Once again, posts have been thin on the ground of late. I can’t help but feel that that has been due in part to the state of my craft room. My crafty activities have been spilling over into our downstairs snug, and I’d started to think that perhaps that was a nicer room to work in. Until that is, Mummy monster came down at the weekend and pointed out that I was probably enjoying being in there more just because it was clean and tidy!
A little ashamed of the state of the craft room, I decided to dedicate my Sunday afternoon to getting it sorted out. It truly had got into a terrible mess, but I had been feeling that any time spent tidying it up was wasted craft time. It had got completely out of hand. Exhibit A…
And managed to transform it to this; Exhibit B…
Phew, that’s better! The Eagle eyed amongst you might spot the new addition to my crafting arsenal. I got myself an overlocker. VERY exciting, and an amazing piece of kit. It took Mummy monster and I a fair bit of time to figure out all the settings and features but once we did there was no stopping us. The possibilities it opens up for me are immense and I’m very excited to have some new projects on the go.
So, now I have a lovely space to craft in. I just have to try and keep it tidy now, not my strong suit so wish me luck!
Both Mr Monster and I are unashamed fans of anything to do with Oz. We were both spellbound by the original as kids, terrified by the Wheelers in The Return to Oz, and the Mr has been to see Wicked on stage on many occasions. It was inevitable then that we would be drawn to the new movie featuring James Franco as The Great and Powerful Oz, and the gorgeous Michelle Williams as Glinda the good.
Date night was declared and after a cheap and cheerful trip to Frankie and Benny’s we headed to the posh bit of our local cinema to have a cheeky glass of wine and some complimentary chips and chocolate in their plush leather seats; making it quite worth the extra few quid they charge for the pleasure!
It was an odd film in some ways with some great nods to the style of the original, quite cheesy with some proper hammed up performances. It gives the background of how the wizard comes to be in Oz and the transformation of the good witch Theodora played by Mila Kunis (a particular favourite of Mr Monster) into the evil, green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West who was the stuff of our childhood nightmares.
It was an enthralling couple of hours heading back to Oz and I highly recommend a watch while it’s still in the cinema. Rather fittingly, the story starts with a black and white James Franco working as a dodgy magician in a circus sideshow in the early 1900’s. With my current sideshow starlets project on the go, it was rife with inspiration for me and I found myself trying to work out how costumes were made and coming up with new ideas for the remaining dolls of my Ten-in One. The film quickly moves into glorious technicolour once the wizard crash lands in Oz. He meets three of the four witches of the land, all very different, but all beautifully outfitted and with defined characteristics.
It got me to thinking that one day I might like to make them in doll form. A little Oz of my own, good vs evil played out in fabric. I’ve got so many ideas of projects I want to work on, if only there were enough hours in the day!
My brain and my sewing machine have both been whirring since I last blogged. I’m so excited about the new doll venture and I’m just bursting with inspiration. Feedback has been great on Elsie Inkwell and she won’t be alone for long.
I’ve become a little obsessed with the realm of circus sideshows, particularly those from days gone by. I dipped my toe into the history of them while researching the tradition of a tattooed lady and I’m steadily learning so much more. They’ve been around since the 1600’s but rose in popularity during Victorian times, showcasing human oddities and biological rarities of every kind, some more genuine than others.
Often patrons paid an entry fee to a tent displaying ten acts at a time. These were known as a ‘Ten-in-One’, which led me to the idea of creating a Ten-in-One of my very own. Ten gorgeous little sideshow starlets, unique little bundles of grease paint and hocus-pocus.
The second act is under construction and should be making her debut sometime tomorrow. The rest of the Mistress of Monsters Sideshow will be hot on her heels so stay tuned…
My doll enterprise continues, today with the emergence of international secret agent Carmen Hävago.
Carmen masquerades as a dumb blonde with an ass which won’t quit, but unsuspecting suitors beware. Miss Hävago has a dagger in her garter-belt and a glint in her eye. Specialising in extraction of information through her hypnotic gaze, when Carmen looks at you there’s no mistaking that she means business.
I’m pretty chuffed with how this little lady came out, and technically she is much more sturdy than the prototype in the last post. I do however feel that I’m still exploring the idea of dolls rather than monsters and am finding that I’m sewing blindly without much of plan instead of sketching a design to work from. To try to solve this problem I’m going to work on a little collection of dolls on a theme to get into the swing of things. More on that another time…
I’ve been promising a change of direction for some time now, and after a few false starts I’m finally ready to unveil my latest work.
For a while I’ve been feeling that even the name ‘Mistress of Monsters’ tends to push me towards a certain type of creation, and that I want to break out of the pigeon-hole I’ve created for myself. I love monsters and cute fluffyness, but I also love vintage fashion, pin-up glamour and all things cheeky and feminine. Besides this, I’ve wanted to work in some of the new skills I’ve developed over my three years of monster-making. It just wasn’t possible to incorporate that into my work given my back catalogue.
I was massively inspired by a pair of character dolls in my parents display cabinet which caught my eye when I was home at Christmas, and from these I’ve managed to develop a new signature shape. It’s going to take some refining and perfecting, but take a look at the first in my new line of creations.
So I’ve (hopefully) kept it recognisable as my signature style, but gone for a new shape in the ‘big head, small body’ kind of thing. I’ve used needle-felting to create her a little hairdo, and dressed her up in a saucy little outfit and matching jewellery. Once that was done, she was ready for her close-up!
Her neck is a bit floppy so I need to work on strengthening that up, and I’m aware that as a first attempt at something new, there are a few things I could do better next time round, but now that I’ve completed one, I’m bursting with ideas for the next.
You might find over the next little while that the blog might go through a little bit of re-branding, I don’t know if I can keep the name ‘Mistress of Monsters’ as I move forwards with my more doll-like creations, but rest assured you will be the first to know if anything changes!