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April 12, 2022
We are delighted to host Emma SanCartier, owner and creator of OddFauna, for two in-person workshops at our Seattle headquarters this June!
While illustrating for a diverse range of clients, she has also participated in conventions and gallery shows all over the country. She is currently art directing an indie game based on her OddFauna creatures where each character in the game is hand sculpted.
Emma will be teaching how to create whimsical plants & flowers in 'A Garden in Miniature,' June 3rd & 4th, and fantastical creatures in the class 'Finding Your Familiar' on June 4th & 5th. To give you an inside look into Emma's inspirations, and a taste of what you'll learn in the workshops, we conducted a little interview below.
How did you first form the world of OddFauna?
I started making little one of a kind creature sculptures over 10 years ago to sell alongside my illustration work at shows. A friend of mine showed me how to make a simple one-part mold, and things kind of took off from there. I taught myself different mold-making and casting techniques and, through lots of trial and error and playing around with different materials, I was able to expand what this little one person shop was capable of creating.
Inspired and influenced by many things that I’ve loved since childhood, I feel like the seed of OddFauna has existed in one way or another for as long as I can remember. This beastly world grew organically over the years as I painted and sculpted different characters and stories. Often playing with opposites, this strange world of mischievous beasts can be dark and funny, beautiful and unusual.
When creating your fantastical creatures & flora, do you draw inspiration from the natural world?
Definitely! I’m kind of obsessed with watching nature documentaries and find a lot of inspiration in the natural world. There are so many strange creatures that exist, and bizarre animal behaviors to draw from. A new creature idea can stem from some widely unknown animal or plant, or can simply be inspired by a leaf or lichen that I come across on a forest walk in my neighborhood. The OddFauna world that I’ve been creating is really a mixture of all the things that I love. I also find a lot of inspiration in mythological creatures and cryptids, often combining elements of different creatures (real and imaginary) to come up with something that is unique in itself.
Do you have a favorite part of your creative process?
Oh boy, that’s hard to say! I kind of love all the stages, but it depends what sort of mood I’m in. It’s always exciting to start a new big creature sculpture. I love the challenge of translating my 2D work into 3D, especially when an image has a lot of flowy movement to it. It’s kind of like a puzzle to solve. Trying to bring the lightness and energy of a watercolor painting to a solid form is tricky, and I am always playing around with different techniques to try to achieve the right balance which keeps things interesting.
Painting a sculpture is a little more meditative for me which I love in a different way. I like to throw on a podcast and just get lost in the details.
Without giving too much away, what are you most excited to share in your upcoming in-person workshops at Moth & Myth?
Besides sharing some of my favorite techniques, (and hopefully without sounding too cheesy) I think that just sharing the joy of sculpting with others is going to be a real treat. One of the reasons I love sculpting is that a part of me feels like a little kid who gets to play with clay all day. No matter what your skill level is, making things is fun, and I’m so excited to see what adorable tiny things everyone in class comes up with.
October 27, 2021
A hint of soft light illuminates the dewy leaves and petals of flowers, while darkness creeps in through the spaces between shadowy forms. Under the name Forest Noir, Alyssa Thorne creates stunning floral still-life photographs that seem to exist somewhere between the classical and modern, the dark and the light. Alyssa's photographs are available as fine-art prints, as well as on a variety of products including postcards, phone-cases, and scarves. We had the chance to learn about Alyssa's process and inspirations, and are delighted to share an exclusive preview of a new piece in the interview below!
What made you start creating and photographing still-life arrangements?
I picked up photography around the age of 15 (18 years ago!) after falling in love with using a disposable film camera on one of my trips to San Francisco. I went nearly every year to California to visit my beloved aunt, who is the reason I fell in love with art in the first place. Her house was, and still is, full of a collection of diverse, incredible artwork. She encouraged my artistic endeavors all my life and was the motivator I needed to pursue art college.
In art college, I studied art history alongside photography and became enamored with the works of the old masters. I am a lover of secret things, and still lifes have so many symbols and layers to uncover. I was instantly hooked and began creating my own. I made a career doing mostly portrait work after college. I kept photographing still lifes for my own enjoyment, but didn’t show them to anybody until the past few years, when I started to feel like it was all I wanted to do.
Once I started to post my still lifes, my art took off on social media more than it ever had before. At this point I absolutely do not see myself doing anything else photographically for a long time, if ever. My creativity is now deeply rooted in the very hands-on process of shaping and making the arrangements themselves. The thought of making photographs without that process feels very empty to me. Which is not to say that I don’t like making other types of photographs alongside the still lifes, it is just the core of my practice now to work this way.
Above is an exclusive first look at a new piece by Forest Noir, featuring a Moth and Myth paper spiderweb and spider. To read what Alyssa has to say about this brand new seasonal image, please visit Instagram!
Do you have a favorite part of your creative process?
Yes! I love creating the actual compositions that I photograph. Shooting is very technical and can be stressful because I have perishable sets that start to wilt if I don’t get it right within a certain time frame. I always say that my camera is just a conduit, not the entire process. Plotting the course for each unique piece and shaping the items with my hands is self-therapy and very enjoyable. Making still life* is such a reverent and cathartic act for me. I also do enjoy editing – I relax with music and edit with a tablet and pen so that I can paint in the dark and the light in the precise way I want.
While your arrangements appear deliberate and posed, they also feel organic and effortless. How do you achieve that balance?
They are definitely both of those things. Even with my extensive planning, in the moment of creation, the piece takes on a life of its own and morphs before my eyes. In my head something might work perfectly, but then I take that idea to work with, and know that I cannot be married to it. It will never end up the way it is in my head, but usually ends up better anyway. I let the materials guide me, I let my hands just sort of figure it out. It is a fairly chaotic process to have a grand plan and be prepared to abandon half of it, and that disorder manifests itself visually. What you refer here to as “organic and effortless” - to me is just beautiful, organized chaos. I think since my process is half plan, half seat of my pants holding flowers, it ends up at a wonderful crossroads where my personal, recognizable style sits.
Do you set out with a plan or mental image you try to recreate, or are you inspired by the flowers and materials you find?
All my creations are tied in incredibly personal ways to my thoughts, experiences, grief, hopes, fears, inspirations, and beyond. As such, they take a long time to plan, and most have complex backstories which I reveal in the captions of my Instagram posts. I do have a few “spur of the moment” pieces, but in general they are in the works months before anyone sees them. I sketch my compositions, scout out and buy props, then sometimes shoot trial versions. I decide for, or against certain flowers. In some cases, the piece has been reshot 3 times before the public sees it. I currently have a handmade, prop intensive self-portrait that I have been working on for over a year!
While all the flowers you use are organic, you work with our vegan paper moths and butterflies! What inspired you to use these over real specimens?
I have been an animal lover since childhood. I make as much effort as I can to eliminate and reduce harm to animals in my everyday life choices. I also love to volunteer with them, and I run regular fundraisers for animal rescues and charities. My shop mascot and beloved companion is my rescue bunny, Laszlo. In lieu of real specimens, I can use Moth and Myth’s incredibly realistic paper creations and not harm any animals in the process! I can’t be 100% sure any real specimen is truly “cruelty-free” and it feels more respectful to use paper. Plus, they are gorgeous and the possibilities are never ending. I love seeing other artists use them in so many ways!
How would you say darkness and light factor into your work?
Chiaroscuro is at the core of my photographic style, and subject matter. There is extreme dark and bright light in my work, both visually and thematically. I do pieces with harsh lines, enveloped in shadow, followed directly by whimsical pastels the next day. Although I am never completely either, I think that stylistically I do err on the side of darkness. Darkness interests me because in shadow is where all the good secrets of the world lie, and as I mentioned before, I am a lover of secrets. I need the light to unearth those hidden meanings, and more often than not, the subjects of my work ring of light, beauty, truth, hope, and love. These things exist within, and sometimes parallel to, darkness. Two necessary and symbiotic sides of the same coin. I enjoy walking the line.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you are interested in learning more about my life and process, I have a special FB group, called The Forest Noir Social Club, where I share behind the scenes information and photos, answer questions, and give away things like phone backgrounds.
Also - I will be vending Darksome Craft Market the 3rd of December and it’s an online market!
* Social links/Website:
July 30, 2021
July 20, 2021
May 01, 2021
Portland-based artist Roxy Schultz creates gorgeous jewelry and mixed-media art featuring pressed botanicals and our paper moths and butterflies. Her one-of-a-kind pieces preserve the fleeting beauty of flowers so wonderfully, and capture the soft whimsy of spring. Our tiny Micro butterflies and moths are especially lovely in her delicate creations!
Please visit her Shop and Instagram to learn more about pieces and availability!
April 18, 2021
Siolo Thompson designed the lovely cicada coloring book pages we are offering this month as part of our Customer Appreciation Week!
A Pacific Northwest based illustrator/writer, Siolo’s work reflects a love of nature, travel, magic, books, and cuisine. Her imaginative projects have been published by Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing, McSweeny’s, Victoria’s Secret, Facebook, Astrology.com, and many others.
From Llewellyn's 2021 Greenwitch Botanical Calendar
In Siolo’s distinctive illustrations, intricate florals interweave with fanciful fauna. Soft splashes of color dance around her imagery, drawing the eye from one fantastic form to another.
From the Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle
Siolo's work is both enchanted with magic, while deeply rooted in the natural world. Simultaneously minimal and rich with hidden meanings, Siolo’s illustrations beckon us to another plain, while showcasing the subtle magic of the world around us.
Siolo’s recent projects include Llewellyn’s 2021 Greenwitch Botanical Calendar, the Otherkin Tarot deck, the Hedgewitch Botanical Oracle, and the bestselling Linestrider Tarot deck, which can be found in stores worldwide. We're excited to giveaway 4 of her tarot decks during Customer Appreciation week!
From the Linestrider Tarot deck
To learn more about Siolo and her latest endeavors, please visit her website!
Don't forget to download the free coloring book page!
November 16, 2020
It can be a challenge as a new or experienced artist to take photos of your own work. As a tool for our lovely network of creators, we wanted to share our simple guide for shooting outstanding product photos with your phone! These are tips we've learned over time, and we think you might be able to benefit from them as well. All you need is a phone with a camera, a background, and a little patience and creativity.
Pick a spot that has natural lighting but not direct sun light. Natural lighting helps the color look the most accurate. A shaded outdoor patio is a great place to set up for your photoshoot!
Avoid: Fluorescent, over head, and direct sunlight. Any light that skews in the extreme can cause unwanted shadows, make the work look flat, causes glare and alters the color, which can be hard to correct.
Select a simple, clean, light or dark background. This will help your artwork stand out and look its best. We used a large white piece of drawing paper on a clipboard for our shoot. If your artwork is light, a dark background may help it pop instead!
Avoid: Cluttered and patterned backgrounds. These distract from the work and pull focus. If you do have a patterned background, use a Tilt Shift tool on the Instagram photo editor, or shoot in Portrait Mode to soften the background and make your work stand out (example with the fern photo below).
Shooting straight downwards at your piece in a flat-lay is a great way to showcase your work. Our set-up was on low table so we could shoot directly downwards at a comfortable height. You should have at least one photo of your piece that represents it in this way. Try other angles too that you can share and add to the product listings.
Look through your photos to see which ones stand out the most, and edit those! If your photos are shot in soft, natural light, they won’t require much editing, but a few tweaks like added brightness can help them shine! Since most platforms favor square photos, make sure your artwork is centered in the frame and leave yourself a little room to crop on the long sides of your shot.
Best Filters to use on Instagram:
Before and after comparison of the edited photo and original. We used the Instagram edits listed above, increasing brightness, brightening highlights, dialing up contrast for clarity, and increasing saturation for vibrancy.
The last step is simple...
Share your work! You've shot multiple photos, edited the ones that stand out and now it's time to share! Hooray!
Portrait Mode: If your phone camera has Portrait Mode, try using it when shooting your artwork! This setting will blur the background like a traditional camera lens would.
Find your style: Have fun and play around - don’t be afraid to try things that don’t end up working, and discover what fits your unique artwork!
Humanize the photo: We naturally respond more to photos that have a human element, and this is easy to utilize in your product photography! Try taking photos of your hands holding your artwork, or enlist a friend to help you get the shot! This will humanize the photo as well as your artwork.
We hope this has been a helpful guide. Have fun with your shoots, and tag us in your photos @mothandmyth! We can't wait to see what you'll create!
Thank you to Breana Murphy (IG @slightlycrude) for lending us the beautiful resin piece for this tutorial!
September 27, 2020
Resin art and objects by Hybrid Hollow featuring Moth and Myth paper butterflies and moths.
September 27, 2020
Elegant wall-hangings by resin artist The Moon Indigo, featuring Moth and Myth paper moths and butterflies. Pressed flowers accentuate the colors of the cruelty-free specimens so nicely! For availability and more information, please visit their shop!
September 27, 2020
Featuring the work of jewelry artist Earth and Metal. Their beautiful hand-made jewelry features Moth and Myth paper moths, butterflies, minis, and holographic stickers. We love how delicately our specimens are suspended in these intricate creations! For more information and availability, please visit their shop!