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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Grave Robber Foiler

on October 3, 2012 - 10:07am

While scrolling through my reader, I came across an image of The Baker Burglar-Proof Metallic Grave Vault which promised protection for those who couldn't afford a mausoleum but still want to be buried like a king (a king safe from grave robbers). 

It caught my interest because - besides the obvious reasons - I've been reading Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930, a book described by Publisher's Weekly as "a startling window into the education of American doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries-on both a visceral level and for its revealing cultural record. Cringe-worthy shots of medical students-bare-handed gentlemen and a few ladies in street clothes show off their scalpels, saws and textbooks-while their cadavers, mostly poor and black, are awkwardly posed, and exposed."

The book's beginning talks of how early North American medical schools acquired their first subjects for dissection during a time when the concept was taboo to say the least (while in Europe the practice was more accepted).

We've all seen movies with Igor helping his master to gather fresh corpses for his Frankenstein Monster, or grave robbers digging up the dead for valuables, or mad doctors paying for corpses. For some reason, I had believed it was only in these rare situations that someone would steal a body. 

Bazaar of the Bizarre & Peasant Pumpkin

on October 2, 2012 - 10:00am

Splitting time between decorating for Halloween and trying to get ready for my next show this month. I recently finished the Peasant Pumpkin but still have 6 more figures I'm hoping to have completed in time. 

If you're in Toronto on October 21st, come to the Bazaar of the Bizarre a marketplace for all things exotic, whimsical and macabre! Local artists - indie, goth, lowbrow and the Halloween inspired - will gather for the annual event (and belly dancers!).

When: Sunday October 21st 2012

Where: Pia Bowman ballet school, 6 Noble St Toronto (just north from Queen St, west of Dufferin)

Time: 11am - 8pm

FREE to attend! Child and costume friendly.

It's one of my favourite events of the season. Be sure to come by my table and say hello! 

Spider Projection

on October 1, 2012 - 9:37am

spider projection from Friedrich van Schoor on Vimeo.

Two-for-one Monday! This came down the line on twitter (via @MorbiusKromwell & @JulianSimpson1) a moment ago and I JUST had to share it. It shows how, using a real spider and some technological creativity, you can make the creepiest projection display ever. 

Countdown to Halloween 2012

on October 1, 2012 - 7:27am

Happy October 1st, everyone. And so it begins, another Countdown to Halloween where a large group of folk pledge to try and bring you Halloween-related goodies daily for the month of October. 

To kick off my first post, let me draw your attention to Mad Lab Productions, an animation company who have created fun zombie shorts in the past like Rise of the Zombie Corpse and Springtime Zombie

Now they have a new animated mini-series (cute and kid-friendly) called Vampire Instructionals.

"The premise: a kid vampire takes it upon himself (itself?) to create little instructional animations to school OTHER kid vampires on key aspects of vampire life (unlife?)"

The first is a 30 second tutorial on how to become a bat (which, using kid logic, is actually very simple). They will be releasing a new tutorial every Monday until they feel vampire children have all the basic skills they will need as they work towards becoming better vampires.

If you've ever watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, it reminds me of when Grover and Kermit interview children to figure out how Santa comes down the chimney.

Be sure to check out their YouTube video listings to get your Halloween quick fix. 

And to everyone participating in this year's countdown, get posting. Pumpkin flavoured coffee is on me. 


Brushing Up on the Classics

on September 25, 2012 - 8:33am

My VCR died. 

Joke and laugh about my retro entertainment means, but when you have a solid collection of favourite films on VHS and a limited budget, one tends not to be in a rush to convert an entire catalogue of film to DVD. 

I still have one working VCR/TV combo, but I know it's only a matter of time before that fails me as well. 

I didn't realize how often I dip into my VHS collection (especially between September and December when I'm working on holiday items) until my recent loss. I knew I used it, but I used it a lot. And while my modest DVD collection is made up of films I like to watch over and over, I don't want to do so within a week. 

For my viewing pleasure, I have acquired some new films for the Halloween season. Starting from right to left in the photo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy (which I had never seen), House of Wax with Vincent Price (which I've always wanted to own), as well as Freaks and The Haunting (both of which I already own on VHS). I burned through that as soon as the package arrived. I do love an inexpensive 4 movie collection of what I consider to be some of the best classics. 

Wicked Halloween Prize Packs

on September 18, 2012 - 10:16am

Got an email tipping me off to a Halloween giveaway from Something wicKED This Way Comes

The contest is running until October 7th.

The prize packs are actually a lot of fun and varied - books, dvds and more.

Be sure to enter. We all like free stuff, and since the neighbours won't like it if you trick or treat as an adult, this is the closest many of us are going to get. 

While you're on the site, check out their haunt pictures from last year.

Labels and Inspiration from the Love Manor

on September 18, 2012 - 9:10am

Came across a blog that had posted some of Johnny Love's Halloween labels without giving credit to him.

To balance the internet universe, I've decided to remind people of the beautiful work he's done. You can see them all here and use them to add some class to your own display this year.

Johnny has also uploaded pictures from last year's haunt.  Take some time to go through his gorgeous photography of decor, food and drink. 

His main website is under construction, but his blog is up and running.

In other news, Misgivings Day Weekend was spent working on my own Halloween items for this year's theme. Actually, most of it was spent running around and getting what art supplies I need for this year's theme. That still counts, doesn't it?

To fuel the hectic pace, I consumed pumpkin coffee, pumpkin loaf, and candy. 

Misgivings Day Project: Paper Mache Bust

on September 14, 2012 - 9:47am

I've been working on casting a form from a mannequin (don't we all have mannequins hanging around?) using paper mache. It's the first prop for my Halloween theme this year, and probably the one that will take the most time. 

Thought I would share the process so far. 

Miss Mannequin gets covered in tinfoil. To help keep the tinfoil in place without actually attaching it to the form, I've put tack adhesive putty on spots around her body (especially around the facial features). I want it to stay in place, but I want to be able to remove the tinfoil and paper mache form fairly easily when I'm done.

Covered Miss M with a layer of newspaper using watered-down white glue. Basically, I rip newspapers into strip, coat them in the glue/water mix, and smooth them over the tinfoil. For a more detailed explanation of my technique, check out my tutorial

Since she is so large, for the first layer I used fairly big pieces of newspaper for the torso. After it was completely dry, I added a second layer of more traditionally small pieces. The smaller pieces tend to give a smoother finish and allow you to work around angles. 

Misgivings Day Weekend is Coming Up!

on September 10, 2012 - 2:33pm

Cool breeze, blue sky. Feels like fall. And it should, becaaaauuuuuuse....

It's that time of year again! Two years ago it was decided there needed to be a holiday weekend to mark the approach of Halloween. It is to Halloween what Thanksgiving is to Christmas.

"It takes place the 7th Sunday before Halloween, which means this coming weekend is Misgivings Day Weekend!

How to celebrate? Well that's easy. Eat as much fall fare (like pumpkin ale, trick or treat candy which is now on sale at the stores, pies both savoury and sweet) as humanly possible. Work on Halloween props, decor and projects. Watch horror movies and break out Halloween cartoons.

3, 2, 1....Contact!

on September 7, 2012 - 10:30am

I said "Contact!"....CONTACT! *hits enter repeatedly*

Turns out my contact form on the site has been broken. 

Yes, people could send me emails and even get a copy for themselves. But they were the only ones getting a copy. 

It's fixed now, but I wanted to apologize to anyone who has tried to contact me via the webform and got no response.

Who knows how long it's been a bust. Did I miss a letter from a long lost relative who can travel through time? An art show opportunity in Japan? A letter from a man in Africa who can get me ten million dollars if I send him a thousand now?