Tags: making stuff

in motion

fantastical wildlife

My friend Jane Washburn makes some of the most fantastic creatures in this world or any other. She's just finished work on her latest creation, the Child Empress of Mars (who is based on a Dora Goss story and will be donated to the Interstitial Arts Foundation's upcoming auction). Look at this alien beauty:

(Recommend you click on the pics to see more amazing detail; queenie looks better and better the closer you get)

Photos never do justice to the full effect of Jane's pieces, though: what it's like to hold them, how they feel like real live little creatures you might find hiding in the hollow of a tree. So much care goes into their creation; as she works on them, she gives each one a name, a story, a structural integrity right down to the bones. For example, Jane puts little teeth into every mouth, even the mouths that are closed so you'd never see what's inside. And she means for them to be played with; every creature she makes comes with a guarantee that if you break it, you can always send it to her and she'll perform an operation and send it back to you good as new (plus very possibly upgraded with new wings or something; you never know). Because she loves every one of them. And it shows.

Jane is selling off a handful of her critters right now at her Etsy shop Blackbird Marmalade Creations, and she'll be replenishing the shop with lots more of her stuff soon. I wish I could buy them all and fill my house with fantastical wildlife, but for now I'll have to be content with the two currently perched on the chandelier in my library.


I interviewed Jane ages ago for an article that I've been meaning to write up for-fucking-ever and have still not gotten around to, but I really want to hop on that, because more people ought to know about her work. What she does is something rare and magical.
in motion


I stopped reading the His Dark Materials series after the second book -- not out of pique or anything; I started out loving it, and then after a while just sort of forgot to care what happened next -- so I haven't been paying much attention to all the hype around the upcoming movie. However, since my f-list is full of people playing the "meet your daemon" game, I figure some of you may also like looking at this gorgeous alethiometer made by the artist at Curious Goods:

The entire Curious Goods site is astonishing, a personal site full of wizardly creations and information about the making of them.
in motion

ira glass on getting good

Adorable Ira Glass of "This American Life" talks about learning to tell stories (or really, to make anything):

"It takes a while. It's normal to take a while, and you just have to fight your way through that. You will be fierce, you will be a warrior, and you will make things that aren't as good as you know in your heart you want them to be."

See also the full series of him discussing storytelling.

(via Jonathan Carroll)