Last week, I was so excited about designing a set of Big Lebowski dolls that I could hardly think about anything else. I giggled to myself about making Jesus. (Eight year olds, Dude.) I wondered if I should give Donny a bowling ball. (Shut up, Donny.) I even printed out multiple pictures of The Dude’s sweater – you know, The Sweater – and tried to figure how how I could fake that knitted design on a tiny crochet scale. Alas, just as I was preparing to sit down with my yarn, the world called, and suddenly, I had many orders, all at once. To be specific, I had to make two Edgar Allan Poe dolls, one tapeworm, and two sets of custom salt and pepper shakers. So!
The beginning of my week was delivered to me all wrapped in yarn, like this:
The end of my week, meanwhile, has involved wandering in the woods – or more accurately, the wooden. I started painting wooden salt and pepper shakers in the likenesses of people before we started Wonderstrange, but at that time, I focused exclusively on fake people (e.g. The Mad Hatter) and dead people (e.g. The Mad De-Hatter, also known as Henry VIII). It wasn’t until two years ago that I started making salt and pepper sets in the likenesses of real people who are alive on this earth today. When I do, the results look something like this:
(I don’t know those guys, but I wish I did. Do they not look like the most awesome people?)
To get to that “final reveal,” there’s quite a long process. First, I get pictures from the customer so I can go through my collection of salt and pepper shakers to create just the right pairing:
Yes, I have a lot of salt and pepper shakers, and no, those aren’t even all of them. Once I think I have the pieces picked out, I create paper sketches to make sure the silhouettes will work for the people.
If my kid is busy, I sand the shakers; otherwise, he does that part, because that way he earns money for video games that we don’t really want him to buy, which is why we also make him put half of the money into savings. (I know. Cruel.) After all that, I get them ready for gesso, which works like a primer:
If you’re wondering what all the toothpicks and tape are about, by the way, they do the important work of keeping the insides of the pieces clean and gesso-free.
Clearly, I need to take the same precautions with my fingernails.
Over the weekend, this batch will be sanded (again), sketched on, inked, and introduced to a few colors of paint I know. Until then, I think I’ve earned a little time with the cast of The Big Lebowski, don’t you?