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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).

Halloween Hutch

on May 20, 2010 - 12:37pm

My mini pumpkins and little hooters were a big hit last year. Many people bought them, and even more people loved them. I had to wonder what would have turned the loving admirers into buyers.

One thing that seemed to perplex people was where they would put it or how to display such a tiny figure. My immediate solution was to turn some of my little hooters into Christmas ornaments. This worked well.

But it didn't solve the problem for people who would have bought multiple figures if - again - they knew how to display them once they got them home (more than one person - some clearly joking, some half-serious - wanted to take home part of my display for the table).

Thus the Halloween Hutch was born. I've made two so far, experimenting with how they should look.

Each one stands just under 5 1/2 inches. All the items with the exception of the little hooter are secured in place on their shelf. The drawers don't slide very well, but if someone wanted to keep rings or other items in the drawer, they could easily take out the moss.

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").

Scarecrows: Here Today, Gone...Today

on October 28, 2009 - 3:26pm

I spent my lunch hour at the Harlequin office building along with about 12 other vendors, selling items to employees in an attempt to raise some cash for the United Way.

For the first time, I made little scarecrows to sell. Two of the four now have new homes.

It was an interesting venue. Usually I'm surrounded by other Halloween fiends, but this group - almost all women - were a completely different bunch. The best part was that at my last shows, most people were afraid to actually touch the eye of my eyeball plants. Even the people who bought them and took them home had apprehension. But these ladies? Fingers like missiles, directly aimed for the cornea. I loved it.

As an added bonus, I traded an eyeball plant for a rockin' sock monkey covered in skulls, made by the folks at Ginger Jewelry.