Emogene Blue

This year I was invited to take part in the 'IN BOX' Group Exhibition at Giant Robot, curated by Audrey Kawasaki. Not only was it a huge honor to show alongside some of my absolute favorite artists, but it was a great chance to jump into some 3D work - which I don't normally get the chance to do. 

Each artist was sent a 12x12x6" wooden box with an open request to fill it, with whatever we wanted. It was really interesting to see all the different directions artists went in creating their work. I wanted to work more in puppet building so I wrote a little story about a girl named Emogene Blue. 


Treasures untold cost
A speckle of gold
If you buy them
From Emogene Blue. 

She cleans off the mold
And the dirt and the old
But doesn’t deal
In anything new. 

On the East side of town
The girl can be found
Sat amidst her
Treasures for sale.

You can buy by the pound
Or a piled up mound,
But she’ll get you
To buy without fail.
In snowflake and bloom
(Except on full moon)
She’ll be selling
Her treasures untold. 

For Emogene Blue
Wouldn’t know what to do
If there weren’t anything
Scavenged or old.


Emogene Blue was born in a haphazard way. Originally, I wrote a story about a girl who gets sold through a peddler (which is based off a true family story and too good not to finish someday). When I realized my original tale was too hefty for one box, I just sat and stared at all my trinkets and salvaged finds and felt completely and utterly stuck. 

Meanwhile, I was visiting with one of the most captivating women on the plantet: Miss Emogene Nagel. Her 80+ years have enabled her to tell the most colorful stories you never knew you needed to hear. One day she fried us up some okra, squash and pinto beans, and we drank sweet tea and she told me stories and showed me all of her precious belongings, some of which her own artist mother had made. (Also - Emogene never says no to a selfie.)


These two experiences sort of weaved themselves together and Emogene Blue was born. (Blue came from Belue - the last name of Emogene's sister, Erline, who is equally as adorable and vibrant). I started playing around with sketches and words and got to work building her. 

This was the first time I had ever used doll hair, and it was a total game changer. Huge thanks to my friend, Amy Sprouse (aka doll genius), who sent me the most perfect hair for Emogene. I'm definitely a beginner in the world of hair application but it's nothing that a little old comic newspaper hat can't hide.


After she was completed, I spent a million hours painting tiny houses and smoke and details inside of a box, which due to human elbow constraints is surprisingly difficult. 

I struggled a little with the balance between a warm Autumn feel and a cold purple spooky feel. After the buildings were complete, I created a boat load of trees. 

Once the box was finished, I hand painted the poem to hang alongside the piece. 

Here are some details from the final. As you can see, I collect a lot of little trinkets which were perfect for this piece. It's honestly really sad for me to let them go, but I am happy the piece sold and it's going to a great home! 

The show is up until September 16, so if you're in LA, go check it out! 

In the meantime, I'll be concocting my next little adventure and dreaming about writings loads of books, sleeping in a million hammocks, and baking lemon bars all day long.