When we first moved to our house just over three years ago, every evening a procession of crows would trickle right over top of our house on their way to their roosting trees. The crows would literally be flying in a haphazard line overhead for two hours every sunset. I grew quite charmed of this way of marking time.

The year after the crows seemed to have picked a new path a block or two over so I missed out at home. But the crow trail did go alongside the road that I drove several times a week to go to derby practice. At stop lights I could watch the crows fly past.

This summer, I've been left completely bereft of the evening procession. The crows have been infrequent visitors, while the magpies (and skunks!) have taken over the trees outside my windows.  Hardly a crow to see.

Until this week.

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I'm not terribly familiar with crow behavior but they do indeed seem to be doing some seasonal gathering about the neighborhood.

There are murders.  Everywhere. 

Perhaps because the babies are about grown, they are reforming social groups?  I don't know but I did take out a couple books from the library and plan to find out more tonight.

While I was outside today, reading Rise of the Huntress, Joseph Delaney's seventh book in his creepy The Last Apprentice series, I'm marveling, a bit worriedly, about the massing of crows about me, when I turn the page to this chapter heading illustration:

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I love it when my landscapes, inside and out, conspire to agree.

I failed, however, to get a picture of the larger murders, they being tricky and ever moving.  The crows definitely seem restless and ever moving.  I will be stalking them as the week progresses, though.  I do, in fact, know where they sleep.  

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In the meanwhile, I set out some crow friendly foodstuff (but no battlefield fodder, I don't want to give the neighbors a reason to call in the bylaw officers), in the hopes that a crow might take notice of me and want to train me to fetch a ball for it or serve it expensive water, if I show willing and sufficient intelligence.   

And now I finish my book.

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guy fawkes doll mask

Experiment number three with paperclay.  My friend Lexi's love of the movie V is for Vendetta inspired this one.  I started it at her place while I was there for the weekend.

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Just in case a doll ever needs to attend Bonfire Night (probably as an effigy) or a hackist rally.

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The mask was sculpted out of paperclay and embellished with watercolour pencils and sharpie.

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A few of my fleshies, ready for anything.  As of now, the white cloth, big breasted doll, sans mask, has found an artist and I can't wait to see what she becomes.

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Have fleshies, will travel.


owl half mask

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I've begun to play a bit with paperclay.  I suppose that with all new materials, there is a bit of a learning curve.  The horns for this goat doll was my first ever try.

Generally, I'm quite pleased with this mask. It is lightweight and fairly strong.  The paint on it is watercolour pencil and a layer of gloss fixative.  I'm choosing to ignore the little cracks in it.

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I began with a mask shape made from card stock.  I taped it to the outside of a mixing bowl to give it a rounded shape to fit a face better.

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A layer of paperclay and two loooong days of drying...

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I did peel off the paper behind, after the clay was dry, but I don't think that was necessary at all.  That may be where my cracks developed, since I couldn't wait patiently and played with a bit before it was completely dry.

The paint is watercolour pencil and then a layer of glossy spray fixative.  I started painting without a plan.  I should of had a plan.  Oh, well, next time.

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A plain ribbon to hold on the mask, laced through holes I made.

I even took a selfie or two and didn't die. 

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So many ideas for the paperclay!  I have another made for a doll and the childs both have their own mask projects in progress.  Such a versatile and satisfying medium to explore.


paintbox fleshie

I have for you some of the details of one of the fleshies I made during my studio weekend

This little lady is one of the more sophisticated dolls I've made, finger and toe wise, with a needle sculpted face. 

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The elbow and knee joints were new for me... I'm still not sure how I feel about them.  I want to play around a bit with the design, perhaps there is a more satisfying way involving a bead and some heavy weight craft thread?

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The fingers are wired and pose-able.  My favorite doll, prior to this one, with wired fingers was Jack the Pumpkin King. Smooshy little fingers, so much fun to play with.

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Toes too!

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I have acquired some red clay that is apparently a very good natural dye to make a vibrant shade of brown.  I'm considering trying it out on the doll.  On the other hand, the clay dye may interfere with paint adhesion.  Decisions, decisions...

summer marches on

It's been a week or so since my last post because we've been generally summering and getting about.  Camping, visiting the farm, hiking, getting too much sun and too much heat while dodging storms... that's what it looks like around here.

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