First things first, yes, the Blue Box Blogger has been utterly failing to keep you up to date on the happenings in the Blue Box, but since the Blogger is also The One Who Makes Stuff, I dare say the making of stuff is more important than the telling of stuff? Right? Maybe?
Anyway. We're still alive, still designing, still making, still selling. And boy have we been busy!
A couple of important things of note have occurred of late. First, Blue Box Imaginarium has partnered with Bee Loved Florist in Santa Paula, CA, which means you can now see our work in a brick and mortar store! Hurrah! If you're local (or semi-local, or just in the area visiting), stop by and check out the shinies as well as the lovely flowers.
Secondly, we're trying to have more in-home jewelry parties! If you are interested in hosting one, let us know via the contact form. While we would currently prefer semi-local areas (the Greater Los Angeles area, shall we say?), if we're travelling for a show near you, we could possibly arrange something for the same time.
Speaking of travelling for a show, that's our third big thing. We've been branching out a bit more with our shows; in October we'll be headed north to Seattle, WA, which should be fun. Earlier this month, we were at the rather epic Fantasy Con in Salt Lake City, UT, from whence comes the title of this blog post. (Beware, LOTS of geekery below the jump.)
In case you were unaware, the Blue Box Crew is geeky. Many moons ago, either shortly before or after the first Hobbit movie came out, The One Who Makes Stuff decided it would be an excellent exercise (read: super fun) to make something to represent each Dwarf from the Company. I started with Orcrist, because, well, as soon as we saw the design Peter Jackson's team came up with, I started drooling.
(See photos at the end of the post...)
After that, I decided to try Dwalin's axes, Grasper and Keeper (all the best weapons have names, doncha know). They would require cutting in tight spaces, with tight angles, and engraving, all of which would be difficult and a learning experience. Awesome!
They turned out okay. Not terrible, for a first draft, but admittedly not my best work either. Still, not bad for using multiple new techniques on a matched set of pieces. (Matching pieces are tricksy anyway!)
Flash-forward about six months, bringing us to Fantasy Con, where the largest gathering of Hobbit movie Dwarf actors in North America was taking place. Most importantly to our story, Graham McTavish, the actor who plays Dwalin, was in attendance, as was the Blue Box Crew.
I daresay you can guess where this is going.
As a terrific nerd, I made it my mission to meet Mr McTavish and show him my version of Grasper & Keeper. As a terribly shy person, it took me the entire convention to do so. On the final day, I noticed that the lines to meet the Dwarves were on the short side, so I pulled G&K from their display case, popped ‘em in my pocket, screwed my courage to the sticking point, and got in line to Meet McTavish.
After all the standard hello-nice-to-meet-you-thankyouforbeingawesomes, I asked if I could show him something really quickly, as I knew he had to run off and do photo ops and suchlike (all the other dwarves were being packed off by their volunteer handlers), to which he graciously agreed. G&K left the pocket, he got his glasses on, looked at them and said, “You made these? These are amazing! I really like how you did the engravings!”
Mr McT asked if they were meant to be earrings; I said that I’d intended them to be but they ended up being far too large and heavy (approximately 2.5 inches long). He asked if I was selling my work; when I said yes, he said he would come over and buy something and asked where my booth was! So I tried to explain as best I could where we were and asked if we could possibly, while he was over there, take a picture of him holding G&K, which he thought was a fantastic idea. Since it was time for photo ops, I said I didn’t want to hold him up, thanked him, and said I would see him later.
Fast-forward a few hours of standard con-type proceedings. By this point, it was creeping towards mid-afternoon, and there no tall Scottish men had stopped by the booth, so I had to make a decision about whether or not to risk pestering Mr McTavish and go find him again, or just sit tight and wait. It took a long time, but I finally tucked Grasper and Keeper back into my pocket and went back over to the signing area and lo and behold, there he was, with a bit of a line.
When I got to the front, he said, “Hi,” and stuck his hand out for shaking, and I said, “Hi. Again,” and his volunteer said, “She’s the one!” I startled a bit and said, “The one what?” “The earrings!” And Mr McT goes, “Oh! Yes! I was looking for you!”
“Yeah, I couldn’t find you.”
I think I said something about being in a couple of the panels and I knew he was busy, but would he mind terribly if I could get a photo of him with Grasper and Keeper? He asked if he could see them again, so I pulled them out and showed him. Mr McT asked how much I was selling them for, to which I replied I wasn’t planning on selling them because I didn’t think they were high enough quality for it. He seemed shocked and said, “Really?!”
So I asked, "Would you like to have them?", to which he replied, “I would love to have them!”
Obviously, if someone wants my work, I'm not gonna say no! “Then they’re yours.”
Somehow we transitioned into if he would be willing to come over to the booth for a photo; he asked if he should leave G&K there or bring them with and I said it would be awesome if he would pose with them, to which he agreed.
When we arrived at our row, he said, “Oh, I didn’t look down here!”
“Yeah, no one knows this row exists.”
After introducing Mr McT to the rest of the Blue Box Gang, we got a picture of him holding G&K and me being all goofy smiley next to him, and then L suggested we get one with ThorinPop - so I had to explain briefly that ThorinPop (my sort-of mascot) was documenting all of our adventures. So we took a second pic, with us sort of back to back at an angle, pulling grumpy dwarf faces, him still holding G&K, me holding ThorinPop, which may be my new favourite picture ever.
Apparently Mr McT had decided to give Grasper & Keeper to his daughters, who were upset that he was so rarely home with working and filming and everything. [“My daughters don’t understand, they want me to be at home and ask, ‘Why can’t you just do it at home?’ ‘I can’t make Salt Lake City be at home’!” He’d been away from them for a week at that point.] So I asked if he’d like me to put G&K on a chain, and then totally blanked out on putting them in one of our branded boxes, because THERE WAS A DWARF IN MY BOOTH.
Anyway. There you have a rambly, possibly far too fangirl-y account of meeting one of the living inspirations for some of my work. It was exciting, and humbling, and amazing all at once, and if my not-particularly-well-done first drafts of Grasper and Keeper can make two little girls feel closer to their daddy when he has to be away, well. It was totally worth it.
The Blue Box Blogger sometimes has a strange sense of humour that comes out here rather than the workshop.