Made by Hand

January 8, 2018 3 Comments

What would I do without my friends? They open up my horizons, over and over again. Just last week a dear one dragged me into the Portland Art Museum to an exhibit that I would have never, ever visited on my own: the show about LAIKA, the PDX-based animated movie producers.

I don’t watch animated movies, never have. And so I never thought about what goes into them, except some kind of trickery of animation, probably computer-based now, via filmed drawings then. What I now learn is that the folks at LAIKA actually build models, in 3D, creating entire worlds, that are the basis for their magic.

The exhibit at PAM shows some of these models, elucidates the technical processes, gives behind the scene glimpses of the core mechanisms, materials and tools used. All of which was rather interesting, but paled in comparison to some visions inside my head: what would it be like to go to work and everyday create a world in full detail. Sort of like being a minor god, who has the choice to supply or withhold. To let whimsey dictate some of the details, or full understanding of an artificial, agreed upon universe command the ways to fill it.


And, importantly, a work that unites thoughts and ideas with working with your hands. Someone builds all these modelscuts and saws, flattens and glues, scrapes and irons, sews and hammers, and puts it all together to create a world. Mind boggling.

Not that I have the talent for handiwork, or, these days, the flexibility of joints and fingers. But it speaks to me, and makes me want to get into the artisan’s minds of how it feels to make something, rather than sit at a computer and write, or take pictures with my camera. Well, for occasional change, anyhow……

This week, then, I’ll focus on things that are made or tools that are used.  And might even watch a Laika movie to see the model worlds come to live.


January 9, 2018


  1. Reply

    Joan Zivi

    January 8, 2018

    Wonderful post – thank you for inspiring me to get over to the museum and see that exhibit (hope it’s still there…)!

    Happy New Year Friderike

  2. Reply


    January 8, 2018

    Funny, your work has alwsys seemed to me to be animation like in its layers, complexity. To me, you are a minor god.

  3. Reply


    January 8, 2018

    All these photos made me smile. Creativity is in fact what makes the world go round, and for sure what makes the ride more than bearable.