Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Talk less, Say more

Funnily enough, I made mention of viking raids in my last post about 'Good Witches Bad Witches' (here), so perhaps it's fitting that my newest character I present to you is..... the Swedish witch! AKA den Svenska häxan.

What do I know of Sweden? Aside from pickled fish and raids of the British Isles courtesy of Norse seafarers beginning in the 8th century... I know that today Sweden is a brilliantly modern and progressive country. Only a small amount of Googling will fill you in on why that is, and you may also learn that they're responsible for more than Ikea, Abba and Volvo. Add Skype and Spotify to that list. Didn't know that, did you?!

Okay, last words about Sweden... my best friend, who I met when I was only 19 hails from Eskilstuna, Sweden. The first Swede I ever met, she impressed me with her perfect English, incredible brain and waist length pale gold, lifeless, silky hair. She gave me some advice when creating this character so if anything comes off as offensive as opposed to funny, then do take it up with Ms Jonsson's lawyers. ;)

My Swedish witch!
She has the lightest skin tone of all my witches thus far, icy blue eyes and pale blonde hair. (That part was inspired by my Swedish best friend). She has a typically Scandinavian cleft in her chin and mackerel protruding from her mouth.
She's big-boned because I wanted to create a great strong lass, capable of pulling down trees and building a longboat. Her hair is plaited (US English - braided) in keeping with the crazy hairstyles of all my witches. She wears a leather apron, blue woolen dress (colour of the Swedish flag), furs, carries a bronze cauldron with Norse embellishments, filled with mackerel. Her familiar (witch's pet) is the Swedish wild boar pup.

Scroll past the note for my Swedish friends below to see photos from behind the scenes! Don't forget to follow on Facebook and Instagram!

Till mina svenska vänner, det här är en kommentar till er…

Om ni kan läsa engelska så vet ni att min bästa kompis är svensk och att jag genom henne blivit utsatt för en massa fina svenska fenomen (mestadels mat och traditioner) och att jag älskar skandinavisk kultur. Jag hoppas att jag har skapat en karaktär som ni ska gilla och ta med en nypa salt. Det här är min svenska häxa!

Jag skapar karaktärer ifrån hela världen för ett projekt med namnet ‘Goda Häxor, Onda Häxor’ och jag har gjort engelska, skottska, franska, italienska häxor etc. och den här gången har jag skapat en svensk häxa. Hon är min egen design till den film jag håller på att producera åt Tall Tales Productions (websida här). Jag skapade henne för hand med hjälp av Fimo lera och ståltråd. Tack för ert intesse för mitt arbete. Om ni vill se mera så besök min Facebook sida (här), mitt Instagram (här) och Twitter (här). En video av när jag gör häxan kan ni snart hitta på min YouTube kanal (här). Med vänliga hälsningar - Caroline

In personal news, taking advantage of these warm summer nights in southern California, I just went to one of Cinespia's famous outdoor screenings and watched Hitchcock's 'The Birds' with 4000 other people! Fitting since 'Tippi' Hedren is of Swedish descent.

*Final thought*
Post title is from a Swedish proverb - "Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours."

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Dance, Magic Dance...

We may have lost the irreplaceable David Bowie, but it's a small consolation that thousands can gather annually at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles and dance to songs he wrote for The Labyrinth movie.

I love the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball and went on Saturday night in a massive sparkly red ballgown. The shows were spectacular and the incredible finale with the smoke-breathing dragon looming over the main ballroom whilst fairies and Voldermort danced in sequence to 'Jump in the Line' reminded me why I live in LA.

Read previous posts about this event I attended before here, and here.

Scroll past these few photos of the magical costumed characters there, and see how I 'made' my dress!

And don't worry - will have more 'work' related posts soon! Hang tight and don't forget to find me on Facebook here - Tall Tales Productions Facebook Page.

And a little clip of part of the event!

My sketch of how I wanted the dress to look...

And a little more info...

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Stargazing and Flight

Creating the starry skies for my Greek witch (previous post about her here) made me think about Eilmer - a monk who lived in England over a thousand years ago, and who loved to gaze at the stars.

Quick history lesson - feel free to skip this section if you're 'only' interested in sculpture / miniatures / filmmaking! ....
Eilmer was special. Living in Malmesbury abbey in the 11th century - at a rough time when Viking raids happened around him, the inquisitive and visionary Eilmer did two things that others had not before. Studying the skies with a scientific eye, he was the one to note that if you lived long enough you could see a comet come round again.*
He was also one of the first to fly. Perhaps inspired by the Greek stories of Daedalus and his escape from the Labyrinth using wings fashioned from wax and feathers (which we know Eilmer read), Eilmer created his own wings using willow and parchment. He climbed to the top of the Saxon bell tower and jumped, gliding 200 meters before crashing and crippling both his legs. He lived to old age, recalling his flight adventure "and explaining the failure of his great enterprise with wry humour. It was his own fault, he would say. He forgot to fit a tail to his hinder parts."*

I painted the starry skies for my astronomer witch on particle board using first chalkboard paint (nice and matte) and then flicking acrylics using a toothbrush. Not my current toothbrush. That paint never comes out.

Watch the process of creating the witch here at my new little video at my Tall Tales Productions YouTube Channel.  Don't worry if you're outside the US and this video wont play (owing to me adding a Cat Stevens soundtrack)... you can watch a silent version here!

Also, since you've been requesting it, I will be making prints and posters of this scene available at my webshop here very soon. Please feel free to email me directly if you want to reserve one.

The Greek witch with her starry night skies

Finally, in my Southern California adventures, I finished up the Greek witch and then flew off to San Francisco in my friend's plane. Flying in a little Cirrus is exhilarating - partly because it's so damn unsafe and I often wonder how close I am to death on take off and landing (despite the pilot being an exceptional one), and also because I can sit right up with the controls and marvel at the flying machine that it is. I wonder what Eilmer would think if he was sitting there with me.

Here are some iPhone snaps of my mini break in San Francisco and the flight over!

* Words about Eilmer the monk taken directly from Robert Lacey's absolutely brilliant book 'Great Tales From English History'. If you only ever read one history book in your lifetime - let it be this one. If you have no interest in history - this will change your mind.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

It's all Greek to Me

Credit to all those that knew the phrase "It's all Greek to me" was written by Shakespeare!

I have another witch for you today, and this one is of course.... Greek. She is part of the project 'Good Witches Bad Witches' and was designed and hand sculpted as a miniature maquette by me. Please check out more characters at the Tall Tales Productions website here.

I have tried to make my witches relatively contemporary (stuck in the past at times regarding their dress sense, but still part of the modern world.... ish). However, this Greek witch doesn't look all that modern! Whoops. I did however give a lot of thought to Greek culture and the momentous things the Greeks have done for us. The Greeks 'invented' democracy. They were pioneers in so many fields including the sciences, geometry, philosophy, maths, astronomy, history... I love that it was Pytheas who described Great Britain as a 'wonky triangle' when he was the first to circumnavigate it. In medicine, doctors still refer to the Hippocratic oath, instituted by Hippocrates, however despite the Greeks being pioneers in the study of anatomy, their unusual ideas about the so-called 'four humours' of the body perhaps misled English doctors right through the middle ages!

Anyway, I tried to convey my inordinate respect and gratitude to the Greeks for their contributions to the world by making my Greek witch a wise seer-type serious witch and an astronomer, complete with an armillary sphere - also invented by the Greeks.

The Greek witch has owls for 'familiars' (pets), Greek 'meander' patterned dress, gladiator sandals and of all my witches she has the warmest skin tone yet! Stay tuned as witches of other races will be coming soon.

Now a little note to my Greek friends and fans. Please scroll past to see the images of the behind the scenes process.

Έλληνες φίλοι μου και θαυμαστές μου, αυτό είναι ένα σημείωμα ειδικά για σας!

Αν ακολουθείτε αυτό το blog, τότε πιθανότατα γνωρίζετε ήδη ότι σχεδιάζω μια ταινία με τίτλο «Καλές Μάγισσες Κακές Μάγισσες» (Good Witches Bad Witches) και ότι δημιουργώ πολλούς από τους χαρακτήρες των μαγισσών από όλο τον κόσμο. Είμαι μια καλλιτέχνιδα στο Tall Tales Productions (website) και η δημιουργία αυτών των χαρακτήρων είναι πολύ διασκεδαστική και έχω βάλει πολλή σκέψη σε κάθε σχέδιο. Είναι γλυπτά σε μικρογραφία χρησιμοποιώντας πηλό. Μέχρι στιγμής έχω ήδη κάνει την Αγγλίδα, τη Σκωτσέζα, την Ιρλανδή, την Ουαλή, τη Γαλλίδα, τη Γερμανίδα, την Ιταλίδα, τη Γερμανίδα, την Αμερικάνα, την Ολλανδή και τη Ρωσίδα μάγισσα! Ο καινούριος χαρακτήρας είναι μια Ελληνίδα μάγισσα.

Προσπάθησα να τιμήσω τουλάχιστον μία απίστευτη συνεισφορά που η Ελλάδα έχει κάνει στον κόσμο και ως εκ τούτου αυτή η μάγισσα είναι ένας αστρονόμος με ένα σφαιρικό αστρολάβο. Ελπίζω να την δείτε με χιούμορ και να θυμάστε ότι δε θα ήθελα να προσβάλω κανένα με τους χαρακτήρες μάγισσσες. Είναι μια σοφή και ιδιόρυθμη μάγγισα και η φούστα της έχει σχέδιο μαιάνδρου.

Αν σας αρέσει το project, μπορείτε να το ακολουθήσετε στη σελίδα του Facebook και σε Instagram και το Twitter! Ευχαριστώ!

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