Tuesday 23 June 2015

Don't mention the War

First of all, I am sorry this post is a week late...  busy week. Secondly, I'd like to point out as I issue my German witch that I love Germans. I adore so much of German culture - heck I wouldn't be who I am or do what I do if I didn't grow up on Brothers Grimm and all kinds of German folklore and fairytales. And German food, German desserts... not to mention Wagner, Beethoven and Kraftwerk! So, now that I have got that off my chest, may I introduce you to my latest witch and hope that it causes no offense. Last witch was French, and now this is die deutsche Hexe.

PS The title of this post is a line from one of my favourite episodes of Fawlty Towers called 'The Germans' in which John Cleese's character - Basil Fawlty (an innkeeper, for those not familiar with the show) hosts German guests and to their distress he keeps mentioning the war. One of the Germans asks him to stop talking about the war,. The following exchange is:
Fawlty: Me? You started it!
German: We did not start it.
Fawlty: Yes you did, you invaded Poland.

See this clip here on Youtube.

Years after this episode aired (and was very well received), John Cleese was approached by a German fan who simply said "Don't mention the war!"

My German witch is the largest (at least the tallest) character I have made because I was inspired by large Wagnerian opera singers. I was frustrated with her design because I really don't want my witches to seem like they come from another era, so I had vetoed traditional dress but then I didn't know what the heck to dress her in! The red hood is a homage to Grimm fairytale 'Little Red Riding Hood'. I had fun plaiting (braiding) her hair and making the Bentheim black pied (German breed) pig. Take a look at the 'making of' photos and let me know what you think.

Sadly it will be a few weeks before I can create another witch for 'Good Witches Bad Witches' as I have some magazine features and other deadlines.... but stay tuned as I will post other work here and at the Facebook page!

And here's a note for my German friends....

Liebe Freunde in Deutschland,
hier habe ich eine Nachricht für Euch…..

Durch meine anglo-sächsischen Wurzeln verbinden uns viele Gemeinsamkeiten.
Ich liebe deutsches Essen, die deutschen Märchen und Sagen zum Beispiel der Gebrüder Grimm beeindrucken mich und nicht zu vergessen die Musik von Wagner, Beethoven und auch Kraftwerk.

Als Künstlerin arbeite ich an einem projekt "Good Witches Bad Witches“ und modellierte dafür Hexen aus der ganzen Welt. So sind bereits englische, schottische, französische, italienische Hexen und solche aus weiteren Ländern entstanden.
Und diese ist nun die deutsche Hexe.
Ich stellte sie aus Fimo Material und Draht her. Sie sollte ein bisschen gruselig aussehen, doch hoffe ich, Sie akzeptieren sie mit Humor und Witz.

Für Ihr Interesse an meinen Arbeiten möchte ich mich sehr bedanken. Wenn Sie mehr darüber erfahren möchten, so können Sie hier auf meine Facebook Seite, mein Instagram oder auf Twitter gehen.

Vielen Dank!

the German witch, Good Witches Bad Witches, miniature witch, Laika, Caroline McFarlane-Watts

Tuesday 16 June 2015

For the Fish Wrapper

As I mentioned in my last post about La Sorcière Française, I don't have another witch ready for you this Tuesday... it will be the end of the week or the weekend. (Heavy work-load at the mo). But I like to check in and let you know what's been happening at Tall Tales this week. The 'girls' (miniature witch characters) have been spotted by a couple of magazine editors and asked to pose for photos for their various fish wrappers, so I quickly threw together some props and backdrops in order to snap their portraits.

Here you can see that I made a French paneled wall for my French witch. I know how much people love to see how I fabricate things, and since this was soooo quick and simple, I took a few snaps along the way so you can see. It's simply heavy blue card-stock which I penciled on a design, then traced over it with 3D paint, then brushed over with different shades of blue / grey paint, then picked out some details on the relief with white paint. 

To photograph my pastry chef witch, I painted another backdrop and then made some kooky cake stands using clay and wire, brushed them with paint and positioned some miniature candy apples, a bug cake and a bat wing tart on top (these were all miniature foods I had already made last year and wrote about here).

My English witch was the easiest. I just plopped her down on Paddington station - a miniature set I had made for my China exhibition and blogged about here.

My Irish witch was placed outside my thatched cottage, which is something I made in 2013 and blogged about here.

When these magazines are out I'll share them here of course.

Stay tuned for the next witch for 'Good Witches Bad Witches'... she's German! Don't forget to follow on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter for quicker updates!

Tuesday 9 June 2015

La Sorcière Française

It's Tuesday and I completed the French witch just in the nick of time! I am continuing to create my world of witches for 'Good Witches Bad Witches' and thus far have made an English witch, Scottish witch, Welsh witch, Irish witch, and now, moving across the English channel to continental Europe, I have here a French witch.

I do hope this witch doesn't offend anyone. As I've said before, the bad witches in my series will be unattractive, angry / irritable and I'm playing with stereotypes as well. So this witch was almost made holding a jar of snails or frogs, but instead I went for the silly 'arrogant' stereotype. She is chic and stylish though (another stereotype for Parisians), so perhaps that makes up for it?! Don't forget that my English witch embodies the negative stereotypes about the English - she's grumpy, unapproachable and holding an umbrella. ;)

My French witch has a black and white striped dress which I recently saw in an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' and just loved, an aggressive mink stole, a fascinator, a monstrous handbag (purse), a trolley of shopping and a miniature French poodle as her familiar. She was made by myself using clay and wire and is in 1:12 scale. See photos of the process below.

I am creating a German witch next... but she probably wont be posted as soon as next Tuesday as I have some commissions to catch up on. Stay tuned though and don't forget to follow the Facebook page here for quicker updates, and you can email me here with any queries.

Mes chers amis et fans français, j'ai cré une sorcière pour ma série 'Bonnes Sorcières Mal Sorcières' (qui sera publié comme un livre et une film), et comme mes autres sorcières, elle est drôle fondée sur des stéréotypes. J'espère, qu'elle ne vous blesse pas! Je l'ai fait arrogante et désagréable, mais aussi élégante! Merci beaucoup pour la suite du projet. Tout est créé par moi (Caroline) et vous pouvez trouver plus à ma page Facebook ici et sur Instagram ici.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Best of Fools

I could apply one line from Led Zeppelin's 'Since I've been loving you' to my life this past week. "Working from seven to eleven every night..." boy, I really have! And I have a new witch to show for it. The comparison ends there as life's not a drag. Life is grand. ;)

So, here we go. I hated my previous Irish witch, so I re-conceived her as older, sharper, grumpier and with hen 'familiars', not a cat. I copied the same green tartan pattern though, and put it on an under skirt and her shawl. Take a look at my photos below - just quick snaps of my workspace so that you can see the process, and then as always I do a photo in the 'white room' (last images).

She has sacks of chicken feed on her back as well as an Irish bouzouki, utensils and a tankard (can I make the Irish drunk joke on any level?) She's got a couple of hens in a dry cauldron. She's shorter than the other witches, at 4 3/4" tall. My English witch is my height - 5.1" = 5'1".

Find past witches from 'Good Witches Bad Witches' here.

I'll have something new and exciting by this time next week (it may not be a witch, but if it is it will be a French one).

Monday 1 June 2015

Holy Guacamole!

Remember when I said I'd post a witch a week? Want to know how long I managed to stick to that?! 4 weeks. (It's because things - mostly commissions -  come up!) So... no witch today, but here's a project that took me away from Good Witches Bad Witches for most of May... I had to create an array of miniature Mexican food. It's verrrrry detailed and verrry tiny. All is in 1:12 (one inch) scale and made by me, using mostly polymer clay, paint and pastels.

In other news... being a tremendous nerd, I went to the Renaissance Faire here in LA and had a blast. Weird Al Yankovic's 'White and Nerdy' could have been written about me.
My talented friend from Dreamworks (Nicolas Marlet) did a drawing of me in my mediaeval garb at the faire, so I just had to share it here.

I've spent the past week creating a new witch and tomorrow I will show it here on this blog, and the Facebook page and Instagram... don't forget to click back and let me know what you think!

Photos from the Renaissance Faire 2015, Los Angeles!

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