Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, Enter In...

My OH my, friends so dear,
HALLOWEEN is now here!
The hour is bewitching,
and Jack is itching (to show off his conical hat)
I also took photos by evening candlelight,
of vintage novelties and Halloween delight.
An October 31 birthday is ever so sweet,
as I'm often gifted a vintage Halloween treat!
We placed our corner cupboard inside for fun,
to fill it with pieces from my collection.
I also snapped a few photos during the day,
to share a small peek at my Halloween display.
I wish I had more time to festoon the whole place,
with orange and black decor, filling the space.
But, I have been quite busy making my art,
So, with limited time, this is a start….

Best Wishes to you for a Halloween so jolly!
May it be filled with smiles and sweet folly.

Happy Haunting,
~ Johanna


* Jack perches on a stool, wearing his new hat! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


* Our corner cupboard at glance…. And yes, this is the same cupboard that we take to our shows to showcase my one of a kinds! It's typically stored away, but we decided to bring it indoors and fill it with Halloween delights. I have so many more Halloween pieces in my collection that I will just have to find myself an additional curio cabinet to display them all in!


* A peek up close reveals one of my original owl ball characters that I gave to JP as birthday present a few years ago. He's surrounded with vintage Halloween finds.


* Down below, a cloth pumpkin man with a walnut shell head was created and gifted to me by my mom! She also made the sweet woolen stitched pumpkin above, left. Vintage horns, noisemakers and other delights have appeared in packages at my doorstep by dear friends and thoughtful collectors who know that I love antique Halloween novelties.


* An old orange bird cage reveals one of my reproduction crows roosting inside. A vintage owl clicker suspends along the edge.


 * A grouping of my original candy containers that I have collected over the years, traipse across the top shelf. Below, a sweet papier mache "Bewitched" cat candy box was gifted to me by a dear artist friend, Kitty Nikolai of Sweet Invocations.


* Vintage jack-o'-lanterns grin and glow next to an old orange ceramic cat that I found at a garage sale.


* A closer peek reveals my cat, witch and crow trio tucked in the corner of the cabinet.


* An older original spider of mine sits atop a timeworn candy tin. Behind, vintage tin noisemakers are mixed with some of my Halloween art.


* A creepy cool Spooklight lantern suspending from a stylized bat are both designed by my fellow Halloween designer friend, Bindlegrim! I was lucky to snatch this set at this year's Halloween Trunk Show!


* Below on a stack of old suitcases, you'll find an original owl bust that I created a few years ago… "Wise 'ol Owlexander"


* And, here's another peek of our corner cupboard from the side… It's tempting to keep this out all year, as it's all eye candy to me...


* Looking across to the mantel, we see Jack wearing an orange crepe paper bow tie. To bring in a little Halloween cheer, I added some orange accents to the decor.


* I quickly turned my new "Trick or Treat" bag from Primitives by Kathy into a pillow by stuffing it with another pillow! (thanks Mom for the idea :) In the distance, our handmade fire screen mirrors the play on black cats…


* JP brought me home a bouquet of birthday flowers, so I added those to a Roseville vase. Two of my new Halloween stand-up characters from Primitives by Kathy add some seasonal spunk!


* A headless dress form serves as an unusual illumination along with a canvas to adorn for the season. I added my "Oh Bats" hanger and draped the bodice with an orange scarf that my mom gave me last year.


* An orange and black handmade basket from our close friends carries one of my new Halloween box signs, "Halloween is Calling."


* And, just a quick glance to the back sunroom invites those who enter to take a seat. Jack has clearly abandoned both his hat and tie to sit and relax for a little bird-watching fun. As our bittersweet vine turns golden outside, a pumpkin and a pair crows add some fall spirit to the inside scene.


* Once again, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Collector Spotlight ~ Jody in California

Hi friends! You are in for another Halloween treat! Meet Jody, a dear collector friend who is sharing a peek inside her decorated home. We met about 7 years ago when I was exhibiting at the Halloween & Vine in California. An artist feature in Better Homes & Gardens Tricks & Treats Magazine was the catalyst that brought us together! I recall her excitement to meet me and to see my works in person. It was her enthusiasm, like that of so many others, that fueled me forward with my passion to make vintage-style art that expands the imagination and generates smiles. Jody has an affinity for both my one of kind original characters as well as my licensed designs, and she weaves them together in her thoughtful arrangements. She also collects the art from fellow Halloween artist friends, and it is a delight to see how our individual styles compliment one another. For me, it is a pleasure to share her collection of photos with you!  I am honored that my art has captured her heart and the fancy of her family and friends. Many thanks goes out to Jody for inviting us into her beautiful home, and inspiring us to celebrate the season in this most whimsical way! Let's begin with an Artist & Collector Q&A that will meander along the way. Enjoy!


J: How did you learn about my Halloween folk art?

Jody: I was thumbing through a magazine in search of decorating ideas for an upcoming Halloween party I was hosting when I spied an article about you.  There were pictures of your beautiful home and originals, as well as adorable “Jack”.  I instantly fell in love with your artwork.  I soon purchased a few of the pieces featured in that article.  The moment that I received my first JP original, I was hooked and traveled to a show to meet you in person and acquire more of your Halloween originals.  My Halloween party ended up with lots of JP whimsy incorporated into the theme, and your originals were a big hit.

J: What a fun story! I am so grateful for that fun magazine feature as it connected me with so many like-minded, vintage-style Halloween-loving friends. And look now, here we are featuring your lovely home and collection! I am so glad that you spotted my story and were so inspired that you made the trip out to see me! That means so much… :)


* Jody's white stone fireplace and wooden mantel are the perfect backdrop for a Halloween display! A simple spider web sets the scene for a cast of spooky characters! She weaves a glittered garland of black leaves and orange glowing lights to add texture and whimsy to the line-up of collectible figures.


* Across the mantel, two original black cats, a candy container and shelf sitter, look as if they are whispering a "BOO." Cats by Johanna Parker Design.

J: How long have you been collecting my originals?

Jody: I have been collecting your originals since 2007.  My first one, named “Unruly Rosco”, was purchased from an online sale.  His spooky expression warns of tricks ahead. I then attended the Halloween & Vine show later that year.  I had never been to a Halloween show before, and it was overwhelming!  :) Meeting Johanna and JP was the highlight.  I have been attending Halloween art shows ever since.

Through the years, it has been a pleasure to watch your business grow leaps and bounds.  I still enjoy finding your products at local stores and seasonal events.  I just attended a harvest craft festival in Costa Mesa.  There were several booths selling your new and older Halloween items.

J: Before I found my path as a Halloween folk artistI was not aware that there were Halloween art shows. But since I found my niche, I realized that there are dozens of these special spooky markets across the country.  What fun that JP and I were the highlight for you at your first H&V show! I am honored It's fun that you continue to frequent some of these art festivals and often come across my licensed designs! It's like going to a Halloween treasure hunt!


* At left we see "Unruly Rosco," perching proudly on a black pedestal. Back in 2007, Jody spotted him in my arched wall niche, featured in Better Homes & Gardens and there, this Halloween collecting story began! She has him grouped within a gallery trio that spotlights each character. In the middle, my reproduction owl candy bowl, from Bethany Lowe Designs, tempts those with a sweet tooth. At right stands "Spirited Tess," one of Jody's newest acquisitions from my 2014 collection of originals. The three are grounded with black spider web coasters that offer more impact and definition to the display.


* As we step back, a comfy seat with a Halloween throw and crow pillow look oh so inviting! Take a seat and savor the Halloween delights!


* A side table twinkles with Halloween baubles dangling from a cluster of artfully arranged branches in  a vase. An orange-themed mosaic bowl that Jody crafted is the perfect vessel for a Johanna Parker Design reproduction black cat. He peers off to his side, captivated by the ornaments!

J: What is it about my creations that captures your imagination?

Jody: A year has rarely passed during my life without a Halloween party, movie night, or get-together of some kind.  For my family, Halloween has always been about fun, imagination, tradition, and parties.  Your work embodies all of these aspects.  Each character looks like it is ready to celebrate!  I am a fan of art deco and vintage Halloween decor.  Your little vintage details are exceptional and harken back to an old story.  In fact, each one looks like they have walked out of a tale.  I also appreciate that you infuse a sense of humor into your work, aesthetically and in their names.  The clever, old-fashioned names are half the sale for me!  Whenever I am at one of your events, I try to read the names of each piece.  I guess it brings them to life even more.  Your creations make me smile.

J: Well said Jody! You just captured everything that I pour into my characters from the art deco inspired designs to the humor and smiles that they ensue! The old-fashioned names that conjure a tale are all part of the package and make the story even sweeter. Thank you for really tapping into my process. You get it!  :)


* A Greg Guedel witch guards a bowl of candy and welcomes guests with a little "Witchful Thinking!" A garland of autumn leaves festoons this antique hall tree and frames the scene.


* A closer peek reveals one of my reproduction candlestick spiders, crouching on the ledge. These spooky guys are still available via Bethany Lowe Designs.

J: Where have you had the best luck in acquiring my original pieces; shows, web sales, Collector's Catch, eBay, etc?

Jody: I have acquired originals in different ways but have had the best luck acquiring originals by attending shows and with web sales.  I highly recommend attending shows to anyone as it’s great to be able to chat with Johanna and other obsessed collectors.

J: I agree, the shows are probably the best way to see a broader collection of my originals in one place. And of course, I prefer that path above all others because I have the opportunity to meet wonderful people like you! Speaking of, it was a treat to see you at this year's 9th Annual Halloween Trunk Show! Thank you for making the journey to come out and see us again!!


* Returning to the mantel, we see two original characters that Jody collected at the Denver Halloween Trunk Show a few years back. A perching owl and a jack-o'-lantern with a bat hat, both roost atop black candlestick pedestals and make a spooktacular pair! Owl and Jack are originals by Johanna Parker Design.


* Another view of Jody's mantel reveals a large grinning witch by Greg Guedel, standing center stage!

J: Do you have a favorite piece in your private collection?

Jody: That’s tough!  They are all so fun….If I HAD to pick a favorite, I would say that the black cats are my favorite, maybe ‘Black Paw Pocus’ or ‘Spirited Tessa’.  Black cats are synonymous with Halloween, and yours look especially mischievous.  There is a very close margin, though, with the rest of the characters.

J: I knew you were going to choose a black cat or two from your collection of characters! Clearly, we both have an affinity for these cuties. And indeed, my black cats certainly do possess a mischievous air about them. 


* Towering on the mantel's end is "Black Paw Pocus"- one of Jody's faves! He proudly perches in a hand-sculpted base chamber vase and carries a pumpkin scepter. His buddy black cat candy container friend shares a grin and wears a number 31. Both are original candy containers by Johanna Parker Design.


* And, Jody also mentions "Spirited Tess" as one of her faves! I just created this piece last month, so she is fresh in my mind! I especially enjoyed painting her cup and adding the ghostly spirits. Notice how the two form a heart?… I had the pleasure of wrapping and handing this cutie over to Jody at this month's Halloween Trunk Show! I am happy to see her enjoying her new home...

J: Is there anything in particular you suggest I try making in the future?

Jody: I do not have any ideas for any “new” faces or characters, per say.  I DO suggest that you create more orange cats! :) .  (You have never made a base chamber vase with an orange cat, by the way…hint…hint…Lucky-List-kind-of-hint…. :)

J: Hmm, I am getting the hint indeed..  Gosh, it's been several years since I made an orange cat! Thanks for reminding me as those would be fun to make next year. And, I agree, and orange cat base chamber vase would be stunning. Feel free to "bug" me from time to time, and perhaps we can add one to your collection….


* I got a laugh seeing this clever arrangement ~ a caged crow surrounded by a group of my cats!  Hehe!….. It's fun to toss in some humor while adding decor to the home. Is it just me, or do the cats look like they are up to trouble?


* And, Jody's Halloween spirit extends to the bath as well! Ivory towels with spiders with webs invite a visit to this intimate space. A shelf above, carries out the haunting theme with a Nicol Sayre witch figure and one of my "Oh Bats" signs from my new line of vintage style Halloween via Primitives by Kathy.


* More of my Halloween hangers made their way to the kitchen and dangle from magnets on the fridge! What a fun idea :)


* And this is a cleverly fun idea!…. My reproduction jack-o'lantern candy bowl reminds guests to wash up. The look on his face says it all  :)

Well, that was a delightful visit into Jody's home for Halloween! I really enjoyed the Q & A, and her inspiring arrangements in the spirit of our favorite holiday. Again, it is such a pleasure to see my art taking up residence in her lovely home. It makes me happy to see these creations filling out there mission to bring smiles, year after year. Thank you for cherishing them, and thank you for allowing us to visit your warm home!

To leave a message for Jody or myself, please click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post. Thank you!

Happy Halloween,
~ Johanna

Friday, October 24, 2014

Collector Spotlight ~ Martha in So Cal, Part 2...

Well, the pleasure is all mine to post the Part 2 portion of Martha's Collector Spotlight! As a follow-up to last year's holiday feature, we are sharing with you Martha's Halloween folk art collection. This season, she has graciously taken some stunning photos around her home, sharing peeks at how she decorates with the Halloween originals that she collects. And, I hear that he son Connor, had a hand in the photo-taking fun! Together, they took existing photos, and then played with alternative arrangements to offer additional decorating ideas for you! I am honored to see so many of my one of a kind characters, gracing this lovely home and treasured by the family that dwells here. It is touching to see handmade art being appreciated and loved in this way. Martha collects from a variety of folk artists, and you will some of those handmade works in her photos shared. I want to extend my hearty thanks to Martha for sharing her home in two, lovely Collector Spotlight features! What a treat! So, let's begin with an Artist & Collector Q&A that will meander throughout this Halloween post. Enjoy!


J: How did you learn about my Halloween folk art?

Martha: I was sitting at my dining room table on my computer.  I have always loved decorating, for all seasons and holidays.  I was web surfing (this was before Etsy, Pinterest, etc) and I think I typed in Halloween folk art and found you!  I'm trying to remember if you were having a web sale at the time, or not but I know that I bought my first piece then!  I think that was 2006???

J: Yes, and I'm also thinking that maybe my feature in Better Homes & Gardens, way back when, could have led you my way as well. Whatever the magic was, we made the connection!


* Speaking of the dining room table, I really love this tabletop centerpiece! A decorative lazy-susan serves as a rotating display wheel for a grouping of Halloween delights. Included in the mix is a Halloween cat ball character original and a reproduction spider candle stick by Johanna Parker Design along with a sweet faced pumpkin by Jo James of Cart Before the Horse. Off in the distance, we see other seasonal vignettes that we will explore more along the way!


*And if we give that wheel a spin, more Halloween characters emerge! A spooky wire-winged bat with a #31 on his belly is an original by Johanna Parker Design. The pair of metal owls are from Pottery Barn and the winking jack-o'-lantern is another sweet piece from Jo James of Cart Before the Horse.


* Martha shares a closer look at a festive coffee table display! A collection of grinning jack-o'-lanterns by Tammy Strum of Light and Shadow Studio, nest in a leaf-filled primitive dough bowl. Above, a crate makes a rustic roost for an original moon man sitter by Johanna Parker Design. A beautiful bundle of wheat offers a harvest touch.


* A ladder-style shelf offers a high perch to group Martha's collection of my Egg & Kettle Cup characters. A ghost, bat, skelly and cats make for a fun family of little ones, lined up to delight!


* Peeking beyond the autumn leaves, a grinning Jack by Johanna Parker Design, flirts a little with the camera :)

J: How long have you been collecting my Halloween originals?

Martha: I think my first originals are from 2006, or 2007 at the latest.  I remember I sent you an email and you were so kind and happy that I loved your work!   (You included that first email in my Christmas Collector Spotlight post.....still blown away you had it and could find it!)

J: I do have a tendency to hang on to emails, and it's fun to go back and watch a relationship bloom! I'm so happy that you reached out to me!


* What a lovely corner this is for a pair of my original owls to call home! The warm fall hues of these feathered friends compliment the nostalgic framed typographic art. And Martha's autumn-inspired arrangements add a lovely texture and softness to this scene. Just beautiful! One of a kind owls by me at Johanna Parker Design.


* High up in a nook, we see a yummy Halloween scene in rich hues of orange and black! My Jack ball character glances up to a candlestick pumpkin by Ginny Diezel. A pretty ceramic pedestal ties the group together ever so nicely.


* Nestled amongst a collection of fabric pumpkins by Willow Creek Sparrow, one of my cat ball characters grins quite wide.

J: What is it about these characters that captures your imagination?

Martha: I just remember loving the feeling I felt when I saw them.  From the expressions on their faces to the current, yet retro feel.  The colors are always beautiful and I love the warmth they exude.  It's as if you can feel all the time and love that you put into them!!  I just love the holidays/seasons and each character that you paint, whether Halloween, Christmas, Spring, Vday, they all bring your whimsy to that season!  And they just bring me joy and make me smile!  :)

J: Well thank you for the sweet sentiment. I make pieces in a style and feel that I would be drawn too if I were hunting for treasures. I am happy to be able to capture that vintage charm and release that joy through my artistry. 


* Speaking of smiles, this sweet Frankenstien ball character - my first Frank - offers a sweet little smirk. He is carefully paired with a vintage green pumpkin by Willow Creek Sparrow for a lovely color duet.

J: Where have you had the best luck in acquiring my original Halloween pieces;
shows, web sales, Collector's Catch, eBay, etc?

Martha: I have never had the pleasure of going to the Halloween Trunk Show, Halloween and Vine or Ghoultide.  But I have gone to your Holiday Open House twice and bought plenty at your home!  I have had amazing luck with the Collector Catch!  I think I have a Johanna Sixth Sense and get an impulse to check your website! HAHA.....lucky me!  I have gotten one piece from your lucky list.  I have found some originals as they pop up on Ebay every now and then.  And, I am pretty quick and usually grab one at each websale! 

J: Yes, I think at times, that JPD Sixth Sense of yours has been strong! All in all, it looks like you have found success down the various avenues where I offer my folk art. I must admit that I have been absent lately from posting Collector's Catch pieces and chipping away at my Lucky List. Thanks for reminding me, as I need to put those back on my radar :)


* From Martha's mantel collection of Halloween cats, this close up reveals a trio of cats that date several years back. There is a noticeable difference (I hope) from my more primitively sculpted originals at the start of my career to the more refined work I do current day. It's fun to see the artistic progression.

J: Do you have a favorite piece in your Halloween collection?

Martha: Hmmm.....gosh I love them all!  Of my Halloween, one of my fav's is Dolly Crescent....she is the beautiful black and white candy container with the AMAZING moon on it. Not to mention the adorable mouse sitting on the moon.  I also especially love two of my shelf sitters: Full Moon Marcus (2008), probably no additional description needed of this moon man, and Vinny Vine (2012) a super cute JOL sitter with black and creme striped arms and legs!

J: I know, it's not a fair question. Each year, after making a collection of Halloween originals, it's always difficult for me to pick my favorite :)


* Here, at center is "Dolly Crescent", one of Martha's faves! Dolly crowns a collection of cats on the mantel. Drift wood risers, a pumpkin and a candle stand, all act as clever perches for these fun folk art characters. A painting of pumpkins by Carrie Huber of 40th and Plum, makes for a bold, graphic backdrop.


* At left along the mantel sits "Full Moon Marcus"once again. Another favorite find of Martha's, he sits with a companion carnival-style cat, both one of a kind sitters that I sculpted. I love the lantern style cabinet as both a display case and as an architectural backdrop for the scene.


* And then there's "Vinny Vine," another favorite from Martha's collection. Gathered in a nook with two of my ball character JOLs and a sweet jack-o'-lantern painting by Diane Duda, they all offer harvest cheer!

J: Is there anything in particular you suggest I try making in the future?

Martha: Loved that I had said reindeer at some point and you did!  Love that I said elves, as I know others did too, and you did!  And that I got the first ones of those!!!  Hmmmm.....I would love a Christmas Skunk!  They were my fav animals growing up and I think the black and white would be cute!  Also a huge chipmunk the stripes!  Oh, and foxes are awesome too! Additionally now you did foxes!!!  I missed out on those this season as I couldn't make it to your Halloween Trunk Show.  So I guess I'm still pushing for a skunk, a chipmunk, and now how about a white fox for Christmas!!! 

J: Hey, that's good news that I am listening to my collectors. I know I haven't attempted a try at all the various suggestions that I receive, but I do like a good challenge! And when time and mood permit, I will give it a go. Yes, skunks, chipmunks and white foxes would be sweet!…. 

In following, I will share a few more arrangement ideas from Martha's lovely home. You will spy some of my previous pieces making appearances in new arrangements along with the clever works of fellow artist friends….


* It's a pumpkin patch, and props are certainly key to great composition. Here, Martha uses a vintage style cubby to display a line-up of my jack-o'-lantern ball characters below, while a sweet jack by Mandy Broome of Fiddlestix Studios perches above. A cart carrying a lumina Jack by Nancy Malay, tucks under a bundle of wheat. And, I spy my "Vinny Vine" sitter again, resting on the edge.


* These arched nooks in Martha's home are the perfect stage for a Halloween scene. Above, a pumpkin painting by Diane Duda adds color and a harvest motif. Below, a sweet jack scarecrow by Melissa Valeriote rests next to one of my JOL ball characters.


* OH Bats! These two bat originals by Johanna Parker Design get cozy with a carved pumpkin.


* And a HOOT HOOT here and a HOOT HOOT there…. What a fun collection of owls from various artists from left to right: Pumpkin perched owl - Jo James, Cart Before the Horse, Sculpted Owl on a mound - Johanna Parker Design, ceramic owl - unknown, Owl bust - Johanna Parker Design, hanging Owl bucket - David Everett of Chicken Lips, large Owl sculpture -  Lisa Bivona
And…..Count your Blessings the sign says!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Martha's home for Halloween! I know I did! What a pleasure it is for me to see my handmade art and the wonderful creations of fellow artists living in harmony and all so lovingly arranged. Many thanks to Martha for opening her doors to us and inspiring many during this special season. I am honored to be a part of this lovely home.

To leave a message for Martha or myself, please click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post. Thank you!

Happy Halloween,
~ Johanna