Valya Dudycz Lupescu

Writer, fueled by coffee

Cats and House Spirits – The September Night Garden Challenge

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Last spring, the lovely people at The Night Garden approached me to be the guest artist for their Inspiration Challenge. I write a bit more about the website and their guest artist at the time (musician Jason Webley) here.

The Night Garden’s Inspiration Series is an opportunity for creative folks to get inspired by a particular artist’s work and raise money for the Great Lakes Bengal Rescue (GLBR) in the process.

March-April Guest Artist  – Jason Webley

May-June Guest Artist – Writer/Artist Christopher Lincoln

September-October Guests Artists – Valya Dudycz Lupescu and Madline Carol Matz

That’s right! Madeline and I have collaborated to inspire you over at The Night Garden. In fact, it’s such an inspirational challenge that working on it inspired us to create an entire comic around the characters featured in Madeline’s artwork!  (More on that in the next post.)

I’d ask that you take a look at the challenge and create an artistic response to it. You have until Halloween (October 31) to submit your response or make a donation. From the site:

Persons donating to Great Lakes Bengal Rescue between September 1st and October 31st will be entered into a random prize draw for a signed print of Madeline’s artwork above. Valya and Madeline will (consult with their respective house spirits and) also select one art contributor to have a cameo in the comic, drawn into at least one panel of the story.

The subject of our challenge is house spirits, those little guardians who traditionally protect our homes (sometimes with a little mischief thrown in). We hope that you create your art with house spirits in mind. Some things to think about:

What might your house spirit look like? What does he or she like to eat/drink? Where do they reside in a home?What’s their favorite music? What would might they like you to knit for them? Can you photograph their favorite dark corner? Do they get along with your pets?

You can also think about the house spirits of other homes, fictional or historical:

Does the TARDIS have a house spirit (perhaps a cheeky brownie)?

What does the house spirit of the White House look like? What’s their spin on past and present administrations?

What about retelling the events of Wuthering Heights from the perspective of the house spirit living there? Or Gone with the Wind? Or Frankenstein? (Halloween is coming after all.)

How about your favorite authors’ or artists’ homes? Is there a kobold in Neil Gaiman’s attic? Does the Cloud Club (where Amanda Palmer and other artists live) have a house spirit (or a hippy-esque house spirit commune)? Does Felicia Day’s perky little brownie follow her around from trailer to trailer? How does Kyle & Trillian’s Roswell feel about their house spirit? Who is the guardian on Jason Webley’s houseboat? Do the Evelyn Evelyn sisters have conjoined house spirits?

The responses can be as diverse as the inspiration: photos, sketches, flash fiction pieces, recipes, poppets, knitting, a song, a sonnet, a special perfume oil, a candle, a woodcarving or clay sculpture, jewelry, or a hat. So many options!

We have some of our own ideas to share! You can follow the story of our house spirit (a domovyk named Yaroslav) on our kickstarter page. Sticks and Bones, Issue 1: Home is Where the Hearth is.

We cannot wait to see/read/hear/smell/wear/taste your house spirit-inspired art and help Great Lakes Bengal Rescue !

Author: Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and STICKS & BONES, as well as the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Born and raised in Chicago, Valya received her degree in English at DePaul University and her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since receiving her MFA, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, internal communications specialist, co-producer of an independent feature film, and Goth cocktail waitress.

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