Picture of the Week

30 Dec 2007

Buhl Mansion

To close out the year, another photo from Pennsylvania. This is Buhl Mansion, built in the 1890's in the town of Sharon.

Inscribed on the mantle is the motto "Good Friends, Good Food, Good Cheer," and that sounds like a good way to wind up this year.

Location: 41° 13' 57.6" N, 80° 30' 04.7" W

23 Dec 2007

Lance Pope

The fifth anniversary of Lance's passing has come and gone; Ysengrin was in Dallas the week before and left a small plush lion at his gravesite.

We all still miss him.

Location: 32° 40' 19.9" N, 96° 48' 43.7" W

16 Dec 2007

DarkFang Chills

DarkFang, leaning up against a wall and patiently waiting ...

09 Dec 2007

Ysengrin in Colorado

Here's one more. Ysengrin (in Silvermane) posing in the snow in the San Juan Mountains, near Lake San Cristobal.

Location: 37° 59' 57.2" N, 107° 17' 37.3" W

02 Dec 2007

Ysengrin in the Rockies

Going back a few years for this one; Ysengrin (in Silvermane) out in the snow in the Colorado Rockies.

Location: 38° 29' 41.9" N, 106° 19' 31.1" W

25 Nov 2007


This time we have a Halloween werewolf photo from Arizona -- Abbigail. Used with permission.

18 Nov 2007

Werewolf Werepaw

A photo from Germany of Werewolf Werepaw hunting at the edge of the forest. Used with his permission.

Approximate location: 49° 59' N, 08° 29' E

11 Nov 2007

Big Basin Redwoods

A quiet road through the redwoods with just a trace of coastal fog. Photographs don't capture the feel of being there; for a sense of scale look at the rail fence (about one meter high) along both sides of the road. Photo taken in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Addendum: I've been told that this particular grove of redwoods is known as the Stanford Group.

Location: 37° 10' 31.9" N, 122° 13' 17.0" W

04 Nov 2007

Trick or Treaters

Every year, Boulder Creek hosts a widdershins promenade of trick or treaters on the main drag; the local businesses hand out candy along the way. Ysengrin was ill this Halloween, but he still managed to sneak out and get this picture right around dusk.

Location: 37° 07' 24.0" N, 122° 07' 17.8" W

28 Oct 2007


A very expressive Kodiak Bear in the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Location: 40° 29' 02" N, 79° 55' 05" W

21 Oct 2007

Trail of Whispering Giants

Sculptor Peter Wolf Toth travelled across the US from 1972 to 1988, creating some seventy sculptures honoring Native Americans, leaving at least one in each state. While some have been removed due to damage, most are still on public display.

This particular sculpture is Toth's sixth, standing in western Pennsylvania. The accompanying plaque reads: "Dedicated to the American Indians (Seneca) ... but they won't be forgotten, but will be remembered in our minds and in our hearts. Love is life. Peter Toth, June 30, 1973"

Location: 41° 10' 52.1" N, 80° 30' 08.4" W

14 Oct 2007

Ysengrin in Pennsylvania

DarkFang posed in the Pennsylvania woods a few weeks ago; this time it's Ysengrin's turn ...

Approximate location: 41°10' N, 79°25' W

07 Oct 2007

Castle Blood

Haunting season is well underway, and here's an excellent example. Castle Blood slumbers on a crisp October morning in Beallsville, Pennsylvania. Castle Blood tours involve a quest which changes from season to season; guests who successfully complete the quest are made honorary vampires. Kudos to Ricky and Karen Dick for a good show.

Location: 40° 03' 53.3" N, 80° 01' 23.6" W

30 Sep 2007

From the Past

Ysengrin, posing in a screengrab from video footage taken eleven years ago in front of Verdun Manor.

23 Sep 2007

Airbrushed Fox Paw

Here's an example of airbrushing in fur (the linked image has both paws). The fur started as all one color.

16 Sep 2007

Fossil and Casting

We do other projects than claws and teeth in resin, too ... here is a test run of a fossilized sand dollar (on the right) and a casting made from it (on the left). Size is about 4cm across. The fragile original was not harmed in the process.

09 Sep 2007

Halloween Maze

Seasonal Halloween attractions are starting to pop up - here's a straw bale maze out at the Arata farm and pumpkin patch, just south of Half Moon Bay.

Location: 37° 22' 56.3" N, 122° 24' 11.4" W

02 Sep 2007

Kitesurfer at Waddell Beach

This photo is about a month old, and was taken at Waddell Beach, north of Davenport, California and a short drive from our present workshop location in Boulder Creek. Waddell beach is also one end of the Skyline-to-the-sea trail through Castle Rock State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park (the beach is actually part of the latter). This is a kitesurfer, not a windsurfer, though both often enjoy the waves off the beach.

Location: 37° 05' 43.5" N, 122° 16' 47.0" W

26 Aug 2007

Sculpting Mideon

Here we're showing four steps in the sculpting of Tyger Cowboy's Mideon, and his final head.

Ysengrin started with the rough shape of the head without the ears -- this made it much easier to make the brows symmetrical. The full size image shows guide lines lightly scribed into the clay. The basic head shape was made on top of a fiberglass cast of Tyger's head bolted to a stock maquette.

Next, the ears were added, shaped and adjusted to keep the symmetry. This was actually the most time consuming part of the process. Small differences in the ears that were unnoticeable from one angle jumped out when the head was rotated slightly.

Once the ears were done, Ysengrin changed the sculpting process from adding clay to removing it. Clay was shaved from the head, tightening up its form and deepening the mouth. Major wrinkles were cut into the sculpture and their sharp edges smoothed.

In the fourth image, the nose and lips have been finished, finer wrinkles and folds have been added, and texture has been added to the surface.

19 Aug 2007


The thumbnail is Mideon's face mold - the full size image it links to shows both the outer mold and the core mold. You can see the keys on the rim of the molds where they actually touch.

12 Aug 2007


Well, the new werewolf made his public debut last weekend at Archon - so here he is. The linked image shows his size compared to Silvermane's head. Mideon is quite a bit larger, and quite a bit toothier ...

05 Aug 2007

Rui Shi

Also from Colma, a large female guardian lion outside the gates of Hoysun Cemetery. Known as Foo Dogs to many English-speakers, the Chinese term is Rui Shi, or "auspicious lions;" the lions should always be installed as a pair, male and female. The female lion holds one of her cubs under her left paw, while the male rests his right paw on a globe. This particular lion (and her unpictured partner) were dedicated in 1989, and were cast from concrete - which has unfortunately not held up well.

Location: 37° 40' 46.0" N, 122° 28' 07.5" W

29 Jul 2007

Emperor Norton

We recently visited the final resting place of Emperor Norton I in Woodland Memorial Park, Colma, California to pay our respects. He proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States in San Francisco on September 17th, 1859 (later adding "Protector of Mexico") and continuously used the title until he dropped dead on January 8th, 1880.

The residents of San Francisco generally humored him, accepting his personal script, reserving personal seats at the opera and theater, and having him lead several parades. Restaurants would vie for the honor of having Emperor Norton dine there (free of charge, of course) so they could advertise his patronage.

The day after his death, the city shut down out of respect, with over 20,000 mourners attending his burial. When his remains were moved in 1934 to their present location, some sixty thousand people attended the ceremony. Offerings are still found at his gravesite to this day; when we visited there were several coins and beads carefully left at the base of his headstone.

Location: 37° 40' 38.1" N, 122° 26' 46.1" W

22 Jul 2007

Teeth! (and underskull)

Remember we were making molds of a new sculpture? Well, here's the underskull for it. The teeth and gums haven't been dirtied up yet, but this gives you another little tease. It'll have it's public debut in two weeks, then we'll have pictures of it up here.

15 Jul 2007

Hanger One, Moffett Field

This massive hanger was built in 1932 to house the USS Macon; it covers eight acres and is 198 feet high. It's now owned by NASA and is also one of the major landmarks in the south bay area. To get an idea of how big it is, compare it to the normal-sized water tower next to the hanger in the full size image.

Location: 37° 24' 42.5" N, 122° 03' 11.6" W

08 Jul 2007

Making the Mold - Splash Coat

This is the same mold as shown the last two weeks, but at a earlier point - this is the first or splash coat of Ultracal 30 covering the front half of the sculpture. In the full-size image you can see the line of metal shims that will be the division between front and back halves, and the dam across the chest to make that edge of the mold. Screwdriver slots and keys are placed on the metal divider - tabs and half-spheres of clay, respectively. In this case we ran the division just in front of the ears.

01 Jul 2007

Checking the Fit

This picture needs more explanation than normal. The orange-red you see (in the linked full image) is a latex coat on the master negative mold of a (new) werewolf face; it's there to make it easier to clean out the Roma shell that's been laid in it. That shell of clay represents the foam-filled skin in the finished head. On either side, there are plugs of clay that will be the overflow channels for the expanding foam in the finished mold. The next step will be making the core mold that will shape this inside surface of the face skin.

Ysengrin has set the (hollow) lifecast of the client into this clay shell to check the fit - the space between the lifecast and the clay is where the underskull will fit, though most of the open space will remain air space. Because the lifecast is hollow, it gives the illusion of facing towards the camera.

24 Jun 2007

Extracting the Sculpture

Ever wonder how we get the original sculpture back out of the mold? DarkFang demostrates the process here - the original is removed in pieces. We reform the Roma and reuse it.

17 Jun 2007

Father's Day

This Sunday is Father's Day here in the United States. That's Ysengrin's father, taken back on 25 March 1944.

10 Jun 2007

Hakone Gardens Mon

The mon, or main gate, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California.

Location: 37° 15' 08.6" N, 122° 02' 29.2" W

03 Jun 2007

This horse-drawn hearse was spotted in Dallas, Texas - outside a funeral home, waiting for the guest of honor to be brought out. The driver good-naturedly posed for me when I asked.

27 May 2007

Neverwas Haul

The wonderous Neverwas Haul, making a stop at the 2007 Maker Faire in San Mateo, California. The Neverwas Haul was originally constructed for Burning Man 2006, and is a mobile, steam powered Victorian three-story house which allows members of the Traveling Academy of Unnatural Science to perform field experiments in relative comfort and luxury.

20 May 2007

Maker Faire 2007

Maker Faire 2007 was this weekend in San Mateo (near San Francisco/San Jose); it's a wonderful get-together to see how technology and art (and crafts) mix. Witness this photo of the Flaming Lotus Girls demonstration.

13 May 2007

English Werewolf

Our friends at Abraxxus FX make an appearance at Whitby Goth Weekend, April 2007. That's one of our Khrahl heads.

06 May 2007

Ren Faire

Tis the season for the renaissance faire. This knight was performing back at the 2002 Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie, Texas.

29 Apr 2007

DarkFang in the Woods

DarkFang out playing in the Pennsylvania woods. We do get around.

Location: 41° 10' N, 79° 25' W

22 Apr 2007

In Progress Paw Sculpt

This is a photo from back in 2001, when DarkFang was first sculpting his wolf paws. We still sell 'em :)

15 Apr 2007

How Time Flies

DarkFang and Ysengrin pose of the front porch of Haunted Verdun Manor - a decade ago, less a couple of weeks. It surely doesn't seem that long ago.

08 Apr 2007

Carving the Ham

DarkFang carves the dinner ham.

01 Apr 2007

New Couch

OK, so we're a little silly on April Fool's Day. Still, we got a new recliner couch and Ysengrin wanted to break it in right ...

25 Mar 2007


Here's some fifteen-inch (unpainted) horns we made for a client ... they weigh about 24 oz each, including the brass rod and hardware running through the horn. They'll be generally available shortly.

18 Mar 2007

Post Convention ...

Well, after running around for several hours at Further Confusion, it was time to wash the werewolves. We use a large plastic stock tank as a bathtub.

11 Mar 2007

Werewolf Paws

A client asked for a pair of werewolf paws with the grey/white/black coloration - so, here's how they look.

04 Mar 2007

Further Confusion 2007 - one last photo

Ysengrin, T'chall and DarkFang, posing in the lobby area of the con's hotel on Monday night.

25 Feb 2007

Further Confusion '07 Grouping

From left to right, that's Dar'Rushk (manticore), Ysengrin (werewolf) and Kchierath (catcoon). We know each other through costuming.

18 Feb 2007

Dancing Werewolf

FC2007, Monday night - Ysengrin at the end of the convention dance.

11 Feb 2007

Furring a husky

Here, DarkFang is furring Sprocketpup's husky head. The fur is attached using a variety of adhesives, then trimmed both to fit and to adjust the length of the fur. You can also see the colors in the cast latex under the fur.

04 Feb 2007

A Husky at FC 2007

Further Confusion 2007 - See, sometimes we do cute. That's Sprocketpup in his husky partial suit (head, hands & feet) that DarkFang made for him.

28 Jan 2007

More FC 2007

Further Confusion 2007 - Graafen Blackpaw poses with Scabrous Vermicelli near the Coffee Garden at the hotel on Friday night. Graafen's werewolf is one of ours, Scabrous is the amazing work of Helvetica 'Foofers' Bold.

21 Jan 2007

FC 2007

Further Confusion 2007 - DarkFang Blackpaw (snazzy dresser, isn't he?) poses with a young Gaius Baltar in the hallways on Saturday night.

14 Jan 2007


This is the "13" topiary out at the Winchester Mystery House. It's of fairly recent origin, and there's no evidence that Sarah Winchester had such a topiary during the thirty-eight years she was building the house. Still, it's one of the often-photographed locations there.

Location: 37° 19' 05.2" N, 121° 57' 03.0" W

07 Jan 2007

Domino and Silvermane

That's Ysengrin in Silvermane and a friend (nameless in true mascot tradition) in Domino. Photo taken in the backstage area of Haunted Verdun Manor / Thrillvania back in October 2000.

01 Jan 2007

Werewolf by Candlelight

Lit by a candle nested in a bed of pine boughs, Ysengrin contemplates the New Year.