When conceptualizing a toy one of the first things I thought of was it’s materials. What will the toy be formed from. After visits to craft stores, looking on the ground, and speaking with a few friends we came up with plushy, edible, and non hazardous. What came to be was an armature crafted from wire and cardboard, to be exact an egg carton taken apart by my handy dandy exacto knife after days of contemplation.
It takes courage to craft anything. I truly felt the relief come to me as the face took shape and the clay layers were added on.This toy is made from modeling clay, beads, the materials of its armature mentioned above, and to finish there is the adding of candle wax over the clay to harden it to a degree and the addition of acrylic paint for color. This toy is the first and probably, if not staying with me alone, will be granted to someone who can truly appreciate the energy it takes to develop something as experimentally profound as a series of black Satyrs for those of us who love storytelling and would like to see images that look like us in the relationship to the fantastical. Below are more sketches and the process to craft my first toy. The hair is my own from my comb, there is so much of it that goes flying when picking my fro.
Blessed Yi stepped his toes to the house of the Sorceress, who lived outside of the city limits in a dank cabin off a fertile highway and very close to a overtly dirty meadow. Avoiding his reflection in the mirror by her door, he thought twice about knocking or ringing the very worn bronze bell on the splintered wooden porch. Cracked red paint and the precision of a scent of something with many spices caught his sensory attention. This Sorceress had a reputation above par with many people. Yi had overheard some stories with her as its subject in some communities where he ventured. Someone would speak in a quiet knowing tone, of a woman in the woods very close to the city with miraculous healing abilities, who had seen their own grandparents before them. When Yi heard this he knew he could use such potent guidance.
He had never met her, this sorceress, before, but was astonished by tales of her and partly fear crept into his breath as he walked to her screen. How quickly his chest rose and succumbed, and rose and barely succumbed to a normal motion of inhalation and exhalation. The abnormality made his head swarm with a high and then a pain, but he thought of that particular faith of his and remained steadfast on his intent to see her. “Come in!”, she yelled . He nearly jumped. I wish Yi knew that he was feeling a particular kind of emotion for a particular kind of reason.
She was dressed up from head to toe in the body of a young man complete with nappy brown chest hair and cotton black boxer shorts that did no justice to cover the happy trail, and a bit too big for the private parts. The belly button jewel she wore shined a dull light in the dimmed daylight stream still seeping into the house, the sun was on its way to setting. Yi was expecting to see the person that matched the voice. Yet in his heart of hearts he knew this person before him was her, and he was subdued by a comfortable grasp in the air around him that made him think twice about moving too quickly. Yi was a smart man and although he knew he was no match for this magos, Yi also knew that too many movements spoke louder than words and if she could read him, of which he had no doubt, she might read something he hadn’t meant to share.
“What can I help you with, Yi?”, she asked with a lightness, as though she could give it to him on a plate from her pots strongly smelling up the house. “I’ve come for your guidance in how to calm the city. How can I get them to be quiet, to have peace?” he said, “…the city is so loud.”
“Well Yi,” she said, “…dirty coins make change no matter how shiny the nickels look.” “Besides, it’s only a program, Yi, and some of them there get touchy when you try to change their programming.” “Maybe the question could be, and this is only a suggestion, how do you stop yourself from being so loud?” His heart began to speed again as he noticed she was not looking directly at his face, but completely and without shame, at his body.
Yi’s stomach shuddered. “You feel that Yi?” said the sorceress, “you take away their comfort which they have grown up with and they might want to fight for it.”
“Why are your eyes so red?” she asked. “I’ve been burning my tongue,” he said. “With my pipe.” He pulled it from behind his ear to show it to her. “Oh!” she replied, “Now you know how words feel.”
“Watch this.” she said. She climbed the walls of the ceiling and hung upside down till her male bodied shell turned the familiar female shape and she slept like a bat with her feet to the sky. Yi stood at first with the lie of confusion in his midst, but in his stomach he knew their meeting was over. He went over in his head what she had said to him and tried to make more sense out of something he felt sounded too simple.
Yi bid the sorceress farewell and stepped on the road again leading farther away from the metropolis.
He came upon a path of yelling, playing, babies and toddlers. They were alone near a deserted overgrown highway. Thickets of vines grew close by the road and the area in which they played was filled with johnson, orchard, and bermuda grasses, as though it was once a place used heavily for the cultivation of something, he wasn’t sure. He did notice that the wildflowers blowing in the wind must be coming from the south, he thought, something he learned in his days of being a sailor at sea.
The babies and toddlers ran through these high grasses, some leaping like frogs and some running as fast as cheetahs and some laughing while running through trees. They turned themselves into vapors so as not to disturb the trees, then back into chubby or thin complex solids. Yi’s very mind was blown so well it hurt his head to see these fascinating images.
“We are the munchkin patrol.” The voice came from a little person as jovial as Yi has ever heard, and he turned to stare down into the tangled matted hair of a girl child who wiped her mouth of leaves and picked petals from her ears. Yi knelt on the ground to be eye level with her. He was honored to be spoken to by, and seeing clearly what appeared to be either dieties, demigods, but certainly a group of mental pedagogues. “What does the munchkin patrol do?” he asked. “We garden.” she said. “What is it that you garden?” he asked. “We plant seeds!” she said, her smile spreading almost into a wicked smirk. She was leading him somewhere and was excited about his questions because that’s how he was going to get to where she was pulling him, he knew.
“We water the seeds, we harvest the fruits, and keep the peace.” “Where is your harvest?” asked Yi. “You’re reaping it,” she said. “What seeds do you plant?” he asked. “You’re speaking them,” she said. “Where is the water?” he said. She spit in the air and said, “There!” Before her saliva touched the ground, it flashed into the clear hue of blue.
“What do you want Yi?”, she asked. “I want to stop the noise in the city”, he said. “You wouldn’t lie to a munchkin now would you, Yi? I don’t think you know how to care about their crying and carrying on… seems to me you might be conditioned to be emotionally stupid. Maybe a good fruit for you,” she said, as she held out her hand to produce a purple apple, “is to see the treasure in your own silence. Then you will be a BIG HELP!” she yelled. She clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “Importance can be tricky, Folly! Folly! Yi! You think you’re exempt from making the noise when you’re so loud yourself. Let them play! never stop them from playing.”
Suddenly the munchkin patrol turned to Yi and he could see now that they had surrounded him in a circle. How long they were standing there in that formation he wasn’t sure, but he was intimidated but relaxed. The tone of her voice was as a child’s and he had a feeling by the way they acted, with the trees running wildly through them and not destroying anything, that they would not touch a hair on his body in a disrespectful manner. Then they ran towards him with all the speed their little legs could muster and spit on the ground, and just as Yi fell on his knees to the earth to cover himself, yelling out loud for the anticipated crash, they dissipated, and the scent of ocean water went with them.
Yi had certainly seen quite a bit between the two meetings in this one day. First, with a Sorceress who clothed her self in the bodies of both sexes and yet never really intruded on his being. She even stated her intent to suggest something to him without suggesting it before pronouncing her impressions. Then there was the munchkin patrol, these wild children who obviously were more interested in playing than taking him seriously. Their intent had nothing to do with him but everything to do with their fun. Maybe, he thought, he did take himself too seriously, neurotically thinking he was so important that people thought cunningly what they would do to him to try to hurt him, instead of going on in their own worlds with their own things living and letting him live peacefully as they wanted to live. He thought about his trust of people and things working out in his favor. He took that knowledge in, like the smoke from his pipe as he sat on the grass still relieved and able to inhale. Yi stood and walked further south from the region.
He heard a voice shout,“Sir, can I just talk to you for a minute? Just your ears for a moment.”
“What is it?” asked Yi. “Brother, it’s my eyes. Sometimes I see just fine, then there are times when I feel that I’m just waking up after just having been awake, or so I thought. I just need to ask you something.” “What’s that?” asked Yi.
“Are you real?”
Yi laughed, “Last I checked, I was”.
“Well, said the elder man, a straw tattered hat on his head, jeans on his legs, a worn t-shirt on his chest, and most noticeably, the largest black eyes you have ever seen, “It’s this here river that you’re walking on, I fish here all the time, I know where you’re standing, there are no rocks for you to step on.” Yi looked down at his toes in a quick passing moment of disbelief, until he realized it was true, he was standing in the middle of the river and must have been walking along it for a while. He started walking toward the boat, but in an instance of hesitation he fell into the water. “Sir!” yelled the fisherman. “Grab hold of this!” He threw an oar over the side of the boat for Yi. “You can walk on water but you cant swim!” The elder man laughed till he held his sides from what looked like a joyful aching. “I can too swim!” said Yi, with defiance, “and if you want me to listen to you, don’t tell me something I can’t do!” Now even Yi realized his discontent for being told he couldn’t do something , when he felt he could do anything after what he had seen throughout the day. He calmed after his revelation.
“Touchy, touchy,” said the elder fisherman. “Let me tell you something ,Yi,” the man said, with a clear sense of belief in himself, “I like you.” He starting pointing his finger at Yi as he spoke, spitting at times when using certain letters. Some folks indeed do get touchy when you try to destroy their programming, and some are still trying to break the codes, and get touchy if you remind them that they ever had a program in the first place. “Well, now that I know that you’re real you can keep the boat,” said the fisherman as he stepped out and walked away. “I didn’t want to give a phantom a boat, might creep some folks out,” he said, raising his shoulders and making a surprised face. Yi stared at the man as he went off into the woods along the beach. He heard him still laughing to himself long after he disappeared from sight.