spencer-book

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i’ve made a pocket version of my amigurumi storybook, ‘the boring life of spencer, the ennui dog’.  it’s a children’s story for adults, with love, adventure, a 3-headed duck and a little backstabbing.  it’s available now in my online shop.  and i’ll be showing it at the fringe festival here in saskatoon, starting tonight.

back in 2006 i was invited to take part in an art book fair at aka gallery in saskatoon.  i’d just started this blog.  my first solo show of drawings was opening soon and i was still drawing for that show.  the art book fair was scheduled just a week after my show opening.  i didn’t have a book of drawings, or any other book to show.  but i wanted to take part, so of course i said ‘yes’.

i’d already been making a few amigurumi animals, but i didn’t have a story.  so i sat down a couple of nights after my show opening and wrote a story.  i spent a couple of days going around town taking photos with my amigurumi (it was super-cold, some of the “special effects” were hard to get right, i had to go to value village to find a pink jeep for the big ending).  paul and i stayed up late one night to do the layout and i got it printed the next day, at an office printing shop.  i bolted the pages together and took it right to the art book fair.

everyone seemed to really enjoy the spencer book.  that summer i brought it to the fringe festival and people were lining up in front of my table to read it, bringing their friends over.  i thought about getting it printed professionally but it seemed like too much trouble.  i always meant to make a smaller, affordable version of the book, but life kept getting busier and that never happened.  i did design a set of ‘spencer’ postcards that i’ve been showing at the fringe festival and selling in my online shop.  and the 3-headed maximum team power duck doll who played the bad guy in the book, made an appearance as part of a show i did at the mendel art gallery.

well, now i’ve finally made a mini-version of the spencer book that you can buy and take home with you.  it’s roughly 4 x 6 inches in size, so you can carry it in your pocket.  just take it out and read it when you need a little laugh. or you can come to my blog and read the whole story here. click the thumbnails to view the pages at full size or click the link below to launch a slideshow.

[nggallery id=spencerbook]

i’m taking part in the saskatoon fringe festival again this year, starting tonight until august 8th.  it’ll be the 4th time i’ve showed there in 5 years.  i’ll be selling this petit spencer book as well as my prints and postcards.  come on down to broadway avenue to meet me.  i’m planning to attend as many days as i can.  i’ll probably have elijah with me for some of the time, since he’s having a very emotional separation anxiety these days.

hope to see you there!

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it was serendipity. the pink jeep cherokee and maximum team power duck, they’d got to be united.

i found it at value village in saskatoon. i went there the night before the spencer book photoshoot to look for roller skates for goro chan. i was on my way to the sports section. something incredibly pink caught my eye. it was the pink jeep. it was so beautiful just sitting quietly on the empty shelf. i rushed to the jeep and grabbed it. i had to have it. i knew it was just perfect for the maximum team power duck.

i really enjoyed taking these scenes with the duck and the jeep. they just look perfect together. it was already late at night after taking photos all day long for the book. i was exhausted. but hey, to be able to capture the secret life of the useless toys, it was definitely worth it. i had so much fun carrying this jeep around in the city and the parking lot. even though i’m actually too big to get in, i felt like i just got my ride pimped up!

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that’s correct. maximum team power duck has “power” glued on its chest. i cut letters out freehand and used a gluegun to attach them.

it wasn’t such a great idea to use a hot gluegun, though. those letters were thin and floppy. i burnt my fingers badly.

but it was worth it. because it shows clearly how powerful maximum team power duck is!

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when you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go midtown.
midtown, things’ll be great when you’re
midtown, don’t wait a mitute more,
midtown, everything’s waiting for you.
midtown (midtown), midtown (midtown)
midtown (midtown), midtown (midtown)
(repeat and fade out)

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this is goro-chan. he is an amigurumi dog, but he acts like a lone wolf on wheels. when spencer gets in trouble, he is lucky enough to be helped by goro. goro takes him for a ride in his rollerblade.

i took these photos just outside my apartment building here in saskatoon. students were walking by on their way to university. most of them ignored me.

it was hard to get the action shot of spencer and goro in the rollerblade. there’s a can of coconut milk behind the rollerblade, holding it up. you can see the shadow in the “whee-ee-ee-ee” photo.

thanks, coconut milk.

for the goro superstar closeup, i just held him up against the blue sky with one hand. it’s hard to balance a rollerblade with an amigurumi dog in it, using just one hand and holding it from the wheels.

but i think it’s worth it in the end.

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it might be hard to identify, but that thing got stuck in the snow? that’s spencer.

the day i took this photo was sooooooo cooooold — probably around -26c. in february, a super-blue sky in the prairies = super cold. i thought about waiting for a warmer day to take photos, but i didn’t want to miss the chance to capture this gorgeous sky. also, the art book fair (where i showed the spencer book) was only 3 days away.

this was taken in a park across from my apartment building. the snow was fresh and powdery. spencer kept falling over. i had to pile snow up around him to keep him steady. originally i was hoping to capture him standing in the middle of an untouched snow field. so i jumped as far as i could, placed him in the snow, and then jumped back. but the hole i made by jumping was way bigger than the size of spencer. my jumping technique was poor, and i ended up leaving extra footsteps around where i landed. low scores from the olympic judges!

next try, i tiptoed forward, trying not to make much mess, placed spencer carefully, and tiptoed back. i think it turned out pretty good. it looks like he walked that far himself.

there’s probably no way to place an amigurumi in a snowy park without looking stupid. luckily, it was so cold that there weren’t many people walking outside that day. most people tried not to make eye contact. but i did get noticed by one old man passing by:

–”what cha doin’, my dear?”
–”i’m taking glamour shots of my useless toy.”
–”ho, ho, ho-. that’s wonderful.”

i don’t think he heard me. he was wearing earmuffs and a heavy tuque.
in the end, i think spencer did a great job expressing the feeling of “adventure”. well acted, spencer!

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good preparation is the key to success!

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pages from the spencer book.

spencer’s adventure begins!

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