panda backpack for elijah

 panda backpack

this is one of the christmas presents i made for elijah.  it’s a panda backpack.  elijah really likes the pandas we’ve bought him.  he has three panda cuddly toys from ikea.  he really looks up to them, he’ll follow whatever they’re doing.  when his panda sits down on a chair without making a fuss, so does elijah.  when his panda eats quietly takes a few bites of supper, so does elijah.  so pandas are very helpful for elijah’s mama.

happy elijah with happy panda

 

elijah is happy when his pandas are happy.

sad elijah with sad panda

and he feels sad when they are sad.

i don’t know if he can really use this as a backpack, since it’s made out of felt.  but that’s okay, it’s just another useless toy from his mama.

panda backpack (back)
(back)

panda backpack (abdominal incision)
(abdominal incision/zipper)

the ornament show :: tree trimming 2

tonight is the opening of a group show called, “the ornament show” at J Flynn gallery in costa mesa, california.

these are my ornaments. the red ones are called “severe pain pin cushions”. i created these severe pain pin cushions last year. they are the only somewhat useful toys in my useless toy collections. for one thing, they come with a wrist band. they are for sale at J Flynn gallery as well as in my online shop.

in addition to my useless toy collection, i made this “milk head-chan” (centre) for this ornament show. this is the character shows up in my matchboxes. i hand-stitched her face. i wanted to make her as ugly+cute as possible. i think this ugliness will brighten the holiday spirit even more. this is available at J Flynn gallery. please contact J Flynn gallery, if you are interested in them.

UPDATE

OC register’s art critic’s blog on ornaments

my show at mendel art gallery (personal)


(click any image to enlarge)

i’ve been keeping a secret for the last little while. i’m pregnant! no wait, i told that news already. something else…

i’m doing a show at the mendel art gallery! this is really exciting for me — i’ve never had a show in such a serious gallery before. the mendel gallery is famous in saskatoon and known across the country, so i didn’t want to write about it here until everything was in place.

the show is part of a program called “artists by artists”. it matches an established artist, david geary, with me, an emerging artist. it’s funny, because last month i was happy to find out that the women’s art festival didn’t think i was “emerging” anymore, since i got accepted as an established artist there. so i emerged already, but now i’m “emerging” again. maybe i’m really a “floating artist” in the art world.

i met alexandra badzak, who coordinates the artists by artists program, at the opening of my first drawing show in saskatoon, last february. at that time, i didn’t know many people in saskatoon, so i made a bunch of postcards and posters and gave them to people who might be interested in coming to my opening. i went to shops along broadway and downtown to drop off postcards and invite people in person.

it was -20 that day, and i felt cold and miserable walking around with my bag full of postcards. i thought, “since i’m working this hard and feeling this miserable, i might as well go to the mendel art gallery to invite the staff.” so i went, even though i didn’t really expect anyone from the famous art gallery would come to my little show. i walked into the gallery and went to the back and up a staircase because i thought the offices would be upstairs. there was someone sitting at a desk looking suspiciously at me when i walked in (the door was open). i gave her my postcards and a poster. when she saw them, she got enthusiastic and said she’d definitely give them to the staff.

i still didn’t think anyone would show up. but when my opening started (i was still setting up the food i made), alex was there and she came up to me and gave me her card. i just couldn’t believe she was one of the curators at the mendel. i was touched.

the show title is “personal :: political”. my part of the show is “personal”, and david geary’s part is “political”. dave and i met in the summer of 2005, just after i moved to saskatoon. i was selling my drawings on the street at the fringe festival. he stopped by my section and we chatted for awhile. he told me that he was doing a show at the mendel that summer, so i went to check it out.

dave makes propaganda posters for modern life and politics in saskatchewan, based on actual soviet propaganda posters. he imitates the colors and figures and text layout, but the message is about saskatchewan. i love the propaganda motif. he does a drawing and then makes a poster from it. he uses his images to make greeting cards and t-shirts and he also shows his work at street festivals.

so dave and i have a lot in common in the way we like to work, even though our styles are quite different. he invited me to do this show with him, and he’s been a great mentor to me. he’s very relaxed about the idea of art, so he helped me keep my confidence and have fun getting ready for our show.

my part of the show includes many of my favorite drawings (17 of them). i’m also showing some of my useless toys, including the decapitated version of the maximum team power duck. i’ve shown most of it online here already, but one of the toys is new. i’ll be making a mendel show collection of images and putting it in my online gallery.

it was so exciting to see everything on display today. the drawings are all framed and the toys are in clear plastic cases. for my previous shows, i put up drawings with thumbtacks, so i’m not used to seeing them this way. the layout and the hanging were all done according to my plan by professionals (not just paul and me), and i’m really happy with how it looks.

the show is up now and will be available for viewing at the mendel art gallery, saskatoon, until june 3rd. the opening will be friday april 13th, starting at 8pm. please come if you can, even though it’s friday the 13th. i’d be very happy to meet some of the people who are reading my blog!

david geary and i will also be doing an open studio for “something on sundays” this weekend: sunday april 1st, from 2 – 4pm. please come if you can, even though it’s april fool’s day (i won’t play a trick on you). at the same time, the “children’s art adventures” will have a workshop on how to make pala-pala flipbooks. maybe the most amazing thing for me about this show is seeing the word “pala-pala” on a art gallery website in canada.

the mendel has also invited me to have some of my prints and postcards available for sale in the gallery shop. i’m still arranging this, but i’ll give an update with what i have available there.
anyway, that’s my latest secret. i hope many of you can come and enjoy our show.

show details

personal :: political
david geary
yuka yamaguchi
march 30th to june 3rd

something on sundays (open studio)
sunday april 1st, 2-4pm

opening reception
friday april 13th, 8pm

the mendel art gallery
950 spadina crescent east
saskatoon
open daily 9am – 9pm

severe pain pin cushion

severepainpincushion1-440.jpg

severepainpincushion2-440.jpg
they are all handstitched freehand. “severe pain” is written on their heads in kanji. the heads are attached to a wristband, so you can wear them on your wrist. i didn’t cut a buttonhole yet, so you can adjust the wristband to your size.

i handstitch pretty much everything i make. i like the work but sometimes it causes shoulder pain and boredom. so i thought i should give this pain to something else. that way, i can stay painless!!

i made an original version about six months ago. the first batch looked pathetic. but this time, they gained power. they all look like they’re really in severe pain. only one exception: the orange one is smiling, so he looks like he’s enjoying the pain. well, that’s good too.

this severe pain pin cushion will help keep your sewing time happy and pain-free. for sale as soon as my shop is ready…

*UPDATE* now you can buy this severe pain pin cushions in my online SHOP.

spencer book 14


(click the image to view close up)

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!

spencer book 11


(click the image to view close up)

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!

spencer book 9

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)