Jess Hutch.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

3D on 2D

Surprised you there, didn't I? I'm always going on and on ad nauseum about 2D on 3D, like my embroidered dolls. There was a great post on whip up about these types of dolls back in May.

I'm now extending my obsession to include 2D items that depict a 3D environment. Of course, the most common example of this is... a photograph, but I'm particularly interested in photographs of fully manufactured 3D environments and figures. The most exciting examples I've found of this type of image include of course Dare Wright's Lonely Doll series of books, and old viewmaster fairy tale reels (like this one), and your typical lenticular postcard. Rose of the wonderful Crafty McGee blog recently posted about vintage children's books with 3D illustrations, created by a company called Shiba Productions (the one of the kid astronauts is amazing).

Given my interest in this sort of thing, I was so thrilled recently to discover the work of Bill Sass and Maxwell Dorne, artists of the 50s & 60s who created "Claytoons", exemplified by these incredible Gay Nineties "Snack Mats" I found on eBay recently (inspired by a similar purchase by Kallisti of blastmilk, an amazing doll blog). They also created the 3D and 2D illustrations in this Mother Goose book I purchased (for nuthin') from alibris, along with many other children's books of that period. I'd like to learn more about Sass and Dorne, if anyone knows anything - I can't really find anything online.

Oh, and then I came across the work of Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio, through Penelope Dullaghan's Illustration Friday site - she interviewed him a while back and showed some of his work. I'm stunned by his stuff. I have always loved stop-motion, particularly the Rankin-Bass holiday movies, and his images really depict that same beautiful world that clearly exists in "real life", although it is not depicting anything real or alive. Just wonderful.

Did I happen to mention that this stuff makes me a bit giddy? My primary creative joy these days comes from making toys and taking photos of toys in various environments - I'm looking forward to doing more of this, and these examples really inspire me.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


two close up
Here's the other piece I did for the Junc Gallery show. I made the figure, then drew a picture of him, and placed a knitting graph on top of the drawing (in photoshop) and figured out an intarsia chart for him. Then I knitted for just about ever. Again with the 3D/2D thing, yeah?

twoI really like the colors on this one. Pink and orange together is one of my favorite color combinations, but I felt like I needed to temper it with a bit of grayish blue-green. Click on the photos for larger versions, if you like.

In other news, I've recently learned to silkscreen. This tutorial by Shannon Gerard helped a lot. So did having a husband who knows what he's doing... thanks Jeff. I'm hoping to have something to show for all the mess in a bit! I definitely recommend learning a new skill this summer, it's nice for a change of pace. Going from knitting toys (which take me between 4 and 8 hours, depending on the toy) to the nearly instantaneous results of silkscreening is such a joy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

good mail

I've had a few good mail days - lots of fun stuff has made its way through the USPS to my humble abode. Here's a glimpse:

(top left) Here's the poster Dan Goodsell made from my photo of his Mr. Toast toys! Seeing this was pretty thrilling. Thanks for sending me some, Dan! He's going to have these at his booth at the Comic Con in San Diego this year.

(bottom) A wonderful coloring book by vegasandvenice. I had such a great time with my coloring books as a kid, so this brings back some good memories. The envelope was so sweet, too, with little drawings and v.andv.'s great handwriting. You can purchase one from her etsy shop (it looks like she's nearly out though!).

(top right) A t-shirt hand-silkscreened by Jodi Green, an artist who has designed some beautiful knitted garments for knitty. I purchased this lovely shirt from her etsy shop. She says that it is "inspired by the pattern on [her] favorite polyester dress from the 60s." The buttery, tangeriney color (with the light blue and red print) is perfect for summer. And hey, it's nice and WARM in SF these days, amazing.

How great is etsy, by the way? I love to browse all the shops, there are some really great items to be had, direct from the maker.

And of course, I get to look forward to mail yet to come... Hillary's pattern booklet will be available tomorrow! I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


A few months back, one of the kind folks at the Junc Gallery in Los Angeles, CA asked me to contribute a few pieces to an upcoming group sculpture show. I was glad to oblige, and here's one of the strange knitted tableaux that I contributed. I'll show the other one in a bit.

This one is inspired by the colors in a 1940s-era landscape print Jeff and I recently purchased at a thrift store in the Central Valley. Sort of naturey... but more intense than nature. Although I took the photo of the piece laying on the ground, it's meant to be displayed with the knitted backdrop hanging on the wall, with the four toys standing against it on a shelf positioned just below the backdrop.

The show (it's called "Cast") opens this weekend (Saturday the 17th) - if you are in or around LA, check it out! They've started posting photos some of the other pieces that will be in the show, and they are incredible. Here's a full list of the other artists contributing to the show: Evah Fan, Gary Garay, Jungmin Koh, Albert Reyes, Florencio Zavala, Rachell Sumpter, Luke Ramsey, Patrick Roberts, Esther Watson, Mark Todd, and Mari Araki. Fantastic!

A close up of some of the figures:

Click on the photos for larger versions. Deeply #1!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

more mr. toast

toast adventure
OK, it's getting a bit dusty in here, isn't it? Sorry about the long breaks, I just needed some time to concentrate and get down to business. I'll be sharing some images of recent projects in the next week or so.

Here's one of 'em - a few months ago, Dan Goodsell of asked me (along with some other folks) to take photos of a toy based on his comic strip character Mr. Toast. I talked about that photo here. I had so much fun with it, so I was thrilled when he asked me to take some more. Here's one of my faves, it's of five little Toast toys strolling (or marching perhaps?) down a forest path. I did a little trickery after the photo was taken to give it a kind of vintage summer camp brochure feel (really, I just made it a little yellower). Dan's going to have a booth at the Comic Con in San Diego this year and he's using this photo on a poster, which is super neat.

Taking photos of posed toys is one of my favorite things to do. There are some flickr groups that feature this sort of photo, The Secret Life of Toys being one of the best (let me know if you know of others!). Some of my favorite photos in this group are by an artist named snailbooty. They're so strange, and very moving.