All posts by frykitty

Artisans Co-Op

I have become a Founding Member of the Artisans Cooperative, an Etsy alternative run and owned by artisans, which will be launching in October of this year. Right now, you can go to the site and visit the current shops of the members. Well, not me, as my Etsy has about three items, and I don’t want to give them business.

I’m excited about it, and not entirely because the domain ends in “coop” and the logo is an adorable chicken, but it is a point in their favor.

Because of this, I have been contemplating what I want in my shop. I’ve been thinking about what I’d want to see if I walked into a physical Spooky Moon, perhaps with “Gothic, Ghostly, and Enchanted” on the door in fancy gold script.

Below is a work in progress–some little boxes with vintage Halloween imagery. I love them, and I think they work. I think there’s a place for sparkly goddesses, and maybe even other replicas of ancient art.

Rusty Pins fit well, so I’m not ditching my entire previous inventory. I’d like some sparkly fantasy critters. Some skulls. Some ghosts. I want lots of things most people can afford, and a few things that are more aspirational.

If it were a physical shop (oh, my dreams), I would want an atmosphere of dark magic. It would feel like the soundtrack for Edward Scissorhands.

A box lid with a vintage Halloween postcard saying "Halloween: Ye Ghosts abound, Your mate you've seen, Your fate is found, on Hallowe'en."
Inside of the above box, featuring gothic paper, a clay jackolantern, and a bat on the front.

Considering my chosen soundtrack and the launch date, perhaps I need some spooky holiday ornaments? I can do that.

What else?

I sculpted this Venus of Willendorf a year or so ago because I wanted to make a resin mold. I like ancient goddesses. Because she is in polyclay, the mold turned out less glossy than I wanted. Also, I needed to separate the head mold or she ended up with a flat top. Wasn’t sure how to fix those things then, but now I am. She’s getting a gloss coat, and a re-mold.

Because let’s face it, if the original makers had had glitter and mica powder, they would have used them.

Morgana ad. The only bit of her I have.

I collect old fortune-telling games. My collection, IMO, is pretty nice. These are small board games or little machines. Though I wouldn’t look a gift Zoltan in the mouth, I have never wanted to own an arcade fortune teller. Except for Morgana.

The ad above turned up on my usual ebay searches, and started an obsession. There is very little information on the game anywhere. The best coverage is from Mechanical Arcade, who even managed to snag a copy of the original video. Seriously, this link is cool. Well, if you’re me, I suppose.

Bacchus Games was incorporated in 1977, ending in tax forfeiture in 1981. Their arcade game was unique at the time. Instead of animatronics, their fortune teller was a foam head, on which a video was projected.

Every once in a while, I search around the web again, hoping for some tidbit. This time, I got one. I got names: Joel Osborne and Hardy Haberman. If I have the right Joel, he has passed. But I was able to track down Haberman, and ask him intrusive questions via email. It made me SO! HAPPY! First, he tells the story of the game:

I developed the idea for MORGANA after seeing a Technicolor super 8mm projector.  They ran on cartridges of film in an endless loop that could be programmed to play a segment of film on command.

I projected the image on a white mannequin head with a face cast from the actress who did the readings of the fortunes.  It was inspired by the talking heads in the Haunted mansion at Disneyland.

Paul Osborne designed the cabinet for the machine and the cosmetic pieces that made it attractive. We incorporated a company called Bacchus Games to produce it and sold quite a few of them in the US and Japan.  

The input device on the machine was totally bogus and did not record your birthdate, but instead just triggered the projector to play whatever was the next segment in the cartridge.  Everything was powered once the proper coinage was inserted.

It was a convincing and spooky illusion and they were popular.  The drawback of the machines was the size,  They had a big footprint for an arcade machine and that limited their sales.  

I asked him what actress played Morgana:

For the American versions it was Monette Osborne, Paul’s wife at the time.  Other actresses performed in the Japanese, Spanish and French version.

And that’s as much as I was willing to bother the nice man. Didn’t find out anything about the Bally version. I begin to wonder if it existed, as some sources list Bacchus as making the table-top version, which is clearly not the case.

I’d still like to see one in person someday. Rumor has it that David Copperfield has one in his extensive collection. For now, I’ll just keep that ebay alert.

I was wondering what to do with this little engraver I have, when I came up with these necklaces. They are fast and fun to make, so I made a bunch. Yep, that’s my signature skull up front.

So will there be an online shop again? Not until after Springoween, and then, not on Etsy. I figure if a site frustrates me as a buyer (and oh, it does), then I probably shouldn’t sell there. Shop will likely be right here.

Yep, I know the crow looks weird.