Peacock Spider – Maratus elephans

Back in July 2019 (can we even fathom how long ago that was??) I took a vote from my patrons over at my Patreon page. It was decreed I’d needle felt a bowhead whale — AND a peacock spider. I made the bowhead a while back, but this guy has been languishing in my studio far too long. I am profoundly proud to finally announce his completion!

Peacock spider males are famous for their incredibly colorful abdomens, which some can unfurl like a banner for their mating dances.

He is a Maratus elephans specimen. Yes, the name is referencing the elephant-looking design on his flashy abdomen. The blue is sort of shaped like an elephant face with a trunk down the middle with ears off to the sides.

Photo of a maratus elephans from the website peacockspider.org (so many amazing photos!)

Real peacock spiders are tiny – some species are as small as 2.5 mm! My sculpture is about 135 mm long, or 5.5 inches.

He is needle felted wool over a thin wire armature. All his joints are easily articulated and even his display flaps can be folded down. His eyes are plastic hot glued in place.

The legs took hours and hours. There are so many, many, many legs.

Move the slider to make him dance

To get a peek behind the scenes of how I made this guy, join my PATREON!

You’ll also get other cool benefits, like a chance to win your own needle felted oddling and vote to decide on what I make next!

Head over to my PATREON page to become part of the team

https://www.patreon.com/familiaroddlings

Want to take this guy home with you? He’s available in my etsy shop: Needle felted Peacock Spider – Maratus elephans

Listen to BIPOC


It is so important for us white folk to open our ears and listen to the voices of Black people, Indigenous people, and POC.

This is a silly art project for a serious theme.

As white people, we can easily ignore other voices out of privileged ignorance. Let us know in the comments how you’re practicing listening to BIPOC voices in your life.


Lend Me Your Ears, my fellow white folks! I’m doing a series of white listening ears and I’d like to draw YOURS.


I need help. This is a community project.

I want to make at least fifty drawings, one daily for fifty days. If you’d be so kind to be part of the project, please send me a pic of your ear. This is about demonstrating the need to listen, not bragging that you are! I’ve gotten 18 ears so far and put them up on my instagram @familiaroddlings. Send me more ears and share this post!

To my BIPOC friends:


Don’t send me your ears. You’ve done SO much listening in your lives! Your thoughts, feelings, or ramblings about whatsoever you feel like putting out here, are welcome! I will listen.

And I WILL DRAW!!!

I’ll make some kind of representation for your comment and make it part of this series. It can be anything. If you have something in mind you’d like me to draw, let me know. If you’d just like to let off steam or anything, I’ll find a way to draw it.

If you are an artist yourself and would like to share it, I’d love to feature it here too!

Thank you for sharing this space with me.

Simin Hailu’s ear
Julia Carranza’s ear
Leah Walsh’s ear
Karen Schlesser’s ear

Difficult times

I’ve been struggling with depression and fear and all those types of things, which I’m sure a lot of us have during this time. Moments that leave me without any inspiration at all. It’s been hard. My heart goes out to all of us struggling and those who are suffering the most.

I’m learning to let myself feel whatever it is that I’m feeling and not fight it. No judgement. Create when I can and not pressure myself to produce, produce, produce.

I’m trying to take each moment as it comes.

Take in the joys.

Take in the sorrows.

Let the anger and fear roll through me.

And breathe in hope, when I can.

Be gentle with yourselves, my friends.

Lorises don’t make good pets

Needle felted wool on wire armature with plastic eyes.

Lorises are adorable little primates with huge soulful eyes. Their round furry faces have “sad” eyebrow markings. They have tiny hands with five fingers, just like a human baby. They even at times appear to be asking for a hug or a tickle.

But they are not.

Loris doesn’t want your hugs.
Loris in distress

YouTube videos of these sweet faced animals lifting their arms and bearing their armpits have gone viral. We want to sweep the little darlings up in a cuddle. But most people don’t know that these critters are venomous and the arm lifted pose is in fact a sign of distress. They lift their arms to lick their inner elbows, where a special gland secretes venom. Their next bite is serious business!

The venom is only one reason why keeping a loris as a pet is a bad idea. They are taken illegally from their natural habitats in destructive ways, their teeth are removed in painful and often lethal procedures, and they are kept in small crowded cages. The stress of bright lights and transportation often kills them. And even if they survive the process of becoming a pet, once in human care, they are almost certainly malnourished. A diet of insects and tree gum is hard for humans to cater. Neither are they suited to human schedules – they are nocturnal and need solid chunks of sleep during the day. They also have complex social lives and need a mysterious combination of space and companionship that science is only just now starting to unravel.

If all those reasons aren’t enough, consider the fact that the pet trade is threatening the wild population of these animals.

I know what you’re thinking.

But they are so cute!

I know, I know.

We want to cuddle one, just one!

I hear you.

What if I told you there was a way to cuddle a loris and keep it in your home without harming it while ALSO helping lorises in the wild?

Watch my video below to find out how:

 

Lorises need to be free.

Please visit The Little Fireface Project to learn more about these amazing denizens of the forest and how to help them.

Help a loris.
Thank you!

A Taste of Art for the Holidays

I had my first “in person” art show at the Half Moon Bay Library on December 7th and 8th with the Colony of Coastside Artists. It was a blast! I had never met and spoken to so many people about my artwork – and they were all so supportive and kind! My husband, Nick, acted as my spokesperson when my shyness threatened to send me inside my shell and I was honored to make connections with so many fascinating people. I even got to hear an octopus story!

The library is gorgeous. The natural light from all the windows showed off our art beautifully. And the librarians were hospitable heroes! They made the entire event seamless and fun.

The first day was rainy.

I made cranberry and pecan pinwheel cookies! And chocolate chip cookies too, though they’re not as photogenic.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the visitors who came, all the artists who participated, and all the library staff who helped pull off a wonderful show!

100 days of sketching

I participated in @kesh’s artchallenge on instagram for 100 days of sketching.

ChairBooks_web

I had such tremendous fun churning these out!

Every day was a challenge but to my surprise it actually *did* get easier…

…even if it was never exactly a breeze. I started to accept that not every drawing that I made was going to be a masterpiece.

Each day was a fresh start. A chance to try something new. To experiment.

And I started to explore what was really going on inside me.

It really became a kind of therapy.

Here are a few highlight sketches. You can view all of them on my Sketches page.

 

93BF1255-EC96-4987-A155-9CE82050E2ECA7636BFE-E9BC-48C7-84A5-980EC4CD1C08BF7B3330-C1D5-49FA-A670-3F153EC2A920314AD6A6-6FD3-437F-95B4-46E3C6EAA495

I can’t thank Kesh enough for setting up this art challenge! He is such an inspiration. He makes all kinds of art videos on his awesome YouTube here. And of course go find him on instagram @kesh.

 

Would anyone be interested in a printed booklet of a few of these? I am thinking of compiling a ‘best of’ maybe along with another artist or two.

Lorisnail meets new friends

My Lorisnail character meeting some new friends…

LorisnailDolomedes_web
Lorisnail and Dolomedes Spider

LorisnailGiraffe_web
Lorisnail and the Giraffe

LorisnailPangolin_web
Lorisnail and the Pangolin

These were a birthday set for my two sisters and my friend. We all have summer birthdays and it’s fun to make gifts that go together. I love the three of you so much! You are like my cavalry — I know you’ve all got my back! Thank you for being in my life.

Simple pencil drawings have a special charm. I like to imagine them inside an old little book, one that has the title written in tiny gold font on the spine. And it’s got that kind of musty, sweet smell. Ahh, old books are the ultimate comfort.

Anyway, some day I will write (and illustrate) the Lorisnail story. And all of you here will be the first to know about it!

 

If you’d like to help me get closer to my artistic goals, please consider becoming a patron and supporting me on my patreon page:

Familiar Oddlings on Patreon

Getting Organized

I finally have flat storage for my artwork!

FlatArtStorage2

This is a huge milestone in my life. I have wanted flat storage for ages and never had any. My artwork has been folded, tucked into sketchbooks and paperpads, rolled, and stacked in horrible places for years. I even had a mold/mildew incident!

This set of ten drawers is a miracle! I found them for free — someone in the neighborhood was clearing out their barn. I couldn’t believe my luck!

I jumped in the van and provided vague directions to my husband up a narrow twisty road to the old barn. The drawers were much bigger than I had imagined. We somehow wrestled them into the back of the van — they just barely fit! We had less than an inch clearance.

Getting them into my bedroom was a herculean task. Big thanks to my husband, Nick, who helped me orchestrate the dismantlement, re-assembly, repeated dismantlement, and final re-assembly. Dad, Mom, and my twin sister all pitched in too. I needed all hands on deck to get this thing figured out. Thank you all! I would still be crying on the floor without your guys’ help!

Now I can simply open a drawer and place my finished work inside. It is a REVELATION! I feel so liberated!