Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dave P just for fun

For no particular reason than that I hadn't checked his blog for a while and found this there when I did.

"Uncle Winky Hot Dogs"

Thanks to the prescience of Chris Ure (who saved a copy that he was actually able to find), a little film made at CalArts to be shown as a treat at the Producer's Show, circa 1988. Ultra rare!

Made on the side(meaning done with virtually no money, time or materials but much affection) by my talented classmates Chris Ure, Pete Docter, Mark Kennedy, Ashley Brannon, Van Cook, Tim Myers and Paul Rudish-all 1st years.

As must be plain to readers of this blog by now, we all loved Bob "Uncle Winky" Winquist, and here's but one more fun example of it. A trip down memory lane. Eat 'em with jelly!

"Bolt: One Ridonculous Adventure" by story artist Aurian Redson

Front and (below)back covers for Redson's book. Sorry about the glare-it certainly looks better in person

In my initial fizz over finally getting my copy of Joe Moshier's new Bolt Golden Book, I completely forgot to mention that I'm expecting yet another children's adaptation by an animation artist, Aurian Redson--a bright light in the story department.

He worked long and hard on "Bolt" the film, and he too has accomplished quite a lovely piece of publishing with "Bolt" One Ridonculous Adventure". A larger-format, longer picturebook than the Little Golden, it's also fascinating to see how Aurian has chosen to design his own version of the characters and settings. I've just seen a copy belonging to another story artist at work who's received his, and while I may sound like a shill for the publisher, I care not. This is a gorgeous and appealing book and a perfect compliment to your library.

a cropped photograph of one of the large (9x12)pages; these moving men look familiar...

"Bolt"-a Little Golden Book by Joe Moshier

This came in the mail yesterday from Amazon: ""Bolt", a Little Golden Book".

As most of you know, this film is coming soon to a theatre near you. But right now you can order the wonderful picture book by Disney designer/visdev artist Joe Moshier, which I recommmend doing stat.

I love the Golden Books done by Joe's former classmate Scott Tilley for such titles as "Finding Nemo" and this is just as appealing and beautifully done. I believe it's Joe's first book (his day job as a character designer at features is a busy one), but you'd never know it; the compositions, color, posing-all are completely assured and just so terrifically cute. There isn't a kid or artist alive that I can't imagine would love this eye candy. And by the way, "Bolt" is quite the same way in its other incarnation.

"The Art of Bolt" comes out soon as well-that I haven't seen, but have ordered. Believe me, the work by the directors(both of whom have drawn lovely storyboards), story, the incomparable art direction by Paul Felix as well as the work by everyone involved is beautiful. There are stunning displays in the animation building with all kinds of visdev and story work blown up lifesize and larger on the walls, and it not only holds together but is so solid that it makes one feel good just to walk by them. The film works that way too: it's one that reminds me of "Basil of Baker Street", which I loved and was a huge gift from the animation department to us--the audience. If you know what I mean. The early 80s were a nail-biting time for aspiring animation people.

I need to apologize to Joe for the rough iphone photos reproduced here, but I think as raw as they are you can tell what a swell little tome this book of his is.

Kirtland’s Warbler Population Surges

The 1,791 singing males observed during this year’s census is the highest recorded since monitoring began in 1951, eclipsing the 1,697 singing males recorded in 2007. The lowest number of singing males ever observed was 167, a tally recorded in both 1974 and 1987 (graph).

The 09/28/08 press release from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources follows:
Department of Natural Resources officials today released annual survey information indicating the state's population of the endangered Kirtland's Warbler is the highest number of birds recorded since monitoring began in 1951, with 1,791 singing males observed during this year's census.

The 2008 population exceeds the goal for de-listing that was set in the Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Plan. The number of singing males biologists, researchers and volunteers in Michigan observed 1,791 singing males during the official 2008 survey period, up from 1,697 males observed in 2007. The lowest numbers were recorded in 1974 and 1987, when only 167 singing males were found.

The Kirtland's Warbler survey is conducted each year over a 10-day period during the first two weeks of June, when the birds are establishing their nesting territories. Male warblers are detected by listening for their songs. The songs can be heard at distances up to one-quarter mile, providing an excellent way to detect the birds with minimum disturbance.

The 2008 survey was a joint effort by the DNR, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Military Affairs and citizen volunteers. This year, singing males (numbers in parentheses) were found in 12 northern Lower Peninsula counties: Alcona (207), Clare (141), Crawford (288), Grand Traverse (2), Iosco (192), Kalkaska (10), Montmorency (11), Ogemaw (627), Oscoda (209), Otsego (40), Presque Isle (5), and Roscommon (25). Surveyors identified 34 singing males in five Upper Peninsula counties: Chippewa (12), Delta (10), Luce (1), Marquette (6), and Schoolcraft (5). In the U.P., additional effort is made to locate females and several were observed with the males, indicating nesting activity.

For a second consecutive year, singing and mated males were observed outside Michigan. Nine birds were heard in Wisconsin and one male with a female was found in Ontario. Both of these reports are of particular importance as they represent documented breeding of Kirtland’s Warblers outside the known breeding population stronghold.

Although Kirtland's Warblers have begun to expand into new areas, the core of the population remains dependent on northern Michigan's jack pine barrens ecosystem for nesting habitat. The warblers nest on the ground and typically select nesting sites in stands of jack pine between four and 20 years old. Historically, these stands of young jack pine were created by natural wildfires that frequently swept through northern Michigan. Modern fire suppression programs altered this natural process, reducing Kirtland's Warbler habitat. The result was that the population of Kirtland's Warblers declined to the point that they were listed as endangered.

To mimic the effects of wildfire and ensure the future of this species, the DNR and its partners at the state and federal level manage the forests through a combination of clearcutting, burning, seeding and replanting to promote warbler habitat. Approximately 3,000 acres of jack pine trees are planted or seeded annually on state and federal lands, primarily for the purpose of providing habitat for Kirtland's Warblers.

"New habitats are continually developed to replace those that become too old for Kirtland's Warbler nesting," said acting DNR Endangered Species Coordinator Sherry MacKinnon. "Through continuing management, we expect there to be sufficient habitat to support the warbler population through the foreseeable future."

Elaine Carlson, DNR wildlife biologist, emphasized how the habitat management program has produced benefits that extend well beyond the recovery of a single species.

"In addition to generating habitat for the Kirtland's Warbler, the jack pine management program provides valuable forest products as well as habitat for a variety of plants, songbirds, game animals and other wildlife," Carlson said.

For more information on the Kirtland's Warbler, contact the DNR Wildlife Division, Natural Heritage Program, Box 30180, Lansing, MI 48909, or visit the DNR Web site. Contacts: Sherry MacKinnon 517-373-1263 or Mary Dettloff 517-353-3014.

Blogging Brides!

MasterPiece Weddings, Blogging Brides, is so excited to have Michelle back! Michelle and I have been chatting back and forth about her wedding, and she was telling me about her Water Ceremony - I was really interested, I love new takes on different traditions. So without further ado, let's welcome Michelle back to Blogging Brides!

I think a unity candle is a beautiful symbol. I used to think that this must be a tradition from way back when bridesmaids dressed like the bride to confuse evil spirits. At my tirade at a church not allowing candles and denying the age old tradition, my mother (my fulmination audience of 1) looked very confused and set me straight that its actually just from the 1970s... not the 1790s. Talk about letting the air out of the argument! Since then, while still a beautiful concept and symbol, its been a little tainted in my little world. (And by my little world, I mean in my head.) Well, now I am planning my wedding. I still love the symbol of the unity candle, but it now comes with the risk of me crack up laughing at a serious point in the ceremony. Oh yeah - I am that person who falls out laughing while everyone else is having a serene moment. Oops. The other issue, is that we will be on a beach for our ceremony. Candle + wind = another opportunity for me to fall out laughing! WAIT! Before you start suggesting the Unity Sand ceremony... let me say that in my head there is a VERY large tourist factor I associate with it (I grew up in touristy Panama City). There is also a logistics problem; I am marrying a Coast Guard officer and we will be moving every 4 years. Ever seen one of those sand things once its been shaken up? Let's just say it looses something.

So by now, I have discovered the wonderful world o' bridal blog stalking! Mrs. Penguin from Weddingbee had a Water Ceremony that I thought beautiful, elegant, and romantic... but we aren't Thai so that seemed a little odd to include. Mrs. Gingerbread included a Ring Blessing that was heartwarming... but we will have many guests so this could take a really long time. So my mental cuisinart popped out a new idea! (And by new, I mean that I have never heard of it. If you have, please correct me.) We will do a water blending ring blessing ceremony! Oh dear world o' bridal blog I need a better name for that!!! We will take water from places of significance to us as individuals, and pour them together, then drop the rings in and bless them in it. Beautiful right? (If you disagree, be nice, this is my first blog away from my blog home!) Hard part will be writing the ceremony right? HA!

As I said before, I grew up on the Gulf of Mexico, so there is my first water. My second being something unique to me in my adult life, is from the Big Island of Hawaii. I moved there on my own, having never even been there, and knowing no one there. It was a very "I can do this on my own" few years for me where I really grew into the woman I am today, and hope to be for the rest of my life. I know people in Hawaii, so getting that water is simple. Adam grew up in Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River, so there's his first water. His second gets a bit trickier. Its Antarctica. Oh yeah, you read that right. His first Coast Guard station was on a polar ice breaker that spent 6 months our of the year in Antarctica!!! And, it was on the way back from Antarctica that he stopped in Hawaii and came to visit me for a week...bu that's a whole other story!

Enter the wonderful world of community bridal boards.

I had no idea how I was to find Antarctic water! I thought I remembered someone posting they were going on an Antarctic cruise for their honeymoon. I started posting on any board I could find asking if anyone happened to know who could bottle up some water! Many brought up the fact that water is circulated around the globe so really, any water could technically be Antarctic. I just really didn't want to start off our marriage with a fib or technicality! And then, someone chimed in with the knowledge that many researchers who go to Antarctica are based out of Colorado. So I started searching and found someone selling Polar sunglasses because they were upgrading for their next trip to Antarctica! So I emailed him and lo and behold, a colleague of his was headed down there in just a few months. So now I am patiently (read: anxiously awaiting to pounce on the UPS guy) for my Antarctic water!! I couldn't be more thankful for this wonderful world of brides and wedding professionals.

Now to the "hard" part; writing a ceremony to go with it.... Any ideas? How about a name for the ceremony? So, far, I've got "Water Blending Ring Blessing Ceremony"... doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Melissa's Note: Does anyone have any ideas?

Photos of Adam and I courtesy of us! Water ceremony courtesy of Mrs. Penguin of Weddingbee.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Strange New World—The Ocean

Joel Achenbach writes about the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Hall. An excerpt:
The ocean’s deepest point is about seven miles down. The hall’s project manager, Elizabeth Musteen, says only ten human beings have ever been deeper than 3 1/2 miles below the surface—which means that the ocean trenches have been explored by fewer people than have explored the moon.

Winquist '74

Here's a rarity: Bob Winquist shows off a little of his home and office design in 1974-and there's Bob himself, aged 49, in his then-living room. From Good Housekeeping's House Beautiful, Spring 1974.

Keep that date in mind: 1974. Bob's is the most appealing and well-designed space that's showcased in this high-end magazine by far. The other interiors featured would likely make you laugh, cry, or just cringe; the seventies were not generally an attractive time, to be charitable about it.
But Bob then as later had his own highly individual taste and loved mixing old and new in an eclectic fashion, which makes a lot of his choices timely even now. But who knows what he'd say looking at this spread in 2008? By the way, the article identifies the art hanging over the fireplace as done by his life partner Robert Hammer. When I originally got this of course I had no idea who he was. He must have been a very interesting man to be Bob's partner for 50 years.

As to that and all things Bob, this opening line of the accompanying text is so apt:

Designer Robert Winquist calls his private life his "most treasured possession".


Click the lower image to see it in a larger size.

Riddle Winner!

Answer (Gosh, I wish I could do this upside down!):

The only items we recently used at a wedding!


Our BBQ Lighter wouldn't work so I had to borrow a candle from the offering at the church, and the sunglasses - goodness knows why I have 2 pair of sunglasses, but I do, we needed them so the Bride and Bridesmaids could take a super swank picture of themselves outside near the lake with an 8' Alligator (okay near the Gator)!!!!

Winner: No one, but you guys had some great, funny and sarcastic answers... it was fun!

I still have this great prize to give away, anyone had any idea's for another contest?

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Just a few more hours, any guesses??

What do these items have in common? Answer here to win!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Huge Thank You!

I have a few people I must thank, and it's long overdue!!

I can’t be in two places at the same time. It’s impossible. Trust me, I’ve tried!

But I prayed, and prayed – and I was sent Kristin. She has become invaluable to me, and I trust her implicitly! She has worked so hard for us, pulling 15 hour days, and 40 hour weekends – we had a rough couple of weekends. And I want her to know how much I truly appreciate her hard work, and her friendship! I don’t know that I would have made it through the past few weekends without her. I absolutely feel as if I can be in two places at the same time with her by my side.

I also wanted to thank Amanda at Blissful Bride – she worked her first wedding with us this past weekend, and really did a fantastic job! Thank you!!!

And last, but certainly not least, my husband – he picked up so much slack while we had back-to-back bridal shows, and weddings, and my inability to move for 24 hours, John you are amazing, Thank you!!

Enough mushy stuff… back to our regularly scheduled Wedding Stuff!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


What do two pair of Sunglasses and a Taper Candle have in Common?

{Leave the answer in the comments to see who wins what!} I'll let you know who wins on Monday!

And the guess is totally worth it!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shoe Fete' ish!

I heart these shoes! I wish these shoe's would just show up in my closet mysteriously. Like the shoe fairy would just drop them underneath my pillow.

I must find a client to live vicariously through me... new mission.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

With This Ring....

In case you missed it, one of my favorite Blogging Bride's got married this past weekend, and while she's away, I got to play.
Check our our super fabulous Guest Post, at With This Ring...

Blogging Brides!

Name: Michelle

Location: Currently in Pensacola, Florida, but this winter I'll be headed west to Los Angeles!
Wedding Date: April 4, 2009

What do you do in real life?

My background is in astrophysics, but I currently work at the Institute of Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC). I know, its a mouthful. I work on a project called Sensory Substitution for Wounded Servicemembers (SSWS). It sounds complicated, but its a simple concept with amazing moments. I have literally had my spelling corrected by a Marine with 2 glass eyes... and no, it wasn't braille, he was reading what wrote.

Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?

Honestly? Its peoples reactions to the crazy ideas and unique touches we are adding to the wedding. We are a little....odd... at best; and in very different ways. We are really focusing on making the whole shindig represent "us"; both who we are individually, as well as who we are together. This means there is a lot of ironies that make people raise an eyebrow. It just makes me laugh and keeps me VERY thankful that my fiance is as weird as me and loves me in all my bizarre quirks! Happy, and thankful - the two best things for wedding planning!

Least Favorite Part about Planning your Wedding?

Quick disclaimer. I love my family. My parents are great parents and (in my humble opinion) did a damn fine job raising me. That being said, my least favorite part has to do with dealing with my family. Sometimes is just major differences in taste. (My mother is an interior decorator, and I love things with glitter. Need I say more? Just like the preachers boy is normally the terror of the town, the things I like makes my mother cringe and if I never see a polka dot or paisley pattern again it'll be too soon!) Sometimes its a difference of values. (My Dad thinks only serving beer, wine, and champagne is unacceptable! There will be a FULL open bar. ugh.) But the things that get me are when it's like we speak a different language. There are definitely moments when I can very much empathize with Lorelei from Gilmore Girls. Those moments just kill me when I think I'm being clear and she doesn't seem to hear me at all. Its a roller coaster of carefully planning moments that will stamp a memory on their hearts forever, to being in a screaming match over the tiniest things because we can't seem to connect.

What is the best piece of wedding advice you've ever received?

At the end of the day, all you really need is an officiant, a witness, and your fiance; everything else is just for fun - keep it that way.

How fun to have Michelle as our first Blogging Bride! If you'd like to get involved in our Blogging Brides Series, please drop me an email - and be on the lookout next Tuesday for Michelle's story....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Me on Miyazaki

This is the auction catalog of the recent benefit show held at Pixar-a beautiful book in its own right.

There's simply too much any one artist could find to write on the subject of Hayao Miyazaki, but having recently stumbled once again upon this email of mine on Michael Barrier's site (included in his "Feedback" section, where some great exchanges make it a must visit) I thought I'd use my email to Mike here. I wrote it 18 months ago but the subject isn't dated and I state pretty well what I think of my favorite Japanese animated feature.

Barrier invites and facilitates discussion of his views and will often reconsider a position he takes based on the feedback he receives, even if it's only to clarify or amend his original thoughts. That's a rare virtue in my book--one I hope I can cultivate better myself.
So here's my email excerpted. Do go and peruse the page it's taken from.

Dear Mike,

I thought I'd offer a few thoughts about Miyazaki's films, as mine differ from yours—most drastically as regards Totoro.

I'd never heard of Miyazaki or seen anything of his until Glen Keane (then teaching the upperclassmen at CalArts—I was a first year, but he made his lectures open ones) brought a clip from Totoro to screen. It was the scene of the girls waiting for their father; it grows dark, and begins to rain. First Totoro, then the catbus shows up. He showed this, saying that it had affected him profoundly (as I recall, the film had been screened for the Disney animation dept. the week before; I don't know if Miyazaki was there also, but I doubt it). It affected all of us profoundly, too. I was blown away by it. Me—hardly a fan of the anime I'd seen up to that point. A wordless but beautifully constructed encounter, with all facets working perfectly. I'd gather that you'd disagree, from your remark that Totoro "suffers for the opposite reason, an almost total sacrifice of action for atmosphere."

Every reaction to film is personal and often unique, of course, and I've come to various impasses with friends I respect: where one finds something sublime, the other sees kitsch, or worse, in the same thing. That's human. But I'm surprised to find you so (apparently) bored and unsatisfied by Totoro; to me, the atmosphere, the attention to detail of setting and mood, brilliantly supports and gets over the story, which admittedly isn't a "big" one: two sisters adapting to and solaced by nature, real and (possibly) imaginary. I see no lack of action—both physical and emotional. The film's full of scenes where the action and cutting are far from slow: running around exploring the empty, strange new house in the country; flying across the countryside with Totoro; riding the catbus; searching frantically for the possibly drowned Mei…and all these are interwoven with and spring from the story—not, to touch on your other recent discussion, "set pieces." Truly, what Totoro has that makes it work so well is what so few of any sort of American films—animated or not—often lack, to their detriment: carefully planned, wordless places to breathe and to really be visually hypnotized to believe in the story-world in the way film can do—better than any other art form.

As for the character animation—well, there's no question that it is coming from a very different esthetic from our American model. Yet the rough sketches Miyazaki does of all his characters (published in the "Art Of" books available for his films) are as well-realized and expressively gorgeous as anything any animator would have done at Disney's in the fifties; I can easily imagine [Marc] Davis and even [Milt] Kahl giving him his due as a sensitive draughtsman of people as well as things. I'd think he could master what we call "full" animation if he chose, but that's not his style. Yes, the lack of expressive distortion (or lack of a better word—and I'm sure there are better words!) in his characters' faces is obvious; but I've never not known what they are thinking. How that works, I think, is precisely by the cumulative effect of everything from his framing, to his cutting to the characters' silhouettes. All adds up—even if "we" would never do it that way, or try to.

I'd agree that there are definite "stock" figures in his oeuvre, but I don't agree that every heroine is the same. Perhaps as to that, though, there is something symbolic there for Miyazaki in these young girls particularly (I believe he's written on this subject, actually)—and certainly in Japan children and in particular young women hold a special place in anime and culture. I'm not qualified to comment too much on that. But just as a bystander, watching the films as pure entertainment, I've been totally satisfied by Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, and to a somewhat lesser extent ("lesser" where his studio is concerned still indicating a high level of interest) the rest of his projects.

-Jenny Lerew

the book of Miyazaki's storyboards for Totoro

Check it Out!

Our Emergency Bag Series continues on Be A Planner - be sure to check it out!

Starting Tomorrow!!!!

Starting tomorrow, look for our exclusive series aptly named, Blogging Brides! Every Tuesday, here at your Friendly MasterPiece Weddings, Adventures in Wedding Planning Blog!

We'll be introducing you to brides that blog, and their trials, tribulations and success stories! It’s going to be tons of fun!!! Let's make new friends, and offer our advice, helpful hints, or maybe just get a chuckle out of something silly.

Starting tomorrow!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More on Winquist-pictures from the past

Ready for his closeup: Bob standing in the doorway of what was then our 2nd year students' room-now The Palace, in 1989

Steve Anderson, who started at Cal Arts in 1988, found these wonderful photos he'd taken. His generosity in allowing me to post them here is much appreciated. These are just priceless.


Here's Bob with his major domo/computer guru/all-around department glue Dale McBeath and Disney veteran/animation teacher Dave Michener, all snapped by Steve's camera while preparing the 1989 Producer's Show. Thank goodness he got this picture as these three were cogitating in the hallway...talk about serendipity. Bob: different day,different striped shirt. Dale: ebullient! And I can't get over how young Dave Michener looks to me...now. He was a great guy.

Thanks again, Steve.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Clients Rock!!

At the wedding we did this weekend, our client's first dance was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!

It's my favorite first dance EVER! Seriously!

What do you think?

Renee and Jim had a beautiful, amazing day! This video was done by the DJ, so it's not the best quality, but you get the idea - pretty fun stuff, huh?

Friday Fun!

This is totally not wedding related, I mean 100% not! But it's Friday (so goof off!), and when I saw this on Blissful Bride, I knew I had to try!

So you go to this website and upload a picture of yourself, and then pick a year, and off you go!
You can have a picture of you, from any year starting in the 1950's through the 90's...

Here is me in 1958!

And in 1968...Personally, I think this is better than my 1980's actual yearbook pictures!

Have Fun, and Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monogram me!

I've always wanted a personal monogram, ALWAYS! And frankly, I know so many people I could have paid to design one for me, but, well, honestly, I am too cheap to have done it. See, it's not a necessity. So, I waited. And waited. And waited.

And then something miraculous happened.

I won not one, but two personalized monograms!!! From none other than my friends at The Event Essentials! I explained what I wanted, BAM she nailed it!!

Here's the beautiful work she did for me!

Now I can create custom note cards, and envelopes, and return address labels, and put it on paper, and memo pads, and Christmas Cards, and....... maybe now I need one for the business... what a great idea!

John's question was, why is my name last?


Thanks The Event Essentials!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So Pretty!

Renee and Jim got married on Saturday, and it was amazing! The wedding was incredibly personal amazingly amazing and beautiful and fun!
There are going to be so many amazing photographs and video's (yes video's!!!) I can't wait to show you!!!
Check out these beautious images from Bryants Photography (a nice little teaser):

Such a Deal!

You never know where you'll find the best deal. Regardless of what it is. Sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

For our bridal shows this year, we had an idea. We wanted to create a pill bottle called "MasterPiece Stress Relief" with a fun and funky label and fill them with Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.
Our final product was too stinkin' cute, huh! But our problem was that all of the brides thought they were too, and we ran out at the first Bridal Show. We went through our entire stock! So I had to rush to re-purchase all of the items we needed, the bottles, more lables, more pills.

So on my rush to find the pills that I could get and fast, this is what I found.

The place I originally purchased them (and got a great deal) didn't have an express shipping option. So I figured, I'd price out 2 places, our local mall, Sam's Club and Staples (yes, with the easy button). Here's what I found:

The Local Mall: Jelly Belly's in Bulk $11.61 per pound.
Sam's Club: 2 pound bag, I'd need 3 bags, total per pound $6.11 (free shipping!)
Staples: 2 pound bad, I'd need 3 bags, total per pound $3.60 (free shipping!)

I couldn't believe that Staples was my best bet! And by a nice amount!

See, you never know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Los Angeles Times On Bob Winquist

Published on 9/17/08:.

Bob Winquist dies at 85; influential animation teacher at CalArts
By Valerie J. Nelson
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 17, 2008

Bob Winquist, a former director of the character animation program at California Institute of the Arts who greatly influenced a number of animators now working in Hollywood, has died. He was 85.

Winquist died Sept. 10 of complications related to old age at an assisted-living facility in Simi Valley, said his niece, Joyce Snyder.

He was the kind of inspirational teacher that movies are made about, said his former students, who went on to make films that reflected lessons learned in his Valencia classroom between 1983 and 1991.

Ralph Eggleston, who won an Academy Award in 2001 for his animated short "For the Birds," credits Winquist with pushing students to think more broadly about what they could accomplish.

"When Bob came in, animators primarily left the school and became animators. Suddenly, they started becoming art directors and storyboard artists. He made us think of ourselves as filmmakers, not just animators," Eggleston told The Times.

The dapper Winquist might stroll into class, announce the lesson by saying "develop the character of the letter 'A' " and then walk out, leaving the young animators to puzzle out the assignment.

Pete Docter, a former student who wrote the story for the film "WALL-E" (2008) and directed "Monsters Inc." (2001), considers Winquist "a seminal person in my development as an artist and a person."

"He had a gentle and inviting way -- you felt intrigued. It was like he was saying, 'You go discover it yourself,' and it made things stick," Docter said.

A world-class raconteur, Winquist often captivated his classes with hard-to-verify recollections that often placed him Zelig-like at memorable moments in Hollywood history. Witnessing the burning of "The Gone With the Wind" set, designing a suit for Elvis Presley, "baby-sitting" Marilyn Monroe on the set of "Some Like It Hot" -- these were all first-person stories that could be woven into a lecture.

"In the end, it didn't really matter if he were there because his amazing stories made me think . . . I can go out and do anything," Docter said.

Winquist often eschewed credit for his work because he valued his privacy, his family said.

Trained as a designer, he studied at Cambridge University and ran a design firm with Robert Hammer, an artist who was also his life partner. They spent about 50 years together, living in Manhattan Beach and Valencia, before Hammer died about four years ago. Winquist has no immediate survivors.

According to a 1971 Times article, Winquist designed "everything from movie sets to diapers."

His family has photographs of him working on Main Street and plans he drew of Disneyland's main thoroughfare.

Winquist was known for his intricate paper sculptures and exhibited in France, Britain and the U.S., The Times reported in 1960.

As an interior designer, his work was featured in The Times in the 1950s and 1960s, and his celebrity clients included Gene Hackman.

Robert Amos Winquist was born Aug. 15, 1923, in Kansas City, Kan., one of six children of Adolph and Margaret Winquist. His father was a mortician.

Raised mainly in California, Winquist served in the Army Air Forces as a ball-turret gunner during World War II.

He also relied on his artistic talent to paint the noses of B-17 bombers, his family said.

He taught for 15 years at the Chouinard Art Institute, which merged with the Los Angeles Music Conservatory to become CalArts in 1961.

At CalArts, he taught color and design before heading the character animation program from 1989 to 1991.

Students "flocked to him like gremlins," said John Bache, an associate provost at CalArts.

"His low-key approach to teaching, plus the personal contact, made him a great teacher," he said.

The dark sunglasses he invariably wore only added to his mystique as he held court on must-see films or tossed off references to classical art.

Jenny Lerew, a former student and story artist at Disney, wrote in an e-mail: "He made us all believe every good thing could happen to us -- if we put ourselves 'in harm's way' first. . . . "

He was a "cheerleader for their futures," Eggleston said, one who came to campus in his butter-yellow Mercedes-Benz with the license plate frame that read: "I'd rather be flying."

Happy Blogoversary and a Month!

It's our One Year and One Month Blogoversary!!! Happy Blogoversary to us!

Can you believe it's been over a year! I still feel so humbled by the warm welcome our little polka dotted blog got into the blog world and I feel like we can finally fit into our Big Blog Pants!

I really would like to thank the bloggers that be-friended us in the very, very, very begining and guided us on this fun and amazing journey: Earth Friendly Weddings, Blush Events, Lucky Me, and a HUGE thank you to Our Weddings Plus and Hostess with the Mostess!

I feel blessed to call you all my friends! And so quickly, so many more friends were made, thank you all!!!

(Birthday Presents coming later this week!!!)

{Souce: I made that!}

Monday, September 15, 2008


We had such a great time meeting bride's yesterday at Gainesville's Wedding Expo!

Thanks for stopping by! And for reading the blog!

Bride's came up to us and say they already know so much about us, because they've read the blog, how fun is that!

We know how overwhelming the bridal shows can be, if you need some help going through the bazillions of brochures you collected, let us know. We are more than happy to help!

We are giving away another planning package this week, so be on the look out!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Robert A. Winquist, "Bob" 1923-2008

Wearing a typically bemused expression. This is the only picture I have of Bob that I took myself, circa 1990. Proof he didn't always wear the shades!

I've just had the news that Bob Winquist, mentor to many, many artists and friend to all, a gentleman, teacher and brilliantly talented artist, has died.

I don't know why this is such a shock, given his age. Perhaps it's because if anyone could figure out the secret to immortality, it'd be Bob(or he'd know someone who could).

His niece and great-nephew sent this message to share wth you:

Dear Jenny;

By way of introduction, my name is Joyce Snyder, the niece of Robert A. Winquist, and it is with a heavy and saddened heart that I am writing to you. Our family wishes to inform you of the passing of Robert this afternoon, September 10, 2008. He passed away peacefully today as his body simply said, “Bob it is time to go home.”

Uncle Bob so often spoke of the multitudes of people that were part of his life, the fellow artists, imaginers, designers, students, etc. There were no classifications or hierarchies when it came to Bob’s acquaintances, just friends. From Chouinard’s to CalArts, Disney to Pixar; even a quick search on the Internet reveals the many artists that give claim to the influence that Bob had upon their artistic development.

Although Uncle Bob has left us this day, he will always be with us as his love of the arts, willingness, and dedication to teach, has embedded a piece of “Bob” into each and every one of his students. It is these same students who are now creating and passing along the ingenious insight and creativity that Uncle Bob so loved and dedicated his life to.

At this time the family wishes to thank you for being an important part of Robert’s life experience.

They're hoping to compile a list of those who should know, and obtain contact details for them, I'd imagine a memorial will be planned but have no idea what shape it would take. If anyone would like their information passed along to his family, please send if to me here: jlerew@earthlink.net.

And please, share any memories or thoughts on Bob here if you like. I know there are a lot of people who'd enjoy reading them.

Bob's influence was prodigious and spread ahead of him into the world, and his roots ran deep. It's impossible for me to do him justice on the fly having just heard this news.

He'll be so missed. How lucky we all were to have been able to know him a little, enjoy his company and glean his hard won and always joyfully shared wisdom.

Fare well, Bob.

Portrait by Tom McGrath

EDITED TO ADD: The Los Angeles Times ran an article on Bob in the paper on Wednesday, September 17th (it's also online).

Best Bridal Advice!

Over at Elizabeth Ann Designs, Sara has some great advice today! Here's a snipit (I'm going to post a wee bit of what she did, check out EAD for the whole kit-and-kitboodle):

  • Start with the Big Picture, Not the Details

  • Distinguish Between Wants and Needs

  • Don’t Let Your Wedding Overshadow Your Relationship

  • Build Relationships with Vendors

  • Don’t Forget the Ceremony

  • Just Breathe

And my favorite bit of advice:

"When you become too irrational, read the newspaper and remind yourself that the world has much bigger problems."

Thanks Sara for posting some fantasical advice!

Biggest Wedding Expo, EVER!

The 40th Annual Wedding Expo is Sunday (September 14th)! That's right 40th Annual! The Wedding Expo this year is the biggest it's E.V.E.R been!

So make sure you tell your friends and families and anybody you know getting married to make sure they come see us and all of our friends, we'll point you in the right direction!

And we'll be there, with some of the most fantastic vendors in the industry! Come and see us at The Performing Arts Center of Gainesville!

Doors open at Noon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

MasterPiece Stress Relief

We had so much fun at this past bridal show and can't wait to do it all over again this Sunday!
Come and see at at The Performing Arts Center of Gainesville from Noon-5! (more on that tomorrow)

Here's what you'll be looking for:

{Bossy Associate (Kristin), Myself, and Amanda}

{Our new invention, MasterPiece Stress Relief!}

See you Sunday!

What Happened to my...

Recently, I was talking with my new twin, Monica. We could have talked for hours, actually we did. We could have talked for days, seriously, days!

She is amazing! If you don't read her blog, you should, and if you do, you are doing a good thing! Her wit and hilarity is, most of the time, exactly what I want to say, but just don't. But I am getting away from my point.

She mentioned a situation that happened recently at a wedding, and I just thought it was unfathomable. And the way she handled it was with grace and elegance. With a sense of professionalism that we would all be proud of!

And, recently, I received a phone call – my band canceled our event is this weekend, can you help me! The panic in this person’s voice was heart-wrenching, I just wanted to reach through the phone and hug them and make it better.

I made some phone calls and found a band in 20 minutes. I just felt like it was my job to make their wedding all better. But in this instance it wasn’t – they weren’t my client. Just some random Jane Doe that called, because she needed help. Should I have done it… well that’s the question…

What would you do? What would you as a bride expect me to do? What would you as a consultant do?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogging Brides!

If you are a Bride that has a blog, and you read this blog, can you email me? I have a project I'm working on and I'd like your help! It's not hard and won't cause you to need to study...

Email me: melissa {at} masterpieceweddings {dot} net

Image Source

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Circle Date Stamp

Dear Blog Readers,

I hope you are doing well, today, I had my own experience at the Post Office, and I'd like to share it with you.

As I often tell my brides to have their wedding invitations Hand Canceled by the post office – and having my own experience having things hand canceled, I know it can be an ordeal. But I think that every once in a while you must experience things for yourself to get the full familiarity.

Now, I know what Hand Canceling is, I really do. Instead of being put through a machine, it’s hand stamped, as to avoid damaging what is inside an overtly large or strangely shaped shipping object. However, we suggest Hand Canceling your wedding invitation so that they don’t go through that evil machine.

So, when it came time to mail invitations of my own that I knew needed to have a lot of TLC, I opted to bring all 200 of them to my nice post office man, and ask for them to be all Hand Canceled. He was nice enough, he re-weighed and measured all of them, and explained that I had the correct amount of postage on them, he boxed them up and off they went. He mentioned that they needed to be sent to our main post office to be hand canceled, they don't do that at their branch.

Imagine my surprise when the next day I received an invitation back in the mail. This invitation was not even addressed to me, it was addressed to someone else, and it was shipped to the return address. NICE! But as if that wasn’t nice enough, it wasn’t HAND CANCELED! It had those lovely squiggly lines and a beautiful Bar Code on the bottom.

I then returned to the post office with a few more invitations that needed to be shipped off, and the invitation that I had received back. The same man helped me, I expressed, very politely my disappointment, and asked where the confusion had originated. He explained that that was indeed Hand Canceledsure it was!

But what I wanted was a Circle Date Stamp. (my question was, really, is that the technically name for it…) But I was polite enough back, and kindly thanked him for his help. And he picked up the stamp and showed me a date stamp in the shape of a circle.

When I left, I called Kristin and said, fairly loud, I might add – CIRCLE DATE STAMP! Really! Circle Date Stamp! I am sure in the book of USPS information, in the back there is a specific category called The Circle Date Stamp!

So from now on, when asking your PostMaster’s office for a Hand Canceled item you might want to be more specific and ask for a Circle Date Stamp. Sheesh!

Happy Planning,


{Picture of the Official Circle Date Stamp}