Monday, 5 November 2018

Silver, Herb, Seed, Root or Werewolf Fur?

You’ve probably read somewhere or seen it on television that the best way to be free of a vampyre would be to arm oneself with a crucifix and a large bottle of Holy Water or if you are of a very brave disposition; you could get rid of this fiend by driving a stake through it’s rotten heart before chopping off the head and then having a nice bonfire with what remains.


But did you know that there are many different ways of seeing off a vampyre?


On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop.

Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, these are exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself AND guaranteed to see off the most determined of Vampyres!






With a pinch of 'Silver, Herb, Seed, Root and Werewolf Fur' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... OR could YOU discover another use for it?

Whatever your plans for this miniature; a unique vial of will find it's way to you beautifully packaged with a collectible 'Thank you' card and a poster from the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium'.

This is a collectible miniature and as such is NOT intended as a toy OR suitable for children.




Friday, 2 November 2018

In Need Some Retail Therapy Vampyre?

The best definition I can give of a vampire is a living, mischievous and murderous dead body. A living dead body! The words are idle, contradictory, incomprehensible, but so are vampires."

Scoffern (Stray leaves of Science and Folk Lore)

Vampires, Vampyre, Vampir, Vampyyri, Vampyras, Vampyr, Vampyras, Vampiro... It really makes no difference how the word is spelt for the meaning remains the same the world over, and for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a fascination with (and a sneaky regard!) for these undead creatures of folklore and mythology.

However, as much as I appreciate that this interest of mine will not be shared by everybody and so in keeping with the ideas of 'mischief' and the 'incomprehensible' that Scoffern has attributed to the Vampyre; I have created something of a fantastical store that seeks to offer those essential accouterments for any discerning hunter or slayer of the un-dead.


And so without further ado, I am now going to unlock the door of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium in the All Hallows Hamlet!



The design for this fantastical 'Small World' began during the dying days of an Indian summer last year and as I made a real effort to actually remember to photograph the creation of it from dry-build to completion; I am looking forward to sharing this tale with you in another post.




As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary - I confess that I have been more than a little excited about this creation for not only is it a fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind but after a lot of meticulous research, this little emporium is completely seeped in all manner of ancient folktale and superstition!




As this week of All Hallows Eve is also one of celebration with the festival of Día de Muertos - the Mexican Day of the Dead; I have another sneaky feeling that a certain feline may be putting in an appearance along with one or two other folk from the All Hallows Hamlet!


"Oh my!" sighed Tilly and after sighing some more, she knew help was needed and quickly as she was very  fond of Murphy even though he had made her quite cross one day when he had chased away those spiders she had been saving for a very special spell...



And as the doors to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop have FINALLY opened; there is now the opportunity to indulge in a little retail therapy for yourself or a loved one.

For on offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials from the shelves of this Vampyre Slayer's Emporium here in the All Hallows Hamlet and which are the exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself with a guarantee to see off the most determined of Vampyres!


With a pinch of 'Silver, Herb, Seed, Root and Werewolf Fur' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... OR could YOU discover another use for it?


However, before I disappear for the time being; I shall leave you with a few lines from the divine Lord Byron:

But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse.
Thy victims are they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers withered on the stem.

The Giaour (1813)

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Stirring Up Some More Trouble...

Why not indulge in a 'little' retail therapy as you browse the shelves of a magikcal emporium nestled somewhere in the All Hallows Hamlet and linger over the intoxicating array of exclusive notions and potions designed to entice your imagination AND your wallet.




On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop.


Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, each vial is an exclusive (and a somewhat sinister!) remedy ALL freshly brewed from the ancient recipe book belonging to one Claire Eno.  




With a pinch of 'This and That' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... 

OR could YOU discover another use for it?


Whatever your plans for this miniature; a unique vial of will find it's way to you beautifully packaged with a collectible 'Thank you' card and a poster from the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium'.

This is a collectible miniature and as such is NOT intended as a toy OR suitable for children.



Wednesday, 31 October 2018

'Cause It's Witchcraft, Unkind Witchcraft

"When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween." ~ Anon

As the sun disappears on this All Hallows Eve, the folk from the All Hallows Hamlet are excitedly polishing shoes and dusting their finest hats as they dress to impress to celebrate the Festival of Samhain BUT not everyone wants to enjoy this special evening!






Sadly, there is no fabulous frock to wear or a sumptuous banquet to enjoy for Claire Eno this All Hallows Eve as this reclusive and unfriendly crone is busy pottering about and cooking up some rather unusual elixr from inside the Harum Scarum Emporium which is carefully shielded by the prickliest thorn bushes and whispering trees in this bleakest part of the hamlet.




There are no visitors here and Claire's only friend is the ancient book that has been in her family for as long as anyone can remember 

And it is from within the dusty pages of this HUGE recipe book that she concocts a vast array of nasty potions from the beautiful flowers, nourishing berries and healing plants that she gathers every day at dusk and even though they all gather dust on the cobwebby shelves waiting for the customers who never arrive - Claire is unable to stop weaving her unkind magick.







BUT could a surprise visit from that Little Big Cat change everything?


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Into the Forest? Let's Go!

I love this quote from the author and philosopher John Muir "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul."


And one rainy evening when my imagination was captured by the idea of an Irish elf with his rickety barrow  selling his magickal notions and potions in a forest clearing - I just had to create this scene in 12th scale for the All Hallows Hamlet!


As I've always the odd piece of wood stashed away for those 'just in case' projects - I found a nice piece of plywood which had already been transformed into an unusual shape.


And with a collection of Twisted Willow I had harvested during one of my many visits to York Cemetery as the Graveyard Squirrel and with masking tape, assorted wire, a borrowed wood saw and pliers - I was ready to begin.  


Any sensible artist with patience and planning would have worked out where to plant the pieces of willow and mark them up accordingly until they were happy with the layout - however, as I am neither sensible or patient, I dived straight in with the first piece of willow which I had to attach with a strong glue before securing it with electrical wire.  


Having arranged the wire to give the appearance of tree 'roots', I used a strong-lasting masking tape to secure both willow and roots to the ply base.

But when I shudder at the memory of that HUGE dry-build house crashing about my ears having secured it with cheap, short-life masking tape - I vowed never to be thrifty again!

And with one willow planted and many more to go - I continued using the same method:

Measure the willow to the desired height, saw to create a straight line and sand if necessary.

Attach with glue/wire and secure with masking tape.



When I was happy with the willow design, I began to raise the ground level using strips of newspaper. 

And as a daily reader of a newspaper I was able to do a little recycling as I tore up the strips to pack the tree roots and no, I shan't tell you which newspaper as I get enough grief about it from my spouse!



Using the newspaper in this way not only creates interesting 'mounds' and 'burrows' but will make it easier to apply the papier-mâché.  


And with everything safely in place, this is where the fun really began as I coated the newspaper tree roots and the surrounding area with lashings of papier-mâché.  


Papier-mâché has been used for thousands of years in a HUGE variety of ways and there is more than one recipe for making it, however, I prefer to use a bag of pulp to which you simply add water and mix well.

Having tried a number of papier-mâché ready mixes over the years, my favourite is the 'Creation Station Instant Papier Mâché' available on Amazon as is not as dusty as some of the others on the market.


I always try to do my papier-mâché sculpting outside as it can be really messy and I usually end up with the stuff on the floor, my clothes and even in my hair!  


However, with patience, time and preferably a sunny day, it really is a fabulous medium to work with!

And in a later post, I'll show you how I created the landscaping but I think that it's time for a nice mug of tea!