Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2013

Smiles from the British Isles

From the photo, it appears that 'Otis the Moonshiner' is ga-ga over his new home in England. How could he not be happy while surrounded by such lovely ladies?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A friendly face

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Father and son?

Actually it's son and father. My 2T Otis head (on the right) came first. Then I sculpted a larger full-size head. The bigger Otis is my first casting from the mold. The smaller Otis was going to be a new nerd character until I got an order for an "Otis the Moonshiner" figure. So instead of buck teeth and half-masted eyelids, he gets a snaggle tooth and wide-open eyes.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Membership has its benefits

I've added this logo to my blog because I'm now a member. Members receive a membership certificate, membership card, an official IVS pin and six issues of the IVS Spotlight, an on-line newsletter featuring videos and articles on becoming a better ventriloquist and information from correspondents around the globe.  Members also receive special discount offers from Maher Studios.

For those of you who haven't joined yet, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of this organization. 

As an added incentive to join now - there's an early sign up bonus.  Everyone who has joined by Sunday, December 15th will be entered into a drawing.  Eight people will win one of Clinton Detweiler's Two Cents coins.

The membership packages start to ship December 16th, so give yourself an early Christmas present and sign up for the IVS today. 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Jolly Ol' St. Nick

The elf figure I built for a Canadian Santa made it in time to be in the Christmas Parade. You might notice that this Santa is a unique Santa with his blue beard and tiger suit because Santa is channeling Jimmy Lightshow Reedyk. I'm sure Santa and his elf were a big hit as they marched down the street and waved to the crowds.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Here we go again

Just got a shipment of new cast heads from Braylu Creations. Among them is my new 3T Otis the Moonshiner head. This one will be a full 40" tall. I'm also going to build another full-size Cheeky Boy ("Jackie"). The third figure will be a nerd using a 2T Otis head.

Let the work begin!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Slightly less scary? (maybe not)

My new 2T cheeky boy sculpt has progressed a bit since we last spoke. After grinding the eye sockets to open them up more, I hot-glued a couple of 1.25" wood knobs inside the head. They'll act as a backstop when I PaperClay over them. 

My main goal was to shape the upper lip, though I added to the right and left cheeks. Everything isn't quite left-to-right even yet, but by moving this far along and letting the PaperClay dry, I can balance the two sides more easily next time out.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Back to the future

These two scary photos represent projects I set aside quite awhile ago. Others became more urgent, so the feet and new 2T Cheeky Boy sculpts ended up in a box in the workshop. Now I've re-started them.

I already showed you my first "rough" of the left foot. Now here's a peek at the first "rough" of the right foot. I prefer to sculpt the general shape of the foot. After the PaperClay dries overnight, I'll compare the work to photos of a real foot, then add or subtract shape and detail. It's a multi-stage process that requires patience.

The head started from a 2T Braylu blank. The only part I like so far is the nose. I was unhappy with my original eye socket work, so I Dremel-grinded the sockets overly wide to re-start that work. I also over widened the mouth to accommodate a jaw frame that now freely swings open and closed.

I have a long way to go with both projects, but it'll be worth the time and effort in the long run.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pittsburgh cougar

Auntie Pearl has found herself a man. She may have hit the jackpot. I think her new partner is even a doctor. She's on her way to Steeltown to entertain Steeler, Penguin and Pirate fans. No doubt her wandering eye will lead to comedic arguments with her new companion.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Puttin' my foot down

I picked up a project I started a few months back. I intend to sculpt a pair of feet suitable for a 2T-4T figure. To review, I'm using a pair of feet from Braylu Creations. The Braylu-supplied feet are small enough to function as a good armature for my new feet. I realize I'm going to have to do this in steps, adding a little more detail after each step dries. (I'm using PaperClay).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dummies of New Jersey

It took a while, but I'm pleased to say Jackie has found a home clear across the country in New Jersey. He was the first one I built from this head design. However after I built him, I learned several new mechanical and painting techniques, so I made a "New and Improved" model. I also gave him a really nice new wig I found at my favorite wig store...Goodwill.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Keep your shirt on

Because my elf figure was purchased without a costume, I decided to put a shirt on the little munchkin for a few beauty shots. I've added this character to my website and named him "Quigley the Elf" for reference.  He was actually made with one blue eye and one green eye. But through the magic of Photoshop, I've turned both eyes blue for the photo session.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Santa's helper

This year a Canadian Santa will have the assistance of the little fellow you see here. He was made using my Otis head. Add some pointed ears, some buck teeth, half-masted eyelids and a small white beard and you've got a Christmas elf. I just need to do some paint touch up and he'll be ready to greet the naughty and nice.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Another goof ball

My goofy Christmas elf has progressed since we last spoke. His one-blue-and-one-green eye combo have been installed. His jaw is in and his eyebrows are working (though unpainted). After the Magic-Sculpt dries, I'll prepare and install his headstick. I'm going back to the rod-and-tube eye mechanics rather than the rocker-style side-to-side eye set-up. He should be ready to ship to Santa by the end of next week.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Keeping tabs

Sometimes I use eye hooks as cord guides in my dummy eye mechanics. And sometimes the space inside the head is too small to get a drill in there to bore a hole for the eye hook. And sometimes the spot where I need the cord guide won't be covered by the wig if I drill the hole from the outside.

To avoid patching, I use "tabs" from Braylu Creations. I drill the hole in the tab, put a drop of Zap glue on the eye hook stem and screw it into the tab.  Then I mark the spot inside the head where I want the eye hook. I squirt some hot glue on that spot and press the tab into the hot glue. After the initial squirt of hot glue dries, I squirt more hot glue to surround the tab for good measure. The result is a very secure cord guide.

Braylu is very good at coming up with clever solutions like this when I whine about problems I'm having. If you browse the Braylu website, you won't find these tabs for sale, but if you ask, they'll toss some in for free with your order.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Talkin' up the mock-up

This elf will look lazy, half-asleep, clueless and/or stoned. I added half-mast stationary eyelids to lower his IQ by 30 points. I'm not sure how helpful he will actually be to Santa (though he might get him some laughs).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Often kids with overbites get fitted for braces. In dummy makin' we create overbites on purpose. First I set the jaw so that it swings freely when it opens and closes. I mark the area on the upper lip just beyond where the lower lip and upper lip come together. I sculpt the buck teeth on the outside of that marked line. Now when the jaw closes, my Christmas elf's teeth will still protrude.

He'll be an orthodontist's dream.

Monday, October 28, 2013


My 2T Otis head can be made into several kinds of characters, among them an elf. I sculpted pointed elf ears with Magic-Sculpt. I think the head can also be used to create a nerd or a goofy "Mortimer Snerd" archetype. And with pointed ears, he could be made into a clueless space alien.

I'll have a full-size Otis head that will make a 40" figure available soon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Break time's over

Those of you who follow this blog have certainly noticed that I disappeared. I actually didn't go anywhere. I was taking a break. A long break. I took advantage of the unusual absence of Kenny Croes Dummy Store orders for a few weeks. I took on a related project during this down time. And I've been rejuvenating my music performing "career" by organizing a weekly Open Mic night at a tavern. (Debuts Sunday, November 3rd at Lloyd's Old Town Tavern in Bandon, Oregon).

But a dummy-buildin' order came in, so it's back to work. Using a 2T Otis head and Braylu 2T body, I'm going to build a 34" Christmas elf for a Santa Claus ventriloquist. The little "munckin" will have pointed elf ears, buck teeth and one blue eye and one green eye. So it's time to get busy again. 

Warning: You may be hearing from me more often now.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

All liquored up

Otis the Moonshiner is a country bumpkin who prides himself on his sophistication. He loves classical music as long as it's played on a banjo. He's a connoisseur of gourmet food whenever it's served with grits. He recites poetry...well...actually limericks. And he's well-traveled...in his rusty '49 Ford pickup. Most of all Otis loves sippin' his XXX Moonshine...guaranteed to make him act stupid.

And Otis is for sale...$549 plus shipping. Any takers?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Top secret

I haven't been blogging because I've been working on a special project I can't blog about. I enjoy sharing my discoveries, even when my discoveries were discovered by other folks long ago. But this one has to stay under my hat.

I'm still working on sculpting feet and yet another character. I'll be blogging about that when there's something interesting to show.

Now back to the lab...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

She's about a mover

Here's Auntie Pearl's video for the Ebay auction. Take a peek at her shameless attempts at companionship. Yep, she's for sale!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

From Pasadena?

I'm not sure this is actually the little old lady from Pasadena, but she might be from Glendale or Rancho Cucomonga. This is Auntie Pearl (the 34" tall variety). She's a sweet old cougar, ready to chase after the first good lookin' feller she sees. She might catch 'em, too, with those Nikes she's wearing. Pearl will be on the hunt soon. (She's looking you over as we speak).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Now where was I?

Though there have been many distractions (travel, music, TV, baseball, cooking, daydreaming, coffee, football, laundry, Facebook, beer, email, blogs, YouTube... just to name a few), I've managed to give Otis some eyes.

I dab some Vasoline on the bottom of the eye tray. I line up the eyes as the eye tray sinks into Magic-Sculpt on both sides of the head's interior. The Magic-Sculpt partially hardens to become eye tray ledges. Then I pull out the eye tray (which is easy because of the Vaseline). Now I can do some more work on the eyeballs in prep for synchronizing and making the eyes cross.

I also managed to mangle (and ruin) a gray Grandma wig that I intended to give Auntie Pearl. I think I have one more. Hope I don't ruin it. too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dying to start work

I'm still in recovery mode from my trip. I'm the family cook, so I've had to re-stock the shelves and fire up the kitchen. But I will get back to dummy work soon. Meanwhile, enjoy Part 1 of my friend Chuck Lyons' interview with Tom Crowl. Check out the other episodes, too.  Chuck is a ventriloquist AND a funeral director. (Insert joke here). 

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I just returned home from a week-long trip to California. The travel was unscheduled. We had to leave rather suddenly to address some family issues. I had just gotten back into the dummy-buildin' routine after a trip to the Northern California Gretsch Guitar Roundup when this unexpected  trip became necessary. After a grueling 12-hour drive home yesterday, I'm taking it low and slow today to recover. I'm watching football, answering emails, browsing Facebook and doing as little as possible. Hopefully you'll see something more interesting from me tomorrow.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

On the road

Friday, September 20, 2013

On the road

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On the road

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On the road

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On the road

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Workin' it

Again nothing new or Earth-shaking to report today. Except that I've decided I need to work a little harder. Auntie Pearl needs a wig and Otis in the back needs some mechanics.

They're waiting patiently.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back to work you slacker

After a summer of intermittent travel, I'm back in the workshop to complete two figures. The fellow at left is a 34" Otis the Moonshiner. He's in the process of face painting. His wrinkle lines have been laid in and narrowed. Next comes the shadowing. 

I'm also in the home stretch of a 34" Auntie Pearl. Not much more interesting to report today, but at least I'm gettin' back to work.

Monday, September 09, 2013


John Sebastian at the Gretsch Guitar Roundup
This past week I attended the Northern California Gretsch Guitar Roundup in Norden, California. The event is held in a rustic ski lodge near Donner Pass. It's an intimate gathering of about 40 guitar players who own Gretsch guitars.

John Sebastian, leader and primary songwriter for the great 60's band Lovin' Spoonful, was the special guest at the event. I had a front row seat as he performed tunes and told stories in the lodge's Great Room. He talked about performing at Woodstock. He shared songwriting insights gained from composing hits like "Do You Believe In Magic", "Summer In The City" and "Daydream" (just to name a few). He spoke about his childhood growing up among artists, poets, musicians and actors in Greenwich Village. (His godmother was Vivian Vance who played Ethel on "I Love Lucy"). And he performed a few new tunes, too. All in all, it was a memorable evening spent with fellow musicians and a member of both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

That's why I've been "on the road".

Saturday, September 07, 2013

On the road

Friday, September 06, 2013

On the road

Thursday, September 05, 2013

On the road

Sunday, September 01, 2013

This will be quite a feet

I discovered very quickly that I need to sculpt one toe at a time, let the PaperClay dry, then move on to the next. So far I've got two very rough big toes and two big toe mounds (the bumps on the side). I also discovered that I should put the toe nails on after all the toes are sculpted.

I'm using some cast feet Buzz James of Braylu Creations sent me as an armature for the new feet. I think these cast feet may have originated with Clinton Detweiler. I'm sculpting larger feet for use with 2T figures. These will eventually look best (assuming I'm able to sculpt well enough) with my 2T Otis the Moonshiner figure.

If I'm successful making these look good, I'll sculpt some larger feet for the full-size figures, too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Something in the way she moves

Here's the video of AUNTIE PEARL. (I think she may have been drinking just before this video was recorded.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I've completed my first 42" Auntie Pearl. She has side-to-side self-centering eyes, crossing eyes and raising eyebrows. She may look like everyone's favorite granny, but she's a cougar on the prowl for a younger man...like anyone under 75 years old.