Vintage Grimm's Fairy Tales

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Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, I stole my big sister’s book.
Thankfully my sister didn’t mind, and said I could have it. At least, I don’t remember there being a problem about it, which is probably a good thing.

I had no idea what was in it because I couldn’t read yet. But that didn’t matter. Most “real” books in the house were too big and most likely better suited for me as a booster seat. But this book was different. It was like a real book you would have at school. The poster child for real books. I felt more grown up just holding it. It had a hard cover, small typeface, more text than pictures, a table of contents. It smelled like a real book. It fit well in my small hands. I carried it under my arm with importance.

Because now that I owned a grown up book, I decided to treat it as such. I pored through the book, pretending it was very important research. Highlighting blocks of text, crossing out words, adding check-marks.

Eventually I learned to read, and it became a nightly ritual to choose one fairy tale before bed. I continued this habit even into adulthood. Some people have the Bible on their nightstand. But this exact copy of Grimm’s has been my bedside companion probably for most of my life.

I’m not sure if I realized just how dark and disturbing so many of the stories are. I think my immature brain at the time only absorbed what it was able to handle. There must be a brain guardian, like a bouncer in there somewhere that only filters in what your brain can handle, and pushes out the rest. I never thought of the stories as scary. Which probably explains, well…..a lot about myself.

Every time I read a story, I unpeeled another layer. Whatever my brain guardian decided I could handle.

And many of the stories begin with walking through woods. Being abandoned, lost, fleeing, hiding, hunting…and eventually stumbling upon a strange cottage in the dark woods. And this is where their story would really begin. The woods and the cottage, it changed people.

Eerie Horror Film Festival, Erie Pennsylvania

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Blackwood Cottage at Warner Theatre in Erie, PA

All set up at the Eerie Horror Film Festival!

Happening this weekend, October 16-18 at the Warner Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania! This festival is returning to its roots of scouting out the best independent horror film makers, and the resulting screening schedule this year is outstanding. Movies from all over the world have been selected and will not disappoint!

I was very pleased to find out that a film from my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is going to be featured tonight, entitled “Bigfoot the Movie”. It’s a slasher comedy (my favorite horror genre by far) about some mullet wearing rednecks that are hunting Bigfoot. One of the main characters is social media youtube sensation Pittsburgh Dad!

If you’re in Erie, get off your butt and come check this out!

Stuffed Magazine Featured Artist Jessica Stadtmueller

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Blackwood Cottage featured artist Jessica Stadtmueller in Stuffed Magazine 2015So I’m waiting in line at my local Joanne’s Fabrics in Erie, Pennsylvania.  A cashier said, “I can take you next,” to which I replied, “Hold on, I gotta take a picture, I’m in this magazine.”

Did I feel like a moron? Yes. Did I care? Not really. In fact I took it a step further.

I carried that magazine to the two cashiers and whipped out my photo ID to prove it. “Look, right there,” I pointed to the bio at the end of my article and then tapped my driver’s license. “It says Jessica Stadtmueller in Erie Pennsylvania, Blackwood Cottage, that’s me!” Thank God these two ladies were smiling at me and not backing away….slowly.

I’m pretty sure their enthusiasm was sincere, because as we browsed the pictures together, one cashier said, “This is so cool…I’m buying a copy, can you sign it for me?”  My first autograph! I signed her copy, and she smiled. With a little skip in her step, she set it behind the counter and rang me up.

I’ll admit that none of this felt real until that moment. I’ve been planning this release since January. Writing, revising, editing, proofing the photo shoot, opening my advanced preview copy only for featured artists. It was all pretty exciting, but it still felt surreal.

But there’s something about seeing copies of Stuffed mixed in with all those other magazines, right next to the display of Bubble Tape and Sour Patch Kids, where anyone can discover you, and then watching a complete stranger turn into a fan and request your autograph….that’s extra real.

So I sincerely say, thank you Wednesday.

Blackwood Cottage Art in Stuffed Magazine, autographed by artist

And yes, her name is really Wednesday.

 

Blackwood Cottage Art Studio

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Cats in progress at 1 am.

Most summers, I can manage to sit outside in an adirondack chair and stitch while my kids ride bikes; I’ve even pulled my sewing machine out to a picnic table with an extension cord and sunglasses. But this year the mosquitoes have been horrendous. Bug repellant is only helpful to a point. Ever get bit on your eyelid? In case you were wondering, it really sucks.

Some of our summers have been blissfully lazy and we take each day as it comes. This summer, on the other hand, has not. It’s been a summer of spinning a lot of plates, and cramming ten pounds of you-know-what into a one pound bag.

But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that if I wait for the perfect time to make art, it doesn’t always happen. And if I don’t get to make art, I get very cranky. So I’ve been trying to pull a midnight shift lately. And it’s working. Thirty minutes here or there, once everyone is asleep, including the hot sun and mosquitoes.

Here’s my latest midnight shift project: a batch of gray cats. I’m trying out a new pattern and construction method. Right now they are just stuffed torsos with painted faces, but I am moving onto the limbs and ears next. I’ll keep you posted.

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My new year’s goal for 2015 was to submit to Stuffed by Stampington & Co.

And in mid January, Stuffed contacted me first.

Needless to say I was floored and flattered. It also made the submission process much less intimidating! Writing the article also helped me define even further my artistic vision and inspiration, and gave me pause to really examine my techniques. Seeing my work published in such a beautiful quality magazine has been a wonderful experience, and I’m so grateful for it.

Every issue of Stuffed is just, well.. stuffed with gorgeous photography and writing. The paper is not like a thin slippery periodical. The pages are thick, smooth, and printed vividly. There is barely any advertising, and almost every page is nothing but art, written by artists. There are some incredible artists included and I’m honored to be featured among them.

This issue of Stuffed will be available on newsstands August 1, 2015, or you can order a copy from their website.  I would love for you to check it out and hear what you think! – Jessica

Vampire doll, Blackwood cottage

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Yes, I’ll be back with an army of bats and spooky dolls!

This is becoming a Halloween tradition for me, it wouldn’t be October without it! This festival never fails to deliver an incredible weekend for horror fans. Can’t wait to show you what I’ve been working on…looking forward to seeing you there!


The Eerie Horror Film Festival & Expo will be held October 16-18, 2015 at the historic Warner Theater in downtown Erie, PA.
811 State St., Erie, PA 16501

Please visit their website for information on tickets, schedules, special guests, and films.

Eerie Horror Film Festival, Erie PennsylvaniaSince its debut in October of 2004, the Eerie Horror Film Festival has quickly become one of the most popular and respected events of its kind in the world. Each year the Eerie Horror Film Festival attracts thousands of fans, filmmakers and screenwriters to the city of Erie, Pennsylvania, for a four day celebration of independent cinema, featuring special celebrity guests, screenings and workshops. – Eerie Horror Film Festival