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The Final Five

on July 25, 2010 - 10:50am

Here they are. The final five. Starting from left to right: Oogie, Scurge, Reaps, Burley, and Wailer.

Background stories posted soon.

Retiring the Underbiters

on July 24, 2010 - 10:06am

Unfinished Underbiter
The Underbiters were my first official collection, and because of that they have a special place in my heart. The original group (and a couple of commissions never posted to the site) have all been adopted and moved on to their new homes.

The other day, I was looking at Curious Pete (I adopted Pete), and thinking about the Underbiters who hadn't been born. There were five little critters I never made that were still skittering about in my mind. I decided I would sit and sculpt.

When I finished the five, and tried to make a sixth (pictured right), I hit a wall. Sure, I was molding and sculpting. And yes, I even baked the sixth one. But when I went to paint him, I hit that wall again. Stop. Do not pass go.

In that moment, I realized it was time to retire the series. All I needed was to make those last five I had in mind, and it was finished.

It's a funny thing to realize when something has run its course. I can't even explain the mixed emotions I have about it. But I am certain retiring the series is the right thing to do.

Mr. Phibious T. Toadlington

on July 23, 2010 - 9:37am

Mr. Phibious T. Toadlington is filthy.

And proud of it.

He wears rags and old sacks for his cloak and scarf, both of which are always caked in mud. He'll wear them until they fall apart, and simply replace them with some other scrap material he's found on his daily hunt for treasures.

He's loud - boisterous and charming to some, obnoxious and pompous to others. The one thing they agree on is he's a business man (of sorts). He gets things done, and will rarely shy away from even the most unsavoury task...if the price is right.

Phibious loves to haggle a price. I'm not sure if clients give in to his demands because he's a good negotiator, or because they know he can get the job done, or because they just can't stand the stink of him from across the table.

Another curious question surrounding him is his pot belly. He always has one hand on it. There have been whispers that he's fit and trim under that cloak, and the round beach ball shape is actually a sack of gold coins he keeps tied around his waist for safe keeping.

Grumbling Eddie

on July 22, 2010 - 11:22am

Meet Grumbling Eddie.

He looks fairly unhappy, doesn't he?

I don't know what his problem is. He won't tell me. He just huffs and yowls when I ask, then turns away.

He's on the move a lot, trying to get things done. What things? You ask him. I'm not interested in getting told off again by a small blue creature.

For someone only 6 inches tall, he sure is feisty.

I've heard him laugh once or twice, but it's more in mockery or sarcasm. He yaps at me, but I have no clue what he's saying. Which annoys him. He delivers a perfect "You understand what I'm saying. Don't play dumb with me" expression.

I think it's better that I don't know what he's saying. I get the distinct impression it's not very nice.

Maybe once he achieves...whatever it is he's hoping to achieve, he'll be in a sunnier mood.

Having Fun with Teeth & Eyes

on July 21, 2010 - 11:16am

A couple of months ago I ordered some eyeballs and porcelain teeth. They've been sitting around my office, waiting to be used. Inspiration didn't come right away.

Finally, the mood hit this week. I had nothing in particular in mind, so I just started working on little heads; no plan, no vision, just play.

Four heads were made. Three are still in progress, but the fourth has a body and a scarf.

This is Gloomy. I'm not sure what he is exactly. A ghoul? A spirit? He's certainly a minion; a servant to someone, though his abilities are limited. Perhaps it's better to say he's a messenger and assistant. He relays information, and is often sent ahead to check on tasks and locations.

As an artist, working with the teeth is a trip. It dictates so much about the character, as does the eyes. Yetch has already walked in, quirked his head at one of the other figures and said somewhat confused "All of his teeth are molars" to which I excitedly replied "I know!". Yetch considered this for a moment, then stated "I suppose he must be a vegetarian".

I hope to introduce you to the vegetarian soon.

Plague Doctor: Last of the Second Set

on July 8, 2010 - 12:56pm

Plague Doctor commission piece by Ghoul Friday
The last figure of this second set was specially made for a friend.

I've enjoyed creating these figures, but there's an added joy when you're making one with someone specific in mind, and you know it's going to a good home.

As an update, half of the figures have already found a home. And to those new owners, I say thank you for your support.

I've plans to make 1 or 2 more sets for Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear next month (time permitting), but they are on the back burner as I focus on other projects (like, for instance, 3 huge peek-a-boo plants that are over a foot tall).

But let's get back to the star of this post.

This is easily my favourite pose yet. The bowed head gives a sense of contemplation, or a false sense of gentility. This changes when the figure is perched above the spectator.

While tidying, I had moved this Plague Doctor to a high shelf. Having the feeling I was being watched while I vacuumed, I looked up. There he was, staring down his beak at me.

Plague Doctor: Muddied Figure

on July 3, 2010 - 9:31am

Plague Doctor by Ghoul Friday
The third figure in this second set of four also bends the traditional view of a Plague Doctor.

Bolts, organic in appearance (almost like growths or barnacles) line the seams of his stitched leather hood.

His goggles are prominent, the glass thick and dark almost like that of a welder. There is no hint of eyes behind them, but you cannot mistake the sense you're being watched.

The muddied appearance travels from hood to scarf, and you can't quite tell if his clothing is soiled or if that's how they look naturally.

There is one more figure left in this set of four, and he is more in line with others you've seen me make. I certainly had some fun with these last two, pushing the boundaries on what defines a Plague Doctor; trying to make them very different yet still retain enough hints in the features that you connect it to the classic figures.

Plague Doctor: Blue Bird of Unhappiness

on July 2, 2010 - 8:38pm

Plague Doctor by Ghoul FridayEver since I painted the first red Plague Doctor, I've been itching to make a blue one.

Here he is, a skeletal blue jay mask and bright blue leather hiding his true face from us.

You see, these aren't human Plague Doctors. They look like them, and they mingle with the sick and diseased, but there is no benevolence in their attention to the ill. No pity for the suffering of mankind. They simply chose this form because it was the simplest to replicate, having to only shift their appearance slightly to adapt to an acceptable sight on any street corner so long ago.

Should two of these creatures cross each other's path, there is no greeting, no acknowledgement of their presence. They simply pass by, or hover over the sickly individual on opposite sides of his deathbed.

Plague Doctor Divinity

on May 31, 2010 - 11:05am

Plague Doctor Divinity by Ghoul FridayEver since I made the Plague Doctor door snake, my brain has been churning ideas of white-masked sculptures.

I don't want them to look like everyone else's, but I do want it to be identifiable (at least in the sense they are 'inspired by' plague doctors).

I decided that I would do a mixed media for the forms - clay masks and maybe cloth bodies. Even with these decisions made, I could not move forward.

The roadblock for me was that I kept thinking what if. What if the plaque doctor wasn't a person at all, but an actual creature? In fact, what if it was some sort of spirit. Something not of this world.

Setting my original plans aside for the moment, I indulged myself. I extended his neck. I gave his body a slight S shape. I didn't worry about arms. I had some fun with his mask.

The idea of plague doctor as divinity speaks to me so much I may have to alter my plans for the next ones I make.

This one is made of polymer clay and stands approximately 6" high. The next ones will be taller.

Sadly, my little spirit does not have the gift of flight and, due to my clumsiness, took a tumble off the table. He's suffered a hairline crack on one side of his hood towards the back (you can see it in the right picture below).

The Witch in the Woods

on March 1, 2010 - 12:05pm

Witch in the Woods by Ghoul Friday

The Story

I don't know her name, but locally she's known as the Witch in the Woods. She treks through the forest and marshland twice a day, hunting and gathering. She places items in an old black sack (what the children refer to as "her death bag").