Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Tender Heart for Mascots

Sometimes creation just buzzes along at AvantGarb. We have enough of the right foam to build the body, we have plenty of the right kind of helmets to put inside the heads, we have the fur, the right shapes for the eyes and the right color soles for the mascot shoes. We have plenty of time to get the mascot done, everybody is in top mental and physical shape, and the tunes on the CD player are just the right tunes.

Sometimes the music is wrong, we have 3, but not 4 helmets for the 4 mascot we're making, the right-sized eyes for 3 and a half mascots and enough fur for everything but the paws. Someone has a pulled nerve and can only sew standing up and someone else sound like one big germ on the phone, and I beg her not to come in.

There always a time in both the projects that go smoothly, and the projects that have a few ohmygoodness, panic moments when I fall completely in love with the character we are creating. It always happens. I will look at the nose I have just finished and my heart will melt, because it is a beautiful, big, fuzzy nose and it just warms my soul, and I know it will warm the souls of all who see it---it could be the ears, a tuft of hair---the shoes. Something will click in my heart, and I know we are about to send a great, big, bundle of fun out into the wider world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Mascot's Summer Adventures

Mascot don't talk but lots of them are manic twitterers, and one of them, Little Jake, likes to send emails w/ pics to his creators!

Here's Little Jake's, What I Did on My Summer Vacation, note home:

Dear Jennifer (or should I technically call you "Mom" since you created me?):

I thought you told me that during the first few months of any newborn's life, the people around you do all the work and the baby just lays around looking cute and being doted upon.

Well apparently E&B Paving didn't get that memo.

Have I ever been busy this summer...and I'm only a few months old! What happened to that grace period you promised me??? My summer "vacation" started when those guys from E&B trotted me out to Carmel's Rock the District festival where you can see that I was quite the hit with the ladies (OK, so that part of being a mascot is pretty cool) and I even appeared on stage to warm up the crowd before the headliner music act (Little Jake rocks! Eat your heart out Mike Jagger...). Check me out on the E&B asphalt paving equipment (rollin', rollin', rollin', keep that asphalt rollin'...).

Then, they pulled me from the comfortable confines of my customized duffle bags where I was snoozing peacefully and took me up to Peru, Indiana for that town's annual circus parade. I walked the parade route and was definitely more popular than the circus tiger (could it have been because I handed out E&B lollipops to the kids while the tiger just laid in his cage looking bored by the whole event?).

And if that weren't enough to exhaust a newborn mascot, I became the centerpiece of an advertisement that E&B created to demonstrate their support of Scecina High School's athletic teams. Uh huh, that's right, notice who's standing next to the cheerleaders (Little Jake can be one suave fellow).

OK, so I've been a rock star, a parade attraction, and a magazine model...not bad for a youngster. I may need a new pair of those size 14 shoes before long at the rate E&B is going -- my feet are getting tired from all of these appearances.

Hope you have had as much fun this summer as I have had hanging out with all of my new friends and spreading goodwill about E&B Paving.

Your pal,

Little Jake

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2 Trucks, 6 Strong Men - The Move

Like all moves, this one was took time, haphazard planning, luck and hard labor.

We packed rolls of: sequins, fuzz, feathers, 7 sewing machines, the bandsaw, 4 worktables (taken apart & put together again on the same day ), tools, scissors, rotary blades, and, or course, googlie eyes. Foam boing-ed out of the boxes, pins were swept off the floor and the mascot "wall of fame" was disassembled.

It took: 2 movingtrucks, 6 strong men, the phone guy, the sewing machine guy, the GarbGang, husband & bro-in-law to move into our new studio. We went into a gorgeous, empty space, filled it up and transformed it into a mascot studio.

Tonie, our feng shui visionary, knows how to create order from chaos. I put objects---sewing machines and bunches of this and that wherever they fit. Tonie takes the whole space in and knows what goes where, how the make the space navigable and right.

Some of the GarbGang w/ Peter,
our swimsuit mannequin. That's me, protecting his modesty, Tonie w/ the pink hard hat, and Cat looking grand.

...and it is right. While I dithered, and worked with a visiting mascot performer, it all fell into place. The wall of fame is re-stored and re-vitalized. Mascots are getting made.

I look at this remarkable business that I started a couple of decades ago, in my Berkeley, CA garage
, and I'm filled with a kind of awe and wonder. At the time I really didn't know what I had started. Now it's a great little biz in a wonderful spot in the world., AvantGarb started in a California garage to a studio at the Stutz- We're building mascots where Stutz Bearcat cars used to be manufactured! Where there was steel, we have foam, where there was chrome we use fluff! Bearcat Alley runs through the middle of the building. The building wan built on dreams and hard work.

AvantGarb Inc
212 W. 10th St.
Studio B-295
Indianapolis, IN 46202


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Griff waits for the season to begin!

...okay, we love the Griff---the mascot for the Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey.

Here's a link to the Griff's newest video.

Isn't he the handsomest mascot on skates?