Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Good Times... Boardwalk & Carnival Fun!

As a child, I grew up in and around the New Jersey shore, which is strewn with miles and miles of boardwalks and home to several small town and county carnivals throughout the warmer months. It was just such an exciting day when I knew we were going to play arcade games, go on rides until we were sick in our bellies, and eat yummy, yummy food that is so bad for you! Those happy memories still inspire my work today!

The Fat Cats games—also known as Circus Punks or Knock-Down Dolls—were way too hard for a little girl. But that didn't stop me from trying! Although, when I realized that the dolls were on very strong hinges that barely budged and quickly righted themselves again... I knew it was a lost cause!

However, all was not lost! As my fondness for aged-looking printed textiles, whimsical circus colors and faux fur led me to make my own versions of these adorable arcade-style Knock Down Dolls!

And Skee-Ball! Another of my favorites! I could stand there for hours just rolling that wooden ball up the ramp and listening to the clickety-click of my tickets being delivered right at my very feet! I'll let you in on a little secret... Shhhhh... come a little closer.... if you "bank" the ball off the side of the dividers, it will lauch a little more gently into the target... so it doesn't bounce back down into the 10 point section!

Skee-Ball inspired the focal point of this funky and charm-ing necklace which is actually a piece of thick window glass from the Casino building on the boardwalk of Asbury Park, NJ! I adhered a vintage postcard featuring a Skee-Ball Arcade from Ocean Grove (the town next door!) behind the glass just for fun!

And let's not forget about all that crappy (I mean sinfully delicious) food that they serve at the local fairs, carnivals and the boardwalk! Sugary cotton candy, caramel apples, ice cream, funnel cakes, pizza, french fries, hot dogs... oh so yummy! My all-time favorite was always (and still is) the cotton candy. So light and fluffy and sugary... and pink! It had to be pink! By the time I was done my fingers looked like 5 little pink-haired troll dolls! Although I eat much less cotton candy now than as a child (my Dr. thanks me!), I have not been able to escape its pull in my artwork!

What are some of your favorite childhood memories or places to visit and do you still honor those traditions in your life in some way today?

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michelle renee bernard