Bats! The Die Fledermaus Opera Crown is complete

JFries Die Fledermaus 11.2019 banner

It’s done!

I’m sorry for having dropped off the planet for a while there, but the Die Fledermaus Crown ended up consuming me entirely as it finally took shape. Pop-up technical issues had to be solved. Last-minute design edits happened. Inevitabilities had to be accepted and let go.

And so I present the first studio photos of the Fantasy Opera Crown of Die Fledermaus (music by Johann Strauss, bats by me). BEHOLD!

This might be the single craziest object I have ever made, and I am rather pleased with it, if I do say so myself. I plan more polished photos, maybe a few cards and posters, a video showing off its details such as the gold and silver origami moths and stars. You can wear this on your head – have I mentioned that? I wonder who among my friends I can con into modeling it for me…

While completing the crown, I also finished my autumn-themed sketchbook/journal and began a series of autumn leaf specimen collages for the Botanicals series. I’ll post about those soon.

It’s good to be back. Now to clear the decks for the next projects.

JFries futility of human endeavor 11.23.19

Anyway… See you all soon.

JFries Die Fledermaus 11.2019 banner2

Deadline Slightly Blown: Zines, Loose Ends, and Something to Wear

As mentioned in my last entry, I was sick through much of October and had just over one week to try to complete four weeks of projects. I did better than I thought I would, and I’ve decided to cheat slightly by extending the spooky season to the end of this weekend, to finish a few things and tie off those loose ends.

Completed in October proper, two zine-type books: 

– “Masquerade,” featured last week, a book about masks, disguises, and false fronts. The hand-typed text is taken from dictionary clippings and famous quotes, and the illustrations are paper collage.

– “On the Emergence of Ghosts,” a mini collection of monotype prints. These are some of my favorites from a recent printmaking session. I first made the Rorschach-like blot prints with ultramarine blue acrylic paint on sketch paper. Then, before the paint was fully dry, I took a ghost print from the blot by laying over another piece of paper and folding and pressing it again.

Still progress from October:

– “Cemetery Dance,” a zine on a memento mori theme with quotes from Shakespeare.

– Mini mask cards, just some small toys.

– Die Fledermaus Crown, a piece of wearable art. This was my big project for the month, and I’m amazed I was able to get it about 80% done in a week. I wanted something wearable for Halloween, but I’ve been a little off masks; I need to think about them some more. Then the words “bat” and “crown” popped into my head. The first-draft idea was Dracula-esque, then it evolved into a kind of naturalist ode to bats, but you know what? It’s a bat crown. It’s neither possible nor appropriate for such a thing to be dark or quiet or serious. So it ended up inspired by the frilly, fizzy, champagne-popping operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, the Viennese Waltz King. I figure it will be just as appropriate for New Year, which is when most opera companies perform Die Fledermaus. Maybe I’ll do a series of opera crowns. The Magic Flute is starting to suggest itself.

In any event, the crown still needs a little construction. The stars, moon, and moths need to be added. And it needs color because, yes, it’s going to be in color. But I decided it looks mad enough to share.

If I can finish these by end of Sunday, I will call October a technical success and take a few days off.

Die Fledermaus Crown in progress


On the Emergence of Ghosts


And also…

Milkweed pods from the garden

JFries milkweed pods 11.2.19
JFries milkweed pod 11.2.19
JFries milkweed seed 11.2.19

A stormy day over the Tobin Bridge, with cormorant in foreground

JFries Tobin Bridge with cormorant 10.28.19

Sunlight through a maple leaf

JFries maple leaf 11.2.19

The same sunlight on a little black cat, Junior Studio Assistant, Scipio

JFries Scipio in studio 11.2.19