makes woeful little snorting sounds at midnight on Halloween:

Pumpkin pig. Getting better.
Then one ended up pink for some reason, so I decided to take it all the way and experiment with adding appendages:

My favorite part is the little swirly dollop of hair

After the moderate success of the flying pink pig, there were no more pigs for a long time. I didn't want to repeat the pink one and cash in on cuteness; instead, I wanted to start a deal where anyone would be able to make up their own completely custom spherepig. But no one seemed interested in the idea. After a lot of awkward marketing, someone finally took me up on the offer, and I was so happy to make this:
Sort of the evil twin of the pink one

But then it never happened again.

In fact, after that, several aspects of life converged to make a big mess and there were no creturs at all for a while. I lost practice and inspiration, and despite how much I love what I do, I couldn't bring myself to start a good respectable sculpture.

One day, sitting in front of the computer and a bottle of beer, I forced myself to do a warmup exercise. This is what happened:

Ninja Turtles make everything better. Revived by the triumph of my decapitated 80's nostalgia trophy, I rediscovered COURAGE and HONOR and PIZZA and I started poking wool constantly again.

And so, all spherecreturs since have been a lot more interesting and I am actually proud of them. THANK YOU, LEONARDO.

This one, which you may remember from a previous post, is based on a doodle by Stevan Zivadinovic and was given to Phil Barbato as a Christmas present:

Another one where my favorite part is the hair. Little nub-hair!

Then I made two more pigs, very quickly, to contribute to a team challenge from the Plush Team:

I seem to have gotten better at eyes, at least.

The last two were both made last month, were both commissions, and have not been posted here before. They also both like long walks on the beach and mimosas, probably.

The first is a ladybug, pretty straightforward, first cretur where I've dared to use bare pipe cleaners as limbs:

Ladybug, or ladybird, or lady beetle (Coccinella magnifica)

And the second is a wintertime quail, poofing up to keep warm:

California quail (Callipepla californica)

I don't know what the lesson is in all of this but I am sure there is one.

Anyway, I never liked pigs. I know, I know, pigs are cool, pigs are smart, pigs can eat anything, pigs have 6-hour-long orgasms, etc. For a person who has been keenly interested in animals her whole life, I am sure it is pretty weird that I don't like pigs, but listen: they are so smart and so fleshy that they just make me think of gross people. It's an uncanny valley sort of feeling. Did I start making spherepigs as a subconscious way to cope with my strong dislike of pigs? Probably not, or if I did it certainly didn't work. But at least it yielded a lot of experiments and learning opportunities, and looking at the whole history of spherecreturs makes me feel like, at least, I'm advancing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tamandua, or lesser anteater

There are two species in the anteater genus Tamandua: the Northern Tamandua, which lives in the jungles of Mexico and usually has a well-defined "vest", and the Southern Tamandua, whose vest is a bit blurrier around the edges. There are also some differences in skull shape and gestation periods, but since both species have a lot of individual color variation, it's really difficult to tell the difference between them just by looking, even if you have a specimen of each side by side.

Having said all of that, when I made this one I had the Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) in mind. But if it makes any difference to you, you can imagine that it's a Northern (Tamandua mexicana).

Tamandua tetradactyla
More photos:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Malayan Tapir

A long time ago, a good friend commissioned me to needle felt a Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus), the largest of the four species of tapir (and, like all of them, endangered).

The kicker: I had to do its baby, too. Which in this case ended up being the smallest cretur I've ever made, at only an inch tall and balancing on two legs. It was quite a challenge, and I learned many things from it, one of them being that claws made of Sculpey not only look better, but they also make it easier for the cretur to stand. With such a precariously balanced pose, it was an important discovery to make!

More pictures after the cut:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plush You!

Have you heard of Plush You? It's an annual art show based in Seattle (it has traveled in the past to LA and San Francisco) full of the a lot of the best plush and fiber toys known to man, or at least to the internet. This year I am in it! Ahh oh my god I'm so excited!

The opening is this Friday, Oct 14, 5-9 PM, at Schmancy.

I fully expect everyone in or around Seattle to be there on time and snappily dressed. But if you, like me, are far away and can't or won't see the show, you can at least have a look at the pieces I sent:

I know it looks like a real animal but it's a hare head on a dog body

I did not mean to deceive you, this is just not a thing that exists

Finally another alebrije! Yaaaaaay!