Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

©K.Dunn. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Earnest the pig and his crazy quilt

Earnest inherited a crazy quilt from his great great aunt three times removed...or something like that. On sunny winter days, when the round quality permits, I allow it to come out of mothballs and lay it out for the little pig, and any others he invites, like bunnies and mice.

These scenes in my heart are what get me up in the morning, along with homemade bread, toasted, a fire by my mate, and the ability to somehow believe the world won't blow up in the near future and the wind and sea will somehow be here for future pigs and people.

{This original drawing now available at the shop.}

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Meet the six new tiny Apiferians!

I was minding my own business....and someone we have met recently contacted me to see if I might be able to take on some birds. It seems her friend was suddenly made homeless due to an entire serious of events, and had to give up his birds. She explained they came with their own vintage inspired cage.

I immediately researched Zebra Finches and sort of fell in love with the idea right away. And since I had left my old farm last May and had to rehome my flock and a few other animals that could not come with us, I know the feeling he might have had.

So yesterday our friend took us to his home he must leave-a very old 1870 manor house where his mother lived until her death at age 87. The house was empty now and he showed us around-what a place. I wish I could have bought it and given it back to him. Anyway, when I saw the bird cage, I swooned. It was custom made by a bird lover, and it shows, even having little bird houses in it.

So I gladly took their wings under my wing. They now reside in our living room, and when we sat down last night for our evening cocktail and conversation, they were right there partaking. They are fascinating to engage with. There are five males and a non breeding female and they do not like loud abrupt noises-sirens, shouts, loud trucks. Last night we were talking about some current news, and my voice grew a bit agitated, and they all started chattering! I apologized. So today, I have classical music on for them instead of NPR. Last night they slept soundly and were up with the daylight-perfect farmers.

I am so pleased to have them, and I just hope their former caretaker finds a place to land soon.

Monday, January 09, 2017

New drawings of muses

Last week I showed you some new prints I had created. Some people asked if there were originals. Sometimes especially for illustrative work I combine hand drawn and hand painted elements and sandwich them into a digital original, hence there is not 'real' original to hold in your hands, it is a layered piece, so I make prints from it.

But there is always a starting point original. I decided to go back into the drawings and finish them with pencil and charcoal. I really love the muted tones and these remind me of old storybook pieces from childhood-which reminds me, I am still trying to get going on a new book idea. But more on that down the road.

In the meantime, these originals drawings are on the shop [the cat image has sold]. {And the prints inspired by them are too.}

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Old Donkey Weather Report

The Eskimos have one hundred words for "snow". I appreciate this and would like to learn each one. Imagine how important snow is to their culture, and how communicating about snow is so crucial to their economy and survival.

Last night we got a couple inches of beautiful, powder snow, tlapa. When we awoke it was quite chilly, about 14 degrees, but no wind. I have a white antique donkey someone gifted me. She reminds me of our Matilda, so I refer to the statue as Old Donkey. She sits on a windowsill and has become a beautiful weather reporter for me. I have taken her photo before, but think I will post Old Donkey Weather Reports through out the year. Today's report: silvery and crisp.

The animals have no problem with the snow. White Dog loves it, I knew he would, and Birdie the llama is programed for cold and stands outside in dry weather waiting for her hay-she prefers breakfast under blue sky even if it is cold.

When I came back to the pig barn, Earnest had just finished breakfast. I wondered what the Eskimos would have called the snow on his nose. The closest I could find is hiryla for "snow in the beard". Perhaps I can find an Intuit to help me. Any Intuits reading my blog?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Bunnies and the gloomies

I sat in the studio looking at the painting desk, bunny at my feet. I just kept painting bunny blobs. Bunnies are pretty addictive I guess. It raised my dull mood. I was sort of blue all day and I really don't know why, so I just worked through it, walked through it as I did chores. I sort of wondered who I was. I guess as artists and people we might be swimming along and all of a sudden the thought comes into our heads,

What am I doing?

I feel like I'm making good art, have my portfolio online really up to date. I've made some nice books. And then I did the very bad thing we artists sometimes do: I compared my past accomplishments to some current successes of other artists. You know, you see a very good and nice artist getting a book deal and you go into that Self Debbie Downer conversation in your head?

It's pitiful to think that way. I snapped out of it. I began to think about:

What project do I want to work on more than anything?

And I didn't have an answer today. That can lead me to the gloomies, when I don't have a focused direction-like a new book or series of pieces. It will be okay.

But I bet a lot of you artists friends out there have the gloomies and Debbie Downer moments. It's part of it. It always passes for me, at least it always has.

Here's to bunnies.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Cats and books, cats and books

The new Itty Bitty & Big Etta books are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, pending good weather for delivery!

I am always nervous to get new books. No matter how many times I check and recheck for errors, there is usually something I am not happy with. I seem to learn new techniques and tips with each book though. So, fingers crossed for this little gem to arrive safely.

I imagine it will also bring up some buried emotion I have about Itty herself. I really do miss her and still have sadness that she is not with us. But every time I hear a car go by on the very close busy road, every time I come in the house and know Itty would have been right there ready to sneak out, I know what happened was probably for the best, because she would have been unhappy inside 24/7. Big Tony on the other hand, happy as a clam.

When I get those feelings, I focus on what is here...now...the animals that are in my charge need me, and are beautiful creatures too. There will never be another Itty, or another "insert name of any Misfit of the past, but there are many Misfits to come.

And the current elders living in the Healing Cat Cottage are bringing me lots of happiness. I have much to do in the to make it extra healing for cats and visitors–although the current perches seem to be very acceptable to the cats. There is plenty of room for more residents, but there is no need to rush. The right cats in need will present themselves. I still need to paint the murals, find an area rug that is durable, and find a farm table for guests. Money is always tight, so we will make do as we go along. I'm hoping by summer I can have some Cat Healing Days.

So, with the new book's arrival, please note that any donation of $50 or more gets you a book. People have asked me to post a list of needs, but right now, money is really the best gift–for litter and food.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

When the world gives you ice, skate, thought the pig

When the world gives you ice, grab your skates. We can not be kept down here at Apifera, we embrace the winter.

Earnest's paddock, due to lack of drainage which we just couldn't get to this summer, developed a shallow pond. Perfect for pigs and other Apiferians both wild and tamed to grab ice skates and feel the wind against their faces.

Now available as prints at the shop.