Monday, May 11, 2015


My buddy Michael (a Swede) has picked up an old prospector's term and made it his own. I catch him on the gamer site, Twitch, which streams live play from people all around the world. Michael is what I'd call a humble gamer. There is no pretense or trash talk about how great he is, or how awful someone else has played. He's just there to experience it all.

I am struck by the way he will open a game he has never played... no clue about what the "official play guide" says. He just starts going whole-hog. When he gets stuck or killed "TARNATIONS!" in a Swedish accent reverberates. His gaming channel is stocked with videos of him crashing and burning, but all the time laughing about it all. No attitude, just honest gaming fun. LanokirX is his name, and Tarnations! is his game.

American Heritage Dictionary TARNATION:
tar·na·tion (tär-nā′shən) New England & Southern US
The act of damning or the condition of being damned.
Used to express anger or annoyance.

As a disclosure, I play a couple of games, but not as a gamer. I'm just an old dude that loved them from the Colecovision days. I think twitch has opened my eyes to where the gaming culture and art form has grown.

As a point, I try not to spend too much time online, but having LanokirX steaming in the lower left-hand corner of my screen as I'm working on a project is like listening to a radio show. The guy cracks me up.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Carving the Bluesman

Bluesman in Cherry

Here is my next Automata - In honor of BB King, my Dad and all the older dudes banging away at their instruments. I'll post the action of the Strummer when I finish it.

Carving Station

Here's where I do it all - Outside, on two large Trashcans. I don't want the dust in my studio, so I let it fly around the neighborhood. My neighbors must hate me...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Shark Bait - Automata

Shark Bait - Automata

Carved White Pine mounted on hard maple base - Steel Wire Mechanism 18" long x 11" high and 4.5" at the shark's fins.

I bought a book called Making Simple Automata by Robert Race a couple of weeks ago. It took forever to be delivered, since it came from the UK. The book is light on step by step, but has a few interesting designs. I'm trying to find new options for mechanisms, and the bent wire cam shaft looked promising. I don't have the tools or dexterity to make super clean 90 degree bends in the wire. Likewise, the wire has a memory of the spool it came on, so the straight runs look wiggly too.

I think I will find a way to reproduce the mechanism in wood or shaping flat steel or brass to create the gearing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Baby Elvis

Carved on Sunday morning, Sept 5th from a small piece of maple. My son and I were raising dust working on our projects in the driveway. We've found that Dremel products can't handle the amount of stress we put on our tools. We broke two (update: THREE) Flexible Shaft extensions in the last three weeks. The steel that Dremel uses for their drive shaft can't handle the torque. They twist apart after a few hours of use. Time to save our pennies for a Foredom carving station. My son is working in Basswood, and I'm working in Figured Maple.

Baby Elvis is going to be Automata Number 2. I want to get his jaw shaped and moving before investing time in carving the body and making the gears function for strumming the guitar and singing.

DAY 2 - New guitar, body and arms...

It should be a fun project.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Catrina in the Altar

I've been on a carving kick for the upcoming "Day of the Dead" Workshop I'm giving on the 13th of September. I wanted to have something new and awesome for the lecture - Spur on creative juices in the crowd. I hope it does the trick. Here's the progress so far.

NOTE: The Tall Catrina is too big for placement within the mouth of the Skull Altar, so she's been sold to a friend in Brooklyn. Little Sister has had her tenon cut, and has been fitted into the Altar piece. I'll post more pics as I progress.

Skull Altar Carving Skull Altar Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Catrina Carving Skull Altar Skull Altar

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Diary Entry - January 1, 1922

Lydia Mull's diary entry from January 1, 1922

1922. January 1, Sunday

Last night Em, Marta and I saw the new year “in” at the Clinton Hill Baptist Church. Saw the Illustrious “auditor” – oh no! I mean ACCOUNTANT. He looked at me, I looked at him and all we said was---)(we didn’t greet each other at all). I had been skating with Marta, and I was some tired, so I didn’t enjoy the meeting as much as usual, and then, I’ve been growing “badder” or worse and worse as the days went by that I didn’t have a testimony to give wholeheartedly, that is. I did want to testify, but somehow the power of the Holy Spirit was lacking.

I didn’t go to Sunday School nor Church.

-- Diary Entry of (Tante) Lydia Mull

My cousin Sarah is kind enough to lend me Tante Lydia's 1922 Diary. This January 1st entry is the only one that is typed, so I will have to decipher the rest as I go. It's written in light pencil in a loopy cursive script that has me baffled in some passages... I have to learn to talk like a proper spinster.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meth Mouth - A Slight Return

Zdepski's Illustration, Meth Mouth, 2014

You may have seen her at your local Walmart, or street corner. Meth Mouth has made a resurgence. I was approached by a doctor in France to include this image in an upcoming booklet for "Dental Health and Addictions" for high school age students in the city of Nancy.

I'm very proud to have it included, since it is one of the few positive things to come out of my experience with addicted friends. One friend was gunned down in a North Philadelphia heroin deal. Another lost her beautiful New Jersey home, storybook-marriage and sanity to Oxycontin. I hope my illustration will scare the crap out of some young kid thinking of dropping a pill on a weekend dare.

The good doctor saw this original sketch from 2008, but I've cleaned it up for its 2014 publication.

Addiction is a vampire with rotten teeth.