The Wood Witch 2

IMG_3737I can honestly say I don’t remember when Brunhilda was made.  I know I was leafing through ‘The Art of the Discworld’ and admiring the massive talents of Terry Priachett and Paul Kidby.  The witches were my favourites.  Admittedly I’ve never been able to get my head around the books, depite knowing about stories.  Instead, I lapped up the imagery. Nanny Ogg, with her gleaming, toothy mouth, killer wit and instant visual appeal, was the inspiration behind Brunhilda.   A few bits of tweed and a knitted basket of goodies later, Brunhilda was on her way.

It’s been a while and sadly she’s been tucked away in a cupboard, but with the recent weather, I convinced the photographer to take a trip with me to the local woods to find the perfect tree.

 

I’d been adding to my fantasy Pintrest board and discovered ‘Fairy Doors’, magical little miniatures that serve as garden ornaments and an entrance for tiny visitors from the Otherworld.   Naturally Brunhilda is a little taller than a fairy, but a simple, slightly bigger door, as well as a tiny lamp (which actually lights up!) and some of my favourite fly agaric mushrooms (the cute red and white spotty one that no respectable fairy tale can be without) added a little life to the perfect background.  We only had to walk a little way to find the perfect tree to set up.  The light was perfect, so Dan was free to work his magic and bring Brunhilda to life!

 

And here she is!

 

Photography by Daniel James Photography.  All photographs ©KristaJoy2014

Portia and Purdy at Bude

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 16.14.44It’s been a while since we’ve done an on-location shoot, but thankfully the weather was in our favour (for a change) as we headed to sunny Bude, Cornwall, along with sisters Portia and Purdy.

I first developed the idea for a vintage beach goer while admiring the pages of an Edwardian fashion magazine.  I did some research and some doodles and came up with the original design for Portia.  I did take some liberties with the style of her outfit, since she is showing rather a lot of leg, but have made some major revelations in using darts to shape the body.

journal28.2Shortly after I began making Portia, I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to give her a companion, since I love to see how the puppets interact with each other, as well as the situations we place them in.  Little Purdy also gave me an excuse to finally use pink wool roving to make realistic-looking candyfloss. I must admit her hat was not made by me since I haven’t learned to crotchet yet, but by my mom.  Thanks, Mom!

There was one casualty of the shoot, and that was Purdy’s goldfish.  The poor little fellow, made of polymer clay and set in a little glass jar, never fully set. When we got to the beach his water was slanting and the goldfish almost belly up.  At least we got one photograph, albeit in the kitchen at home!

Despite high winds against us on the flat of the beach, Daniel James has once again managed to capture some wonderful photographs.  We weren’t brave enough to go too close to the water since the beach was wonderfully busy.  The background of striped windbreakers umbrellas adorning the beach created a lovely atmosphere, and it is so rare to see a British beach with a blue sky.  We decided to play around with the colours and give the final images a vintage feel.  I love sepia photography and it suited the girls perfectly.

Thanks to Daniel James Photography for his hard work, patience and wonderful photographs.

P&P4

P&P3 P&P2 P&P1 IMG_0182

phsicsfordogsBIG

Well, it’s been a different week.  As well as being in and out of the post office sending puppets and dragons off to new homes (and I wont deny how much I love wrapping parcels) I found myself scouring the archives at my local library.  I’m ashamed to say it’s something I’ve never done before, and to be honest the idea of so much history available at the fingertips was scintillating, as well as a smell and texture I had long since forgotten.  I don’t go to the library enough anymore, but I think the archives will be calling me back.

Thanks to the good folks at the Stourbridge Historical Society I was able to procure the perfect cover image, of both a place and time pinnacle to the story.

I am proud to launch the fourth story in the first Bluebank Anthology, Physics for Dogs, which is available as an ebook from Smashwords.com, along with the rest of the series.  You can keep up with other publications by visiting the Lost Feather Press website.

In all honesty Physics for Dogs has jumped the queue, as it was never intended to be included in the first anthology.  It’s overtaken The Imaginary History or Edwina Green, which hopefully will be released before the end of 2012.  This of course means the anthology will be complete and hopefully realsed in a hard copy before the spring.

Still, it’s exciting to see a story that started off so differently finally complete and ready to be unleashed! I cannot finish without saying a big thank you to Mark Hare of The Bookworms Apple, whose indispensable advice and critique have made this tale complete.

Lets hope this blasted writers block lifts soon and I can get on with other stories!

Happy reading!

Krista Joy 12/10/12

 

 

 

 

Every once in a while the need comes to get out and about, especially as we near the last quater of the year and the nights are darker. Since I spotted the perfect creepy location for an autumnal shoot, Igor seemed the perfect candidate.

We set up at the beautiful Stew Pony Warf, a prime example of our beautiful Black Country canal system.  With the help of Daniel James, Igor, along with his wheelbarrow full of goodies (including the ooey gooey bottles seen with Grandma Goblin in Swamp Casserole) strutted his stuff up the old cobbles.  His little wheelbarrow was a delightful adition to the image. Who knows, since it has gone back into my prop store it might well pop up again!

We have now bid a fond farewell to Igor, who was lucky enough to go to a new home this week! You can see more like him at our Etsy shop.

Happy days!

Krista Joy, 9/10/12

 

 

A few weeks ago we decided a change was in order, and headed down to Wadebridge, Cornwall, for a few days. Being by the seaside, however abismal the weather, we had a chance to do something new, and capture a puppet in a completely different setting.

Of course, we chose Meryln, who came into being after a previous costal trip inspired some nautical paintings. She has been decorated with artificial lichen and tiny polymer clay seashells.

Though Merlyn had other ideas (just check out her surly expression!) we did manage to get some good shots of her on the cliffs of Tintagel.

Tintagel is a breathtaking costal town that is the supposed birthplace of King Arthur, and also

home to ‘Merlins Cave’, located beneath Tintagel Castle. It is 100 metres (330 ft) long, passing completely through Tintagel Island from Tintagel Haven on the east to West Cove on the west.The steps down to the cave have been washed away and are blocked off. The only way down today is to clamber down the rocks to the beach. The cave fills with water at high tide, but has a sandy floor and is explorable at low tide.

 

 

As usual, Dan of Daniel James Photography was on hand to capture the moment, despite the elements and hoards of toursits making the best of a very blustery day!

With any luck we’ll head off again soon and try for a better day!

 

Merlyn is now available for sale! Just visit our Etsy shop and she can be yours today!

 

Happy trails!

Krista Joy 21/8/12

“There once lived a prince among dragons,
An exquisite dragon was he,
Not quite green and hardly blue,
But greeny-blue, just like the sea.” – The Reluctant Dragon

I’ve been thinking about inspiration a lot lately, but moreover about where I find it as an artist and storyteller. At college, I remember being delighted when told I didn’t just have to look at fine artists for inspiration, but also to illustrators, film makers, writers, and even fashion designers. Suddenly, where my research journal had been a stodgy brick wall of the same old fine art fantasy paintings (which are still lovely in their own way) I was bombarded with what the world really had to offer when it came to tickling ones fancy if creative block struck.

Now, since I have been focusing more on the dragon side of things, I thought I’d take a look at how I’ve come to see dragons the way I do; as gentle, sociable creatures with impeccable manors and a love of all things civilised. The funny thing is, I can go back to almost the beginning of my short little life, and find an animated version of the Reluctant Dragon, a 1898 children’s story by Kenneth Grahame. Admitedly the book is still on my to-read list (smack on the wrist for me) but what did spark my interest as a child was taken by this most beautiful adaption by a gent

named Willis Hall (He also did a wonderful version of The Wind in the Willows, featuring David Jason as Mr Toad. You can see some of it here). Unfortunatly I couldn’t find a picture of the whole dragon, only this little one thanks to Toonhound. This dragon, in the way he looks and behaves, is probably the single biggest influence on the way I create dragons. I was lucky enough to have somebody close who took the time to find a copy of the original animation so I could see it again after loosing the video I watched, enchanted, as a child.

But it didn’t stop with the reluctant dragon. A few years down the line, when diagnosed with asthma, I was presented with a book about ‘Desmond the Dragon’, who also suffered with asthma, and sought to teach us newbies about how to use our inhalers. Again I was smitten with a dragon who wasn’t all smoke and fire.

 

Of course, it hasn’t just been dragons that have played on my mind, in my work and even into my dissertation. Writers like Roald Dahl and Alan Garner made sure a healthy interest in fantasy, and slightly macabre fantasy at that made a permanent impression on a young artist. Not only that, wonderful movies like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Legend and Willow made sure I was watching as well as reading. Of course, the more what I saw scared me, the better.

Of course, it would be a good few years until I reached university and really began to spread my wings (however green and scaly) and discovered the people behind the films, most predominately Brian Froud, who continues to produce a most inspiring collection of work. Later, I discovered (among others) Gris Grimly and Dave McKean, both masters of the macabre.

Not only did The Reluctant Dragon make me fall in love with fantasy, but also with animation. So far, I have not gotten my teeth into any animation (save for short film ‘Jimmy Dork Face’ which no longer exists) but it hasn’t stopped a love of sculpture and set building. A teenage obsession with Tim Burton (I saw the trailer for Frankenweenie yesterday, and I wont deny I squeaked with joy) relighted the fire of facination with stop-motion, and prompted me to create the art dolls which have sold world wide. I can admit my Grail would be to create a dragon puppet, but so far the logistics are a nightmare and I get a headache just thinking about it!

Still, outside of the Etsy shop, I can now focus my energies on Sheridan and his clan, the family of dragons who play a pinnacle part in my children’s book ‘The Fourth Ouroboros’, which is currently in the editing stage before hopefully being sent off to pastures green. Sheridan isn’t exactly a prince among dragons, but looking at him now, I realise that I have come full circle, and the things that continue inspire me now are none other than those that brought my family and I so much joy all those years ago.

 

Krista Joy

August 2012

 

It’s been a productive month!

 

I’ll admit again I have let this whole blogging thing slip, but in between grappling with writers block, correcting a novel and trying to learn how to put my hair into victory rolls (which when you have as much hair as me is apparently impossible), it doesn’t leave much time for bloggery.

The third book in the Bluebank series has gone to proofreading, so as well as hopefully entertaining

 a new reader, The Imaginary History of Edwina Green will soon be available to download. I must admit it’s still weird to see my work on iTunes – I’m never going to stop feeling like an amateur. Maybe if I learn to spell the feeling will wear off, but when in this lifetime is that going to happen?

Since finding myself on holiday battling through the split personality of the British weather, I have been able to see some of the most breath-taking landscapes the south has to offer, some of which we had to get lost to come across! Ripped tights were defiantly worth it when I was scrabbling over rocks and stacking stones, helping Dan add some wonderful photos to his portfolio! This is just one of my own snaps; I’m no photographer but this stuff defiantly gets the creative juices going!

On the dragon front I’ll be commencing a new commission soon, so watch the gallery for pictures of those. In the mean time, a relaxing break and some good old-fashioned torrential rain has meant some serious doodle time!

 

On a final note, I was lucky enough to have one of my dragon dioramas featured on Must Have Cute this week. You can see the feature here! And just in case you are interested in taking this little number home with you, (or commissioning another like it) you can purchase ‘My Favourite Season’ from the Billy Dylan at Etsy Shop

Let the good times roll!

 

Krista Joy 20/6/12

As mentioned back in January, I have been lucky enough to have Pepper, one of my art dolls, featured in the American magazine, Art Doll Quarterly Spring 2012 Edition! Having waited only a couple of months from finding out the news (which proved to be a pretty amazing Christmas present considering how little I felt I’d achieved last year!) the magazine has finally arrived and is available to by now here.

Below is a copy of the whole page I was given in the magazine, with photographs taken by Daniel James Photography.

 

 

magazine page scan

 

If i can stand to part with her, Pepper will be available to buy on my Etsy shop. For now though, I’m hanging onto her unless the right offer comes along!

Thanks to both Daniel James for his beautiful photographs and ongoing support. Also to the good people at Art Doll Quarterly for giving my 2012 a bright start.

 

Krista Joy

March 2012

So I fancied a change from the regular run of the mill cute colourful dragons, right about the same time I discovered marble effect polymer clay. Put two and two together and what do you get? Gothic yet cute, the gargoyle dragon series was born!

Presenting Vladimir, Attila, Siegfried and Gunther, four little characters just itching to find new homes. From March 1st 2012, you can find all four gargoyles for sale at the Billy Dylan at Etsy shop. But you need to be quick, as there are only four of them and there won’t be anymore available for the foreseeable future!

Each dragon is priced at $8 each, is signed on the underside, and comes in his own marble effect gift box.

Get them while they’re hot!

Krista Joy

Feb 27th 2012

 

Photographs by Daniel James Photography

 

So it’s been a while since I posted, (smack on the wrist I know) but it’s not like I haven’t been busy! With one short story checked and another under the pen as we speak, it’s closing into the time I can post a link to the free ebook download of ‘A Murder of Crows‘. Eep!

unique tattoo artist design

But in my spare time my pen has strayed from the supernatural, and onto the nature of the tattoo. Thanks to a willing friend a work of art has actually been immortalised! The image you see was created by Rob McNeill of Ethereal Ink, Kinver, and frankly I think he’s it given it a whole new feel. I hope the client is as pleased as I am – I’m still bragging about it to anyone who will listen!

Rob took the original sketch (below) and developed it into a suitable design, adding clouds and stars which tie in with the clients other tattoos. The angel will eventually tie in with a design covering the entire calf.

This has been a real learning curve for me as an artist. Where it has been glorious picking up my pencil and spending hours on end drawing to my hearts content, I have also had to adapt my style and clean up my act, so to speak, using cleaner, bolder lines and develop a new method of shading!

If anyone thinks tattoo artists have it easy, think again! My job is easy – you can use an eraser on paper – but ink on skin is permanent! Ethereal Ink, I take my hat off to you!

Still, I have so far managed to produce four rough flash sheets that will hopefully be for sale online soon! Look out for Fairies, Flowers and Butterflies, and Pin Up Girls!

 

Krista Joy

February 26 2012

Photograph curtesy of Daniel James Photography