Monthly Archives: March 2010

Thinking about Baba Yaga

Here’s a little poem I wrote.  It was a good exercise to think about her attributes and what she represents as a character.  Also allowed me to think about key images in the story.

Baba Yaga

Slavic hag alone

Iron teeth eat dirt, flesh, and bones

Yearning in secret

Chicken talons scratch

Matryoshka open up and hatch

Smell of wet basement


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Renew, Regenerate, Recreate

Look who popped up to say "hi."

Today feels like spring has finally come to Iowa:   it’s spring break, temp is in the 60’s, sunshine, Ben is off from work, and to top it all off, the kids are visiting Grammy for a few days.  Whew, after that long winter, I’m starting to feel like a human again.

I have been doing some work on the puppet performance of a Baba Yaga tale that I am trying to put together.  I met with Monica, puppeteer and freelance artist, last week to get some tips about techniques for building puppets and rehearsing.

Tomorrow my good friend, Kelly, is coming over to brainstorm some song ideas with me.  She wrote a fantastic song about Bruce Aune, local news caster extraordinaire. She is so creative and fun, can’t wait to get together.  We are hoping to perform the show for her 4th grade students.

Here is what I have been up to when not outside enjoying this gorgeous weather . . .

Here's Bony Legs' (Baba Yaga's) head. I papermåched over a styro-foam ball. Eventually, she is going to be a hand puppet.

I've set up the dining room as my workspace. Don't need to worry about fixing meals for the kids, yay!

The cat body fresh out of the oven. I made an armature out of tinfoil, and modeled sculpey over the armature. I am hoping to attach the head (papermached)with a spring and use string to connect the feet to the body. One rod will go in the center of the body.

Ok, off for a walk and then sushi.  Enjoy your day!

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Bagel Faces – by Eliott & Thisbe


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Crafternoon Sisters

One should never underestimate the power of strong and creative women getting together to make things!  That’s what “crafternoon” is all about.  We were founded by the queen of all things crafty, Blythe!

Here’s some of us a few weekends ago making food to freeze for Liz before her baby came.  I guess it worked; she went into labor the next day.  They named their baby Cora Trinidad- how beautiful is that???!!!

Get your craft on!

Sophie, host of this gathering, has an amazing apartment – total source of inspiration.  Here’s her mantel.

It all works togehter so well!


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Magic Lantern

I collect old view finders, toy cameras, and mini toy t.v. view finders.  So when I saw there was a collection at the UI Special Collections called “George Elmer Magic Lantern Slide Collection,” I had to find out more.

After researching the topic I found out that the Magic Lantern or Lanterna Magica was an early prototype to the first slide projector.  They were produced from the 17th up through the early 20th centuries, were the forerunners of slide projectors, used for visual entertainment in theaters and elsewhere.  In the case of the “George Elmer” collection, they were used to supplement church sermons in Mississippi.

And get this, the company that sold and rented the equipment, slides, and sermon guides was out of Davenport, Iowa — the Ryan Lantern Slide Production.  (UI Special Collections also has a collection devoted to the guy, Viktor Ryan, who founded the company.)  Who would have guessed!

The slide series I looked at the “Starlight and Sunlight” series.  The sermons that went along with it “trace thru (sic.) the ages the gradual increase of the light of the knowledge of God.”  I especially liked the slides of the creation, the garden of Eden, and the fall from grace.  The slides look like reproductions of lithographs and are hand tinted.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a “magic lantern” to view them with, so I had to just hold them up to the light to look at them.  I would have LOVED to see them projected.  Supposedly there is a box of stuff in the basement of the library that old George use to carry around with him.  If I ask “Sid” I might be able to see it.

Here’s an image I found online –the slides I looked at weren’t as exciting as this devil projection.

I love the theatricality of these magic lanterns, that they were used as part of performance.  I am going to tuck away the idea of using these old-timey slides for a shadow puppet show or for an outdoor magic lantern party.

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