Humpty Dumpty Circus


I the early 1900s traveling circuses entertained adults and children all over America.  Exploiting this popularity, a toy maker, A. Shoenhut from Philadelphia, created a line of toy circuses and figures.  He called it the Humpty Dumpty circus.  A. Shoenhut continues this line until he was forced to close shop during the Depression.

Au début des années 1900, les cirques itinérants amusaient les adultes et les enfants  de toute l’Amérique. Exploitant cette popularité, un fabricant de jouets, A. Shoenhut de Philadelphie, a créé une série de cirques et de figurines. Il l’a appelée le cirque Humpty. Dumpty. R. Shoenhut a produit cette ligne jusqu’à ce qu’il soit forcé de fermer boutique pendant la Dépression.


The Humpty Dumpty Circus included a huge collection of toy figures:  Clowns, ringmasters, animals and other performers dressed in brightly colored cloth costumes.  Surviving figures command high prices now for collectors.

Le Humpty Dumpty Circus comprenait une énorme collection de figurines: clowns, Monsieur Loyal, animaux et autres artistes vêtus de costumes de couleurs vives. Les personnages restant , valent maintenant des prix élevés pour les collectionneurs.

According to Jed Perl, author of the MOST EXCELLENT biography, Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898-1940, Alexander Calder played with the Humpty Dumpty Circus as a little boy.

Selon Jed Perl, auteur de l’excellentissime  biographie , Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898-1940, , Alexander Calder a joué avec le Humpty Dumpty Circus quand il était un petit garçon.

Here is my piece inspired by the Humpty Dumpty Circus:

Voici ma création inspirée du Humpty Dumpty Circus:


It is made with cardboard and cloth.  The figures are made with Sculpy and the clothes were sewn on with great difficulty.

Elle est faite de carton et de tissu. Les visages sont réalisés avec Sculpey et les vêtements ont été cousus avec beaucoup de difficulté.



Earlier, I wrote about how useful and fun canvas tarp material can be.  These patches were made with two pieces, decorated and sewn together with embroidery thread.

They’re fun to put on shirts, jackets and jeans.  Here’s a shirt I bought at a thrift store.  I replaced all the buttons and added a patch.



Little Books

Little Bood
Little book about Sue

When I get stuck for ideas, it helps me to create a project that’s easy, fun, and not too precious.


Making little books give you a lot of freedom in a very short format.  You can finish it in a couple of hours.book4cYou can be philosophical and serious, or you can be as silly and stupid as you want to be.book4dIt’s a lot of fun to make a little book about someone.  My partner was my inspiration in this case.book4eIt’s a great way to experiment with a new medium or style.  It’s also a good way to test compositions and color strategies for larger pieces.book4fFor me, the best way is to work fast.  Don’t let it be too special or precious.  You’ll spoil the fun!book4gIf you have artist friends, it’s fun to trade with them.  I have a friend in Belgium who I have traded with.  It’s a lot of fun to send and receive little books.book4hHow do YOU get unstuck when you’re looking for ideas?book4i







I joined Toastmasters about a month ago.  I was inspired by my partner.  She recently gave a solo piano recital in front of a pretty large crowd.  I know she was terrified.  And she did it anyway!  I was impressed.  I was inspired.

Thru 10 speeches, you learn to lose your fear, learn speaking skills and gain confidence.  That will come in handy.  I have my first speech written.  I haven’t given it yet.

Wish me luck!

9 oz Cotton Canvas Tarp Material


I have a discovery to share with you.  The cotton canvas tarp!  You can get these Here.

I can’t tell you how versatile these are.  They come in all dimensions.  You’re going to rip it up anyway, so get the dimension that suits you best.

A few things I have made with this versatile material are puppets, patches, wall hangings and book covers.  I’ll show some photos of these, but first I want to share the quilt.  These are drawn with embroidery and paint onto a 12 x 12 inch square of 9 oz Cotton Canvas Tarp material.  I put the date that I start each square prominently in the design just for fun.




The Year with no Summer


I’m reading Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.  I chose this book because I just heard a podcast about the eruption of Mt. Tambora, an island in Indonesia,  in 1915.


Hot lava oozed to the sea on all sides of the mountain.  The island’s entire vegetation was destroyed.  The language of the Tomboran people was completely lost.  Everywhere within 370 miles was in pitch darkness for 3 days.


10-120 megatons of sulfur was released into the atmosphere.  A sulfate veil called ‘dry fog’ settled over areas of the planet.  It wasn’t moved by wind or rain.  It dimmed the sun.  Livestock and crops died all over the world.

This is why 1816 is called the ‘year without a summer’.  And it was in the aftermath of this tragic disaster, in the year 1817, Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein.