by Canadians.....okay, maybe it is just one....but it is a pretty powerful force to reckon with.
Ghoul Friday is here!
(black balloons and gray confetti fall from the sky while mornful party horns sound off in the background)
Some of you that have been here for a while (and heaven knows why you do) might remember last year I started the "Meet the Halloween Obsessed Blogger" thing....with full intention to do at least an interview a month. Well, we all know that did not happen. I cannot think of it now, but I pretty sure I had a good reason for dropping the ball. Or should I say skull, cause let's be honest, with this crowd if we were playing a game....we would be using a skull rather than a ball. :)
Where was I?
Oh, yeah, interviews. For those of you that missed them the supremely fabulous ShellHawk, The Captain and Mr. Macabre interviews. Thanks to them for helping me start the tradition that I will hopefully finish (Thanks to Grimlock Manor - his interview posts reminded me that I had contacted several bloggers and never got back to them.)
We could say I am doing this because I finally got off my behind....but the truth is it was a guilty conscience, some of you feel like friends (even though we have not met) and hate to let you down.
So the next victim, I mean friend who long ago volunteered to be tortured (interviewed) was my friend and extremely generous and talented Ghoul Friday....one of the first people in the blog world that found me and made me feel at home. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.
Welcome my fellow bloggers a little frog queen folly I like to call "meet the Halloween obsessed blogger" - and I mean that in the nicest way :)
This is opportunity for you to learn more about your favorite Halloween"ish" bloggers and me to get more information from them without making it look like the stalker that I am.
Our next victim, err, I mean volunteer is none other than the famous Ghoul Friday.
I know we have all been dying to find out how yet another seemingly normal person become obsessed with Halloween? (I mean "normal" in the no insulting way :D) There are a whole lot of other holidays, why the obsession with Halloween decorating?
To be fair, Christmas was actually my first obsession when it came to decorating, and we can blame my mother for that. Our entire house was transformed each year, and in her home a tree isn’t lit until it has over 1,000 mini lights on it. She taught me the joy of decorating in excess, and I carried on the tradition. One year I filled an entire room with cotton filling for snow, had two of those huge wooden deer, and dozens of star lights crisscrossing the ceiling to look like a wintery twilight in the forest.
While people enjoy elaborate Christmas scenes, they get uncomfortable when you incorporate dead things into it. Halloween was the natural progression once I had my own house to haunt.
How long have you been decorating for Halloween?
Technically, I’ve been decorating since elementary school, but I didn’t really get into large scale decoration annually until I left home more than a decade ago.
What was the first prop you ever made?
A life-size cardboard coffin when I was in the 5th grade. This was pre-internet, so I was pretty impressed with myself that I figured out how to do it by trial and error.
What is the first piece that you made to sell?
The peek-a-boo eyeball plants. Even then, I didn’t know if anyone would actually want to buy one.
Tell us your favorite thing about decorating for Halloween.
*hums & haws* Sheesh. Favorite thing. Favorite thing. Probably when I have part of something assembled for the first time, so it’s actually looking like something, and I have a moment of giddiness. It’s that sense of creating a creepy something out of nothing, and changing my world to match my imagination.
What prop are you the most proud of?
How much of the display do you change every year and when do you start planning?
Everything changes. I do a new theme every year. I try to incorporate items from previous years, or reinvent/repurpose them, but generally speaking all the key items end up being new creations.
I start officially planning in July or August, but I toss around ideas as early as the previous Halloween.
Where do you get your inspiration for Halloween decorating?
Most often new ideas spring up while I’m building decorations the year before. Or when I’m clearing out the house to donate items/throw things away, and suddenly that plastic tubing or old dress or broken cabinet door looks like something else, with the thought of “wouldn’t it be cool if…”.
Sometimes I get ideas from documentaries. An interesting factoid spins into a whole new story, and I follow the line of “what if” thinking to a destination.
And of course there’s loads of artists and haunters online who help keep me in the spirit year round.
New ideas for 2011? Are you trying something you have never done before?
Yes. And yes.
Most valuable piece of advice you would give to a fellow haunter?
Lists. Make them. Broken into 3 categories: must make, would like to make, could make. Focus on the must make first and maybe you’ll have time to get to some of those like-to-make items too.
How did you get started blogging and how long have you been blogging?
I started posting online back at the dawn of time when the Internet was still a fairly new thing in your average household. There were Halloween resources online, but they were hard to find or the sites themselves were so horribly made my computer would crash every 15 minutes or so (everybody was using those home-editing-web kits with every single clip art/flash abomination they could get their hands on. Couple that with pop-up ads and WHAMMO! Computer heart attack).
Since it took me so long to sort through the junk and find anything of value, I thought I would save other people the headache and post my findings online along with my own ideas or suggestions. That’s how it all started. But these days there are loads of fantastic resources online, my blog is now more about what I’m doing or what I’m interested in.
Favorite thing about blogging?
The satisfaction of helping or making someone else happy by posting something useful or silly.
Okay, I won't put you on the spot about your favorite blogs. But are there any blogs you want to recommend that maybe not all of us know?
Many of us run in the same circles, so it’s hard to think of who people might not know but should get to know. Off the top of my head, some possible lesser-knowns-worth-knowing :
http://gravecast.com/ where Morbius J Kromwell offers some great homemade haunter soundscapes for free.
Moving away from haunting but staying in the spirit of monster makers, http://www.kingunicorn.com/ has a main site filled with his creations and a blog http://kingunicorn.blogspot.com/ where he updates the latest & greatest of what he’s up to or inspired by.
http://paper.li/peanutgnome/ween Peanutgnome’s Halloween and Horror news site covers all things creepy. He also has vlogs through http://www.youtube.com/user/dEdmontonTV
And if you’re looking for monster fun coupled with the odd 80’s toy flashback, you might enjoy http://www.strangekidsclub.com/
Brains Vs. Coffee - what was the inspiration?
Being on twitter before I was fully awake. Seriously, it’s how it started. A simple tweet along the lines of “Cooooooooooffeeeee….coooofffffeeeeee….braaaaaiiins *shakes head* no, no…cofffeeee”. And then I started making tweets that joked about the similarities between being an undead being vs someone without caffeine in their system, and how coffee could replace the craving for brains, and added the hashtag #BrainsVsCoffee to it.
I’d usually start the day with it. And when I stopped making the jokes after a few days, people actually contacted me asking me where the daily BvsC comment was. So you can blame them.
Golden Gaze, Aucellus, Bosco, Oogie, Divinity (perfect name for plague doctor)….what is the inspiration for the clever names for your creations? Do they arrive with a story, or does that happen in the creative process?
Sometimes the story is first, sometimes the story comes near the end. Their name arrives somewhere in the middle, or it doesn’t come to me until I go to post it on the website (despite my constant nagging of the creature to just tell me its name!). It always comes from the character though, and even if I started with a name in mind, the creature might have different plans by the time we’re done.
You’re a bit of a “bazaar fly” – you seem to get out to quite a few of them -none close to me :( What is your favorite thing about showing your work out in the public, as opposed to just an Etsy shop?
You can’t beat selling your work in public. I’m spoiled and secretly (not so secretly anymore I suppose) dislike selling online (hence why I don’t often keep the store stocked, and why I close it up completely in the spring as I get ready for my fall shows). The only reason I ever opened my Etsy store was because of you and the other faithful friends & readers online who badgered me to do so because they lived far away and wanted to shop for my creations online.
Selling online reduces everything to a transaction. Even if it’s accompanied with lovely emails (which I am so grateful for, because it keeps me sane in the process), it remains an impersonal exchange. It’s a sale with the focus on making money. While I like money, and need money, and use money on a daily basis, it’s not why I sell my items. I mainly sell my items to support my habit *grin*: my art habit. I use the money to buy more materials so I can make something new. Besides, there isn’t enough room in my house to keep everything I make, so they have to leave the nest one way or another. Or I’d be the crazy monster figure lady. And Yetch would leave me because he wouldn’t be able to open the kitchen cabinets without monsters tumbling out in an avalanche.
There is a delicious ritual to getting ready for a show. It’s like a mini-Halloween for me. I decide what the table will look like, how to decorate it, what creatures will make an appearance, etc.
Then there’s the sense of community some shows have. While forums and blogs have blessed me with a supportive group of like-minded ghoulies, nothing beats being around your peers in person.
Shows allow you to see people react to your work, whether they are repulsed or confused or delighted or even squealing with joy. And best of all, you get to meet the people taking your babies home, and there’s satisfaction when you know they will be loved and taken care of, and knowing in some small way you’ve touched someone’s life.
How do you sleep in a house full of eyeball plants? :D
Ha! Most of the year, there’s only 2 or 3 kicking around until the big crop is harvested in the summer. But the majority of them are gone again by September (sold at the Festival of Fear in Toronto, part of FanExpo in August), and the rest disappear before Halloween (before the paranoia of being watched all the time sets in). It IS pretty neat to see 40+ of them on my dining room table all at once.
Do some of your creations cry when they are sold? Don’t get me wrong they could be tears of joy….but with those eyes they look like an emotional bunch. I imagine some of them are hard to part with.
It’s true, I’m often seen petting them on the head before I wrap them up to go off into the world, or I’m heard saying goodbye. Some of them look at me accusingly, while others are happy to spread mayhem elsewhere.
The ones I feel a real connection with never make it to the table.
Any skeletons in your closet?
There’s too many monsters in my closet to make room for skeletons. I keep my skeletons in the basement.
Do you carve pumpkins every year?
Every single year. Without fail.
Your least favorite thing about decorating for Halloween?
Taking it all down. And not because Halloween is over, but because it can take 14 hours to finish the job!
One thing you would do in your display/decorations if money were no object.
More money than brains? I would buy an old building, fly a team of my favorite haunters/artists in, and designate tasks that play to their strengths, give them a budget and creative freedom, and collaborate to build the ultimate haunted estate.
Ah, that was informatitve....I have learned that I need to move the skeletons to the basement, that will keep the fighting with the monsters to a miniumn. Wow, my house would be a lot quieter, might actually get some sleep. You are a genius!
Thanks for sharing my friend.....I look forward to your company for many years to come.
Okay - I am not going to give this up....I have at least one more interview that I promised to do....if she is still taking to me after abandoning her, she will be the next victim....after that we will have to wait and see.
Happy Haunting everyone!