Archive for June, 2010

I made some insect molds for no discernible reason!

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Sometimes, as a crafty crafterperson, the bug bites you (so to speak) and you must create something RIGHT NOW. That’s what happened to me last week. I suddenly desperately needed to make beetle molds out of polymer clay. I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning for a couple of nights, toiling over teeny tiny bits of clay, and voila: polymer beetles made from molds.

The pieces are all black, but I painted them gold so you can see the details better. I have absolutely no idea why I made these, but I figure in time a reason will come to me.

Mermaid Parade.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I have been threatening to go to the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island for years now, and I finally was free the weekend it occurred, so I grabbed Cricket and we headed down. There’s the New York Aquarium there too, so we figured we’d hit up both that day. In case you don’t know what the deal is with the Mermaid Parade, here’s a description from the official Coney Island website.

The Mermaid Parade celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression. The Parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed.

Each year, a different celebrity King Neptune and Queen Mermaid rule over the proceedings, riding in the Parade and assisting in the opening of the Ocean for the summer swimming season by marching down the Beach from the Boardwalk, cutting through Ribbons representing the seasons, and tossing fruit into the Atlantic to appease the Sea Gods. In the past, David Byrne, Queen Latifah, Ron Kuby, Curtis Sliwa, Moby, David Johansen and Harvey Keitel have graced our shores, presiding over the assembled masses.

Yeah, it’s similar to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. More on that later. But first, the aquarium!

I loved the weathervane on top of the cafe. It’s hard to see, but in the middle is a fish, and then for each direction there is a different nifty creature – an octopus, a seahorse, a dolphin and a penguin. I thought is was terrific and I want one in my living room.

Even though I have a regular average little Canon Elph camera, I got some really nice pictures of jellies in all their stinging diaphanous glory.

One of my favorite things about fish are the names they are given. My favorite of all time is the Picasso Triggerfish because, well, it looks like a Picasso painting and it has a little fin-thing on its back that it pops up and down. Genius. This adorable little feller also has a fun descriptive name.

There was a tank with seahorses and a cowfish. A cowfish is called a cowfish because it has horns. And I call it super-cute because it is super-cute, with its kissyface and its flat bottom. It was also extremely difficult to take a picture of the cowfish because it was in a dark tank and it moved around a lot. But I made a concerted effort.

Here’s a decent picture of two seahorses with the cowfish in the background. As you can see, one seahorse is blackish-brownish and one is much lighter. I learned that they can change color at will, like octopii.

I was very concerned at one point because I passed a tank that said “False Clownfish” and the fishies looked exactly like Marlin and Nemo from Finding Nemo. Then I passed another tank that said “Something Something Clownfish” and these guys were swimming in there.

And I thought, “Are these the real clownfish? Was Pixar not accurate? Is my whole life a lie?” I’m not joking. I had a little knot in my stomach and everything. It was a little touch-and-go there for a while. Today at work I looked it up and breathed a large sigh of relief because apparently there’s a whole bunch of different clownfish and some of them indeed look exactly Marlin and Nemo, so Pixar didn’t lie to me and all is right with the world.

Here is a nice picture I took on the boardwalk of Coney Island. If you close your eyes, you can smell the coconut-scented suntan lotion and the Nathan’s hot dogs.

Now, the Mermaid Parade. It’s not what you would call a real organized thing. It’s kind of like a bunch of art school students got together, picked a theme (the ocean) and made an impromptu parade. Lots of nudity and glitter and whatnot. Here are some of the highlights.

As always, there were a few people who were completely insane and possibly dress like every day but because there was a parade occurring they looked like they fit in. I think this man was one of these people. He was so weird I didn’t even notice the parrot on his head until I got home that night and looked at the pictures on my computer.

There were quite a few children marching, being pushed in strollers, etc. This was a favorite of mine: a child wearing an angry duck mask squirting the crowd with a water gun.

Another group costume I liked was the flea circus. I don’t know how well you can see it in the picture, but all the ladies have antennae on their heads and puffs of tulle on their butt, mimicking flea hinders.

There was rather well-painted fish float/sculpture/thing.

Also in attendance was Wallpaper Squid Man, Screaming Shark Girl and Oyster Boy with Strategically Placed Pearl.

But the reason everyone comes to see this parade is for the boobies. In New York a lady can’t show her nipple-y bits, but she can wear pasties or body paint. So many a lass was rockin’ the starfish coverup or something like it.

It was a fun experience, but I don’t think I’ll go again. It was a long trek getting out there and even longer getting back, so I think I’m good for now.

Charts, Pogo and Laura McCabe.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

1. Two charts I saw this week that make me happy.

2. Pogo is a musician-slash-dj who takes classic movies and meshes some of the words the characters say with electronic music, and in the process beautiful music is made. Pogo is most famous for his Alice in Wonderland mix:

And he just recently came out with a Toy Story version, which I love:

3. I recently discovered an amazingly talented beader, Laura McCabe. She’s been around for a while, I just didn’t know about her. I remember when I was right out of college, I saw a necklace she designed that won an award, and I was like I WANT THAT. She is completely focused on making her pieces complicated and perfect, which I can appreciate, and she sometimes uses false eyes as focal pieces, which appeals to my macabre side. Also, one of her pieces is a dodecahedron, which is my favorite polygon to say. All-around fabulousness. And she makes a living doing this! Additional fabulousness.

How Laura makes her living is by teaching classes and selling patterns and kits, so if you want to make one of her pieces, you can find a bunch of them here:

Bonus Thing totally unrelated to any other thing: This has to be one of the creepiest pictures I have ever seen. Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos.

A touch of spam and some not-so-great ads aimed at wimmins.

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

First, the spam. I received this in my comments between the normal effluvia of stuff I get.

Wait, what? What the hell does this have to do with anything else happening in our solar system at all? I sincerely hope this spammer was stoned out of his gourd, having one of those, “Dude, look at your hand, I mean, really look at it” moments. That being said, it’s a cool idea and I would like to see that in a movie someday.

On my way to work I am bombarded with a gazillion ads, so when one stands out, it’s either very good, very bad or very weird. This one is the latter. I was startled with I first saw this one. I mean, whoa. EYEBROWS.

You wanna maybe whittle those monsters down a little there, sweetie? I am extremely lax with my ladylike responsibilities (I don’t dye or style my hair, I don’t wear makeup or jewelry, etc.) but I still tend to the black forest above m’eyeballs. When I look at you, I am reminded of my childhood on the playground, playing with wooly bear caterpillars.

Then, in Grand Central Terminal, there are a bunch of ads for the We network. They be hawkin’ their bitchy bride program with this poster.

Now, there’s a section with three large vertical ad spaces set close together. Instead of running three separate ads, the We Network printed a big billboard and chopped it into three pieces, not taking into account the gaps between the ad spaces and how that would distort the image.

BIG shoulders. GIANT torso. I see this twice a day and everytime I think this:

Don’t make the bride mad. You wouldn’t like the bride when she’s mad.

Real macabre art. I’m so happy.

Monday, June 7th, 2010

This past weekend I went to the Museum of Art and Design (or MAD), the new-ish museum in Columbus Circle. They have an exhibition right now called Dead or Alive, inspired by the cabinet of curiosity. The cabinet of curiosity is where the rich well-traveled, well-educated man in the 1700s and 1800s would put all of the natural items he had collected in distant lands (taxidermied beasties, shells, pinned bugs, coral, pressed plants, etc.). Here’s a picture of one to give you an idea.

Using the concept of the cabinet of curiosity, MAD created an exhibition of, well, dead things. It was very difficult not to think of this movie quote over and over again. (quote is at 1:25)

Being the somewhat gloomy goth-like creature that I am (you can review my Ossuary of Sedlec entry if there’s any doubt in your mind) I loved this exhibition. Actually, what’s even dorkier is that I have been following a few of the artists for years, and could make comments like, “Oh, she’s working with bone now! That’s a different medium for her, compared to the metalsmithing work she did in 2007.” I’m just going to cover a few of my favorite artists there. There was Jennifer Trask, the artist I was geeking out about above. I first saw her work at SOFA in 2007 or 2008. She did these amazing necklaces made with a beautiful marriage of the rare and the mundane. For example, snake skin that had been shed. Gold. Bone black. Raw diamonds. Silver. Butterfly wings. Charcoal. Leaves. Beetles. Here’s a picture of one of those necklaces.

Jennifer then went through a period where she made amazing pins. Here’s one of my favorites, using semi-precious stones, gold and some small animal’s vertibrae.

At the exhibition, Jennifer had a big wall piece, which I’m not used to seeing from her. It was great, though. She had a frame, and coming out of the frame were all these flowers, but all the flowers were made from bones. There were antlers too. I prefer her jewelry, but I like that she’s trying new stuff.

The other artist I was psyched to see was Alastair Mackie. He works a lot with owl pellets and the contents therein. In college, I wanted one of his mouse skull orbs so badly.

I was hoping to see a mouse skull orb in person at this exhibition but alas, it was not meant to be. Alastair had a piece where there was a loom, and next to it was a pile of mouse bones. Owl pellets, for people who don’t know, are the regurgitated inedible remains of their food. The owl can’t digest fur and bones, so his body makes a little packet out of it and he barfs it up. The loom had fabric woven on it with the fur of the mice, and the mouse bones were what was left of those pellets.

What delighted me more about this exhibition, more than the plethora of dead things, was the complete anal retentiveness of many of the artists. Sometimes I feel like I’m too nitpicky, but these artists made me feel right at home. “If it’s not tiny and perfect and complicated, don’t bother,” seems to be their motto. I was with my people, and it felt so good. Let me give you some examples. There was Fabian Pena, who makes collages of skulls and hearts and hands with tiny pieces of cockroach wings.

Or Tim Hawkinson, who made the pointy thing out of pieces of interlocking eggshell. He made a tiny bird skeleton out of fingernail clippings.

My personal favorite was the piece by Lonneke Gordijn, with the LED lights that had dandelion seeds painstakingly attached to each bulb to mimic a dandelion poof. These people are crazy, I tell ya. Crazy AWESOME.

There was also Kate MccGuire, who makes swirling writhing shapes with pigeon feathers.

But the big surprise winner for me was Jennifer Angus, who prints her own wallpaper and then makes installations in rooms where she covers the rooms in patterns of pinned dried bugs.

The best part of her installation was there was a dollhouse in the middle, and bugs were propped up on their hind legs pottering around the house, doing roofwork and fixing the porch and whatnot. I couldn’t find a picture of it, but I found a similar one to give you an idea.

The exhibition is on until October 24th, so if you get a chance, make an effort to see this. The permanent collection is pretty terrif too, and the store is stellar. All-around good stuff.

Addendum: I totally forgot the light fixture made from silkworm cocoons, or the giant hairnet filled with milkweed seeds. Did I mention this exhibition is fantastical? Because it is.

Orb Flower Drawing – The Stampening.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I finished making all the changes to the orb frame. I inverted the black and white parts so it can be made into a rubber stamp, and after I order it, I’m going to use it for my polymer work. Methinks it’s gonna look pretty durn rad.