GeekeryGeneral ArtPaintingPhotographySkepticismVisual Art

Have a Very Surly Christmas!

Just in time for the holidays, I tackle a tricky subject via my photography: What do you get the Grinch who has everything? How do you shop for the skeptic who raises an eyebrow to any typical present? I know Christmas shopping can be difficult, but don’t get grumpy…get Surly!

Surly-Ramics” by Surly Amy are individually hand-crafted pieces of art that you wear. I personally own about six of them and my daughters own two (shhh…don’t tell them, but they will be receiving more for Christmas). You can never have too many Surlies, so if you know someone who already has some, get them more. You know they’ll love it!

Another good reason to buy a Surly is because they are made by my talented friend, Amy Davis Roth, who also happens to be the fearless leader of Mad Art Lab. Maybe you’ve heard of her? As a little gift to Amy, and hopefully to you, I held a family photo session featuring my treasured personal collection of Surlies.

Got a team player with some heart? Pick an empowering Surly!
Do you know someone who loves celebrating the macabre all year around? Give the gift of a Surly to a surly loved one.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? That’s so 1950’s! Why not get her something handcrafted and made with love.
Even identical twins can’t agree on which parody belief to follow.
Get them a Flying Spaghetti Monster or Invisible Pink Unicorn necklace.
A tough guy who’s tough to buy for? There are plenty of Surlies for you to choose from.

With such a stunning array of choices there is surely a Surly for everyone, but if you can’t find the perfect Surly for your Grinch, just tell Surly Amy and she’ll create a custom one for you! She makes necklaces, earrings, and bracelets; she has even started designing coasters for non-jewelry-wearing Grinches. Swing by her shop and pick up one, two, or a few!


Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted. Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always. Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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  1. I’ve been meaning to say that I love your photos Gigi. There’s a clarity to them that really appeals. Even your ‘from the audience’ shots have a way of making the person stand out as the unquestioned subject of the picture.

    I know a tiny little bit about photography, my uncle earned his living with his camera, and that feeble knowledge tells me that just putting the subject against plain black background is not enough to create the effect of making the person stand out the way they do in your photos.

    Very nice. Thank you for sharing them.

    Oh, and Amy’s jewelry rocks. Have a little story:

    I have one of her cuffs, I’m wearing it right now. I specially commissioned it. The brief was to have it read “Question Everything” against a glaze that said “Oh, my god, it’s full of stars!” A brief that was carried out very much to my satisfaction.

    I own and am sole employee of a bike store in a tiny rural town. One day a gentleman walks in and being bored I strike up a non-bikey conversation. The talk turns to work and I ask him what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a pastor.” says. So I ask him about the particular flavour of Christianity he’s a part of and what they believe and we pass a pleasant few minutes.

    The next week he returns. This time he’s wearing a honking huge, wooden crucifix around his neck. I’m wearing my Surly cuff. We exchange pleasantries and in the midst of them he glances down at my wrist. And I swear to the High Holy Spaghetti Monster he does a perfect pearl clutch.

    He kept his hand covering the cross for the rest of our much briefer conversation. As protection against the skeptic devil or in a vain attempt to hide the extent of his religiosity I couldn’t say. He hasn’t been back since.

    On the one hand I’m sad he won’t be back to engage me again, I do enjoy those conversations. On the other hand the belly laugh I had after he left over his unconscious perpetration of a classic meme cleared my head for days.

    Surlyramics: good for what ails yah!

  2. First off, Coelecanth, thank you for your tremendous compliment. I truly appreciate it. In my photography, I strive to capture a person as their “true” self. When I am in a studio setting, I avoid posing people and making them feel uncomfortable. I tell them which way to face for lighting reasons and where to sit and which way to put their legs, but I mostly let them keep their natural positioning once their settled. I’m a pretty laid back photographer in that sense. In a setting like CSICon, I really focus on that right moment, like when the speaker pauses, smiles, or gestures. I am lucky enough to have a lens that is capable of taking photos in low-light, so I don’t have to use my flash. That helps separate the subjects from the background.

    Also, thank you for sharing your story. I live in Texas and I have yet to have anyone say anything to me when I’ve worn my “Skeptic” necklace out. But who knows, they’re probably too busy talking about my pink hair 😉

    Amy, you are welcome! <3

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