Tag Archives: mr bumblepants

On being busy

Owen here! Today I’d like to talk to you about being busy – something I’ve been experiencing a lot lately!

The only way to do all the things you need/want to when you’ve got too much on your list is to expand time and space.

I mean, there are tips you can use, and there are promises that you can do all the things if you just arrange it all the right way. If those work for you, congratulations! But here in my world, there’s no way to get it all done – it’s simpler just to assume that from the get go.

So if there’s no hope of getting it all done, what to do?

Imagine a stick. On one side is “ALL THE THINGS DO THEM.” What’s on the other side?

Clarity.

Time is a precious resource. Everything we choose to do with it must be the best, most important use of that resource. This limit lets us look at our to do list and identify what is the most important thing to do right now. Following this, you can rest assured that you aren’t failing to get things done. You’re doing exactly what you need to do at any moment. A much better feeling – and one you would have a harder time finding if you didn’t have a time crunch in the first place!

 

Note: This doesn’t mean that you can’t spend an hour playing games, or hanging out in bed when you just can’t even anymore. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to rest.

 

 

 

Bumblepost: Start Anywhere

Owen here! Today I’d like to talk to you about just getting started!

Sometimes (maybe a lot of times) I have trouble getting started with things I’m really interested in doing. It’s easy to get caught in an unhelpful cycle where at night I’ll think, “I’m so psyched about doing this thing tomorrow!” And then tomorrow comes, and I want to do everything but that thing.

My superpowers don’t end there, though. Sometimes I can not only successfully avoid doing the things I want to do, but I actually forget what I’m supposed to be doing! I’ll sit down to do a project with identical steps that I’ve followed before – and I just can’t make any sense of it.

When this happens, I find there is nothing for it but a hard push, and just getting started. Recognizing when I tend to need to just get started has helped me get through stressful creative times, plan my day better, and accomplish lots more. So if you haven’t already, I suggest working on figuring out when you just need to push yourself to get started.

Worksheet: Start Anywhere Coloring Page

To help make this more fun, I’m including a free coloring page! The text is a little blurry, because I’m still learning how to balance out readability with a high level of detail. (Note: It’s a PDF! Sorry!)

Start Anywhere Knotwork Coloring Page

Bumblepost: Types of puppets

Owen here! Today I want to talk to you about puppets!

Puppets are great fun to make because they can be made out of pretty much anything. Rocks and some string? PUPPET! Googly eyes on a milk jug? PUPPET! I think this is one of those few art forms where you are only limited by your imagination, rather than your budget.

If you want to try your hand at making some, here are a few styles to consider:

Practical Arm:
This is a puppet with an arm you control with your own. Our big dragon puppets are practical arm puppets. This puppet can be controlled by one or more puppeteers.

Rod Puppet:
You control the mouth of the puppet with your hand, and the arms with sticks attached to the hands. These are more portable than practical arm puppets. This type of puppet is for one puppeteer.

Marionette:
A puppet controlled by strings. If you know the story of Pinocchio, you’re already familiar with marionettes. These can be elaborately carved and painted, and are often very beautiful. Marionettes are capable of very complex movements – which means there is a big learning curve to using them.

Shadow puppets:
These are flat puppets used to cast a shadow against a curtain. They can be rod or marionette style.

Hand shadow puppets:
Your hands are puppets! The art of hand shadows is very popular when the electricity is out, or when a projector is handy nearby. This is purely skills based. Here is a set of tutorials on doing shadow puppets with your own hands.

Ventriloquist puppets/dummies:
A puppet with a moving mouth controlled by a ventriloquist’s hand. Ventriloquists often learn to control their mouth movements to give the illusion that their puppets are talking.

Sock puppets:
A decorated sock you put on your hand and control. This sounds simple, but they can actually be very detailed. Shari Lewis’ characters (Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy) are all sock puppets.

Bunraku (Japan):
Bunraku is a term that comes from a specific puppeteering company in the 1800s. Previously, this puppetry was known as Ayatsuri Joruri Shibai, or Ningyo Joruri. Each puppet requires three puppeteers – One for the head and right hand, one for the left hand, and one for the feet.

Water puppets (Vietnam):
Water puppets originated in Vietnam’s Red River Delta in the 11th century, as a way for people to entertain each other with the readily available rice paddies. Wooden puppets are lacquered to be waterproof – because this form of puppetry happens in the water (hence it’s name!). The puppets are controlled with bamboo rods and strings.

 

Bumblepost: My second favorite tree

Hi! Owen here! Today I’d like to tell you about another tree. (If you haven’t read it, here is my previous favorite tree post.)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a lot of Black Cottonwood trees. A special thing about these trees is that there are stars at the center of their branches – like the cross-section of an apple, but much smaller. Before you get jealous, here’s another special thing about them: Cottonwood trees create white fluff that goes everywhere once a year, bringing much suffering to anyone who has any hint of an allergy. Beautiful but brutal stuff.

My favorite cottonwood tree stood behind an apartment complex I used to live in. A path was being cut into a small cottonwood forest to provide a nature trail and allow for improvements in local habitat. There was a small stream that used to be a larger river. Local groups were trying to spruce it up in the hopes that salmon would one day be able to travel there to spawn. Salmon stocks have been dwindling year after year, so this is very important and much appreciated work.

Compared to all the other trees in the area, this one was gargantuan. Since these trees mature at 60 years old and can live to be 200, it was most likely over a half century old. With all the logging this area is known for and the other changes that have happened, it was amazing to see a long-lived tree like that.

Unfortunately, this tree sat right at the entrance of the soon to be created path. There was no reason to rehome it, since there is no shortage of cottonwood trees here. Plus, that would likely have cost a great deal, and it certainly wouldn’t have been easy to transport. Instead they cut it down.

The trunk was very wide, so climbing up on it was difficult, especially since it had just rained. (It has almost always ‘just rained’ here.) I had planned to walk the whole length of it, but changed my mind when I looked in front of me. The top disappeared into the forest, and I couldn’t tell what kind of hazards might be there. I also didn’t want to slip and break an ankle.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen this tree be eaten by plants and wildlife alike. So while I think it is a shame to have lost such a tree, I keep in mind that it was only able to grow so large because other forest inhabitants had added their nutrients to the soil.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Mino Re

Owen here! Today I’d like to introduce you to the work of Mino Re, of Innovative Stone Arts.

Mino Re works in cast stone, oils, and carved acrylic. I am personally drawn to his work by the intricate and delicate knotwork that is carved and molded into stone. He does classic knotwork with lovely innovations – beautiful fluid lines; figures and shapes that are modern yet still distinctly celtic.

From his Etsy page, he explains a bit about his history:

I create original, affordable, unique stone art for home and garden. I find inspiration in intricate geometries like Celtic knots, fractals, spirals, and paisleys. These become decorative elements applied to my sunfaces, whimsical creatures, and interpretations of historical statues and antiquities.

I was born in Italy and learned from my father, an expert sculptor and painter. I worked in the field of architectural precast for thirty years, designing and engineering solutions for new construction and restoration. My art is now my focus, and I enjoy sharing my work at shows as well as on Etsy.

In addition to my cast stone, I work in other media as well: oil paintings, drawings in pencils and charcoals. If you’re interested in learning more about how I create my art, visit my website and blog at www.innovativestoneart.com or convo me and ask a question!

My favorite Mino Re design is this gorgeous tiger, a stone plaque cast from a plaster mold. You can see more examples of his designs here, including some that are for sale.

When presented with beautiful, complicated work, it is easy to imagine that the artist behind it simply popped into existence with highly polished skills. They snap their fingers and poof! A new masterpiece appears. This is easily disproven when given the chance to view the work that goes into creating a piece of art.

Thankfully in Mino Re’s case, he provides a thorough explanation of how some of his pieces have come together. He also has a blog where he posts photos of his work in progress – so you can see for yourself how the complexity arises!

For more, you can visit Mino Re’s:

Etsy Page
Website
Blog

 

Bumblepost: Learning Celtic Art – Suggested reading

Hi! Owen here! I want to take a minute to babble at you about learning how to make Celtic art. Specifically, about how I learned to make it.

Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
– Written by George Bain

I started learning about Celtic art a few years ago when I stumbled across a very helpful book. “Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.” It was written by a teacher named George Bain. He traveled around Europe finding examples of knotwork and recording them. He also did a lot of research into how and why it was made, at a time when there was a lot of scholarly disinterest. (Among other reasons, scholars dismissed celtic art as having merely been copied over from the art of other cultures.)

This book contains information on knotwork, plants, animals, and humans. It also has a section on a few different calligraphy fonts. The illustrations are large and, despite being in black and white, are easy to follow. Most of the text is hand lettered as well, which is charming. I personally miss seeing that in texts.

The step by step instructions in this book are easy for people who prefer to skip over written text when learning. So if you are the type to go from picture to picture when assembling pre-designed furniture, that should be a plus!

2. A Beginner’s Manual
– Written by Aidan Meehan

There are a whole lot of very interesting and helpful books written by Aidan Meehan, but I think the very first of his books will be the most useful to start with.

In “A Beginner’s Manual,” Aidan Meehan provides very clear and easy to read step by step instructions. The pictures are very easy to make out. There is more reading involved here in the instructions than in “The Methods of Construction,” but the pace of instruction is also a bit slower. I think it works well.

Once you finish this one, there are a ton of other books on every conceivable subject regarding knotwork. (Note: I haven’t read all of these, though I intend to once I can get my hands on them!)

Lastly, I want to show some of my older knotwork pictures. I have plenty of newer stuff I’ll be showing off soon, but I thought it would be fun to pull up a few of my older examples from Zazzle. I made these while first learning with “The Methods of Construction.”

First, some round tile pieces that I decided to experiment painting gradients with.

These last two are transgender symbol designs. I saw there were plenty of trans symbols making their way around the internet, but they all seemed to be the same – either black and white, or with a colorful photoshopped gradient. I wanted to see other kinds, and so here are some of mine:

BumblePost: Owen’s got some stuff in the store!

Mr. Bumblepants here! When not scarfing down candy corn with Cadaver Dave or marveling at all the glorious Halloween decorations around town, I’ve been pretty busy making art. (But not too busy! Rest is important!) After much help from Tod with getting all the photographs and setting up my products, I am the proud new owner of a section in the Storydragon Store.

You can find a few things here:

Owen’s Art

And now a  little about my journey with art. I’ve had an interest in art for most of my life, but did not have much access to good instruction until about five years ago. That is when I met my husband, Tod Wills. He introduced me to a number of creative people both locally and online. The welcome I have received has been nothing short of astounding. If making art taught me nothing else, knowing how good and loving people can be would have been worth it alone.

I started out learning how to do basic drawing. My proportions were quite bad, and what I produced I wasn’t happy with. I challenged myself to show off my art no matter what state it was in, and the critiques I received were extremely helpful. Other people have been able to point out things that I would have taken many more years to learn on my own.

Over time I have also tried my hand at a lot of different forms of art. I used my previous sewing experience to make puppets with Tod. (Which also led to my discovery of puppetry, something I love doing!) I stumbled onto celtic art through a chance encounter at the library (the most magical of places!). In the oversize section I found a book by George Bain called “Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.” It clicked with me more than anything else! Now whenever I try out a new art form, I always try incorporating knotwork into it.

After my first attempt at selling art, I had to take a very long break. I eventually got out of this by deciding to draw only one thing: Red pandas. They made me happy. They helped me to not be anxious. Eventually I was able to move on. I tried and failed at woodworking, while playing with a whole lot of things.

Most recently, I came across hot glue art – something I would never have imagined existed. I’d seen some quick fun holiday crafts done with it, and decided to try my hand at it. I loved the result, and decided to try adding it to the woodworking skills I’ve already been building. I also managed to acquire some tools that were sharper and easier to handle. Something magical clicked then, and suddenly I can’t stop making art. My anxiety disorder continues to exist, but it no longer affects my productivity with art. I found my niche!

To conclude, I want to say that I feel very grateful and happy to be able to make beautiful things. I hope they bring you joy!

Have a creative day!
– Mr. Bumblepants