Sometimes when you're busy, it's hard to find time to check in. Sometimes, when you're not busy, you have nothing to relate. My social media presence tends towards either feast or famine, but we're here now so we won't dwell.
I have been busy! At the close of last year, I opened a few spots for Blythe Calavera commissions and much to my delight, they were quickly claimed by some wonderful customers. The first two took inspiration from their months, and turned into full customs.
Nieve, Blythe Calavera commission, 2016.
Amapola, Blythe Calavera commission, 2016.
It was nice to work on calavera commissions again, as it pushed me in directions I might not have gone otherwise and I got to try out a few new things. It's a lovely thing to dip a toe in now and again.
In between Blythes, I also worked on a few ball joint doll commissions. I had the pleasure of painting two Dollshe heads for an old friend I always love collaborating with. Familiar territory indeed, but no less exciting.
Dollshe Saint SA and OE heads, 2016.
I also painted an Aileen Doll Greenery and a Shy, both ridiculously sweet tiny things.
Aileen Doll Dragon Scales, 2016.
Aileen Doll Greenery, 2016.
I have another Blythe and ball joint doll currently on their way to me to paint and one little head on my table that is just about done. Beyond all of that, I've just finished building another big puppet for the Performing Art Center for Kids. (Which warrants it's own post, I think.)
Spring has arrived here and it has brought sunshine and inspiration. Once I get through my current list of commissions, I'm hoping to work on some totally new things. I also want to blog more, ha! I've had a few lovely emails asking me to share more about some of my projects and I really want get in the habit of going behind the scenes, as it were. If you have any questions or requests feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email. I just realized I was missing blog comments entirely! So, I've got that sorted now. Progress already.
I have been so busy lately that I have not had time to finish any new customs in time for the holidays this year and I have been trying to get myself back on track so I had an idea, I'll open commissions! I haven't accepted Calavera commissions in years for a number of reasons, but I realized it would be fun to start out 2016 by dipping my toe back in to the pool and offering a chance for you to get or give a custom Calavera from me. It'll also be a great way for me to hit the year running!
Ok, so how's it work?
I have 3 spots in the shop right now. One for January, one for February and one for March. You purchase the spot and pay now, then when it is your month, you send me your face plate or head and I get to work! Pretty straightforward.
You are allowed to choose a color scheme for your Calavera and ask that elements be included, but the final design is my own and I will not recreate any previous work exactly. Once we settle on specifics, I will paint your Calavera and send you pictures for approval before the final coat of sealant. If I am painting a Blythe or Pullip face plate, I will additionally paint their eyelids. I will send you final pictures when all work is completed.
I will cover return shipping to you if you live in the US. International customers may have to pay for return shipping.
If this is a gift, I will happily mail or email you a printable gift certificate! I will additionally mail you a Melancholy Kitties postcard to provide a reminder of your spot.
If you would like me to purchase a doll and create a full custom for you, that is possible! Please contact me for specifics and prices. Additionally, if you are interested in additional work or another type of face up, feel free to ask!
Because shipping times vary and we all have real lives, I am hesitant to commit to a firm turnaround time, but once I have a doll in my hands, I assure you she will be on her way back to you within 4 weeks. If our emails shoot back and forth quickly and you have no revisions for me, probably quite a bit sooner! I promise I will keep you aware of my progress at all times.
Also, I hate asking, but please do not purchase a commission with the sole intention of reselling. I would love for these spots to go to fans of my work who may have been waiting for just this sort of opportunity. This is my way of popping a tiny hole in the inflation of custom doll prices, please respect that.
I have known Paul Kaiju
for years now. We met in California at a doll event years ago and have kept in touch through toys. He has since skyrocketed to vinyl toy fame, but I consider him a friend and he remains an insanely creative inspiration of mine.
He literally has a stable full of amazing original characters, but Mr. REE might be my favorite of his creations. REE is an incredible changeable puzzle of a boy/plant/monster. He has been released in a variety of vinyl colors and paint applications, but what makes him truly remarkable are his variety of optional parts. Paul has designed interchangeable torsos, masks, shoes, and hand parts to turn Mr. REE into a root monster, fungus boxer, space explorer, or a rabbit with exposed guts. I have 3 REEs of my own now and I still have not tried every combination.
I find it especially delightful that REE stripped of his accessories is just a little (space? robot?) boy(?). Since his bunny mask is by and far my favorite, I was inspired to make him a fluffy suit to wear with it. I made one out of pink fur, slightly over sized like his mask. I shared the results online and soon after, Paul and I planned a collaboration. We talked parts and paint colors and I sourced fur and made myself a proper pattern. Even though they are just shy of 4" tall, each suit is carefully made so that REE can still have his full range of motion for adventuring. We settled on a run of 15 REEs which Paul has painted, and which I have assembled and dressed in fluffy suits in one of three colors: white, pink, or pastel swirl. He will come with his basic parts, plus his bunny and root parts.
I think that Mr.REE is a benchmark of what vinyl toys can be -- both nostalgic and brand new at the same time. An intricate art piece which extends an invitation to play. I am excited to send this version out into the world and grateful to Paul for making him in the first place.
Fluffbun Mr. REE will be available in my shop on Sunday, 10/18 at 9PM EST.
Sometimes you can have a new start to something quite old. In my own life, I have recently completed a sort of small scale renovation of my home, a home I have lived in for 15 years and which has stood for over 130 years before that. We switched rooms around, took down some walls and removed a lot of carpet. We refinished floors and rebuilt stairs. As I type this, the paint in my hallway is drying...
Anyway, the point is, Melancholy Kitties has occupied many skins in the 11 years it has existed and upon the completion of my beautiful new studio, I realized it was time to clean up my virtual home as well. My old website, which was masterfully built by Manning Krull, was a thing of beauty and delight that no longer serves me. What began as a little shop selling doll clothes has long been empty, my galleries woefully neglected and little else was still relevant. Loved, but outdated.
Fall is my favorite season. I believe there is no better time for change
With this new site, I hope to bring together all of the things I have been working on, all of the places I frequent, and all of the things I love. I invite you to look around, click some links and let me know what you think. It has been fun revisiting so much of my past work. I am very excited to make new things.