Friday, July 29, 2011


I just added a new job description (or life description?) to the Antinomia sub header above: mermaid. I've been mermaiding so regularly, it deserves a place there. Tonight in Torrington I broke out a 3rd bag of "Big Value 400 Pack" toy plastic gold coins, which means I've given away almost 1,000 to about 1,000 kids since New Year's Eve.

Being a silent mermaid statue provides plenty of time for observation and reflection, and I'm learning a lot. People put lovely and interesting things in my box- the money is nice but even nicer are thoughtful offerings like painted shells, mermaid earrings and hershey kisses. Inevitably something strange I never could have expected happens with every outing. Tonight I found myself at the center of a performance by what seemed like 100 dancers at a street festival. Did they choreograph knowing I'd be there? Was it a glitch in performance booking they had to work around? I don't know, but the view of a sea of joyous kids rotating around me like the Kaaba is a vision I won't forget. And burned into my heart is Stevie, a little girl who kept returning to Luna's Sea, the last time dressed as a mermaid with a doll she'd named Luna in hand. I've had some of the best and deepest conversations of my life with Stevie, with just a few spoken words exchanged.

Below: now that I've made a dressing room out of an alley, and a make-up table out of a garbage can, does that officially make me a street performer? (I hope so.) Below below: it was such a beautiful day, I made an outdoor studio on my porch to work on tail maintenance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

summer north

A seasonal trip home to Vermont, which included the now mandatory porch lunch with my mum at Harlow's farm, because they have a good gluten free selection, including incredible chocolate chip cookies. I love it there so much! I found an intriguing manure wagon with puppet potential on the way, did some weeding in mum's lovely garden (which is full of queenly cleomes now), watched an old movie with uncommon dialogue, caught a big beetle, paid my respects to Lady Chair between the trees (almost gone now), and paid a visit to a pretty little mermaid statue on the way home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

two birds with one drum

If you have enough dilemmas, sometimes they'll solve each other. This giant marching bass drum has been an obstacle: too big to store anywhere, too awesome to give up. The living room was also lacking a coffee table. Voila! Bass drum coffee table. The glass from a porch table fit just right as a top, and everyone is enjoying laying around the new fixture, which can be picked up anytime for spontaneous marching band incidents.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

clean house

The second floor was taken over as a three-room work-room for the last half year, first with Luna, then assorted art shows, and most recently, (which made even walking through nearly impossible): giant puppet building. This is the first week since February I've had a break from projects to be able to put it back in order. I've missed the giraffe, the zebra, and the beautiful refinished floor, which survived the abuse. My two most kick ass sewing machines have even found a place they can be constantly admired. For some reason I can't yet take down the list of puppet tasks for Luna still on the living room door. I think I need to keep at least one toe dipped in the pool of chaos. Too much order makes me uneasy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

blue shadow

Blue bottles on the windowsill behind the shade.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

beluga mariachi

My first go-go partner and fellow puppeteer of aquatic persuasions, Kim Mikenis, got married to her sweetheart Kevin last Friday at the Mystic Aquarium. Someone caught the mariachi band serenading the beluga whale, this video is quite marvelous:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

queen of pain

The giant puppet I've been working on all week was set loose on Torrington, CT last Thursday. She was so troublesome! I thought I had the construction well planned in my mind, but the execution was mistake, correction, mistake, correction, with every step. (I'll post a how-to of the process, including the how-not-to parts.)

I wore her for a painful 2 hours at the street fair, while Jen McClure, my co-puppet builder, wore the Angler fish she made for Luna's Sea, which breathed bubbles. This was a whole new experience, trying to connect with people while being completely hidden in a puppet with limited articulation. These giant puppets are really meant to be quick-big-splash parade puppets, not one-on-one interaction puppets. But I was determined, and sacrificed my back to kneel down and bend forward so kids could high-five me. That was successful for the most part, other then for my back!

But she more satisfied my desire to make ornate tents, and my inclination continues to be that some smaller puppet happening goes on within her, as if her skirt is a proscenium. There's lots more to be worked out with that.

One amusing coincidence: I spotted my book, Magic Hoofbeats, in a rack through my skirts. It was the stall of two lovely Barefoot Books ambassadors, Melanie Cote and Marsha Miles, who took these first two pictures.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

giant step

Even though I couldn't teach giant chicken puppet building at Common Ground camp this year because of Luna, I still ended up making giant puppets, this time for the weekly Torrington street fair. I try to get out, but the giant puppets keep pulling me back in. Here's me in an 11 foot sea-spirit-in-progress stepping out into the world for the first time yesterday. My tiny feet are comedic. More to come on her, she's been a demanding lady.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The front and full interior of the Peaceable Kingdom glow in the dark birthday card. They're placing this on an existing background and adding glow ink. I can't wait to see this.

Friday, July 01, 2011

all-night fairies

Some fairies for the Peaceable Kingdom glow birthday card. These came out bright and cheerful even despite the sleepless 40 hour painting marathon after a flash flood wiped out my original. Ouf.