I learned some things this Halloween: 1. I'm not very good with paper mache. 2. you can't get a good mustache on a kid with a runny nose. 3. Lots of excitement mixed with no naps and even just a little candy is Very Scaaaaaaaary.
Here is the bear I made for Oscar for his birthday. It's so hard to wait to give it to him! I'm really happy with it. It's kind of scary to make a teddy bear as it has been done so many times and so well...but this was a very satisfying project in the end. Speaking of people who make bears, if you haven't already seen my friend Jennifer Murphy's bears and "Other Silly Things" you really should. She makes some seriously adorable things and has taught me a lot.
I was a guest lecturer at a St. John's University / College of St. Benedict this past week. This is a picture of the lecture hall just before the group of drawing students came in. I was asked to present my art to the students and talk about my career as an artist etc. but this time also to speak about the crafts I make and even my blog. It was nice to speak about these two things together which I usually keep separate. Thank you to my friend Joe Sinness for asking me to speak and to his students for listening!
Posted by Erika Olson Gross at 7:12 PM
I found another way in which Oscar is a lot like me; he's either not interested in making art at all or he's producing things like mad. Yesterday he made this paper city which involved lots of "scissor work" and some "glue stick work" as well. I helped him fold down the bottoms of the pieces of paper but otherwise this was a totally independent project for him from inception to completion. This working independently business is new for him and I know it is a reflection of his new Montessori environment.
I've been making things too, but not what I'm supposed to be making. I've barely started the Halloween costumes not to mention the work for my big show next year at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts...but somehow I found the time to make Oscar a lovely new teddy bear for his birthday which is not for another month and a half. I'm rather pleased with the outcome. I'll post pictures of it as soon as we get a bit of sun so I can get a decent image. This has been one of the rainiest, cloudiest and snowiest Octobers on record here.
Did you know that puppets (no matter how simple or in this case homely) have magical powers with small children? This sock puppet is able to comfort, calm and entertain our kids. She has even gotten our three year old to clean up toys cheerfully and head to bed without a fuss. My friend Jennie taught me this technique with Oscar while we were going through a bit of a rough patch when we were all adjusting to having a new baby in the house. Jennie is so good....she can do it with her bare hands! I was skeptical that a puppet would accomplish anything as our son is in some ways wise beyond his years. I thought he'd think it was silly but it worked like a charm. And amazingly, he still loves it. Don't forget to use funny voices....kids love that.
Fern is a fully jointed doll made of 100% wool felt with soft mohair hair. She is stuffed with natural kapok stuffing. Her removable clothes are made of vintage fabrics and she has a red silk bow in her hair. Fern has a hand embroidered and colored face and has plexiglass eyes. She stands 14.5 inches and is 9.5 inches seated. Limeted edition of three. One available here.
Oscar wants to be a bat for Halloween this year. This will be my first real costume making attempt since I got off easy the last couple of years with "train engineer" and "cowboy" so I think I need to start soon. I'd like to steer away for the overly cute look....but then again it can't be too scary because Oscar is a rather sensitive fellow. I found a tiny tuxedo jacket for Jude....a ring master perhaps? With a tiny mustache?
Posted by Erika Olson Gross at 8:58 PM