Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chaos or Freedom?

Alice in Wonderland ends in cards flying up into the air, while Through the Looking Glass ends in anarchy when Alice seizes the tablecloth at her banquet, sending Queens, plates, silverware and all flying into the air.

Pop-Up Alices

A little treat before the finale of Through The Looking glass this afternoon. These are spreads from two different Pop-Up Alices that were published in 2003. Above, Robert Sabuda's take on Alice in The White Rabbit's House in his Alice's Adventures in Wonderland adaptation; below, J. Otto Seibold's Alice in Pop-Up Wonderland's courtroom scene.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

...And two more royals

Monarch of all he surveys

...and a Red Queen of sorts

Both seen at the Academy of Science in golden Gate Park. I also saw Dragon Seahorses (AKA Leafy Sea Dragons) for the first time, I did not take a photo as they do not like light. I went with Tina, who has a stop motion film of Hans Christian Anderson's The Money Pig here, it is lovely but keep in mind it is Hans Christian Anderson and so quite mordant (his "beloved" status has always seemed dubious to me - it seems to me he was the Roald Dahl of his day).

Alice and the Two Queens

Here Alice serves as a comfortable pillow for the two queens. The conclusion of Through The Looking glass tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Illustration Challenge #5

Well, I had a lone responder to the Illustration challenge of Two Weeks ago, Subby, who really went to town with it, I must say - you can see his interpretation on his new reconstituted blog, B.C.E. (Before Cyberspace Existed).

Hold the Presses, here is another contribution from Titus the Dog

As you can see, I myself became frustrated with the idea of coaxing these unnatural children into any aesthetically acceptable form, so I just dropped a creature on top of them.

The Heavy Crown

Alice makes it across the chess board to her goal - becoming a queen. And yet, and yet... the weight of the crown is so oppressive.

@##$% Blogger - Currently unable to post photos or see some photos of other bloggers, about to go out. I need to download firefox again to try with a different browser, or possibly just wait to see if it's one of those waves of chaos that periodically pass through blogger...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alice and the Red King #2

Alice reflected in mirror fragments...The aborigines say "There is a dream dreaming us".

I used a turn of the nineteenth century advertising card to represent Alice.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Brazilian Alice

Here are the frog and fish footmen from Alice no País das Maravilhas which was sent to me Cláudia from Rio. She tells me that the illustrator/photographer, Luiz Zerbini, used cards from his personal collection from all over the world to construct his illustrations. They are wonderfully inspiring. If you would like to see what Cláudia herself did with cards, here is an expedition she made last month.

...And looking at Cláudia's post makes me think it may be time for me put some art out into the world and see if any of you all want to join me. Hmmm...If I can think of something, I may do a very short notice thing tomorrow for April Fool's.

Schrodinger's Hairball

I suppose I wonder if Schrodinger had the Cheshire Cat in mind, since it is neither living nor dead, with its ability to become disembodied. Link to the Wikipedia article.

Edit: I'm adding some words from an email Cláudia sent today:

The Cheshire Cat is one of the most frightening characters in universal fiction. Its smile is pure mock of our need of wholeness and clear distinction between objects in the world. We are always looking for light, transparency and well cut shapes. We don't like blur because we cannot divide blur into small pieces. The Cartesian reasoning demands us to understand the pieces to get to the whole but what do we do if we can't separate the pieces?

Well, I've written about uncertainty as if it were something I can handle in a serene Zen way. But I don't always enjoy it, no, no.

The above is a t-shirt on redbubble.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alice and the White Knight #2

One of the sections of the book is titled "Mystery" and addresses some of the unanswerable questions Alice finds. Here is a quote from that section:

The White Knight, Carroll's representation of himself, deals with the dark woods around him by loading up his horse with more and more inventions. Of all the beings Alice encounters, he is the one who responds most conscientiously to multi-faceted reality, but he cannot quite keep up with his expanding universe. The truth seems to rest in uncertainty.

Big awwww here (tearing up warning).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Val Lewton, anyone?

Trailer here

In the Woods without Words

There's some text on this of which a version is in the book, see the original post here if you would like to see it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon #2

One for the embroiderers... Appropriate, since the Mock Turtle's tale went around and around in verbal curlicues.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alice and the Red King

Here's the scene from the book of Alice and the Red King dreaming (a second version involving more mirrors to come in a few days). It's non-canonical - Alice is actually awake when she is told that she is part of the Red King's dream. I have donated this 8" x 10" print to Made for Aid, please go to their site if you would like to bid on it (funds collected go to Haiti and Darfur) or one of the other handcrafts there now.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Mock Tutle and the Gryphon

Here's one version of the Mock Turtle telling his story. I took this photo just after having picked up my mosaic seashell from a gallery there. I may not get to too many blogs today, I have had a cold hanging on for too long and may just go back to bed to try to dislodge it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Walrus and the Carpenter #2

And here are the Malthusians communicating to each other via seashell -

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,'
They said, "it would be grand!'
Through the Looking Glass, Chapter Four

This is the introductory bout of weeping, they weep more later on while consuming the oysters.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What's Your Tribe?

How do you recognize members? Does your tribal identity shift or fray? How much is culturally based and how much is values based?

Actually, don't feel obliged to respond to ALL of that...just been thinking about it recently.

The Jabberwock #2

The original post is here. See also under Max Klinger's glove series, the most closely related is here.

This just in: New York City Residents are advised to keep an eye open for Salfon the Roofcleaner this week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bad Design (Unrepentant)

Well, it's pretty elementary - don't place photos so they're running into the gutter. But the Red Queen seems so reckless in her flight - so I yielded to the impulse to break the rules. On many of the right hand pages, I used various pieces of fabric and some paper ephemera as frames. My intent was to increase a certain feeling of claustrophobia that I associate with Victorian society. This section of the book was about the many self-professed authorities advising Alice.

The Tweedle brothers are twins, so they are mirror images of each other, thus the mirror writing on this spread.

Well, that's a little glimpse of my book. It's a little under 80 pages long, mostly pictures but with an essay in sections and some quotes from the two books.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee#2

The Tweedles at war. Later I'll show how I used this in a spread in the book - I got my copies today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another corrugated masterpiece...

...from J.T. Steiny. This one made me think of the poem Wallace Stevens is thought to have written when he was made Vice President at the Hartford, The Poem That Took the Place of a Mountain. The character in the drawing also looks vaguely like Tom Waits, it's funny to think of Tom Waits wandering around in a Wallace Stevens poem.

Cláudia sent me a link earlier today to some very beautiful work by a paper sculptor su blackwell here, artists who work in fabric may like this piece in particular.

The Tweedles #1

What can you say about the Tweedles other than that they have a lot more convictions than brains?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


After finishing this, it occurred to me I had George MacDonald's allegorical fairytale Lilith in mind when working on it. George MacDonald was a good friend of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) . The story is that of a sort of super-succubus who holds half the waters of the world in her hand. Her sin is in cutting off life, which results in her living a sort of half-life and doing harm to others. George MacDonald was quite an interesting character, a Presbyterian minister whose unorthodox sermons (he believed in that God was internal, and in love rather than doctrine) got his parishioners riled up to the point where he was essentially demoted from a parish with a good living to a less remunerative one. It's also interesting that C.S. Lewis was such an admirer of MacDonald, whose vision seems to me much more generous than that of Lewis.

This (on Imaginary Bicycle) made me cry, in a good way.

The White Queen and Alice

The Red Queen's opposite number is the White Queen, who tells Alice to believe impossible things...
"When I was your age I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast..."
The figure I used above is one which survived the Berkeley Hills fire of 1991.
Note to Deadwood fans: Timothy Olyphant is apparently reprising his role as the sheriff on that series in a movie of FX tonight. NOBODY does grim man-of-law determination like Timothy Olyphant. The link is internal, to a post in my first month on blogger, I did six posts of Deadwood characters as superhero trading cards.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Red Queen and Alice

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
~The Second Coming, Willliam Butler Yeats

And they went so fast at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet ...
~ Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

In other news, Kaetlyn Wilcox has put her wonderful animal series up for sale on redbubble as cards and prints. Startling loveliness - check it out (by the way, redbubble has volume discounts if you buy more than four cards)!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Garden of Talking Flowers

The talking flowers are cross-grained and dictatorial, they were in fact intended to satirize the flowers in Tennyson's poem "Maude" who were waiting longingly for an evocation of feminine grace, as opposed to the crazed red queen these flowers anticipate.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


The little copper tree and the wood on which it sits were sent to me by Aleph. I added the birthday candle and the little figures (about 1/2 inch tall). This twisting tree reminded me of the Wallace Stevens poem On the Road Home. I tried something pretty simple with this- instead of blending bits of the three photographs I liked, I just stacked them, I think this reflects the mood of mutability in the poem.

The Red King

Alice picks up the red king chesspiece, who does not know what force is lifting him through the air. Feeling at the mercy of forces beyond our control frequently results in reverting to the primitive (did someone say reptilian brain?).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Subterranean Roots

I have been rereading Graham Greene's Under the Garden and noticing its parallels to Wonderland - the protagonist falls though a hole in the ground and discovers strange characters beneath the surface. What I had not noticed previously is the resemblance of the ruler of the underground kingdom to Humpty Dumpty, in his enthroned eminence, in his air of infallibility, and in the apparent deliriousness of his pronouncements which yet seem to have something hidden underneath. The rereading is prior to sending two copies of this little Penguin reissue off to foreign parts, the idea is to have a sort of virtual book club when the copies are received, I will post one illustration to commence the reading period and then another a couple of weeks later and if others want to participate, we can have a discussion in the comments section. It's available on Amazon, and first appeared in the story collection A Sense of Reality.

A plan has emerged regarding these altered photos, more on that later. The illlustration friday prompt is subterranean.

Alice the Brave

Alice is not overly blessed in the sense of humor department, but you can't fault her for courage and determination.

Seth Godin on a wonderful typo today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Through the Looking Glass #2

It's not that this is a particularly astounding photo so much as that I got such a kick out of the fact that since the two illustrations face each other, I could combine them into one just by inserting the little mirror and tilting up the right hand page.

This post on Walking Home to Fifty is very moving.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alice Book

The original post is here. I have now put the Alice book up on blurb - click to preview the first 15 pages. Available for purchase! If you buy the hardback, you get book flaps so you get a Yeats quote. It's more money than the paperback, though.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Popinjay and other birds

There are some lovely little owls on yarn soup

Guerrilla Art in San Francisco's Mission District on The Holy Enchilada

Extraordinary paper sculpture on anna-wili highfield

For the moms and dads, nest building on ecokids crafts

A proud son shows off his Mom's creations on Dudecraft

Alice upsets the Jury Box

A lovely pairing on Needle Woven Studio.

More beauty on ArtClothText

Monday, March 8, 2010

Renee, meet Ellen (in Staffordshire)

Another teapot sculpture off to Mina's...this one incorporates a teapot sent by my friend Ellen from Portland and a head sent to me by Renee of After the Pencil Soars Through It, from Texas. The blue (Staffordshire) dish I bought a few years back in a thrift shop in Exeter, England.

Isn't this a beautiful face, on Random Shots? It makes me feel hopeful about the human race (and I have been cranky lately).

Alice Cards Winner

Here's the new series Red Queen....original post here. The winner of the Alice Cards is Kay of the Loud Silence Blog.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Illustration challenge #5

Here's a different sort of challenge...these guys are so vividly present, I think it can be approached one of two ways - simply adding a caption or speech balloons, or overwriting/collaging to such an extent that only a little of the original is left. Ooh - also, this might lend itself to some sort of kaleidoscope treatment. Another idea would be to make these two Wonderland characters. I may have at it myself with a hammer and nails and thread...bad dreams when oversleeping, must expel demons. As always, if you want to alter this image and post it, let me know in the comments here when you've posted...I'll put the links list up in two weeks, that is, Sunday, March 21.

Nothing too weird, okay? I just expunged a comment on the previous post that made me more nervous than usual.

Jonathan Miller's Alice in Wonderland (1966)

It's a wonderfully silvery film, as if it were reflected in a polished tea service. It get some things just right - the tone of a brittle society held together with threadbare ceremonies and oblivious homilies. It misses Alice's passionate curiosity, she seems jaded rather than frustrated.

The standout performance is Peter Cook's Mad Hatter. He plays the part with an intense, desperate jollity, as if his ceasing to smile would mean the end of everything. The business of the hatter's quarrel with Time therefore takes on a sort of existential terror. Other luminaries of the British stage and screen are on hand, including Leo McKern as the Duchess.

The film is in many ways a failure, it has a static quality, and yet it's much more interesting than a lot of successful films. Eva has just looked at this link on youtube.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tea Party Tilt

Here Alice is the Ghost in the Machine. All amusement parks, even the tiniest (I worked at one once for a summer job) seem to have the Alice teacup ride.

I'm thinking about doing some fairly simple papercuts for Alice and have been looking at the beautiful work here.

....and here there be dragons.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Please send good thoughts Ricardo, Isabel's brother, who was injured in a car accident. Isabel's blog is A Room of One's Own.

The March Hare

Here's another Tea Party participant. Just watched the 1966 BBC Alice in Wonderland last night, I am going to try to get a drawing of Alice and Peter Cook's Mad Hatter done in the next day or so for my movie couples series. Will save my thoughts about the film for that post.

For those of you who haven't done the blurb publishing thing, it's a hoot. I have a background in design and am having a lot of fun, design has elements of both language and visual art, but one is always trying to make it invisible, to let the work speak, so it is very restful. I'm finding myself sort of excited about the limitations, the gutter in the center and the right-hand edge of the two page spread. Makes me want to do something with the famous Oscar Wilde quote, "We are all in the gutter but some of us...."Any ideas?

One blogger who has used the blurb software is Tom at Half Moose with a Twist. His Post modern nonsense verse with illustrations is on blurb here. And happy birthday to the captain of the astronave.

The White Sheep's Shop

I'm interrupting the tea party with one from Looking Glass, the White Sheep's shop where "the large bright thing" keeps eluding Alice by mysteriously slipping from shelf to shelf. The tea party will resume in my second post today, but I wanted an excuse to link to two new shops:

Check them out for beautifully sensuous textile art.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Too much Tea?

Alice never actually drinks any of it, so she does not feel its effects. I wouldn't want to give mine up, though.

Asja in Wonderland on flickr

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Alice in the Window

Here is the Alice doll installed in the window of Arjan...I have uploaded a sequence of photos on TinyTheatre of the installation process/collaboration. It's really been fun to have someone to work with, since I usually work by myself.