Ysengrin cheated a bit.
Instead of posting a picture of 31 Dec 2006,
he's posted one for 01 Jan 2007.
24 Dec 2006
17 Dec 2006
10 Dec 2006
03 Dec 2006
Mushrooms (Coprinus disseminatus) growing from a fallen redwood at Big Basin Redwood State Park in California. The park is just a few miles away from us here in Boulder Creek, and Ysengrin visits it fairly regularly.
Location (approx.): 37° 10' 13.2" N, 122° 13' 26.0" W
26 Nov 2006
The Texas Star stands over the Texas State Fair midway, and is still the largest existing Ferris wheel in the United States at 212 feet (65 m) in diameter. It was built in 1986.
There used to be a really phenomenal double Ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair called the Sky Wheel, two fifty-foot wheels on either end of a long boom (somewhat like a figure eight). No pictures of this one, and despite comments on the web that it was closed in 1957 (after an accident that killed one in 1955) Ysengrin remembers the Sky Wheel still in operation in the 1960's.
The original Ferris wheel, at the World's Colombian Exposition (Chicago, 1892-1893), was 250 feet in diameter. The London Eye is currently the world's largest Ferris wheel (443 feet), though it prefers to be referred to as an "observation wheel."
Location of Texas Star: 32° 46' 36.3" N, 96° 45' 33.2" W
19 Nov 2006
Jumbo, AKA Mammoth, a massive bronze by sculptor Tom Tischler, standing outside the Dallas Museum of Natural History at Fair Park.
Location: 32° 46' 42.6" N, 96° 45' 46.4" W
12 Nov 2006
29 Oct 2006
22 Oct 2006
A friend loaned us a set of lifecast hyena jaws (in hard foam) so we could make a silicone mold from them; here's a resin pull from the molds. The linked image shows both sets.
While our friend is interested in a 'yena head using the jaws, we've also pulled individual teeth to add to the teeth we have to build other jawsets from. EDIT: I assumed incorrectly; our friend isn't the original source for the jaws, so we'll not be selling the jawsets.
15 Oct 2006
08 Oct 2006
Remember the red wolf head, hands & feet shown earlier? Here's the completed costume - Sinder. He was attending King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts this weekend. Sinder made the bodysuit and the armor.
Sinder has also said he'll be doing commissioned armor - for now, drop us (RWP) a line and we'll get you in touch with him.
01 Oct 2006
10 Sep 2006
We recently visited the La Brea Tar Pits and the adjacent George C. Page museum, down near Los Angeles. This is a photo of their Dire Wolf exhibit; the skeletons were reconstructed from bones found in the tar pits.
03 Sep 2006
There's a little museum down in Culver City, California, whose exhibits deal will all sorts of odd and unusual phenomona, art and folklore. It's The Museum of Jurassic Technology, the brainchild of David Hildebrand Wilson, and it's well worth the visit. This particular image is a model of Athanasius Kircher's Magnetic Oracle, based on this 1654 engraving.
13 Aug 2006
The famous Cats of Los Gatos, Leo and Leona, grace the entrance to the former estate of Col. Erskine Scott Wood. They are the creation of Berkeley sculptor Robert Trent Paine, who was commissioned in 1920 to do The Cats (also known as The Waking Cats); living in a small wooden studio on the estate while working on the project, which reportedly took two years. The Cats were cast in place in 1922, are made of poured concrete, and stand roughly eight feet tall. The gate between them was added many years later, and the names Leo and Leona came from one of the later owners of the estate, sometime after 1955. As you look at The Cats from the road, Leo, the sleepy one, is on the right and Leona, who's more awake, is on the left. They've survived several attempts at vandalism, as the missing tip of Leo's ear shows.
Robert Paine invented a pointing device for the accurate mechanical enlargement of sculpture models, and also created a fountain at the north end of the lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts for the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco. I don't know if this fountain is still there (or not). The City of Los Angeles commissioned Robert to do a bronze bas relief for City Hall, and a 19 foot plaster of Paris model of his design was exhibited in November, 1945; work on the bas relief never progressed further. Robert Paine died in 1946.
06 Aug 2006
09 Jul 2006
We hit the Pacific across the July 4th weekend; this guy was in one of the tidepools near Pescadero Point. Ysengrin is pretty sure this is a Striped Shore Crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes), but if any of you can identify it for certain, drop us a email. Note the two barnicles attached to the shell.
Location: 37° 14' 38.9" N, 122° 25' 08.3" W
02 Jul 2006
25 Jun 2006
18 Jun 2006
11 Jun 2006
04 Jun 2006
28 May 2006
21 May 2006
23 Apr 2006
More sculptures this week; this time a trio of bears in front of Colton Hall in Monterey, California. The sculpture was placed in 2000 and is named The Grizzly Bear and her Cubs, aka The California Grizzlies; the artist was Kris Swanson. The grizzly bear - appearing on the California flag in 1846 and chosen as the official emblem in 1911 - was hunted to extinction in the state by 1924.
The original web pages detailing the construction of the piece are gone, but can still be seen via the Internet Wayback Machine here. Be warned that it's slow.
Location: 36° 35' 51.2" N, 121° 53' 50.0" W
16 Apr 2006
This is the statue of Santa Rosalia overlooking Monterey harbor, just to one side of the old fisherman's wharf. The inscription on the base reads:
09 Apr 2006
02 Apr 2006
This is the Custom Building in Monterey, California, built in 1827 when California was part of Mexico. On 7 July 1846 Commodore John Sloat landed here, raised the American flag and declared the conquest of California for the United States. It should also be remembered that four years before, on 19 October 1842, Commodore Thomas Ap Catesby Jones also landed here and claimed California, but had to give it back two days later as the United States was not at war with Mexico at that time.
Location: 36° 36' 11.9" N, 121° 53' 36.6" W.
26 Mar 2006
Who says California is always sunny? This was a heavy thunderstorm moving out to sea down in Santa Cruz. That's Walton Lighthouse and Seabright Beach.
We've had quite a few storms this year, including some snow. In the past month, we've been without power about five days, spread through several outages.
Location: 36° 57' 40.6" N, 122° 00' 10.6" W
19 Mar 2006
Here's a fresh set of hind paws; the right one is still sealed in the mold, the left has just had the top of the mold removed. You can see the flashing around the paw from the seam between the mold halves. The excess around the top of the paw will be cut away; it's done to keep the latex pours from finding their way down the outside of the paw.
12 Mar 2006
05 Mar 2006
What happens when the mold we make from the original sculpture wears out or is damaged? Well, we take the master pull - usually the first pull from the original mold - and make a new mold from it. Notice the keys and screwdriver slots ... and the joining surface is not flat, but was shaped by hand to follow the curves of the fingers.
19 Feb 2006
This shows the back half of a sculpture being molded - it's easier to see what's going on in the linked picture. The front half of the ultracal mold is done; notice the keys around the edge. The shims have been pulled out of the mold, and a clay dam built around the base of the sculpture to make the lip of the mold.
12 Feb 2006
05 Feb 2006
We didn't take very many pictures at this year's FC - compared to previous years - but here's a shot of Wildfox and Ysengrin. For the record - Wildfox's fursuit isn't one of ours (he's the work of our friends at Arend Studios) and Ysengrin's beard is real.
FC - Further Confusion - is held in San Jose, California each year.
29 Jan 2006
This is the front of the Winchester Mystery House, Sarah Winchester's thirty-eight year, twenty-four hours a day construction project. Winchester House is a wonderful inspiration for many haunted houses (including Steven King's Rose Red), though reports of hauntings in the house are rare. Mrs. Winchester quietly passed away in her bedroom in 1922, becoming the only known death in the house.
The house was almost demolished at one point, but is now being operated as a tourist attraction, with several guided tours offered (including a seasonal flashlight tour). Winchester Mystery House is in San Jose, California, and is no longer surrounded by orchards.
Location: 37° 19' 05.5" N, 121° 57' 03.7" W
22 Jan 2006
15 Jan 2006
Just a little ways down from us on Highway 9 is the Brookdale Lodge, supposedly haunted by the ghost of Sarah Logan (among others). This is the exterior of the Brook Room, originally built in the 1920's and rebuilt after a fire in the 1950's. The room was built to include an existing stream, which runs through the middle of the room to this day. This stream is also where Sarah Logan drowned in the 1940's.
Guests (and staff) have reported seeing the ghost of Sarah on several occasions, the lodge was featured on an episode of Haunted History, and at one point a ghost tour was being organized. The present owners downplay the reports.
Location: 37° 06' 26.3" N, 122° 06' 34.5" W
08 Jan 2006
An anonomyous surfer enjoys the good weather off Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz today.
01 Jan 2006
Lance Pope's final resting place. No marker stone here, just a stuffed lion and a little pumpkin. Together they stand for Lance pretty well.
There is a memorial stone for Lance out at Thrillvania.