Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Start Before you're Ready!

Happy 2017 everyone! I hope that each and every one of you, whoever you are, whatever you do, and from whatever part of the world you're taking the trouble to check in at my blog.... I hope most of all that 2017 is a happy year for you.

It's not exactly a quote, but it is inspirational -  Richard Branson advised others to 'start before they're ready'. It's excellent advice and I myself am so looking forward to what can be accomplished in 2017. I hope some of you have plans to try something new, or find something new in life that makes you happy. And on that note, people often write and ask me for advice on starting a career as an artist, or simply for advice on a clay technique. I want to encourage more of you to do this. Your emails will always be answered and I am happy to help wherever I can. My email is here and my website contact page is here. :)

I flew in from Blighty the other day and am fast settling back into LA life, breakfast tacos, coffee and ready to hit those 15 hour work days again quite gladly! In fact, I am already starting on a new witch character...

...But first...  let's look back at 2016, with another of my annual 'year's round-ups'!
My year started with more witches for 'Good Witches Bad Witches TM', and these punctuated 2016 at regular intervals. At your request, I started creating some videos (at my Tall Tales Productions YouTube channel) of the behind the scenes, so you can see how they're made. In February I guest-starred in the Food Network's 'Cake Masters' as a miniature expert, and by June I'd worked with Buzzfeed to bring you a live miniature making demo and also a 'Tiny Tasty' parody (I shot two miniature recipes being assembled just like a Buzzfeed Tasty recipe), - one of these videos was the most watched Buzzfeed video of the week. I created new tutorials and my website was revamped and a web-store finally added. (Huge thanks to all who support my business by purchasing consumer products and prints from me). I started creating timelapse videos of me working which caught the attention of Instagram headquarters, who profiled me as one of their 3 top favourite picks out of 500 million unique users! Lucky me! I also put together my first book which most of you know will *finally* be available this Spring! I did some more illustrations, concept sketches, made more scale miniatures (some of which you'll see published in magazines this year) and some fun cartoons using Photoshop (disclaimer - the Trump / Bernie cartoon does not reflect political views at Tall Tales - see more here!). And in my personal adventures, I stayed at a chateau in France with my family, made mini trips to San Francisco, attended balls and other such silly LA events and felt like Dorothy in a surreal field of California poppies. 

Happy 2017 everyone - I value and appreciate you all. Thanks so much for taking an interest in my work, and please continue to be involved, leave comments, ask questions and share your work with us as well.

Some witches I created in 2016...
...and more witches...
...and more...
...and yes, more...
...finally, the final witch creations of 2016!
One of the behind the scenes videos at creating a witch
Guest starring on 'CakeMasters' Feb 2016
Buzzfeed Live demo, June 2016.
Tiny Tasty video parody created June 2016.

Some illustrations and sketches I did, 2016
Some cartoons I did, 2016.
Website re-design! 2016.
New webshop at!
The new book and tutorials created, 2016.
Just some of the miniatures created in 2016.
Timelapse videos of 2016.
Trips and fun of 2016....!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

A Trip Down Nettlebed Lane

Before I head off to Blighty (UK) for a month for the holiday season, allow me to take you on a trip down Nettlebed Lane...

The witches of 'Good Witches Bad Witches' are going up in the world, starting with an attractive new street of shops. Nettlebed Lane will have a pet shop (for all their 'familiar' needs), a tea room (well, naturally) and a Tudor grocery store. And that's just to begin with.

I've started constructing this miniature model set in 1:12 scale and you get to see the first glimpse. There's a video here with the shortest of clips (I quickly filmed what I've built thus far as it sits on my workbench) and here are just a very few photos as well.

In other news...

What's the deal with the book, you ask?!

Many of you may know that I talked about an 'Art of Good Witches Bad Witches' book which I had hoped would be out this year in time for the holidays. I hate to disappoint, truly I do, but due to some legal issues and some commission work Tall Tales had to take on during this busy time, the book had to get pushed back. I feel terribly sorry about that and am making it up to you by adding pages and another tutorial to the book which was not originally going to be in it. So there - you get extra stuff for the same price! I hope it goes some small way to show that I am sorry for letting you down and really mean it. Your continued interest in my work means a lot to me and is never taken for granted.

There will be an announcement about the book in January when I am back from Europe and I may take pre-sales at that time. We'll see! I'll keep you posted. :)

In other other news....

I leave sunny Southern California for beautiful England, and yesterday I made fudge as gifts for all in my huge family. There are many differences between England and America, and just another funny little difference I recently found out is that our fudge is not at all alike!

American fudge is chocolate in flavour, brown in colour and smooth / chewy in texture. English / British fudge is what we would describe as 'fudge coloured' and has a 'fudgy' texture. That's because fudge is such its own thing we'd really use the word 'fudge' as a descriptive adjective! Our fudge is creamy and slightly caramel in flavour, 'camel' in colour and smooth, dense and ever so slightly granular in texture. Fudge was invented in Scotland, where they call it 'tablet'. In the UK all fudge is made the Scottish way and American style 'chocolate' fudge is largely unknown, although chocolate flavoured fudge does exist as a variant, along with clotted cream fudge, whiskey fudge, cherry fudge etc etc. I filmed the cutting of my fudge as the only way I could show the texture. Play video below.

~ Recipe ~

397g can condensed milk
150ml milk
450g demerara sugar
115g butter

1. Place all ingredients into a large non-stick saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

2. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring continuously. 

3. Remove the fudge from the heat and beat until it’s very thick and starting to set (this should take about 10 minutes).

4. Pour into a 20 cm square tin lined with baking parchment and leave to cool before cutting into squares.

See you in 2017! Have a wonderful Christmas / Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Enchanted Potting Shed

You may have caught some behind the scenes of me making these toadstool characters and such a few days ago (here)... well here are some final photos from this project. I'd say more about it if I could, but you know how it is!

Watch me make mandrake seedlings in timelapse over at the Tall Tales Productions YouTube Channel here.

Don't forget to subscribe!

See a magical glimpse taken of the shoot using my iPhone here or below

Adopt a mandrake seedling / grumpy toadstool via the webshop here.

Enjoy the photos!

Monday, 5 December 2016

Whose Pastime is to Make Midnight Mushrooms

Who knew that the title of this post is a Shakespeare quote from 'The Tempest'?!

"...and you whose pastime is to make midnight mushrooms..."

As the year draws to it's close I go through my endless folders and see what was done, what was finished and what's outstanding. It's at this time I often notice that things have been done and not written about.

So here we go! Let's catch up, and allow me to share a toadstool project from September of this year. Grumpy toadstools and mandrake seedlings (I'll write about them later). If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter then you've probably caught videos and images of these things in the making, but if you follow me only here and on Facebook then this post is for you.

I made quite a number of tiny 'terracotta' flower pots (no bigger than thimbles) and proceeded to pot each one with a colourful toadstool and scenic grasses / moss / soil. Learned a lot about toadstools in the process. Did you realise that they grow naturally in such a variety of psychedelic colours? It's amazing. Yellow toadstools (Amanita muscaria var. guessowii) and blue toadstools (Clitocybe odora) and so forth. So inspiring. 
I went on to make crackled glazed pots and filled them with grumpy toadstools with fabulous little faces. Each one of these is a 'one of a kind', and they're available at my webshop here.

See a making of video here...

Behind the scenes photos and more... Enjoy!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Brilliant People

The great Austrian-born filmmaker Billy Wilder once said "The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that Hitler was a German and Beethoven an Austrian."

On making another European witch - an Austrian this time, I was thinking about how much I loved my trip to Vienna when I was 6 or 7 years old. What a magical place. Plus I just happen to think that the German language is the most attractive, fantastic sounding language. Yes, I know, German is spoken a little differently there, but it's still German, and I love it. ;)

This witch came together very quickly because I'd already designed her and had her clearly in my mind ages ago when I did the witch illustration. Can you point her out?! Unlike most of my character designs which try to embody as much of that culture as possible, this one is a little more vague. I've made her tall, strong, authoritarian, confident and with a big red almost beehive hairstyle. Her Edwardian brooch has a skull on it and she wears stripes. Her 'familiar' (witch's pet) is a black Great Dane. I photographed her next to a can of Red Bull because it's an Austrian drink, created by an Austrian entrepreneur! Didn't know that now did you?! (I didn't either until 2 weeks ago).

I usually share many work-in-progress photos so that you can see how she was created, but this time I am holding some back... partly for this reason! Rest assured, you'll see so much more in my upcoming book. Hope that doesn't cause any disappointment and that you enjoy these photos below.

Don't forget, you can see all my characters from my project - Good Witches Bad Witches ™  here!

In other news.... 

Flown up front with my pilot friend in his Cirrus back to San Francisco again! See the exciting night landing here!

The US election happened earlier this week, which meant that as a Greencard-holding resident here in the US I could observe the election, but not vote. I went to the polling booth here in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, and was thrilled to be invited inside for a minute or two and shown how the machines worked.

And also Halloween, my favourite time of year has come and gone, and I shared a post about what I got up to here.

On work related matters, stay tuned (that means keep checking in on at the Facebook page and Instagram) to see more of the exciting sets I am building for Good Witches Bad Witches  ....!

Please scroll past the note for my Austrian friends to see photos of the new witch - the Austrian Witch (die österreichische hexe)!

Liebe Freunde in Österreich,

hier habe ich eine Nachricht für Euch….

Mit sieben Jahren besuchte ich Wien und verbrachte dort eine ganz wunderbare Zeit. Was für ein schöner Ort ! Dahin möchte ich gerne zurückkehren und mehr über Österreich entdecken.
Als Künstlerin arbeite ich an einem Projekt „ Good Witches Bad Witches“ und modellierte dafür Hexen aus der ganzen Welt. So sind bereits Hexen aus England, Schottland, Frankreich, Italien und anderen Ländern entstanden.

Und diese ist nun die österreichische hexe.Ich stellte sie aus Fimo Material und Draht her. Sie sollte ein bisschen furchteinflößend sein, doch hoffe ich, sie gefällt Ihnen dennoch.

Für Ihr Interesse an meinen Arbeiten und Charakteren möchte ich mich sehr bedanken. Wenn Sie mehr darüber erfahren möchten, können Sie auf meiner Facebook Seite, meinem Instagram, oder über Twitter Informationen erhalten.

Vielen Dank!


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