The LairShops Beckon
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Lenses Added to the Mix...
Topic: Promoting LairShops
Have you seen our collection of Squidoo lenses yet, LairCronies? We've got four up so far, one for each of our Basic LairShops! We still need to make one for our Premium LairShop, The Lair of Cards; and perhaps one for our Imagekind gallery, LithicStock, as well. I'd best add the above Profile link to this blog's Links column too, while I'm at it. I just hope I can get our Photostock gallery up and running again (the subscription ran out, and I can't afford the renewal/upgrade fee yet), and get that pimped in a lens when said renewal takes effect.
Meanwhile, I'd like to show y'all our new wall calendars, Complete with links to their sale pages--just click on the images!
"New Eireann" has Original photos, mostly from the 2006 trip, including the Bishop's Manor ruin, prehistoric tombs, and other somewhat-Esoteric things that you don't normally see on an Irish scenes calendar (for example, I have yet to get a Decent shot of the Cliffs of Moher--LOL). "Look Out Below" is all Aerial photos--a combination of North Atlantic ice sheets from 2006, and overland winter shots of the Cascades mountain range, midwestern plains, and other scenes I've snapped out of plane windows in 2007 and 2008.
Now, all I need is to (somehow!) embed a Scary Subliminal Message device on this here post, flashing "BUY! BUY! BUY!" into your subconscious every 100 nanoseconds or thereabouts...BWAAHAHAHAAA...!!!
*Calendar info cross-posted from our LiveJournal blog. *****
Friday, 6 February 2009
The LithicLair: What Came Out of an Ex-Housemate's Burning Man Trade Beads
Now Playing: Starbucks' PA System
Topic: Individual LairShops
Where did the ornaments in The LithicLair come from exactly, LairCronies?
I make these things out of Sculpey polymer clay: mixing different colors and shades (both for the ornament matrix and the colors used to fill in designs); rolling out batches onto the smooth side of a piece of artist's canvas; cutting them into quarter-inch-thick rounds with an old dental night-guard case; and etching Neolithic pottery motifs and Old European script characters into them with toothpicks, pencil tips and (for the really fine-pointed symbols) pins and needles. No wonder I need bifocals. Then, I bake these suckers, just like cookies, the first time, at about 325 Fahrenheit, for about 15 minutes. After they harden from an initial rubbery consistency (if I don't die from the fumes first), I usually fill in the etched-out motifs with various bright and dark colors of the same brand of polymer clay which will hopefully show up against the ornamental matrix; then bake 'em again. I like to call this "painting with clay." I have yet to try Fimo or other brands of polymer clay; I guess my Sculpey bias is showing.
My introduction to Sculpey came about sometime in the late '90's, when I still lived in a rooming house, shared with eight students and other folks, in Seattle's University District. One summer, one of my housemates was a young bohemian chick with long hair done in a mass of dreadlocks and braids; I've long forgotten her name. I found her sitting at our ramshackle little kitchen table one afternoon, twisting bits of polymer clay between her fingers and arranging them on a cookie sheet. She explained that she was heading down to the Burning Man Festival pretty soon; and she was making these beads to trade for other stuff once she got down there. She said she was using Sculpey polymer clay, and that it could be baked hard, once modeled, in a regular oven. I soon began wondering what I could possibly make with this sort of material. When I discovered and began tracing illustrations of Neolithic European decorated pottery, the swirling artistic designs I found therein spoke to me, and gave me an answer to this question.
I have been studying the ceramic art of Neolithic Europe for quite a few years since then, just on my own. Are Cucuteni painted ceramics the coolest pottery you've ever seen, or what? Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, I've seen many of the same motifs on Chinese ceramics from the same periods in prehistory. Versions of them can also be found on Russian and Ukrainian Easter eggs, African wood carvings, and artifacts from many other cultures across continents and historic/prehistoric periods.
Which brings us to the LithicLair images. My ornaments are each one of a kind; I'm not sure it's even possible to mass-produce these suckers. When I make one, I start out intending the design to look a certain way; but I've found that this art tradition emphasizes dynamism and continuous motion for a reason. As I'm working on a design, it seems to take on a life of its own, and comes out at the end of the process looking a good bit different than I intended it to look, though it's still a very nice result. Anyway, I've been seeking to share these designs, and the Neolithic tradition that inspired them, with the world at large; hence the scanning of the ornaments themselves, and giving their images various backgrounds by way of Photoshop Elements. For a while, I've been creating very synthetic, very "digital"-looking backgrounds; more recently, I've been experimenting with more naturalistic backgrounds constructed from images of stone walls, the trunks of trees, and such like.
Anyway, here are some of The LithicLair's products for your perusal, and hopefully purchase! Click on the images below to travel on to their product pages:
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Okay, Moving Along...
Now Playing: Bluebirds in Heaven - by Mascott
Topic: Individual LairShops
Well, on this, a cloudy Tuesday afternoon in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, I've been spending some time trying to sandwich the top photo between a couple of other images (via the Blog Builder's "Advanced Customization" tool), and only succeeded in messing up the main page layout a tad. Hence, hitting Cancel on these efforts, I've concluded that I still have a thing or two to learn about the code in Advanced Customization. Meanwhile, the content is what I really ought to be focussing on.
I want to begin by saying a word or two about the first LairShop we opened sometime around the turn of the millennium, Artifacts of the Lair. Its theme has always been a bit ill-defined; it's sort of, more-or-less, promoting Kari's Lair, though it may actually have predated this site. It's first images included a really rough version of the Official LairLogo; a quote from one of my original short stories, "The Young Clan Mother's Tale" (here is an excerpt from that Neolithic-inspired story); and our Wyoming sunset photo, taken in the late summer of 1988 on the ranch in Granger, Wyoming, where my first-ever contract archaeology crew was camped out. In other words, it was not the most sophisticated marketing effort ever. I was introduced to Cafepress stores by my friend, Seattle artist/photographer Shannon Kringen (of "Goddess Kring" fame), who also referred me to hang images at Art/Not Terminal Gallery, beginning in 2004.
In any case, Artifacts of the Lair was the beginning of my association, for better or worse, with the e-commerce phenomenon known as Cafepress. Now, if only they'd bring back HTML and paragraph spacing for the Basic shops' storefronts! I've been fighting with them over this for a couple of years now. Meanwhile, it will soon be time to update all the apparel-based shops for spring, including the addition of new black hooded sweatshirts. Anyway, here is a sampling of products available from this, our first-ever LairShop (click on the images for easy access to their LairShop pages!):
Friday, 9 January 2009
Greetings from LairShop Central!
Now Playing: Something by Willie Nelson
Topic: LairShop Blog Intro
Hello from Seattle, LairCronies! And a hearty welcome to the brand new LairShop blog, The LairShops Beckon! We at Kari's Lair felt a need for a kind of newsletter blog specifically to promote our lovely Cafepress LairShops, but wanted to control the format of this sucker--hence a blog, instead of an official Cafepress Newsletter!
In each future entry, we will be discussing and promoting different aspects of our LairShops, their available products, and the images featured on said products--including the processes that went into creating said products. However, on this, our first post, we'd just like to introduce you to the LairShops themselves, and to provide convenient LairLinks to each one:
- Artifacts of the Lair: Our first LairShop, featuring our Official LairLogo and other Digital artwork that promotes the crazy website known as Kari's Lair;
- The LithicLair: Neolithic LairShop: I've been studying the dynamic art forms of Neolithic Europe privately for many years; and a few years ago, I started experimenting with Neolithic symbols, designs and motifs while making original ornaments out of Sculpey polymer clay. Wanting to share these ornaments and their inspiration with the rest of the world, I scanned a bunch of them and gave them digital backgrounds. The results of some of these projects can be found on products here.
- Éireann85: This is a showcase of my favorite photos taken in Ireland, both South and North. My first trip there was during 1984-85, when I spent my third year of college studying in Dublin, and traveling around the country intermittently. My second trip was 21 years later, in 2006, when I spent a month traveling all over the island, visiting all the prehistoric sites and trad music sessions I didn't get around to on the first go-round.
- All Bunnyz, All the Time: This LairShop has a very different theme from all the others, dominated as it is by a very weird bunny pic that my Dad created on some primeval version of MS Paint a number of years ago, and emailed to me. I adapted it with a couple of new backgrounds, but kept the scary eyes and teeth. It has to be seen to be believed. Quirky, much...
- The Lair of Cards: This is our only Premium LairShop, and the only one with an all-paper-products focus. In this one, we borrow images from the other LairShops, but also use a large supply of other photos from Seattle, Ireland, Tennessee and elsewhere, as well as some of the digital art images. Here, you will find some of the prettiest notecards, posters, framed prints, calendars, stickers and greeting cards available anywhere on the internets!
Anyhow, this is our introduction to the LairShops we'll be busy promoting via this blog! In future posts, we'll provide logos and in-depth discussion on each of these shops, along with images of the actual products on offer. And there is a huge array of them, indeed! And, to share the Lair's Official Motto with all of you:
TOGETHER ACROSS THE WORLD!!
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