Saturday, August 27, 2011

Faces of the Ghoultide Gathering....

What a fun surprise! I have the pleasure of being featured as one of the many faces of the Ghoultide Gathering in two different national magazines this fall. The art of each and every artist that exhibits at this fabulous show is truly wonderful, so I am honored that my folk art characters have been chosen to help represent a gathering of talent beyond imagination!


At last year's Ghoultide Gathering, photographer Brad Ziegler from Midwest Living Magazine made the rounds to each artist's table, just hours before the doors opened to the public. He snapped an assortment of images from each artist as we anticipated the show to commence. As quickly as he appeared, he vanished as the frenzy of collectors took center stage. So, almost a year later it is such a delight to see that a sampling of his photos did indeed make the pages of this October's Midwest Living! Turn to page 69 and look for the page titled "Discoveries ~ A few of our Favorite Midwest Finds." An original standing owl sculpture of mine perches at the top right corner of the page, and as I recall, he was one of the first pieces to fly off the shelf! For those of you in the midwest, you should be able to spot this magazine on the stands, and for all others, you can order a copy from Midwest Living.


And have you heard of A Primitive Place Magazine? It's a treasure for those of you looking for your primitive fix! This past spring, this year's artists of a Ghoultide Gathering were asked to submit images of their Halloween folk art, nestled in primitive-style settings, all for a possible feature. This was an easy task for me as a I have amassed a small library of images that I have snapped in the surroundings of my mother's colonial style home. She has an ever-growing collection of my Halloween folk art, so luckily I was able to resort to the photos that I have taken in her primitive home over the years. Fortunately, the candy container witch I made for mom several years ago is included in their Fall 2011 issue! Alongside this sweet piece in the magazine is a fun assortment of my black cats and owls that I photographed at mom's Halloween Collectors Event. To see it all and the wonderful work of several other of my Halloween artist friends, please order you copy HERE!

The 5th Annual Ghoultide Gathering promises to delight your senses and transport you to a place of whimsy and imagination. If you love the happy spirit of Halloween, you must join us!


See you there, or beware..... :)
~ Johanna

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sneak Peek from my Workshop....

With August more than halfway behind me, and September looming, I have been spending long hours in the workshop preparing my collection of Halloween originals for this fall. I have one batch of characters almost complete, but many pieces still yearn for a set of wire arms, wings and the like along with a trim or two to be finished and ready for adoption. It's certainly a process that tends to take me longer with each year ~ I know, it should be the other way around!... So, I have another batch underway, and I spent most of my day sculpting candy containers and other characters that came to mind. As 9pm rolled in, I decided to scrape the crusty papier mache flakes off of my fingers and snap a few teaser images of what I have in store.... Many of these guys are still works in progress, so use your imagination :)

(PS ~ just peeked at my post again, and ALL these pictures look like they are on fire!  Hot orange saturation galore :) That's what I get for taking my shots at night and working on the graphics with tired eyes....)


* A black & white owl sports my new illustrated hat and awaits a vintage bow tie, perhaps....


* Peek-a-boo!... says the egg cup character peering through a pair of black cats...


* A funky cocoa powder tin holds a series of paintbrushes ready for action...


* Eek! Cover your eyes ~ these guys are still in the nude.....


* A surprised jack-o'-lantern lets out a little shriek! Perhaps she's a wee bit scared of the mouse sneaking up behind her....


*Another jack-o'-lantern is topped by a wee little bat, awaiting a set of whimsy wings... That's a whole process in itself ~ cutting the wire, forming, shaping & curling the tiny wings, a little glue here and a little glue there, drilling some holes more glue, and voila!....
It all takes patience, and I'm honestly not a very patient person!!


* A little box of handmade collars made from vintage crepe papers offers me options when the time comes to dress each character. The papier mache cup is decorated in handpainted autumn leaves and will serve as the base for another JOL character....


* In the works is this owl, obviously in need of eyes and more finishing touches... He sits atop a recycled container that once housed some yum yum yum gelato.... I feel a chocolate craving coming on!....


* Black kitties in the foreground look to be howling at the ghost figures in the back...


* Another peek at some of the Halloween characters that have been watching me work!

Did I get you in the mood for Halloween?  Are you intrigued, and would you like to see more?  Well, I will be revealing all of these fun characters at my 2 Halloween Events this year, and of course you will have the opportunity to adopt one or a few for yourself!


The 5th Annual Ghoultide Gathering
The 6th Annual Halloween Trunk Show

And if you are unable to attend, I do hope to host a Web Sale in October if all goes as planned. So, Join My Mailing List for all the details....

Happy Haunting,
~ Johanna

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Autumn with Me & Matthew Mead!...

For a few months now I have been keeping something exciting and very dear under wraps. But, now with fall fast approaching, it is time to let that cat out of its bag! And the scoop is that I am honored to be a style contributor for AUTUMN with Matthew Mead Magazine!


Thanks to the magical web of Facebook and a shared passion for Halloween, Matthew and myself connected and became friends. I quickly realized that he was an admirer of my Halloween folk art and I too of his Halloween themed articles, projects and books that he is certainly well known for. When my mom learned of this new friendship, she began to scheme and dream as she (and I) often do. Scheduled on her fall calendar was a fantastical Halloween event she promised to host within the decorated walls of her colonial style home. It would be a gathering of like-minded souls, sharing a passion for all things October 31st with an emphasis on collecting. I was to be one of the 3 surprise guest speakers presenting Halloween delights to the Country Collectors, a long-standing group of Washington-based friends that collect antiques and the like.... But, besides hosting the event, the idea to document and publish this one of a kind day began to haunt my mother, and naturally, she began to haunt me!

After mom had convinced both myself and JP to fly out for this unique experience, she charmed the hearts of both our friends, Bruce Elsass and Mark Craven to join us in presenting to the group. With Mark's prized collection and knowledge of vintage Halloween novelties, Bruce's vintage costumes and current product designs and my Halloween folk art collectibles, it made for a well-rounded group of Halloween hot shots!  And with everyone on board, we were destined to create a very noteworthy day. Fortunately, Matthew Mead was also intrigued by the idea, so with little time to spare, it was up to us to capture the moment!


I am happy to report that mom's dream truly did become reality! And, if you ask any one of the guest collectors in attendance, they would tell you that it was a magical day indeed. Eyes were bright with delight, while laughter and smiles filled the home. The happy spirit of Halloween was ever present, and the day was truly a treat for all. JP and myself spent countless hours photographing the decor, displays, the food and the presentations in hopes that we could indeed document the event for the opportunity to share it with Matthew's readers.

And guess what?  That opportunity will soon be here! Matthew and his design team are putting the finishing touches on his Autumn issue as I type. The only way you can enjoy his fall issue for yourself is to order your copy directly from Matthew's Website. This Autumn Holiday is destined to be a collectible book-azine as its his last self-published edition before he hits the newsstands with his winter Holiday issue up next! So, I suggest that you order your copy now before they sell out, as numbers are limited.

Matthew Mead's Autumn will be shipping out in early September. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to offer you a glimpse of the event to pique your curiosity. Since we snapped so many photos, I have extras to share that were not selected for publication. But wait till you see the multiple page spread that Matthew and his design team compiled for us! I can't wait to hold it in my hands, and I am just tickled to think that he included us in his first ever HOLIDAY with Matthew Mead Autumn magazine  :)


* My mom, Kathy Parker, proudly introduces the guest speakers to a captive audience...


* Mark Craven of Craven Farm in Snohomish, Washington talks passionately about his love for vintage Halloween collectibles.....


* Bruce Elsass of the Hobgoblins Collection reveals his fabulous collection of vintage Halloween costumes and had the guests rolling in laughter...


* I share the story of my career path that has led me down a spooky-fun trail of Halloween Folk Art and product design...


* We filled one of mom's antique cupboards with just a sampling of Mark's vintage collectibles from his astounding collection of over 3,000 pieces!


* On the opposite side of the room, we loaded on old corner cupboard with the various delights that Bruce Elsass brought with him, all the way from Connecticut! Here stands one of his latest vintage-inspired Halloween figures from his product line, destined for the mass retail market.


* In the dining room, Mom had harvest tables and sideboards filled with edible delights. In this space, she also filled a corner cupboard with some of the items from her own Halloween collection. Can you spot some of my reproductions?


* In the kitchen, an antique tray of mom's homemade cookies beckoned guests to enjoy a sweet or two or three! The recipes will be included in AUTUMN with Matthew Mead Magazine...


So, would you like to see and read lots more about this memorable day? Then, order your copy of AUTUMN with Matthew Mead Magazine!
Oh, and bring it to one my upcoming Halloween shows, and I will sign your copy too :)

Happy Haunting,
~ Johanna

Friday, August 5, 2011

Clowning Around...

The sweetest treasure arrived on my doorstep the other day. Inside was a dear note of thanks for creating the art that I make along with a vintage German jack-o'-lantern donning a clown's mask! Oh what a delight to receive such a special gift... (thank you Elaine!) I set this fun little character on my drawing board and decided to find the perfect spot for him when the timing was just right.....


After a few long days in the workshop sculpting papier mache characters for this year's Halloween, it's a good idea (in theory) to take a little break here and there. Early last evening, I stepped away from the papier mache to join JP for a little happy hour in the kitchen....


Together, we enjoyed a strawberry sangria, and soon he was luring me to pause a bit for a little photo session. Ok Ok.... those sculptures can wait, right? And, oh yes, I remembered that I wanted to photograph my vintage gift!


Suddenly, it was quite clear that my little jack-o'-lantern was going to fit right in with my colorful vintage pottery collection that resides in our kitchen. I set him on the shelf above our 1940s fridge (Fester) and discovered the perfect home for this spooky fun character! When I'm not in the workshop, I'm often cooking. So, why not bring a little year-round Halloween into this special space.


I arranged him just so, stepped back and voila!


It's as if he was meant to live here! What fun! It's those little acts of kindness that can bring such joy ~ when someone takes notice of what you love and makes the time to send you that special little something to brighten your day..... That's what I am talking about. I wanted to thank ALL of you out there that have sent me little treasures over the years. Whether it's a handmade card, little jewels, a vintage find or something you found in grandma's attic that you thought I would love, THANK YOU! I do love them all  :) I don't always have time to post about each thoughtful goodie, but I do appreciate them so very much...


After finishing my sangria and celebrating this sweet gift, I'm not sure if I was a little misty-eyed or perhaps a little tipsy. But things were looking a bit blurry!  HaHaHa! Just kidding of course ~ this was JP's  attempt at motion blur by setting the camera on a slower shutter speed and zooming out the lens in unison. It's fun to experiment and make a little time for play.

~ Johanna