Jess Hutch.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

happy halloween

Thanks for all the supportive comments regarding my fascination with the hideous, um, marvelous 70s Victorian revival. Shash asked if my apartment is decorated in that style - the answer is no (or, perhaps, "not yet"). Jeff and I employ an interior decorating scheme I like to call "Trash Americana": monster toys, thrift store paintings, art made by us and by friends, old transistor radios, religious statues, red light bulbs, etc. It's not as extreme as Pee-Wee's Playhouse, of course, but it's still pretty fun. It shows up in some of my photos, like this one, and here, and here. Perhaps one of these days I will do a whole post on our little museum of strange. I think a dash of neo-Victoriana would work well in our home - perhaps a garish needlepoint pillow or two?

Speaking of Jeff (my husband, Jeff Heermann), he drew the comic you see above a few days ago. It's so perfect for the holiday (monsters are the reason for the season, after all) that I asked him if I could share it. So here it is - you can see it bigger on flickr here. I love it, it's so Jeff. Check out this one, too, it's just as funny. Have a spooky Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 30, 2006


I confessed in a recent post to loving the Victorian revival of the 60s and 70s. I mean, I even love the movies Pollyanna and Hello, Dolly primarily for their garish ersatz Victorian costumes and sets. Marvelous.

So of course I was thrilled to find the Fall-Winter 1971 issue of McCall's You-Do-It Decorating magazine on a recent thrift store trip, because the lead story is "How To: Have the Victorian Look." Oh yes, tell me more!

Of course it's just how you imagine it, the height of seventies overkill combined with the excesses of the Victorian period - now THAT'S inspiration. These images just seem like the right thing to show at Halloween - they're like the decor in a Vegas haunted house. Please take a look... if you dare!

The top image is decribed in the magazine as "a typical ante-bellum parlor" that can be reproduced by "aficionados of the opulent look prevalent" in the Victorian era. I like the needlepoint chair upholstery, and the framed photos, but that color scheme - ouch! I think I'd go insane.

The bottom image really takes the neo-Victorian cake, though. Lordy. I can't believe I'm about to admit this, but I kind of dig it. The steel rocking chair is kind of inspired, and the red in that velveteen upholstery on the sofa is pretty fantastic. I even think the shag carpet works.

The article accompanying these images attempts to explore the meaning of the early 70s Victorian revival: "What is it that makes some aspects of Victorian decor so appealing today? ... Could we, perhaps, subconsciously be seeking a return to stability in our own lives by turning to styles and fads from an era when existence was more secure?" Oh, Ms. Seventies McCall's writer, don't overthink it - we love Neo-Victoriana because it's nutty, extreme, and colorful. I say, let's bring back the bars with lots of brass and ferns and flocked wallpaper, and the high-necked polyester dresses. Who's with me?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Oh, Ohio.

This picture pretty much sums up what keeps me coming back to southeast Ohio - apart from the fact that my family lives there, and has for a long time - the golden light, the old graves, the trees, the open spaces. On the afternoon I took this photo, Jeff and I walked through the town, through dead leaves on old sidewalks warped by the roots of old trees, and I thought about all the many people in my family who had lived and worked and died there. You can't help but think about these things in old towns where you have some personal history - memories surround you.

So now I'm back, and gearing up for more projects - stay tuned! But I miss the trees, those beautiful golden trees.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

what I did on my fall vacation

Hi there, I'm back. I was on vacation in beautiful southeastern Ohio. I got a cold when I was there, and I almost recovered this week, then out of nowhere it took a turn for the worse. So now I'm sprawled on the couch, drinking water and cursing my upper respiratory tract. I'm going to take a break for a few more days and get over this evilness.

When I get back I'll share photos from my trip - as a preview, here's one of my faves, of Ash Cave. Isn't it lovely?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

another wee break

I know I'm not posting super frequently these days, but it's about to get a little less frequent - I've got to take a wee 2 week break. Have a wonderful, lovely 2 weeks!

Oh, and thanks for the wonderful comments about my toy!

Monday, October 02, 2006


fall toy full
It seems so dark and chilly in SF these days. OK - it's often chilly in SF. But really, although we don't have the spectacular seasonal changes that those of you in other parts of the world get to experience, you can just tell when summer's fading and the colder, darker months are coming. I love this time of year, so I'm not complaining - after all, I'm a fall baby.

So I made this gal to honor and celebrate the season - note the fall colors, and the mohair scarf. Also, note the extremely enlongated body! I'm really pleased with this. Ever since I decided to sit down and really design some toys - a few years ago - I've been doodling fellows with extremely long bodies, little round heads, and arms and legs stuck way down low on the body. And up till now I'ver never made one, for one reason or another - but here she is! Very strange but pleasing in some odd way, don't you think?

More photos on my flickr page (just click on the photo above to get to them).