When you're attending the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, you have to be prepared to run into all sorts of unexpected things slithering around the aisles in San Pedro. Among all of this, this year, guests will see the creations of the WeaselWerks.
WeaselWerks is the multimedia studio of a caffeine crazed weasel! The weasel is a Long Beach crafter/artist Kyle Laird, who works in paper, fiber, metal and stone to make items that bring something a little different to an everyday world. All of his items are handcrafted using as few motorized tools as possible, no two items turn out exactly the same. You can visit Weaselwerks at www.weaselwerks.wordpress.com or on deviantart at http://hawkston.deviantart.com. We had a chance to discuss art, horror and other weasel issues with Kyle Laird.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on WeaselWerks? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?
A: I trained to be a musician all through my school years, but found that for reasons beyond my control it just wasn't going to happen. I did some college and a lot of work with businesses big and small only to find that I needed to be on my own. I started WeaselWerks to learn about the business of art and a venue to get feedback on the things I create. The hardest thing for me to learn I'm still learning - since I really can't draw, getting a concept for a visual piece out of my head and translated to the final medium sometimes takes a couple of tries. I'm finding that a lot of times I can just go for it and I get a better result than I had imagined.
Q: What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
A: That's a terribly difficult question to answer! I think the first Lovecraft story I read was "The Shadow over Innsmouth." I was about 10, so it was way out of the realm of what my teachers thought I should be reading. All I wanted to read was Poe, Lovecraft, Machen and Tolkein for the rest of grade school. Can't imagine why I wasn't invited to share my book reports with the rest of the class. I love all the Lovecraft tales with the exception of "Mountains of Madness." I've never finished it. For some reason, I just can't connect with it.
Q: What was the most unexpected surprise you've found so far working with metal?
A: That I was good at it and liked it. I took up metalworking so that I could set the stones that I facet, but I do a lot of work that does not involve stone setting. Most of the things I crafted for so long (lace, costumes, pillows and linens, faceted gemstone, specialty paper items and so on) involve keeping one's hands really clean. Metalwork is dirty! I'm still pretty OCD when crafting in other mediums, but I enjoy having green hands at the end of a day working with copper.
Q: What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?
A: I have a couple of projects going right now. I'm finishing a remodel on a condo to sell it and buy a duplex to remodel. I'm looking for physical space to house WeaselWerks so that I can teach and have a small gallery. Within the next two years, I hope to have a large space that houses a studio that provides classes and workspace for ceramics, glassblowing, stained glass works, dichroic glass, enameling, casting, stone faceting and cabbing as well as metal work. Since art has been cut significantly in schools at all levels, people have less opportunity to explore and I feel that a private sector solution will do better than relying on state or federal funding. Art is so important - people of all ages and skill levels need access!
Q: Where else can we find you throughout the year?
A: I'm trackable through my blog at weaselwerks.wordpress.com and I keep a pretty good gallery at DeviantArt under the name Hawkston. I promised my mom that I would try to get a collection showing at a gallery (crikey- that's super scary!!!!) by next summer and I'm working on a specific piece for submission to Bella Amore magazine. That piece should be done by the end of October, so maybe it will make the summer 2014 issue of Bella.
Q: What's your favorite music to listen to as you're creating new works?
A: My mp3 player has a mix of music from Flight of the Conchords, Garfunkle and Oates, selections from Sweeny Todd, 3 versions of the torch song 'Sway", some Oingo Boingo, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, the Cure, the Fixx, two versions of 'Cry Me a River' and the Minecraft parody song '500 Chunks'. I lost my cd of The Best of Tom Jones so I'm really missing his version of 'Kiss' with Art of Noise, which is probably good for productivity because, really, how can you not dance to that?
Be sure to visit Kyle Laird and WeaselWerks at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this month at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro!