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A Short History of Grunions
me
pipu
Alpha asked me what the story is with the Grunions, and it occurred to me that some of my lj-friends might be curious as well. For those of you who've been reading for the last 4 years, this will be a review (no test, I promise!), but for anyone else who has wondered, I present here A Short History of Grunions. Please note, while I have done the fabrication/production on Grunions, the designs are a team effort between Sean and me.


(I'm using the small pictures from Flickr to make this manageable. Click on any image to see a larger version.)

The story starts in March of 2003 (well, it really starts in the Summer of 1999, but we'll back-track to that later). Sean and I had an art show at Door 7 Gallery in Oakland, and I decided to make stuffed creatures called Folks for the show, which we then named "Folklandish". I completed the first of the Folks on March 7, 2003, and named him Z'danga:
Z'danga

Other Folks from the show included The Cake Criminal and Roboto:
The Cake Criminal Roboto

Sometime between the show and the fall of 2003, we started calling them Grunions instead of Folks. The word Grunion (around our house) is a contraction of green onion, as in "please put grunions on my salad". I can't remember why we thought this was a good word to use for these guys, but we did, and it stuck. These Grunions are from Series II (Series I being the Folks), and as you can see, I'm using some felt at this point, but still a bunch of other, non-felt fabrics.

Garganel and Carlmalone with Maggotmalone (set #2):
Garganel Carlmalone & Maggotmalone

These are some of the Tiny Maggots (sets #4-6) I was making in the fall of 2003. The original set of Tiny Maggots were Folks, and they were super popular, so I made a bunch more sets. Note the green set made to look like green onions:
Tiny Maggots

In February of 2004 I made these Freestyle Grunions, the only ones with no sketches or patterns. You can see I'm messing around with different faces here. These Grunions, along with the Tiny Maggots, evolved to become the Mini Grunions.
Original Fast Grunions

In May of 2004 I had started selling my Grunions (or rather, attempting to sell them) at Eugene's Saturday Market. I started making lots of repeat designs, but I made this fellow, Humphrey, as a one-off:
Humphrey

In July of 2004, I made FRIGORINEPHROPS 137 (Grunion #0137) and his Scientist (they now live with my dad):
FRIGORINEPHROPS 137
More info and pictures are here.

In August of 2004, I made a full line of Rainbow Kajus (the original Kaju was a Series II Grunion) each with a larva. Here's the green one (my favorite), but if you click that link, you can see all 7 colors:
kaju green

The original Aquababy (black) was a Series II Grunion based on the creatures from the Pipu comic (they were in the background of the very first issue, and started appearing as regular characters (well, pets of characters) in the third or fourth issue. In September 2004, I started making Aquababys in different flavors (strawberry, vanilla, oatmeal and licorice):
Aquababys in 4 flavors

In October 2004 I made these Pumpkinheads:
pumpkinheads

In November 2004 I made the new version of Dzarld (original Dzarld was Series II), in three varieties (Santa, Tree & Hannukah):
Winter Dzarlds

I was making a lot of multiples at this point in time, selling Grunions online and at Holiday Market. Here's a picture I took in mid-November 2004 as I was gearing up for the sale:
A great big pile of Grunions
You can see the Mini-Grunions in their packaging at the front of this shot.

In December 2004, I made the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus Grunions (#0355-0356) for the Virgins & Dinosaurs show at the Museum of Unfine Art:
Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus Grunions
Check out the birthing action!

In January 2005, I made this special Aquababy for my mom's birthday. It is the Aquababy of Codornices Creek (which goes through my mom's backyard):
The Aquababy of Codornices Creek

In February of 2005, I made this set of The Walrus and The Carpenter:
The Walrus and The Carpenter
More pics here.

We came out with Grunion Club in December of 2004, but the first exclusive club Grunion was the Oatlion in March of 2005:
Oatlion

In May 2005, I made the new version of Tony Maggot (Grunion #0400), shown here with the original Tony Maggot:
Two versions of Tony Maggot
The guy on the left is the original Tony Maggot. He's made of a crazy combination of things (cotton, muslin, tulle, buttons, fluff, popcorn in his butt & a chopstick for a spine) and stands about 9.5" tall. Original Tony is Grunion #0000 (he actually pre-dates anything called a Grunion, but when I was cataloging them I figured since he was the very stuffed creature I made, he should go on the list), and he dates from the Summer of 1999. This was Tony's very first form... I was just messing around one day and made him, and then Sean said "he looks like a maggot" and I said "he is a ghost" and Sean said "maybe he is the ghost of a maggot!" and we named him Tony Maggot's Ghost. After that, we realized he would be a great addition to the Pipu comical stories, so he was introduced in the October 1999 issue. Since then, Tony Maggot has been the second most often represented Goblinko character (after Pipu), popping up in many Pipu stories, in Go Magazine, and in lots of paintings and drawings.

Another thing happened in May 2005: I got knocked up, and pregnancy (and then being a new mom) kicked my ass, leaving me with no energy or desire to make things. The only Grunions I made between May of 2005 and the end of 2006 were Grunion Club releases and Alpha-Grunions.

Spaceflantoro and Vanilla Furry Smith (both Grunion Club releases):
Spaceflantoro Vanilla Furry Smith

In January 2007, I made these Alpha-Grunions for Otto:
OTTOs

In February 2007, I made this troll Grunion for Sean (an anniversary gift):
Sean's troll grunion

There are some exciting plans in the works for the future of Grunions. I'm not going to tip my hand, but I will say I'm already working on some pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and Sean is working on a Grunion Museum, there are some pictures over there I didn't post here.

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This was fascinating, thanks for posting! I love the evolution of the grunion. Do you use a sewing machine now, or are you so adept at handsewing now that your seams are flawless?

I have always hand-stitched the applique, and machine-sewed the bodies together.

Ok so you started with the Grunions in Sept. 99 technically...does that predate the Ugly Dolls? Because the first time I saw an Ugly Doll I thought you'd gotten a corporate deal & didn't tell us, but then I was like "they ripped off the Grunions! GRR!"

This was so cool to read. I love looking at all of your creations!

i'm in love with the grunions. do you have any extra spaceflantoros lying around per chance? if so, how much?

Nope, they were a Grunion Club exclusive, so only club members got them!

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You're welcome and thanks!

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maggots, ew! I love the virgin, bwahaha!

The virgin was one of my all-time favorites!

This is great! Thank you!

I'm so happy to have a least one (Tree Dzarld). :)

Don't forget the minor influence of the conjoined twin Mangies I gave you and Sean for XMas back in 2001.

Oh yes, they were a major influence!

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