Whimsical character a hit

One Nym, two women and three weeks equals 10. That is the equation that won artists Melissa Nasby and Nikki Webber…

Success: Artists Melissa Nasby and Nikki Webber give thumbs up to their unique creation.

Success: Artists Melissa Nasby and Nikki Webber give thumbs up to their unique creation.

One Nym, two women and three weeks equals 10.

That is the equation that won artists Melissa Nasby and Nikki Webber a top-10 honourable mention in a worldwide Dark Crystal character contest.

Their creation, Nym, was the only figure entered that was not made out of clay, but painstakingly crafted from needle-felted wool and done with a tiny barbed needle.

The contest was sponsored by the world famous Jim Henson Studios and Brian and Wendy Froud whom Nasby refers to as the gods and goddesses of the whimsical world.

“They teamed up in 1980s with the Jim Henson Studios and created The Dark Crystal,” says Nasby, noting that while the movie was never an Oscar-winning film, it quickly became a cult movie because of what it achieved. “It opened vistas for puppetry artists and grabbed a bunch of new markets because it was dark and scary instead fluffy muppets. It showed puppets weren’t just for kids.”

Nasby only found out about the contest in early August, leaving her and Webber a mere three weeks to create a character and develop her back story.

“It went off without a hitch; we were on the same page creatively and mentally and we both banged out our parts,” laughs Nasby. “She does all the things I don’t.”

Webber, who has an art degree in animation from the Emily Carr University of Art, did the character and concept design, sketched her out, wrote their character’s story and named her Nym.

“We both worked on her outfits, accessories and hair – she did the sewing work and I did all the leather work and the sculpting of the staff and the sculpture itself,” says Nasby.

“It was epic from the beginning; we fit together in our artistry perfectly, and as friends. It was the most perfect collaboration ever.”

Having heard of their good fortune last Monday, Nasby was trying to contain her excitement at the unexpected top-10 finish in the global contest and the invitation to New York to meet the late Jim Henson’s son Brian and the Frouds.

“It’s almost too much for my brain to comprehend, but we’re going – come hell or high water. I just don’t know how we’re gonna pay for it.”

The winner was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip, while those with honourable mentions were invited to attend a special reception Oct. 24 and viewing of The Dark Crystal on their own dime.

“This is the hugest opportunity of our lives and we are swallowing our pride and asking for support,” says Nasby, noting she has launched a fundraising campaign on her company’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/soulfibre. “This is the best opportunity I could foresee for my future, for living and working here.”

Those who wish to support the women’s trip to New York, may do so through PayPal or credit card, or send a cheque to Melissa Nasby, 2790 30th Ave. NE, Salmon Arm V1E 3L2.

One of Nasby’s solo projects, Humphrey, a two-year-old grizzly bear sculpted out of wool, will be on display at the art gallery beginning Friday, Oct. 3.