Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bats and Battes

I love bats. I am not sure that my interest in them really has much to do with my last name which is the Old English spelling of the word bat. Everyone thinks it is a French spelling, but no, alas. I became fascinated by bats when I was a kid living in Texas, where there have been huge bat colonies since forever, I guess. I used to love going out just at sunset to watch the skies suddenly get very dark with a huge swarm of bats setting out for their nightly feast of insects. (We didn't have a television at my house then so this was one of the things I used to do for entertainment.) The bat colonies in Austin, Texas have become quite famous and a great tourist attraction. Just recently I discovered a species of bat I had never heard about...the bumble bee bat of Thailand. These little guys are supposed to be the smallest living mammal. What a hoot. And guess where I gained this valuable piece of knowledge...from the inside of the lid of a Snapple Ice Tea! How cool is that? So here is a photo of one of the little guys. Now that is what I call CUTE.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catching Up...

...and backtracking at the same time. If you have found this blog via my website, then you may know a little about me. I just realized that I don't have much info about myself here yet. Briefly, before I got into the joys of making Halloween characters, my professional life was spent in theatres. Beginning in 1967 I was involved in costuming for professional theatres around the US with even a brief stint on Broadway. I designed costumes. I sewed costumes. I cut and draped costumes. But mostly, I was involved in millinery. If something went on some one's head, I was responsible for making it. And the last 20 years of my day job was working at San Francisco Opera as Senior Milliner. People are always asking me what it was exactly that I did there and could I show them photos. I have finally managed to round up a bunch of photos (courtesy of the SF Opera archives) and I will create a special page for them on my website. In the meantime, I thought I would preview some of them here.

The opera at the top of the post is Don Giovanni and the others from top to bottom are Orlando, Macbeth, The Makropolus Case, The Marriage of Figaro, and Turandot. Lord willin' and the crick don't rise, I will have many more photos on my website with more detailed info about the various productions for which these headdresses were made.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I forgot something yesterday. I forget things every day. Getting old is not easy you know. However, sometimes I do forget that I am getting old and that is a good thing.

The very first thing today is adding another photo of dear Vera. (At this point the electricity in my neighborhood went out. I guess I won't start off another post with "Oops". Bit of a jinx, I think.)

So now here we are on another day. And here is another photo of dear Vera. I put rhinestone jewelry on a lot of the ladies, but this is the first one to have false eyelashes. I just couldn't resist.

I have added another figure to my ETSY shop...Cherie who is another of the Grisettes. She was pictured in the book Dolls of the Art Deco Era by Susanna Oroyan. More photos of Cherie are in my ETSY shop. Just click on the link to the right.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ghosts and Vampires

I was really excited about posting the video of the ghost puppet today. But, I will be quite honest, I still haven't figured out quite how to do it. I am sure it is quite simple and I will figure it out, but I just keep getting sidetracked. So today's photo is of of Vera, the Vampire Bride.

She has been in my ETSY shop, but she has just been sold and she is winging her way to her new coffin/home as I type. I will miss the old gal. So here is a chance for everyone who finds their way to this blog to see her, while I continue my search for the secret of adding videos to the blog.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WOW! Two in a row...

This blogging thing is really cool. I can't believe that I have managed to make two posts in two days. I'm sure this won't happen too often. As I get older, I discover that there is way more to do in a day and way less hours to do them. Who has been messin' with the time? I could have sworn that just a couple of days ago we were still in March. Oh, well...

I thought I would post another photo of one of my Halloween figures...just a head shot to tease you into going to my website to see more of him or go to my ETSY shop where he is for sale.

As soon as I figure out how to do it, I will add a short movie of my ghost rod puppet. The movie was shot in a fabulous cemetery in Oakland, CA. I have a great fondness for cemeteries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Seniors can blog too...

My name is Charles Batte. The last name is pronounced "bat", except of course by all of those who know me, and they pronounce it "battie". I am really new at blogging. I have followed lots of blogs for years, but I have not tried this before. So here goes...I am an artist who creates colorful figurative collectibles. I spent many, many years in professional theatre and opera as a costumer. I love period costumes and once I retired and became Senior Citizen I thought it would be fun to continue a hobby of making very elaborate art dolls for fun and profit (?).

I have been really fortunate to be accepted as a member of Halloween and Vine which is a group of artists who make all things related to this fabulous holiday and have a sale once a year in Petaluma, CA. This year the date is Sept. 25, 2010. Be sure and check out the website, which is great fun and has a list of all of the other artists who will be showing their work.

It is always time for Halloween at my house. Here is a photo of Speedy who is the first of my series called Hell on Wheels.

I hate reading really long posts, so this is it for today. If you would like to see more of my work...I have making this stuff for about 16 years now...go to my website.